Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor
With the slogan “Here to stay,” Giancarlo Da-Ré’s overarching themes are sustainability and accessibility. While he states that 100 consultations informed his platform, some key ones are missing. Da-Ré does not explain how many of his points will be achieved.
Da-Ré did not outline a specific strategy to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on campus. He also does not acknowledge that a similar initiative was attempted previously. In 2017, Justin Monaco-Barnes, the MSU President at the time, implemented a ban on plastic water bottle sales at Union Market. UM then reversed the ban after Monaco-Barnes’s term as President, citing a slump in sales. Da-Ré has not contacted Monaco-Barnes about this issue. Overall, Da-Ré does not explain why he will succeed in implementing a ban when it has failed in the past.
While other Canadian universities have phased out water bottle sales, Da-Ré does not specify tangible steps towards achieving this initiative at McMaster. According to his platform, he plans to work with the Sustainability Council and the University to facilitate the ban. However, he does not clarify what this partnership will entail, or how he plans to pressure the university to implement the change.
Da-Ré’s aims to reduce the cost of select hot beverages at Union Market from $1.40 to $1.00 on the first Monday of each month, provided that students bring reusable mugs. While this could help incentivize environmentally friendly habits, Da-Ré failed to consult Union Market Manager Lilia Olejarz about its feasibility.
“If any presidential candidates have points about Union Market in their platform, I would encourage people to take them with a grain of salt . . . It’s relatively common for presidential candidates to make promises or have platform points about the Union Market, [but] sometimes they’re not properly educated on how Union Market is run and what is feasible,” said Olejarz.
Additionally, Da-Ré’s plan for The Grind to offer reusable ‘For Here’ mugs is already being carried out. Richard Haja, the food and beverage manager for The Grind, verified that mugs have already been ordered for this purpose and that they will be used in the future. Haja also confirmed that Da-Ré did not consult him on the feasibility of reusable mug discounts.
As part of his plan to enhance student life, Da-Ré plans to update all MSU Operating Policies and other MSU Workplace Documents. While he accurately points out that operating policies and other documents are in urgent need of updating, AVP Internal Governance Graeme Noble has already kickstarted the process of updating MSU Operating Policies and Bylaws within the next five years. With a plan already in place, it is unclear what role Da-Ré would play in this process.
There is evidence that Da-Ré did his due diligence while researching some of his platform points. For example, he accurately states that McMaster will accumulate up to $100,000 in daily fines if the MSU website is not AODA-compliant by January 2021. However, vice president (Finance) Alexandrea Johnston recently released a report claiming that the website will likely be completed by the end of her term. Furthermore, the role of the MSU President in the transition to an AODA-compliant website is not clear, as this year the project was spearheaded by the VP (finance), not the MSU president.
Da-Ré’s claims that the McMaster University Student Centre is physically inaccessible. According to MUSC Director Lori Diamond, the building was AODA compliant in 2002, at the time that it was built. However, Diamond admits that there is still room to improve the building’s accessibility. She also states that there has not been a full-scale audit of MUSC since it was built.
While Da-Ré did not consult Maccess to inform his platform, Maccess Coordinator Brittany Allan is supportive of a full-scale environmental audit of MUSC.