Choosing the right candidate to vote for in SU elections can be hard — but sometimes, the best candidates aren’t the real ones at all. Joke candidates provide a healthy dose of humour and satire to elections, and the U of A has seen a lot of them over the decades. To celebrate these heroes, here are (in no particular order), my five favourite joke candidates from years gone by.
Thats right: in 2001, Your Mom herself ran for SU President with the goal of creating a “loving, caring, and nurturing environment” for all university students. Many of her platform points remain relevant: instead of a cheaper U-Pass or free public transit, for instance, part of Your Mom’s platform was eliminating all transit passes because she could just drop you off at school herself. Her promises to triple the university’s allowance and clean our bedrooms weren’t half bad either.
While she would never claim the SU’s top spot, Your Mom certainly deserves an E for effort (which, incidentally, is also what she wanted to introduce as an official grade).
The Apathy Slate
Student apathy is a perennial issue for SU elections, so it seems only fitting that a slate of joke candidates once had it as their platform. 1988’s Apathy Slate ran on giving exactly zero shits. Notable proposals included using half the SU executives’ salaries to host monthly keg parties, making final exams optional, and changing the title of the Board of Governors to the “Bored” of Governors. Behind the Apathy Slate’s irreverence, however, was a much-needed critique of student apathy towards SU elections, one that still resonates today.
Star Trek II Slate
1988, evidently, was a big year for joke slates: contrasting Apathy Slate’s above-it-all attitude was the nerdy enthusiasm of Star Trek II. Lead by Captain Picard himself, Star Trek II pledged to introduce the Klingon language to Student Council meetings, acquire holodecks for campus, and convert Lister’s cafeteria into a toxic waste dump. Balancing pop culture references with digs at the U of A, Star Trek II was truly out of this world.
Dead World Leaders Slate
Experience can often be a significant factor in SU elections, and who has more experience in politics than deceased world leaders? 1990 saw John F. Kennedy, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Rene Levesque, and Queen Victoria rise from the grave to take the U of A back in time. Their more memorable platform points included recruiting engineering students to construct pyramids in Quad and holding a referendum to make Campus Saint-Jean independent from the rest of the university.
Donut the Cat and Banana the Hamster
In 2017, we were blessed with not one, but two animal joke candidates: Donut the Cat, running for SU President, and Banana the Hamster, running for VP (academic). Motivated to run by the high price of tuna at SUBMart, Donut promised to add more napping spaces on campus and bring in more therapy cats (as opposed to therapy dogs). With an adorable poster and a campaign that mostly revolved around adding more hamsters to campus events, Banana (who, sadly, is no longer with us) captured many hearts during the election as well.
There is a pronounced lack of joke candidates this year. Aside from a few satirical posters seen around campus, this election has been rather humourless. Hopefully, future years will see the return of this proud tradition, but for now, we at least have the past to look back on.