The Daily’s SSMU endorsements hit the stands this morning (they’ve been up online since Saturday morning), and comments are piling up, both on the endorsement page and a somewhat related story about campaigning violations by Stefan Link’s yes committee. A number of individuals are calling The Daily’s coverage biased against the candidate. As well, they’re suggesting that it is somehow “unethical” for the editorial board to endorse the candidates who it feels would best serve the student body.
These opinions are my own, and do not reflect the view of the McGill Daily Editorial board.
Are you guys serious? A moderately interested student press and the presence of a few critical SSMU execs on facebook are the only things making this election anything more than a popularity contest. Let me rephrase that: A student union election should not be won or lost on how well a candidate is able to use facebook. As I posted on one of those articles, the role of the press is twofold in these elections. They need to place as much focus on the issues as possible (see this nifty interactive, the incredible pull out in today’s issue, and The Daily’s qualified endorsements), and maintain the integrity of the electoral process (hence the story about Link).
The Chief Returning officer wields little power over the candidates, and aside from his (definitely headline making) ability to call off an election entirely, or disqualify a candidate, can only force individuals to pay for their own posters and web site costs (see the rules here). As a result, the press is the only institution with the ability to bring small campaign violations to light, without making other candidates seem petty. If The Daily news team didn’t cover these issues, candidates would be free to do all sorts of other things, and we might start heading down that slippery slope toward a Concordia-like elections shit show.
Further, I posted this on the endorsements story in defense of the editorial board’s ability to support candidates:
It is perfectly reasonable for a group of concerned students, who pay constant attention to campus politics and these issues, to offer humble opinions on the best candidates, in the same way that they write editorials on issues of interest to the general campus population.
If a student generally agrees with this editorial board, she can use the recommendations in her voting. If not, she can spread her views through any number of other means, or run for an editorial board position and help determine the people that this paper endorses next year.
The ability to craft facebook status updates, well designed posters, and a catchy slogan does not reflect well a candidate’s ability to run a Student Union. That’s why we have The Daily.
In short, get a grip, get back to your last day of campaigning, and talk about something substantive. Like fleshing out your seven bullet point platform.
My own stories appeared in the first and last episodes of the semester. In episode 9, I spent the entire show interviewing contributors to The Daily’s special issue on “The University we Want,” and back in October, I wrote a shorter piece on the trial of Adil Charkaoui [second half of the episode]. They’re nothing special, but also my first go at radio production, and (hopefully) worthy of sharing.
I recently made a short video showing people how to upload a story to mcgilldaily.com using our hot ink platform. Don’t worry, no passwords or proprietary information are revealed in this video. I suggest that you expand the window in order to see all of the things that I click on. A PDF with similar instructions will be coming soon!
and now, a second video on how to upload a blog post:
Originally published in The McGill Daily 29 January 2009
Students from across Canada will convene at McGill this week to discuss ways to mix business with sustainability.
The sixth annual McGill Business Sustainability Conference, which begins today and runs until Saturday, is focusing on the theme “Awake.”
According to conference co-chair Jacob Schickler, this year’s organizers chose the theme in order to reflect on the prominence that sustainability initiatives have taken in recent years.
“Five years ago, people used the word sustainability in a different way, it was a buzzword,” he said. “It’s not about people turning their lights off anymore; it’s about how we’ve become awakened to the fact that we have to do something right now.”
The conference organizers hope participants will critically analyze current sustainable business models, and discuss those that are mutually beneficial to the environment and the economy.
While the daytime sessions – which bring together representatives of corporations, NGOs, and professors for small presentations – are open only to pre-registered attendees, students may purchase tickets to attend either of the two keynote speeches, taking place on Thursday and Friday evening.
Tonight’s keynote speech features Steven Guilbeault, a founding member of Équiterre, which campaigns for ecological agriculture, fair trade goods, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation in Montreal. He is also a spokesperson for Greenpeace’s climate and energy campaign.
Robert D. Weese, a Vice President at General Electric (GE) Canada who works with all levels of government in support of GE’s Canadian business, will give Friday’s keynote speech.
The conference will also host green groups from various universities at a sustainability fair from 3-5 p.m. on Friday in the Shatner ballroom, which is open to the public.
Both keynotes take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday’s speech will be held in Moot Court, Chancellor Day Hall, and Friday’s speech will be held in Bronfman 151. Tickets to each event are available at the door and cost $5.