Sunday, July 27, 2008

Turning point of the debate

To me, there were two turning points in the debate. Ryan Kennery certainly started off strongly and I felt many members around the table were being swayed by his presentation.

As the debate went on however, the "YES" side received huge endorsements by "non-partisan" individuals, such as Michael Brown (Common Law) and Dean Haldenby (President). These two figures are not seen as the "typical" pro-CFS crowd.

The three best speakers of the day were, in my opinion, Kyle Ryc's proxy (can someone tell me her name?), Virginie Corneau Ste-Hilaire and Renaud-Philippe Garner. Ironically, neither of the three are actual Board members.

Ryc's proxy expressed disdain by some of the arguments from the other side. This had resonance because of one phrase: "If I was not here today, I would have had no idea of what had been decided." She said as an "outsider", she felt this issue is too important to be decided by a handful of student politicians. She also used "You" and "Me", clearly distinguishing herself from the rest of the Board and she said "It insults MY intelligence." Other board members were speaking as though they were not students themselves. "We should respect students." What was powerful about her statement was how sincere it was.

The other strong presentation of the day comes from - surprise, surprise - Renaud-Philippe Garner (RPG). Despite a lot of pizazz and hurrah, RPG threw back the comment of "democracy" in the faces of certain members. "You were elected by the very same students you do not trust to make this decision."

Virginie Corneau Ste-Hilaire went the same direction with her intervention, and in the end, I think the three speeches combined pushed those who were undecided.

The "NO" side, which has dominated this debate for the last four years, lacked such sincerity.

It would be dishonest to claim backroom wheeling and dealing was not a major factor in today's vote. The BOA election results last February were a result of weeks of lobbying to get CFS-friendly people elected. Since then (and even before), there has been constant consultations with board members asking them how they feel about this issue. Both sides attempted to sway "swing" voters. In the end, one side, which also happens to have a strong presence at the Executive level, was more effective.

I was not expecting such a landslide (25-3!), but once it was obvious the vote was going to be won, I think many members of the Board took Kennery's "silver lining" approach expressed during his presentation. If "we" lose, he argued, it might be time to change strategies. Instead of fighting it, it might be time to work with the other side to try to improve it.

It will be an interesting campaign.


Anonymous said...

The name of my proxy is Amanda Whitten. She is entering her third year as a Health Sciences student.

Kyle A. Ryc
Faculty Director for Health Sciences

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kyle!
And I'm very humbled by the mention, thank you very much.

-Amanda Whitten
Vice President Philanthropic
Health Science Student Association