Team CHR has the edge

In the election for the 2010-11 AMS executive, Team Chowdhury-Hartley-Rudnicki (CHR)’s strong candidates and extensive preparation give them the edge.

The Journal’s Editorial Board voted 12-10 in favour of endorsing CHR.

Both teams demonstrate a wide-ranging knowledge of the AMS and either would make a capable student government. It’s the minor discrepancies that add up to set CHR in better stead than Team PNF.

PNF, composed of presidential candidate Mitch Piper, vice-president (operations) candidate Kasmet Niyongabo and vice-president (university affairs) candidate Davina Finn, is positioned to run the AMS reliably and uphold the status quo.

But Team CHR, composed of presidential candidate Safiah Chowdhury, vice-president (operations) candidate Ben Hartley and vice-president (university affairs) candidate Chris Rudnicki, is more prepared to hit the ground running with ambitious ideas and a focused approach.

CHR has been criticized for having lofty, unfeasible goals like bringing back Homecoming for 2011, reforming town-gown relations and working to implement solar panels at Queen’s.

The AMS could benefit from an executive team with passion and ambition behind their goals. CHR’s plans may not all end up being feasible, but they also won’t be harmful.

CHR has demonstrated sound and extensive research to back up many of their ambitious proposals. Their 40-page platform isn’t just bulk meant to sound impressive, and it doesn’t sacrifice quality or detail.

PNF’s platform lacks detail and its many careless spelling errors are a turn-off. Team PNF knows their platform backwards and forwards when speaking and have been impressive in running a good campaign. But the strength of PNF’s campaign doesn’t make up for its vague platform points.

PNF’s planned initiatives are perhaps more realistic than what CHR proposes. But in an AMS that has many weak spots, effective solutions will necessarily seem aggressive.

When it comes to anti-oppression and equity grants, PNF’s approach is concerning. The $5,000 grant PNF proposes for individuals with equity ideas is less focused than CHR’s proposal to give to established groups, and risks not addressing real equity issues on campus.

PNF presidential candidate Piper comes across as the strongest of the six. He’s an articulate speaker with evident leadership skills, but his team is behind the curve. Small delays in putting up PNF’s website and posting their platform add up to make Piper’s team appear less together than CHR.

Piper and CHR presidential candidate Chowdhury both have the potential to make a great president. Chowdhury demonstrated a strong leadership role last year at a challenging time for Queen’s University Muslim Students’ Association (QUMSA) and a similar drive shines through in this campaign.

Both vice-president (operations) candidates present as being very capable with a thorough knowledge of AMS services.

PNF’s candidate Niyongabo has a wealth of experience with finances outside of the AMS, positioning him well to handle operations.

CHR’s candidate Hartley’s experience serving on the Board of Directors also stands him in good stead. By occupying an internal position making decisions for the AMS, Hartley may have a slight upper hand. But this year, we can’t go wrong with either vice-president (operations) candidate.

The vice-president (university affairs) role is loosely defined. It’s important to select a candidate who will take the initiative to give the position some substance.

Rudnicki, CHR’s candidate for the role, has greater potential. As the Clubs Manager this year, Rudnicki has proven he can define a role for himself when given a position with unclear parameters.

Rudnicki has a tendency to let his passion get the better of him and speak before thinking—for instance, calling CHR’s proposed solar panel initiative “free money”—but this habit doesn’t occlude his potential.

PNF’s candidate for vice-president (university affairs), Finn has proven her leadership abilities through overseeing many powerful Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) organizations in her role as Society Affairs Commissioner. But she hasn’t made it clear what she would make of the vice-president (university affairs) role.

It’s unfortunate some supporters of PNF derailed the team’s campaign by resorting to petty politicking. Publicizing private e-mails and taking screenshots of Facebook activity is foolish and has undermined the representation of PNF’s quality ideas.

It’s also unfortunate the election has turned into a forum on solar panel initiatives when, in reality, whichever team is voted in will have little control over the project. There’s a role for student government in lobbying for initiatives like these, but solar panels are an issue that probably shouldn’t have made it into the campaign platforms at all.

Looking at the sum of all parts, CHR’s innovative approach, clear drive and well-stated goals combine to make them a better option for student government.

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