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QJPolitics: First exec debate lacks action

Posted by David Hadwen on January 23, 2013 @ 03:20 p.m. EST

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David Hadwen is the Journal’s political columnist and will be offering his personal insight on the AMS elections. Hadwen is a fourth-year political studies student and is not part of the Journal’s Editorial Board. Hadwen’s opinions do not represent those of the Journal.

The first half of what occurred in the JDUC on Tuesday night was unworthy of its official title. Debates typically include argument and in this portion of the evening no debate happened. Rarely did the candidates for Vice President of University Affairs address each other directly. Things only got interesting when the floor opened up for all team members to speak. To an extent, the candidates should be forgiven for their tame responses since the questions posed weren’t designed to provoke disagreement.

Because the proceedings were so deficient, audience members were forced to judge the three candidates based on how eloquently they described the relevant portions of their platforms. On this score, team TNL’s Liam Faught came out on top. He remained businesslike and was the only candidate to stay completely unflustered by the questions posed by the moderator.

That being said, it was team PDA and their candidate Lisa Acchione who most set themselves apart from the boilerplate rhetoric and generic platforms typical of political campaigning. Their emphasis on efficient student service and the reduction of fees mirrors Rob Ford’s campaign for the Toronto’s mayoralty. I don’t mean to denigrate PDA by making this association, but the parallels are undeniable.

Team BGP’s TK Pritchard sometimes cut his answers short but was convincing when describing his capabilities as a manager. BGP seems to be the “social activist” team in the race. This team should present their platform more aggressively as they are a vital counterpoint to the visions for the AMS presented by the other two outfits.

The second portion of the debate opened the floor to the candidates for all positions. Team PDA’s Alexander Prescott wasted no time in beginning an offensive against team TNL. His attacks criticized a perceived culture of “elitism” and waste within student government. While they seemed forced and occasionally vague, these barbs deserved a response. Unfortunately, team TNL never replied in any significant way. It seems that TNL was trying to stay above the fray and project an air of corporate indifference.

If forced to pick a winner, I would call the evening for team TNL. They succeeded in convincing me of their overriding competence and did a good job of making their experience relevant. Faught’s focus on expanding enrollment seemed logical in light of significant new developments at Queen’s. Hopefully the next two debates will bring more actual disagreement.

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