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Why you shouldn’t vote

Jesse Colautti | Fulcrum Staff

Photo illustration by Mico Mazza

In case you didn’t notice, it’s election time again at our school. This means our eyes will bleed as we are assaulted with lame taglines and hundreds of posters as we make our way across campus. But you shouldn’t vote or care. No seriously, don’t vote.

Statistics always come out of the woodwork letting us know we are showing up to vote at record-setting lows. Idealistic and falsely empowering slogans are thrown together like, “Your vote is your voice!” And we’re left feeling bad about not voting or being apathetic.

Well, wipe those tears off your face. Put those heavy drugs away and let me be the first to tell you the truth—you’re fucking great! In fact, I’d say the only rational thing a thoughtful and attentive student should do during Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) election time is just continue to not give a shit.

Why am I advocating such reckless apathy?

In my three years of studying at the University of Ottawa, little has been accomplished by the SFUO to suggest that the election of its members has eclipsed the significance of my grade-five-class elections. Both have been popularity contests, with mainly figurehead positions on the line, and no real implications for the democratic bodies they represent. While the prize for winning one of them was free chocolate milk for a week, the prize for the other is an immensely inflated salary.

The promises have stayed the same. Every year there are impressive assurances of revolution and innovation, no different than what one usually hears in car commercials advocating this year’s model at the expense of last year’s one. And the results are usually the same.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: “I’m going to increase the means of communication and dialogue between the administration and the students, transform the food quality and prices of our cafeterias, and create a more enriched and interactive student experience.”

Bullshit. Those things have about as much chance of happening as we do of getting a job when we graduate.

Why not just be honest with us? Tell us how it’s really going to be?

“I’m going to plan a few club nights and fundraisers throughout the year—probably the same shit we’ve done for the past five years. I’m going to fuss about the bus pass ceaselessly—in fact, that will probably eat up half of my whole term—and I’m really only interested in this job because it pays well and looks good on a resumé.”

We’re smart people. We know, SFUO execs, that you have severe limits to your power and capability. We understand you’re going to redesign the wheel about as much as this year’s Toyota Camry will.

The candidates are all campaigning on the same overused and groundbreaking platforms. Why not at least focus on changes that fall under your job description? Perhaps the aspiring vp finance candidates should start talking about things like reforming the ridiculous salaries of SFUO positions and cutting the student funding for a radio station very few students listen to.

I hope the SFUO proves me wrong. I hope this year’s crop of candidates really do take their jobs seriously and follow through on their promises of improving our school. However, experience has taught me these hopes are about as fruitful as those of the Toronto Maple Leafs fan base and more than likely, the status quo will continue. If that’s the case then I’d like to propose a strategy for next year’s candidates: take a page out of Machiavelli’s The Prince and campaign on the promise of being the last-ever SFUO. Promise to eliminate the lame duck organization entirely. Now there’s a platform I could get excited about.