A couple of “governance” issues

On student unions, our federal overlords, and what should be done about them both

Mike Davies, Editor-in-Chief Ω

Hey, look, it's Stephen Harper signing something. He's probably allowed to, right?

Hey, look, it’s Stephen Harper signing something. He’s probably allowed to, right?

With another round of TRUSU elections coming around again, I thought I’d just touch on a few “governance” issues this week in this space where I get to share my thoughts. They will be somewhat quick-hit-type assessments, but I will explain my thoughts as fully as I am able in the space available to me (and hopefully in a short enough timeframe that you don’t get bored).

Firstly, the University of Windsor has elected “None of the above” to govern their student union for the time being.

This is fantastic. I love this.

Seeing the need for significant change in the way their union is structured and the level of service offered by it, a few intrepid souls started a movement (and Facebook page, as is the way these days) in protest, calling for the student body to rise up and elect nobody – and step up they did.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of the operations that the UWSA does over the summer can be completed by our full-time staff,” said current student union president Rob Crawford after the result. “It doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to be able to put on a Welcome Week and continue to offer our health and dental plan, or the other services we offer out of our office.”

So my question is this: Why do they need that entire staff if not having them won’t really affect anything?

I would put forth the same thing here at TRU.

Now, I’m not urging people to vote for “None of the above,” if that’s even an option on our ballots, which I expect it will not be, but I am encouraging the successful candidates to seriously consider making some strides to prove to the student body here that the student union members are actually valuable.

Show me that the millions of dollars you get from us every year can do more than put on a crappy concert in the fall and pay you to yell about fees being too high.

Please. Just give us something tangible. The students at the University of Windsor have shown that an electorate can force you to prove your value if you continue to do nothing, and I feel this day is coming. At least I hope it is.

Now over to general governance at another level.

Mr. Harper and his team have once again shown that they don’t really care about the rules.

Last week the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Conservative government’s appointment of Marc Nadon was unconstitutional.

And they didn’t do it nicely, either. The court basically tore the government a new one in their decision, using words like “absurdity,” and pointing out that the rules surrounding appointing Supreme Court justices have been unambiguous and unchanged since 1875 and that for the government to attempt this appointment is equivalent to them attempting to change the composition of the court, “which requires the consent of at least seven provinces representing, in the aggregate, at least half the population of all the provinces.”

Now, I’m not a member of any political party, and I wouldn’t call myself a political junkie or anything, but I am getting awfully sick of watching our federal government trying to do things it’s not allowed to.

I’m also thinking at this point maybe we should re-examine this whole, “We’re going to change how we do elections,” act they’re trying to pass, shall we?

You know, just to make sure they’re playing by the rules….