Posts Tagged ‘Naylor

11
Dec
09

Timkachu is not doing his job

Or, at least a very important part of it. While his partner in villainy is working hard to piss off the undergrad societies, Timkachu has turned his sights on (or, I suppose in this case, away from) the Grads.

It is the job of the VP External to maintain relationships with other student organizations, and specific to this is the GSS, the distinct society of the AMS. This relationship is important, because when it is neglected there inevitably is a conversation had by someone, somewhere about how the Grads might be better off on their own, without paying fees to both the AMS (as the GSA) and GSS. They already are a separately constituted society.

What does maintaining relations with the GSS look like? Well, going to their Council meetings is a good start. This was actually a perk of the job in my humble opinion, up until yesterday, because of the Free Beer that used to accompany attendance. Having meetings with the GSS Ac-Ex committee would have also been appropriate. Mind you, that is something that really would only have been helpful if Timkachu had actually been doing real lobbying this year, instead of sneaking around Council and running !THE BEST POSTCARD CAMPAIGN EVAR!!11!!1!

Apparently, the person responsible for coordinating relations with the GSS (that’s you, Tim, in case you never bothered to read the Code beyond your title) has let things deteriorate to the point where the GSS actually felt the need to pass a motion expressing their displeasure. Not following through with the promise to hold meetings (reportedly not responding to messages, or not showing up to scheduled meetings) has prevented the AMS from coordinating lobbying, or even getting on the same page on issues like CASA or the UN Complaint (not that the GSS was alone in being ignored on this one).

These positions are not to be used as personal chew toys – ignoring relationship maintenance is the same as ignoring the UPass – it is a vital part of the portfolio left undone. I, like I said before, do not feel that this office has been well served this year. Tim could have been doing this instead of … supporting striking paramedics, for example?

The conclusion that I am forced to come to is that either Tim is so incompetent that he doesn’t even know what the job he has been doing for the past year entails, or he just doesn’t care.

10
Dec
09

don’t get so comfy…

Some Verse on the Topic of my Prospective Resignation

On Monday night, morose, I cried,
For a Society robbed of its pride,

No legal process was to bring,
Relief from our self claimed king

I thought we had no right to claim
A mandate after this con game

So as I drowned my tears in wine
I thought to myself “I must resign”

But when I told the same to friends
I noticed some disturbing trends

My idea to fly the coop
And escape from our tyrant’s boot

Was nigh on universally panned
So, I assure you I will stand

To serve my term to its completion
And to those who’d relish my deletion

From the Council rolls, I’ll say
That we’ll live to fight another day

With fury stoked by actions crass
My opposition will surpass

All that it has ever been before
(Since we could not show you the door)

And if you thought the battle’s won
Don’t get so comfy – it’s just begun

A new day has dawned, the sun is bright
And I am gearing up to fight

I won’t see our AMS defamed
By both of  ‘those-who-shall-not-be-named’

They’ve sneaked around, behind our backs
And sent forth biased, specious attacks

So while things are bad, I will serve on
The night is darkest before the dawn

I have faith that AMS pride,
Can be restored and justified

This term I’ll fight until I fall!
Vive le Resistance! And thank you all.

Don’t get me wrong. The AMS is very sick. It is in need of more structural reform than I could have imagined. The people who are elected to serve it are actively working to undermine the will of the students it represents. They are being deceitful, disingenuous, disorganized, disrespectful and all in all, the very worst type of student politicians. I do not, at this point, particularly enjoy being around the AMS, especially those people responsible for shattering the Society’s democratic safeguards.

I would never have thought that the politics at UBC would degenerate to CFS type levels, either in terms of the quality of the discourse, or the calibre of its leadership. I am astounded at the degree to which the AMS, through it’s leaders, has betrayed the public trust of its members.

I do feel (and I realize how jack-assish this sounds, typing it) that I let the people who voted for me down – I think that the continued service of Blake and Tim is a threat to the legitimacy of the AMS, and that people are right to be angry that Councilors didn’t have their facts straight at the beginning of the process. We could and should have done other things to remove them, and I regret thinking that the conflicts between our Bylaws and the Societies Act could be dusted away.

That aside, I’m satisfied with my service at the AMS. I’ve always tried to do what I thought was right for students, and I feel that I’ve been able to accomplish what I’ve set of to do – I don’t claim singular credit for any of these things, but I am happy to have been a part of many projects at the AMS, Committee Reform chief among them. I feel that I could leave today and be happy.

But I won’t.

Much as I would like to take the easy way out of this, and simply stop, drop, and roll down the sides of the SUB, I’m not going to let a society that, without sounding sappy, I care about quite a bit, be covered in the toxic spew that has been issuing forth from the northeast office in the SUB. I was elected to do a job, and I’m not done with it yet – you don’t get to win on a technicality and walk away with next to no consequences, or treat the most massive outpouring of student opinion in my time at UBC as frivolous or unrepresentative.

To those of you who reminded me of that responsibility, and have asked me to stay on over the next months, I thank you. Your support has been amazing, and it, combined with continued abuse and disrespect of the AMS and its bodies by those-who-shall-not-be-named have whipped me up into a legislative furor.

While I can’t imagine running for another executive position (well, I can imagine it, but it requires a certain level of inebriation), I’d rather graduate and move on (not that I know what I’m doing afterward). I will, however, be serving out the rest of my term. I’ll be serving on the Legislative Procedures Committee, so expect to see some suggestions on how to:

  • Increase Council Oversight and Democratic Checks on the Executive
  • Establish ways by which AMS Councilors can be accountable to their Constituency Council
  • Create recommendations to the Province for a separate Student Societies Act

I’m not backing down from what I believe, and I promise you that I will fight tooth and nail to deliver for you. This society needs some strong medicine; the fact that those-who-shall-not-be-named have no idea what they did wrong is infuriating.

I’ll be taking some time off from AMS stuff for the break, but I’ll be back in January, mark my words. I look forward to the coming election.

06
Dec
09

advice for our next VP External

Some advice to the next VP External Affairs. As a student society, we are pretty unique in that we elect the expert, rather than hire them, but they still have to do all of the things that are in this video. Noticeably absent from the video? Filing complaints to the United Nations. Actually, anything to do with the United Nations, or the generally ineffective realm of protest politics and end-goal lobbying. Incrementalism and next-step lobbying can be excruciating, but, as Max Weber said,

Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards.

Well, what he actually said was in German, but you get the picture.

Also, if you haven’t read this link on the Anti-Impeachment group, and you’re looking for a laugh, check it out. Apparently, there is nothing worse than the Fall of the Berlin Wall! I’ve written something up about this (because my honour has been insulted and I demand satisfaction!) but haven’t decided whether or not to post it yet. If I do, it’ll be up sometime tomorrow.

01
Dec
09

let’s impeach the president!

“Let’s Impeach The President”

Let’s impeach the President for lying
And crying to the UN with his friends
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And using the AMS for his own ends

Who thought we should work with Tristan Markle?
Those Alpaca shirts leave a lot to be desired
Cronyism so blatant it’s disgusting
Frederick and Chu, they must be fired

Let’s impeach the President for hiding
At the NDP convention on our dime
Instead of ans’ring to our Student Council
They hid something from Council one last time

What happens if they’re in power for the Olympics
Will student interests be served in that case
Will our views be represented correctly
Or will Blake and Tim leave students in disgrace?

Flip – Flop
Flip – Flop
Flip – Flop
Flip – Flop

Let’s impeach the president for embarr’sing
UBC and every student in its halls
Let’s pray that Student Council has the courage
To act when they have got them by the balls

Thank god that they’re ‘standing up for students’
Though how they know this it cannot be said
Frederick and Chu, they sure deserve impeachment
Or else UBC democracy is dead

Thank God

28
Nov
09

lay off the staff!

A disturbing trend I have seen recently in emails and comments is the insinuation that staff are somehow responsible for the current debacle. They are not, and I wholeheartedly condemn any attack on any AMS Staff person whose name has been unfairly impugned in this process. They are responsible to the elected executive and Council, and because they are unable to act as agents of the AMS, they should not EVER be held directly accountable unless the commit a criminal or fraudulent act against the AMS.

I will be deleting any comment that implies that the staff of the AMS are responsible for the current mess. Particularly, no mention of Rory Green, Adrienne Smith and Kelli Seepaul will be tolerated. They were doing their jobs under the direction of the people that they reported to.

Elected people are responsible for taking the advice of the staff, and responsible for the actions that they direct the staff to do. It is their job to manage, and the buck stops at them, not any staff person, when everything goes up in flames.

28
Nov
09

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.

27
Nov
09

who’s flying the plane?!? a terrified passenger’s thoughts on disaster

I feel deceived. I feel betrayed. I, sadly, do not feel surprised. I note the hypocrisy of a President who complained to me that someone “never follows process” and would think it acceptable to file a major complaint with the highest governing body in the world without consulting the Council to which he is responsible or informing anyone of anything. This means that consulting and retaining lawyers, paying for the legal fees of someone who is not a student, entering into negotiations with external groups

I note that the following is anecdotal, and I cannot verify it’s veracity.

At the Oversight ‘what the hell is going on’ exec meeting Thursday, when asked when this complaint was not brought forward to Council, Tim Chu stated that this was kept quiet because some on Council didn’t believe in lowering tuition.

If this is true, it alone is grounds for impeachment. This is nothing short of willful deception. As one of the Council members who Tim (allegedly) was referring to, I can tell you that I was upset.

I was upset because this was a contravention of AMS Policy, because AMS policy on tuition opposes real increases, but does not support tuition reduction. I was upset because it was a national embarrassment, with people responding from Moncton to Calgary to Newmarket. (Though I have to say I laughed at the #BlakeWBush tag.)Mostly I was upset because this was never brought to Council for approval, because THEY KNEW IT WOULDN’T PASS!

This was a willful deception of Council, and it is a point so far over the line you can’t even see it anymore. It is, in my opinion, a violation of the public trust that they entered into when they ran for office – an office that functioned within a set of rules. They chose to ignore these rules.

They chose not to bring major legal action to Council. They chose to shut the Communications Planning Group out of the preparations for a press conference. They chose to not bring this to the External Policy Committee, who is responsible for determining lobbying priorities.

What is going to happen now? Well, there will be an Emergency Council meeting Saturday at 5:00. If you have an opinion on this, please contact your Constituency Representative or another member of Council here.

I am struck by a number of questions, in addition to those I posed to the President earlier.

How many thing’s have been left by the wayside as they worked on this?

How many of their responsibilities went unfulfilled?

What other bridges will they burn before they leave office?

What else are they hiding?

If you have an opinion on this, please contact your Constituency Representative or another member of Council here.
20
Nov
09

drunk driving, Parliament, and LexisNexis: a morning mostly wasted

I was reading Geoff Costelloe’s blog, Geoff’s Place, mostly for Senate synopses (which you should all read), but I came across a post from earlier this summer that piqued my interest.  I was going to comment on it, but then (because I have been writing papers all night) I decided to have a little fun with LexisNexis, Al Franken style. As an aside, I know I sound like the biggest nerd in the world for combining ‘fun’ and ‘LexisNexis’ into the same activity. This pretty much sums that up:

Giles: “I’ll have you know that I have very, um, many relaxing hobbies.”
Buffy: “Such as?”
Giles: “Well, um…I enjoy cross-referencing.”

The charges leveled are as follows:

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 300 Employees and has the following statistics?

  • 30 have been accused of spousal abuse.
  • 9 have been arrested for fraud.
  • 14 have been accused of writing bad cheques.
  • 95 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses.
  • 4 have done time for assault.
  • 55 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit.
  • 12 have been arrested on drug related charges.
  • 4 have been arrested for shoplifting.
  • 16 are currently defendants in lawsuits.
  • 62 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year!

Can you guess which organization this is?

iggy

It is the 301 MP’s in the Canadian Parliament.

The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws designed to keep the rest of us in line!

Which one did you vote for?

TAKEN FROM THE OTTAWA CITIZEN

I would bet money that this is almost certainly false. I ran a LexisNexis search (my God, I love LexisNexis) for terms associated with this, and the only thing that came up was a reference in an Ohio newspaper that said it was taken from a newsletter on Pelee Island, ON, which itself said that it had been reprinted from the Ottawa Citizen. There is no record of it actually in the Ottawa Citizen from any period during the time when we had 301 MPs (1997-2004).

A couple of the points say ‘accused’, which is an easy way of getting out of anything. Dalton McGuinty was ‘accused’ of being “an evil reptilian kitten eater from another planet” by Ernie Eves’ campaign. Barack Obama was ‘accused’ of being a Secret Muslim Communist Fascist Black Nationalist Kenyan, and he is merely some of these things.

The phrase ‘indirectly bankrupted’ is unverifiable as well, and if they include their actions as MPs in that mix, it is almost certainly a low-ball estimate.

On a more esoteric level, being a reader of Canadian news obsessively, it seems like the media would have a fit if 62 MPs were arrested for drunk driving in the last year. They had a fit when one former MP (Rahim Jaffer) was arrested for drunk driving, and it made the news when Peter Mackay got his driver’s license suspended for speeding. In the last BC election, the speeding tickets of the Solicitor General got him kicked out of Cabinet, and the DUIs of sacrificial lamb candidates came to light. And who can forget this.

A search for “MP AND drunk driving AND arrested” for the entire period yielded only 52 results on Nexis, many of which were year in review articles that just happened to contain all the words. The actual crimes I found were:

  1. Svend Robinson and the Ring
  2. Quebec’s highest Judge stepping down over DUI charges
  3. Gordon Campbell’s DUI
  4. Rejean Lefebvre, Bloc MP, DUI

There was also an article titled “Politics and drinking; B.C. premier latest in long list of elected alcohol abusers” in the Hamilton Spectator on Jan 14, 2003, which covered some past cases, but they were nowhere near the levels suggested.

The numbers seem off to me. If only 16 MPs were being sued at any given time, I’d be VERY surprised. Lawsuits just happen – traffic accidents, people slipping in walkways, being involved peripherally in a business that has raised the ire of someone, or just being the legal lightening rod that is inherent in being a public figure.

Also, with a (then) $66,900 a year income, and further expense budgets of $34,100, I’d find it pretty hard to believe that one in six MPs would have been denied a credit card.

Finally, the similarities to an exemplar hoax on the BBC E-Hoaxes article, in which the exact same charges are leveled against members of the US Congress, makes me certain that this is fake.

07
Nov
09

Stirring the pot at the SLFS

As some or all of you know, the Student Legal Fund Society passed a motion to approve a grant application by the BC Civil Liberties Association. The vote was 5-2, with mine being one of the votes in favour. There is currently some controversy over whether this was or was not within the mandate of the SLFS.

First off, let’s get one thing clear, as I think that there is some confusion as to how “precedent” is being tossed around. If “precedent” refers to the actions of the board, I stand by my (in my opinion, fairly well grounded) belief that deliberative bodies cannot set precedent. No decision of any board, from Parliament down to the SLFS, is able to set precedent. These are political bodies, and their actions are based on politics. It would be courts that are guided by such decisions. The changing face of a board is going to make the behavior of a board look inconsistent, but the organization is entitled to change its mind.

My personal feeling is that the vote was a bit of a foregone conclusion, based on the composition of the board. While I have always been a defender of what would generally be characterized as a narrow interpretation of societal mandates, I do not think that that could be said of many others on the board. Spending $10000 on cameras would have been ridiculous, but I would guess that such a proposal would have passed the board as well, were it to have come to a vote. I am happy that such a total was reduced, and given the climate, it seemed prudent to support it.

The referral to litigation committee is something that presents with broader problems with the policies of the society. I feel that there is a distinction between applications for grant funding, and applications for case funding, but there are differences of opinion here that are significant and problematic, as there are merits on both sides of the argument. The projects to which the society disburses money, and the processes that such disbursements are authorized, need to be categorized and clarified. I hope to, by the end of the year, overhaul the policies of the SLFS to define how certain applications would be processed. As Prof. Ramsay said, there is an inconsistent application of such policies, and, since boards are not bound by precedent, but can be bound by internal governance documents, such regulations need to codified to ensure consistent application of rules.

Litigation committee, by name, would review litigation that the society might consider undertaking. There is not, in my mind, a way to characterize the grant application as a case that would go before the courts. Under the murky situation that existed, I feel that the board was within its rights to authorize the grant application.

The mandate of the society is to “provide advisory, legal, and financial assistance to fund, initiate and continue advocacy, lobbying and litigation to improve education and access to education at UBC and such other matters of law which set broad precedent and concern UBC Students”. This defines how the SLFS would execute its mandate (provide advisory, legal, and financial assistance to fund, initiate and continue advocacy, lobbying and litigation), and what ends those means should seek to accomplish (to improve education and access to education at UBC and such other matters of law which set broad precedent and concern UBC Students).

Going through this point by point, I read this as saying that an advisory role, which is what the KYR workshops are, and the financial assistance role, as presented in the grant of funding to the BCCLA, are both ways by which the society can fulfill its mandate. In determining whether or not this would meet the purpose of the society, I asked myself the following questions:

  1. Would this improve education?
  2. Would this improve access to education?
  3. Does this pertain to other such matters of law which set broad precedent?
  4. Does this concern UBC students?

The answer to the first two questions is an obvious “no”, and the fourth is a clear “yes”. The third is more tricky, but I believe that the current climate on campus, particularly as it pertains to the Olympics, makes a situation in which the free speech, freedom of association, right to due process, and right to be free from unwarranted search and seizure are precedent setting. The legal rights of our students are important, and clearly are “matters of law”. It is this part of the mandate from which I draw the impetus to vote in favour of such a proposal.

The actions of the police and campus security on campus are guided by trial and error. In the event that a police officer gets away with violating the legal rights of one of our students, this will establish a de facto precedent for the future actions of law enforcement and security professionals. This has been something that has been of long standing concern to many involved in the War on Fun. It is with this in mind that I approached the vote. The Olympic legacy on campus could be far more than a new arena – I am concerned that it could represent the opening of the floodgates in terms of the abuse of civil liberties on campus.

Clearly, the SLFS has a lot of work to do in terms of clarifying its procedures for funding applications, along with a whole host of other problems with its internal operations. However, without clear direction from governance documents, power would default to the board. In this case, I feel that the board acted within its mandate.

01
Oct
09

pater noster, qui es in Old Admin

Today’s editorial, “UBC shows AMS  who’s daddy” in the Ubyssey is hogwash. Slop. A half formed Pavlova. A fallen soufflé. And it bothers me most because I can’t respond to it (and, actually, don’t know if I can actually tell you why I can’t respond, but I’m sure you can guess). It’s unfair to the subjects of the article, who operate in an obscured context, and to the writers, who couldn’t possibly know the full story.

I have never been a close ideological ally of our President – I’m sure that on that, everyone can agree. I’ve voted against him as much as not, and I’ve heard tell that the First Lady blames me for the whole disqualification debacle (which, by the way, was not a Naylor initiative). The same could be said of our VP Admin, of whom, as you may recall, I was not a proponent.

I respect and admire the job that Crystal and Blake have been doing on SUB negotiations. They should keep up the good work.




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