By Matty Hume, October 5 2018 —
On Oct. 3, the two candidates running for the vacant vice-president external position in the Students’ Union byelection were slated to discuss their platforms and answer questions from SU president Sagar Grewal at a MacHall forum. Of the two candidates — Laura Caraballo and Anayat Sidhu — only Sidhu appeared for the bout.
After Grewal announced that they will “continue with your regularly scheduled programming,” Sidhu answered questions from Grewal and a handful of audience members.
The forum began with a brief opening statement from Sidhu, outlining her platform. She highlighted her intention to speak face-to-face with as many students as possible, as well as advocate for more funding to strengthen existing mental health and sexual assault resources.
Grewal began regular moderated questions by asking Sidhu which existing SU municipal advocacy priority she thinks is the most important and how she would advocate for it as vice-president external. Sidhu named the initiative to push Calgary Transit for an electronic transit fare system as the most significant for present and future undergraduates. She said she intends to work closely with Grewal and the SU’s manager of external relations, Whitney Hunter, for in-person meetings with city council.
Grewal then asked how Sidhu would get students engaged with the upcoming provincial election. She responded that by pushing students to vote in this byelection and SU general election, “seeds would be planted” to vote in a provincial election.
When asked by Grewal to define the roles of Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) and Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), plus identify what each acronym stands for, Sidhu was unable to complete the acronyms and reiterated her goal of advocating for mental health resources and affordable education.
Following regular questions, Grewal led a quiz-style speed round, in which Sidhu used a coloured paddle to answer a series of true or false questions with occasional follow-up questions. Sidhu correctly identified the university’s city councillor, member of the legislative assembly, member of parliament and minister of advanced education. She was unable to name the critic of advanced education, Wayne Anderson.
Next, audience members were welcomed to pose their own questions to Sidhu regarding her platform. She responded to a question asking to highlight a “big mistake” she has made in the past few years by saying she felt unprepared for a university atmosphere in her first year but has since gained a strong understanding of a post-secondary community and can now perform to the best of her ability.
“I do believe my past experience within the Students’ Union and clubs here on campus does equip me to be able to do this job and to be able to ensure that everything under my portfolio is being met,” Sidhu said.
Voting days run from Oct. 10–12. Undergraduates can vote online through the myUofC Student Centre and in-person across campus.