Three Young Liberals resign

Three members of the Queen’s Young Liberals have resigned, citing philosophical differences and academic over-extension. The resignations came in the two weeks that followed the National Liberal Biennial Convention, held in Ottawa from Jan. 13 to 15.

Queen’s University Liberal Association (QULA) sent 12 delegates on a bus that also had non-QULA liberal supporters. The election for a new Young Liberals Association executive was held on Jan. 14.

Of all the positions, only one was contested, the rest required a vote of confidence. This position was contested between Josh Hutchinson and Eric Pegolo.

According to their websites, both candidates received endorsements from several individuals and representatives from Young Liberals chapters across Canada.

Alexander Prescott, ArtSci ‘14 was one of the three students who resigned from QULA. The former events director on the QULA executive board, said the members of QULA who attended the convention were instructed to vote for Pegolo by members of the association. “We were told, ‘You know you’re supposed to be voting for this guy, you came on his bus, you went to his party, on his coin. He raised the money for all this, therefore you have to vote for him,’” Prescott said. Pegolo won the election on Jan. 14.

“They were trying to overshadow what was going on, which is clamping down on privacy, clamping down on free thought, clamping down on free speech, and I can’t stand an organization that does that,” he said. “My issue with this is the fact that we were treated so poorly because we were questioning. It seems like they’ve wanted in the subsequent weeks for me to keep my mouth shut. They don’t want this getting out.”

QULA Executive Vice-President Kyle Richardson denied that QULA endorsed Pegolo. He said the free bus wasn’t tied to an endorsement.

“This bus had been arranged and provided by the Pegolo campaign and people who took the bus up were supporters,” Richardson, ArtSci ’12, said. “He asked if we could have a bus here and we were thrilled to have another way to get to the convention.” Pegolo was unable to be reached for comment.

On Feb. 2, Prescott resigned from his events director position. Richardson said the resignations are “completely unrelated” to the biennial convention. Scott Mason, the former communications director for QULA, said he resigned for personal reasons.

“I just have a whole bunch of different things going on and ultimately I felt like I wasn’t able to fulfil my responsibilities of QULA while I had these things going on,” Mason, ArtSci ’14, said.

Wesley Cohen, the former executive vice-president said he resigned because he had other commitments within the party.

“I decided it would be better for me to focus on those rather than choosing priorities and balancing schoolwork,” Cohen, ArtSci ’13, said.

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