The editorial on Jan. 21, 2016 highlighted some of the strongest ideas that the McMaster Students Union has had from winners and losers of previous presidentials. This also noted that this was still the case even if they sometimes take years to come about. Mac Farmstand, the fall break, the Peer Support Line, the MSU emergency bursary and the full-year bus pass are all mentioned as examples.
Light Up the Night, the referendum for vice-presidents at-large that eventually failed by 20 votes, the freedom credit that still shows up as an idea and the need for an interfaith space, which will not be fulfilled until the new Student Activity Building is completed, are all also mentioned.
The editorial on Jan. 19, 2017 stated to be critical of candidates with broad platforms and ambitious goals because of the unfeasibly of some points and how long they would realistically take to implement.
Feb. 2, 2017 in particular is interesting for highlighting the sentiment that, “The president doesn’t do anything anyway”. It goes into detail about the roadblocks the current MSU president, Chukky Ibe, would likely face because of his platform, and states pessimism that his presidency would only add to this narrative that some students have.
It has, unfortunately, though that also is not entirely his fault. A significant portion of his platform has already been implemented or is currently in the works.
The Speculator on Jan. 11 points out the lack of follow-through on the media creator database with Underground, the MSYou voting system, the comprehensive athletics policy, working with the HSR to build new bus shelters on campus, service-club clusters, the MacServe Year of Learning program and the event loan system for clubs and faculty societies.
Admittedly, that selection represents most of the goals that have not had at least some progress, which is impressive considering his “Platform Tracklist” during his campaign had around 25 points total and the burden of helping the Student Activity Building continues.
My main criticism for this year’s presidentials has consistently been that platforms have been far too conservative. This was hinted at in last week’s editorial and the note that platforms lack having one big point.
I am not sure if that is a lack of ambition, a realistic outlook on what the president can achieve in one year or a fear of feeding into the public narrative of how slow progress can be, but it is unfortunate and understandable.
That 2016 editorial mentioned before states, “Although many might seem infeasible, impractical and sometimes stale, they speak to the needs of the McMaster community.” Not every idea has to succeed or end up being feasible, but I would rather have too many ideas and too much to work with than too few and too little.
This may be the first time that the winning candidate, whoever that may end up being, will simply run out of ideas to work on mid-way through the year with the platforms they currently have.
The consolation is that the quantity of candidates and the priority on smaller goals features an incredible amount of viable ideas from literally every candidate. There are a lot of easy ideas that could be started immediately if any sort of effort is given to them, and a lot of little things that could be worked on throughout the campus.