By Reid Offers
With provincial elections around the corner, Alberta’s newly formed United Conservative Party has sprung into campaigning mode with more candidates running for election than any other party, even the governing New Democratic Party. At this time, even though Premier Rachel Notley reserves the right to call an election, the chances of her doing such remain slim.
The state of the Albertan oil industry is of nothing we have ever seen here, literally. There has not been an oil recession this bad since before most of us here at CUE were born. As much as you may hear this blame directed towards the NDP government, the recession started before they were elected. Knowing this, the UCP has not released much of their platform to date; however, there are a few things in their official party declaration that affect us here at Concordia directly.
Listed underneath the declaration’s Education section, it says the UCP believes the government of Alberta should “protect and guarantee the freedom of association of students by allowing individuals to choose, for themselves, whether to become a member of their students’ association.” (UCP Policy Declaration).
What this means in plain English is that Concordia students would have the option not to be part of the Concordia Students’ Association. The argument maintains that people should be able to choose whether or not to be a part of something, but it misses out on the greater good student associations do for students. When someone chooses to join a higher education institution like CUE, they are investing in their future. That said, challenges arise for students as we have to juggle work, social life, and school simultaneously while having one of the most uncertain future economies ahead. Organizations like the CSA provide a voice for the student body and stand up for them when issues arise. Since we are financially hampered by the rising costs of tuition and living, the CSA also negotiates and provides us with our health benefits. Having dental benefits is something that saves me, an American, from having to travel back home to receive care.
The UCP also plans to make it easier for post-secondary credits to transfer between institutions. I cannot think of a reason as to how this would not benefit us as students. Perhaps this will mean that more students will be able to take and attend classes at Concordia from other Institutions.
Although these seem to be minor issues in the grand scheme of things and UCP leader Jason Kenney has not yet voiced these as mainstream issues, they could still have an effect on us nonetheless.