Bite the Ballot: Vice-President (Operations and Finance)

The VP (Ops-Fi) race is a three-way competition between Taimur Malik, Robyn Paches and Hasan Birer. The three candidates have similar backgrounds, with both Paches and Malik boasting business experience and Birer with experience in economics. They all have some understanding of how finance works, a must when you consider the winner of the election will be managing the SU’s $11 million budget.

Birer misses the mark, as his Ops-Fi platform is either the literal Ops-Fi job description (“scrutinizing the SU’s business portfolio”), or points that would fall better under the Student Life and External platforms. But the main reason Birer is overshined is simply that his platform is painfully short compared to the other candidates. Unfortunately, he just seems like he’s put less thought into the race, which will make it hard for him to compete.

The two closest contenders are Malik, who is self-identifying as “The Wolf of UAlberta,” and Paches, who is taking the “nice-guy” stance in this election. Both have similar, detailed platforms, but the language and ideas are where Malik and Paches differentiate.

Both candidates have a heavy focus on the SU’s food and beverage options, a hot topic considering that historically, RATT, Dewey’s and L’Express have had poor reputations on campus. It’s a lofty goal because while the operations fall under the Ops-Fi platform, it’s hard to implement meaningful changes in a one-year position. Both candidates want to totally overhaul the training processes in place and make L’Express into a nicer place to be.

After the issue of food, Malik’s platform falls flat. Apart from a very detailed description of the SU app he wants to research, (including access to independent organizations The Gateway and CJSR, neither of which are run by the SU) the rest is a very brief overview of representing student groups and some points about Augustana and Campus Saint-Jean thrown in as an afterthought. Comparatively, Paches’ has a detailed plan on how he plans to improve student safety at the Campus St. Jean, in residences, as well as working on preventing sexual harassment.

While both candidates have long platforms, Paches’ is more well thought out, with positive changes that are definitely achievable in a one-year term. Reading his platform shows that he’s put a lot more thought into what he wants to do, and while he wants to go above and beyond the Ops-Fi job description, his ideas are actually implementable in the short-term. Couple his excellent platform with the fact that he sat on both the Audit Committee and the Finance Committee this year (meaning he’s been preparing to do exactly the Ops-Fi position for the last eight months), he definitely deserves the win and will represent students well.

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