QJPolitics: Draeger dominates debate

David Hadwen is the Journal’s political columnist and will be offering his personal insight on the AMS elections. Hadwen is a fourth-year history student and is not part of the Journal’s Editorial Board. Hadwen’s opinions do not represent those of the Journal.

During the 2008 American presidential election Sarah Palin was mocked because she had supported a supposed “bridge to nowhere” during her time as a politician in Alaska. While team TNL insisted that they would adequately consult students before undertaking any major project, they were forced to contend with their own “bridge to nowhere” moment in the AMS vice-president of operations debate Wednesday night.

Team PDA’s candidate for that position, Craig Draeger, pointed out that the same architectural firm that crafted TNL’s proposal for a bridge between the JDUC and the ARC was responsible for planning the Queen’s Centre. Draeger went on to point out that the Queens Center project went over budget and was left unfinished. The crowd guffawed after Draeger quipped “You know what happens when you build one third of a bridge”.

Needless to say, those yearning for a higher amount of argumentation out of Wednesday night’s debate should be satisfied. Craig Draeger and TNL’s Nicola Plummer went head to head early in the evening over the amount of consultation done between corporate services and the AMS during the introduction of a new Tim Horton’s on campus. The two candidates then clashed over TNL's bridge proposal. Draeger derided the bridge as a glory project and suggested a more practical “renovation” of the JDUC instead.

On this night, team TNL brought a more aggressive strategy to the table but kept their businesslike composure. It seems that team TNL is willing to play team PDA’s foil. Their stable team dynamic stands in stark contrast to the exaggerated rhetoric voiced by Draeger and Prescott.

Team BGP’s Peter Green emphasized a deferential managerial style and had his own spat with Draeger over BGP’s plan to rebrand CoGro’s old location. Green also questioned team PDA's plan to significantly reduce student fees. This issue should be a much larger factor in the campaign as a whole and Green should be given credit for pointedly raising the issue. However, he was far from aggressive with his query and Draeger used the question as another opportunity to expound about PDA's platform.

Throughout the night, team PDA reiterated their insistence that the AMS should be subject to the desires of students. Pursuant to that goal, they offered their proposal of student “town halls” and the creation of an ombudsman position solely responsible for considering student concerns. These are positive suggestions that put substance behind Draeger and Prescott’s repetitive oratory.

When the floor opened up to all candidates in the second half of the debate, team PDA’s Alexander Prescott went on another tirade against wasteful spending in the AMS. It was team BGP’s presidential candidate, Eril Berkok, who finally stood up to Prescott and implied that PDA’s proposed cuts would significantly harm the AMS and its ability to serve students. This is a critical objection and hopefully Berkok will voice it consistently in the presidential debate Thursday night.

Throughout the debate PDA’s Craig Draeger projected confidence and experience. Most critically, Draeger won arguments when it mattered most. Team PDA’s whole platform puts them in stark contrast with the other teams and both TNL and BGP have failed to mount a serious offensive against it.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.