KSA tries to sweeten deal with Premier

Courtesy of the KSA

By Kassandra Linklater [News Editor]

On Mar. 4, Kwantlen students Derek Robertson and Ben Newman travelled to Victoria to remind Premier Gordon Campbell of his 2009 campaign promise.
They wanted to connect with the Premier in a way that they knew they could reach him: his sweet tooth.

Both Robertson and Newman, representatives of Kwantlen’s student association, delivered the oversized U-Pass made of chocolate right to the legislature to show that Kwantlen students will not let this issue die.

Campbell campaigned on the success of the U-Pass at universities such as SFU and ensured students in the Metro Vancouver area that they would see the same access to public transportation by the fall of 2009.

Robertson, the outgoing Director of External Affairs stated that, “we wanted to do something creative to highlight this ‘outside-the-box’ option to affordably implement its 2009 campaign promise to deliver a U-Pass program for all BC students.”

The premier wasn’t the only target of the KSA during their trip to Victoria. B.C. Transportation Minister Shirley Bond also received an oversized chocolate U-Pass.
Bond responded with a personal thank you note, in which she thanked the KSA for their “unique reminder,” and noted that her “staff continues to do the work necessary to ensure that a U-Pass program for all students is put in place.”

Robertson also said that, “we are hoping this gift reminds the Premier and his transportation leaders that we need them to sweeten the deal for students that are struggling to get around in this tough economy.”

The chocolate campaign didn’t just end in Victoria. Reena Bali as well as Newson also presented the U-Pass to Translink CEO Ian Jarvis. Jarvis was not available for a meeting but the campaign did receive the attention of both CTV and the Georgia Straight.

Newman, Kwantlen’s U-Pass Program Coordinator, told the Runner that the U-Pass will go to a referendum in the fall of 2010. Newman noted that this can’t be confirmed, but would, like to see a U-Pass in students hands by 2011.

The KSA is lobbying for the student transportation expansion program (STEP) to come to Kwantlen, which would guarantee that the provincial government subsidize each student $10 per month.

This rivals the “One Pass” proposal that several student unions, including Douglas College, Emily Carr University, and UBC are lobbying for. The “One Pass” would see that students would only pay a flat rate of $25 for a semester pass across Metro Vancouver.

Despite promises of education, the recent provincial budget did not mention the U-Pass or commit any funds to student transportation programs.

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