all this has happened before…

There has been, over the past two days, a loud and almost violent reaction to the filing of a complaint to the UN without first seeking the approval of Council. I am somewhat shocked at the response. On any other issue at the AMS, I have gotten maybe one or two emails expressing an opinion. On this, the floodgates were open. I have even begun to get emails from people who I am unacquainted with. I have had people who’s acquaintance I made briefly years ago come up to me who were angry about the AMS.

The vicious response has been against the complaint itself, and how embarrassing this has been for UBC. This, in and of itself, is not my major bone of contention – rather, I am upset that this was done without any measure of consultation, without going through the proper AMS procedures, and without seeking the consent of Council. The striking thing is how similar this seems to previous goings on at the AMS. Like the Cylons say:

All this has happened before, and all this will happen again…

My Own Adventures with Pivot

I received a call yesterday from a Councilor who sat on Council during the time that I was VP External. It was remarked upon how this seems strikingly familiar to a motion that I brought forward near the beginning of my term. I had become very concerned about the impact of Bill C-38, An Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act and the Public Service Employees Act on the ability of students (with our non fixed addresses) to cast votes in future federal elections. I wanted to join a Charter Challange to this law, sponsored by (you guessed it) Pivot Legal Society. Now, here’s where the stories diverge – instead of going behind the back of Council, authorizing the payment of legal fees to a firm that is not the AMS’s usual lawyer, and pushing ahead with what was, in retrospect, probably not a very good move, I brought this motion to Council, where it failed. Following this, I stopped working on it. That’s how things are supposed to work. You shouldn’t try and circumvent people, as was stated in the Ubyssey by one VP External Tim Chu,

because “there are certain people at AMS Council” who wouldn’t approve of filing the complaint.

This demonstrates a knowing deception of Council. The UN Complaint was a bad idea, but having bad ideas isn’t wrong in and of itself. Acting on them without a mandate from Council, or even a resolution at the executive committee, is. There were ample opportunities for the Execs in question to bring forward, and they were required to provide updates on what they were working on in updates to Council and in their Quarterly Reports. They were working without accountability, and it is unacceptable.

Pivot itself is frustrating. I contacted them late Thursday night and left an urgent message to call me back. They did not. I called again on Friday, but apparently too last to get into contact with anyone. As we move towards recall, I hope that we can get into contact with them (as a Director of the Society that has them on retainer) to more fully understand the extent of the fiasco.

The BernieGate Fiasco

On December 7th, 2004, then President Amina Rai fired then General Manager Bernie Peets and had AMS Security escort him out of the building. This touched off a firestorm of controversy that led to the reversal of the decision (as Council has the authority to decide that actions taken by the Executive Committee are not their jurisdiction, but rather Council’s) and a request for the executive to resign. Now, this is slightly different from what was done by these two executives, in that the 2004 crew actually decided something in Executive Committee, and the 2009 disaster was done without the knowledge of anyone other than the execs themselves and the staff that report to them.

This is a much higher level of misconduct, as it circumvented every single deliberative mechanism that the Society relies upon to ensure appropriate policy development. Their complaint contravened AMS policy, and violated AMS process. They embarrassed the AMS, its Students, its Council and the institution with which we are affiliated. They have decided that their opinions supersede the will of the democratically elected legislature, on this and other occasions. I cannot trust them to not do this in the future. I cannot trust them to appropriately represent the students of UBC during the Olympics. I believe they have lost the moral authority to hold office.

My Last Two Days

It’s been a frantic last couple of days. I’ve been mostly trying to finish papers whilst fighting my compulsion to check the blogs. I spoke briefly to the Georgia Strait about this issue.

One of the things that seems to be bouncing around in the Blogosphere is an idea that this whole recall thing was my idea. I would like to be perfectly clear that while I am in favour of impeachment and against the complaint to the United Nations, this was not something that I could have possibly done alone. This is not vindictive, nor is it personal. If I had my way, this wouldn’t be happening at all. I wrote the form out because I knew what had to be on it, because I know the Code – this was not Naylor driven; I’m just along for the ride. If anyone is following Council votes, you would know that I don’t have any kind of control over Council whatsoever – I just present arguments and see where things fall. My fervent (and fruitless) support of the return of Slates to the AMS should serve as evidence enough of this.

The Gathering Storm

The meeting tonight promises to be intense and emotional.

Blake and Tim have decided that it’s less important to come and be held accountable for their actions than do whatever they were planning to do beforehand. I cannot confirm this, but I heard that they will be out tripping the light fantastic at the NDP convention, making the rounds at workshops and hospitality suites. I personally think this is a feeble attempt to quorum-bust.

Mitch Wright is storming the Knoll bedecked in blue helmet and UN Flag, finally freeing the AMS from its dictatorial overlords.

AMS administration is trying to find a room big enough to accommodate everyone (at the time of writing, 339) who said they were going to be coming to the meeting. Even using the 33% Rule for Facebook, this is way more than Council Chambers can accommodate.

The Ubyssey is liveblogging. I’ll be posting sporadic updates.


5 Responses to “all this has happened before…”

  1. 1 Mitch
    November 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I’ve got the beret. Corporal Palm has the helmet and flag.

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