Legitimate democracy

Why the KSA election needs your vote.

Why the KSA election needs your vote.

By The Runner

The Kwantlen Student Association has a multi-million annual budget. Almost of that dough is student money, and is used to enable students running clubs, putting on events, and providing services … and paying the KSA council members.

The KSA has had an interesting political history. On more than one occasion, the KSA has been infiltrated by corrupt conspirators looking to swindle students out of their money. And the worst part is, they got away with it for a long time because nobody was paying close enough attention. Each time this happened (twice), the KSA would eventually manage to get rid of these individuals and head into a period of recovery.

Right now, the KSA is essentially in one of its recovery periods, which is why this election in particular is important. We as students need to continue to elect legitimate candidates who want to help students and make Kwantlen into the institution we want it to be, and make sure that our representatives are accountable to students.

Besides a rocky past, this election is also important because this could be the council that takes us through the next stage of a call for a referendum on continued membership in the Canadian Federation of Students-BC. Although the KSA has said they will not be taking a position in this potential referendum, it will still be up to the KSA to encourage a fair, transparent referendum campaign. We need strong members of council who will take the time to understand the rules of a referendum, and who are not easily persuaded to an opinion other than their own.

The final reason this election is so important is because of the recent debate at council on the autonomy agreement of the Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group. KPIRG gives Kwantlen the opportunity to campaign for social justice issues and research, and become a leader in advocacy. PIRGS are organizations in existence at many other post-secondary institutions, and each one has accomplished great things for social justice and advocacy. Given that students have already voted overwhelmingly in favour of KPIRG’s autonomy, it seems strange that the council would discuss (and then table) so extensively something that has already been voted on by the people they themselves represent — students.

Ultimately the KSA is a passionate institution, and it is important for students to have a dedicated group advocating for them, but it still has its flaws. Together we need to make sure that our voices are heard, that our student fees are being wisely spent, and that the people elected actually represent us. It is thus up to us as students to participate in this very minimum level of commitment — voting.

Our election issue has profiles on nearly almost all of the candidates, and our hope is that it will help you make an informed decision when you head to the polls. Voting in the KSA election is crucially important because we need to prove to the KSA that we care, and that we’re committed to paying attention.

So, welcome to The Runner’s election issue. We have filled these pages with all the information we think you need to know for the upcoming election. After hours of careful deliberation, we have also endorsed the candidates we believe will best serve the students of Kwantlen if they are elected.

There were 28 candidates who put their name forward for one of KSA’s positions, which, regardless of the outcome of the election, is something worth noting. Running in an election, when you want to win, is no easy task.

So thank you, candidates, for participating in an important part of student life. And thank you, Kwantlen students, for participating in an important part of democracy.

KSA candidates speak during The Runner’s 2014 election debates on the Surrey Campus. (Mark Stewart/The Runner)