Author Archive for Matthew Naylor

22
Jan
11

you can’t disqualify them all

So it seems that most of the candidates have now run afoul of the slate ban in some way or another. Whether it was unfairly benefiting from unfair (and in my opinion, illegal) third party advertising, or running some blog (which, by the way, was brilliant save for the flagrant violations of the slate ban), candidates have become ensnared in the sticky tendrils of the slate ban with alarming frequency. I can only hope that this begins to spell the end of the slate ban at UBC.

The slate ban is a monstrous infringement on the rights of both candidates and electors, and has overwhelmingly negative effects on the society. When candidates are not allowed to be open about who they support, its not like to predilections are going to vanish into thin air. Justice Brandeis of the US Supreme Court is oft quoted as saying that Sunshine is the best disinfectant. While I don’t neccecarily agree with him with respect to legislatures, there are clearly rooms in a house that need sunlight, and when one artificially walls them off from the sun, icky, icky things start to grow. Elections are, by definition, public. It naturally follows that the information pertaining to the election should be public.

I have always taken a very narrow view of the slate ban, insomuch as I believe that it outlaws a vast degree of behaviours which could, by someone, be considered slating. I believe that I am vindicated in taking such a narrow view, because allegations arise again and again over the nature of the ban and the degree to which it should be enforced. The slate ban drastically reduce the number of women who run for high office in the AMS. It isolates decision making to a small group of well connected students. It starves democracy at its roots.

Some people talk of the merits of relaxing the slate ban. This is folly. It would be impossible to explicitly define all the activities a candidate could undertake during a campaign, and deem each as either acceptable or not. This situation cannot persist as it is – the regulatory system must be all one thing or all the other.

Everyone calls the ‘loose groups of candidates’ slates anyway, but that knowledge is restricted to a privileged few. The electorate has a right to know what is going on, and participate in regulated and regimented political parties. Backroom deal-making is all well and good, but if the machinations behind the ‘Bijan Slate‘ are true, why couldn’t that have happened in the open, with candidates mobilizing to engage more people in their party and their candidacy.

The slate ban has been a complete and utter failure in every possible way. Do not ‘relax’ the ban, repeal it.

Justice Brandeis

21
Jan
11

vote this way! Naylor’s radical beer endorsements

McElroy, Tyson, Tayyar, Silley, Yang

Check out my ballot, folks!

18
Jan
11

We think Black Box are Scum Sucking Cowards

Sign your name to the damn posts, you bastards.

The responsibility of the press is paramount. When people spew their invective into the world at large, that is well their right, but they should be judicious in how they do it. If they are going to espouse their opinions, they should say where those opinions are coming from. These bastards won’t even provide a name to the Elections Administrator – neither Foxtrot nor Gossip Guy stooped that low.

Both of those provided a person to receive their cheque. These jerks refused. AMS Confidential has anonymous posts, but they have an editorial board to hold accountable.

Black Box bastards are vile and despicable, and should drown in the putrescent rot extruded by the sores on the organs that control their journalistic ‘ethics’.

18
Jan
11

Videos Are All The Vogue

Apparently, we’re way behind the curve. UBC Insiders is already on it’s third incarnation, we’re only on our second. Bijan.ca has videos. We… will soon!

Endorsements will be out by video this year, because Bijan.ca did them. I mean, I can’t guarantee that they’ll be any good. I mean, I’m a little drunk. But I’ve been filming them, with our new editor, Jonathan Elmer (Go Faculty Cup!) all today, and they’ll be up soon.

I’m off to mix myself a SUB Green Drink. Thanks Michael Hacke.

10
Jan
11

Erik Mackinnon, You Suck at VFM!

Ugh, AMS Elections Administrators seem to hate VFM. Whether its the neglect and mishandling of Brendon, or the intransigence of Isabel, the chief electoral officer of the Society seems to hate the idea of open debate.

AMS Council, because it decided that it didn’t want to do the job of the Elections Administrator for the Elections Administrator, effectively cut off funding for VFMs on World Press Freedom Day, one of the more ironic decisions that the AMS has ever made, to be sure. But it’s not really Council’s fault, as they are not really supposed to be making regulatory decisions for administrative bodies of the AMS. If they WANTED to make some changes, they’d impose them through the Code of Procedures, but since they didn’t, the EA must assume ‘Qui tacet consentit’, that their silence implies a level of consent to regulatory actions.

Given that the EA is an independent body of the AMS, I don’t know where Mackinnon gets off taking orders from the President. It is grossly irresponsible, especially considering that Bijan had not ruled himself out as a candidate.

To make clear our position, Black Box is a legitimate media source, and so long as they provide such solemn affirmations that they are not one of the parties proscribed from participation, they should be allowed to compete. They are also cowards. Here, we sign our name to things (when we write them).

However, it would be a totally legitimate decision to decide that anonymity was unacceptable, and make the opposite decision. What was inappropriate was the abrogation of the regulatory responsibilities of the EA.

There are a lack of rules and regulations for VFM because it was intended that there were to be very few barriers to entry. Maclean’s was one of the entrants in the first year of VFM. Anyone should be able to enter, as I trust that with the right voting system, appropriate allocations will be made by the voters.

Unless, of course, there’s nothing to allocate.

21
Sep
10

Radical Presidential EndAUSment

Here we go again folks, another year of the rigmarole of student politics. The AUS is currently in shambles, and this election will undoubtedly solve all their woes. That’s totally how it works, right? Anyway, we believe in partisanship here at the RBT, so here come the first round of endorsements. More are to follow later tonight, especially for AMS reps. Stay tuned. It should be noted that these are Naylor’s endorsements – if Cheryl (who might) and Omid and Alex (they won’t) post other endorsements, you should be fully informed. Not that you shouldn’t ignore the differences and vote for my picks. They’re clearly the best.

President – Brian Platt

For anybody who has been paying attention to the AUS this last year, you will know that I voted for Brian Platt. In front of everybody. The ballot subsequently exploded and sent burning shrapnel into the eyes of everybody in the vicinity. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Brian more over the summer, and have found him to be a really honest and earnest guy. He has a plan for the AUS that goes beyond the constraints that the organization placed itself in post ACF. The AUS would be well served to be led by Brian.

His opponent is another story. Ryan Trassolini would be a disaster as President, which I suppose has its benefits if you want consistency. Aside from the in-my-mind petty (but I’m clearly a person of interest, so grain-of-salt that statement) election appeals and the dodgy circumstances by which he usurped the interim Presidency, Ryan has alienated fellow executives, has invented lines of Code, is of the opinion that Arts Council shouldn’t see the budget, and made ‘suspect statements’ to the press in spite of irrefutable audio evidence. Do not elect him.

18
Apr
10

the rising scourge of kritarchy

They’re at it again! The Student ‘Court’ has done the same thing that it did in ‘Crompton v. AMS Elections Committee‘ two years ago. The ruling is a massive power grab, one that undermines the policy setting prerogatives of elected student leaders. They have already managed to force the rightly elected AUS President to resign, but the effects of this decision are much more far reaching than that – they have serious implications for the administration of all AMS subsidiary group elections. The AMS faces a choice – are the democratically elected representatives in charge, or will we descend into a rule-by-judges nightmare, the scourge of Kritarchy.

The Student ‘Court’ has declared the rules that the Election Rules, and thus the election itself, were void. This is insanity. I think that the problem that we run into here is that the name. Student ‘Court’ is not a court, nor should it be imbued with the powers of one. It is a final review body, one that has the ability to adjudicate over the conduct of administrative bodies of the society. The fact that they continue to release their rulings in full judicial style just reinforces that the ‘court’ has, in its own mind, puffed itself up beyond its station.

They have found the AUS rules void. Yet, they did not make any reference to the rules under which the election was conducted. The neither mentioned nor requested either the Candidate Handbook, or the explanation of balloting available online. Without this, how could they possibly make any kind of evaluation of how we conducted our election?

This ruling may not only invalidate the presidential race, but every AUS race, and possibly every race in every faculty that participated in UBCVotes. It effectively holds every sub-unit of the AMS to the same electoral standards as the AMS itself. This is ridiculous, and completely improper. It would place an undue burden on the constituency. If this were the case, in the event that some kind of unforeseen circumstance would arise (like, say, a disputed ballot), the entire election would be invalidated. This opens up a situation where candidates could start invalidating elections after the fact by taking actions for which the committee has no written recourse.

It is entirely possible that what was said in the ballot counting room did not reflect what was on my spreadsheet.  I don’t know about the particulars of the sequence of events, but I think that it’s entirely possible that something was said casually while counting ballots may not have reflected the results in my computer.

I was especially delighted by the page of whining about the fact that the AMS limited the jurisdiction of the ‘court’, in which the ‘judges’ basically said that it didn’t like the rules, but would obey them anyway. Which would be fine, if they actually did obey the rules, but they didn’t.  I’ve decided to pick out a couple of the more interesting quotes from the ruling.

Troubling amongst the statements were these:

It is true that an Elections Appeal Committee under AMS Code, s. IX A(8)(14)(a)–(d) has limits on its ability to overturn the decision of an AMS Elections Administrator or AMSEC, but the Court does not appear to be so bound. Indeed, as a creature of the AMS Bylaws it has a wider mandate than those elections officials constituted by the AMS Code. It may be good practice, and it has been endorsed by this Court in the past, but it is not required.

Why on Earth would the court have unlimited powers? The ‘court’ is also not bound from putting a bounty on people’s heads either, for the simple reason that they shouldn’t have to be told. Likewise, they shouldn’t have to be told that their powers for election appeals would be constrained to the nature of an election appeals process. More troubling still is that the ‘court’ is claiming that it has more powers than it actually has, and that while deference may be “good practice” it is by no means a necessity. Think about that for a second. Good practice is not a necessity.

Again, as to the discretion employed in this case, the evidence presented to the Court regarding the role of Mr. Bortolon was unclear.

Also worrying is that the ‘court’ apparently didn’t listen to the testimony of either me or Ricardo as to what was happening during the initial count. Why was Ricardo in the room? He was counting SUS ballots. If there were trial transcripts, you could read it in black and white. If this rather important and potentially influential fact was omitted or forgotten, what other things have been left by the wayside?

The AUS Elections Committee is given the ability to count ballots. I don’t think that this would be disputed by any sane person. It is afforded the discretion to determine who a ballot is cast for. When ballots were being counted, I assigned a vote to whomever I felt the ballot was cast for, as I was charged with doing by the AUS.  I did this, and at no point did I feel that any ballot was ambiguous. The beauty of the UBC Votes system is that we are able to lean on one another, in other faculties, for support. This is what I did with Ricardo on counting day, but the final decision was the AUS Election Committee’s alone. The ballots, when recounted, were challenged by candidates present during the recount, but were deemed not to be ambiguous.

I take it that the AMS Code prohibits the Court from straying into the realm of what might otherwise be termed “policy”, the proper business of elected representatives. I do not think we are here presented with that problem.

Well, no, not really.  The electoral policies of the Society are the business of elected representatives. So long as they fit within the guidelines of the AMS, they should be given the latitude to determine how they are best going to run their elections. If they want to strictly enumerate the guidelines of the election year to year, that is a policy decision. If they want to take the (in the snippy words of Student ‘Court’) “laconic”  approach of the AUS and leave things up to the Elections Committee, that is a policy decision as well.

But, it is to my mind wrong to suggest that the Court cannot attempt to make sense of its own quasi-legislative framework in a matter analogous, if not identical, to those of a ‘real’ court.

Here we run into my biggest problem with the ‘court’. It thinks it’s a Court. I wholeheartedly dispute the statement that it is wrong to severely limit the scope and power of Student ‘Court’. It is fundamentally and essentially right. The ‘court’ has learned basically nothing from the Crompton case. They have not learned that the massive overhaul to the student court system because of that case might necessitate a change the way that the ‘court’ sees itself.

There is of course the reference to “natural justice” in AMS Bylaws, s. 21(2)(f), a term of art regarding the conduct of hearings with which the Court here complied. But that should not be taken as importing the whole field of administrative law along with it.

This was funny. Touché.

All that can be said is that the AUS Elections Committee acted in their discretion, as was their discretion.

That is correct. We did. We created rules, and applied them. It’s Student Court who didn’t bother to read them.

…only the absence of rules on tabulation, appeals and by extension the operation of the Election Committee are invoked…

OK, there isn’t much I can do to respond other than referring you to the “Complaints and Protests” section of the Election Guidelines, and the section on voting info on UBCvotes.

The court is able to declare that an action is void and of no effect, but this action refers specifically to a decision of the AMS Elections Committee or Election Appeals Committee. Was that specific action right or wrong? A Presidential election can’t be ‘wrong’, especially when you don’t take all the facts into account.  They can’t declare a whole election of no effect. In particular, they can’t just declare one election invalid – the things they claim were wrong were not limited to the Presidential race. This would invalidate all the AUS (and quite possibly the SUS, HKUS and EUS) elections as well, as they do not have the appropriate amount of rules. Our elections rules were based on SUS’s rules – something that the Science Undergraduate Society should find troubling given the current set of circumstances.

A cursory glance at the UBCvotes.ca website would have yielded the regulations and tabulation procedures. Five minutes is all that it would have taken – it’s shocking to see that all the work that they were willing to put into the case was not preceded by a thorough examination of all the documents. They reference common law compilations in their ruling, which they are barred from doing, but never once do they mention our Election Guidelines. I guess they were too busy reading the works of the legal scholar Driedger.

The ‘court’ failed to do its due diligence in asking for or seeking out our Election Guidelines. They did not tell us that they were considering the rules of the election, and did not mention that they were going to adjudicate on the validity of the election. They did not abide by the rules set out for them in the governance documents of the AMS. In my humble opinion, it was irresponsible and slapdash. It’s time for Council to fail to accept this ruling.




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