Author: Erik Preston

Broken Promises

Why electoral reform would be bad for Canada  On February 1st, Democratic Institutions Minister, Karina Gould, announced to Canadians that the Trudeau government would no longer be pursuing electoral reform, a position that was a focal point of their 2015 election campaign. In his first throne speech following the election, Trudeau himself promised that the Liberals would work to ensure that “2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” The Trudeau government has faced a great deal of backlash for repealing this decision, though it can be argued that the world in 2017 is a vastly different place than it was in 2015 (re: Trump). Aside from the ethically dubious nature of the broken campaign promise (politicians, right?!), like many Canadians I am disheartened by the broken promise, though I am not particularly upset by this change in position itself. Canada currently uses a first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system, where politicians are elected based on the percentage of the vote they receive within their respective ridings. The party with the most elected representatives becomes the governing party, with their leader serving as the head-of-government (in our case, Justin Trudeau). The issue with this system lies within the disproportionate ratio of the popular vote gained by the winning party, and the number of seats that that party holds in government. For example, the Liberals currently hold...

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On the world stage

The Strand sits down with Professor Joseph Wong to discuss his appointment as Vice Provost, International Experience, and the expanding interest in UofT among American students The University of Toronto is a massive institution. This was clear to me from the moment I first arrived here in September of 2012. I remember walking into Con Hall on my first day of classes, an 18-year-old kid from a small Ontario town, and being completely and utterly overwhelmed by what surrounded me; twelve hundred of my peers, from every corner of the world, here for the exact same reason as me. All...

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Vic’s fall caucus meeting

On November 15th, Victoria College’s first caucus meeting of the year took place in Northrop Frye Hall. All matters on the agenda were quickly and efficiently covered with the meeting lasting less than two hours. To start the meeting off, Ryan Gomes, Vice-President Professional Faculties with the UTSU, gave a presentation on tuition caps in Ontario. The presentation provided  an effective explanation as to how tuition increases occur in Ontario, and how the new Ontario Student Grant—which has promised to grant free tuition to students from families whose annual income is below $50,000—may not entirely accomplish this goal. Gomes’...

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Responsibility to inform

On November 8th, Americans decided to elect an individual whose campaign centred entirely on intolerance, racism, misogyny, and bigotry. Above all, white Americans decided that they were willing to ignore or embrace the intolerance that Donald Trump presented day after day. Many decided that their “economic” interests outweighed those of their fellow citizens, and that they were willing to let a man with total disregard for minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ populations hold the country’s highest office. If there was any doubt that racism was alive and well in America before this election, that doubt has since been put to rest.

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The State of the Union: Re-evaluating our relationship with the CFS

If you went on any sort of social media between October and January of last year, you most likely saw—and promptly became annoyed by—the constant posts and messages asking you to vote to amend the board structure of the University of Toronto Students’ Union. The campaign to bring the UTSU back in compliance with new government legislation was long and drawn out, and caused a great deal of bickering between active student politicians. When the new board structure was finally passed last January, the University took a collective deep breath. However, with every new year comes new issues. This year’s is one of equal, if not greater importance—one that seems like a much larger headache. The recently launched You Decide campaign seeks to provide UofT students the chance to vote in a referendum to decide whether or not we remain members of the Canadian Federation of Students, better known as the CFS. There are several important reasons why our relationship with the CFS is being called into question, all of which are of concern to students at UofT. The CFS basically functions as a union for our union. The UTSU, along with 39 other student unions in Ontario alone, provide funding to the organization to represent student interests across the country. This can take the form of political lobbying and nation-wide campaigns, such as the Fight the Fees campaign to...

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