Voting for SAMU’s executive committee election opens on March 14 and runs until March 16. Two candidates are running for the vice-president external position: Jakob Cardinal and Ismaeel El-Hakim.
Here are the platform highlights and key goals that both candidates have, if elected. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Jakob Cardinal, vice-president external candidate:
Why did you decide to run for the VP External position on the Executive Committee?
I cannot understate the impact that current VP External Matt Yanish played on my ultimate decision to run for VP External. I ultimately decided that advocating for students at the varying levels of government is where my skills would best fit on the executive committee.
Furthermore, my inspiration stems from my own desire to positively impact the communities that I am a part of. At a literal grass-roots level, there is an old saying “leave it better than you found it.” I implement this in my day-to-day living, but given the opportunity to positively impact the hearts and lives of all Griffins, I can assure you, I will leave no stone unturned. I do have a more personal internal inspiration that I’d like to share as well. I am Cree and proud. My family has been here for time immemorial, and I believe it is due past the time for further Indigenous representation in all levels of governance.
What are the key elements of your platform?
My platform begins and ends with community. If elected, during my time as VP External, enhancing the strength and voice of the Griffin community will be my number one priority. SAMU, and inherently the executive committee, are nothing without the students, and I plan to hold students up to the light in which they deserve.
How will you support students in your position?
I will support the students through continual student engagement by way of candid discussion with student groups, club and sports team leaders. On a broader scale, tabling will increase. I have done tabling as a part of the student council and have found that to be a great way to engage with the student body and find out the issues students are facing on a larger scale.
What goals do you wish to accomplish on the Executive Committee?
Our strength as an executive committee stems from the students. Voter turnout directly relates to how the government will table student issues. One of my goals, a real tangible goal that benefits all parties, is to increase the voter turnout during election time on campus. Last election’s voter turnout sat at just over six per cent. I would like to see this number increased to at least double digits, with a high end goal of 15 per cent for the next election.
What are some issues you feel passionately about tackling?
I feel quite passionate about serving the communities that I am a part of. Being at MacEwan means I am a part of the Griffin community, as well as Edmonton’s downtown community.
I’d be happy to see the executive committee and SAMU be a part of the revitalization of our downtown community.
Why is it important that students vote in the election?
It is as important as ever for students to vote in not only our executive election, but in all elections that students find themselves eligible to vote in. Students can sway elections.
Specifically for the executive committee elections, students are encouraged to participate as voter turnout is looked at by higher governing bodies as student support for SAMU. If voter turnout is less than 10 per cent, it makes it easy for those in power to not fully listen. If that percentage of student voters was to drastically increase, the governing bodies would be forced to listen.
With an educated, diverse, and involved community. We can move mountains.
El-Hakim did not respond to requests for comment.
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