AMS Open Forum addresses Team ECN’s platform & vision

Issues of diversity and sustainability dominate

Team ECN at the AMS Open Forum
By Nicole Langfield

Amidst this year’s uncontested AMS executive campaign, Team ECN held an open forum in Wallace Hall to address the Queen’s community on policy and platform positions.

The team was pressed on a variety of issues from audience members and questions submitted digitally. When asked to reflect on the current Executive’s downfalls, the dissolution of Bikes and Boards was an important area of concern for Presidential Candidate Emily VanderHeyden.

VanderHeyden claimed the executive “was not transparent” during the process of dissolving Bikes and Boards.

“The biggest downfall for the current Executive was the Bikes and Boards situation and just the lack of transparency that was involved in the decision-making processes,” she said. “It was a lack of transparency where a lot of people felt like they weren’t a part of the conversation of the processes of the AMS.”

Natasha Kornak, candidate for Vice President (University Affairs), also addressed some of the current executive’s failures. She pointed to current Vice President (University Affairs) Palmer Lockridge’s mishandling of the Sustainability Action Fund allocation.

In another question posed by the moderator – AMS Chief Returning Officer Sarah Obonsawin – the team was pressed on similarities between their platform and JBP’s platform during their run last year.

When audience members were invited to ask the executive questions, former Commissioner of Environmental Affairs Liam Dowling asked the team about commitments on their stand-alone sustainability document.

Dowling inquired about commitments detailed in the document that have been attempted before – notably the introduction of biodegradable cutlery – but were never implemented for financial reasons. Dowling asked how the executive would manage to follow through on those commitments without running into financial problems.

Vice President (Operations) candidate Craig Draeger explained the team would “look at the sustainability of the AMS, but also [of] the whole University.” He then went on to relay specific points from the sustainability paper released by the team, citing increasing compost bin access and printer-ink refills.

When posed questions about how Kornak would effectively advocate for marginalized students on campus, she asserted repeatedly that her, along with her teammates “recognize their privilege.”

VanderHeyden expressed one of her central goals was to make the AMS seem less elitist and more open. “I think there’s a lot of people who think that the AMS is elitist and I want people to feel like they can be involved,” she said. “I want the everyday student to feel that the things they care about, we care about most.”

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