Monday, January 15, 2007

Candidate Questionnaire - Matthew Naylor

1) Why VPX?

I chose to run for the position of VPX because it is the position where I feel I can make the greatest contribution to the society. As someone who has been involved with politics, both at a student and federal level, I feel that I have an adequate grasp of public policy, and a fair deal of experience that suits me for this role. It is also an area where I can affect the greatest degree of positive change, based on the priorities that I have outlined in my platform. Many of them cannot be accomplished without cooperation from the governments, so VPX seemed a natural step to take.

2) How would you handle relationships between CASA and CFS schools?

A major part of my platform is something that I am calling United Front Lobbying. Basically, it stems from the fact that the student movement in the province is divided in voice. In the past, CFS schools have been notoriously unwilling to work with the unaffiliated and CASA schools in the province, but because of some recent events, namely the impeachment of the SFSS executive, that have opened up an opportunity for us. I think that they will be less likely to blindly follow the CFS, and willing to work with the AMS, and CASA, to get results for our constituent members. I am not advocating overthrowing the CFS – I just thing that the opportunities that have presented themselves make this time an optimal one for cooperation.

3) What do you see as areas of co-operation with UBC-Okanagan?

This again stems back to the concept of United Front Lobbying. UBC-O has a very long standing tradition of being a very pro-CFS school, so much so that the would not sign a lobbying letter regarding international students on the Board of Governors because they did not have a policy statement from the CFS offices. Regardless, I am willing to extend the olive branch, and offer them the chance to work for all students in BC. Specifically, the issue of Board of Governors provincial appointees comes to mind. I want to lobby the provincial cabinet to appoint BoG members who care about student issues, rather than the CEOs and patronage appointments that currently dominate the Board. Due to the fact that UBC-O shares this Board with us, I think it would be only natural for us to work with them on this issue.

4) Would you support the raising of a U-Pass fee for UBC students in order to guarantee a universal U-Pass for all college and university students served by Translink? Similarly, how do you feel about the U-Pass Coalition?

I think that the situation is entirely about balance. We recently joined the coalition which is unfortunately designed to increase UBC's U-Pass fee. I am only willing to see our fees increase if we are able to see a proportionate increase in service. If I were to be elected to the VPX portfolio, I would lobby with the U-Pass coalition, but my first priority would be to the student of UBC. As such, I have mixed feelings about expanding the U-Pass and the U-Pass Coalition as a whole. One thing that I do want to do is raise awareness about the lack of service to UBC to the GVRD, and I want this to happen by asking them to hold a Transit Committee meeting at UBC. Because the meetings are at 9AM on a Friday, they will see the massive need for service for students that exists, and alert them the the massive pressures being put on the transit system.

5) How would you argue for a provincial grant program?

I would lobby for an increase in the BC Grant program in conjunction with lobbying aimed at bringing down out tuition payment proportion to 20% of the total cost. There needs to be a balance between the money put into grants and the money that will be more equitably spread between the students in the form of tuition proportion reduction. I hope to do this in conjunction with other schools, as there is a significantly more persuasive argument to be made if all the schools I the province were to lobby for this, as opposed to a singular institution. Voices, united regardless of CASA or CFS affiliation, will be able to get a lot more done than the current climate.

6) How would you evaluate the effectiveness of Policy 72?

Sadly, I think that Policy 72 sets out a noble goal, and I strongly support its intention. I do feel, however, that there is no substance behind it. The university and the province need to back up the policy with real institutional support: with grants and tuition proportion reduction, to improve access to this University. I would like to work with the VP-Academic to lobby the University and the province to provide guarantees as to how the policy will be enacted, and a process on how the policy will be enforced.

7) What experience do you have, that will help you in the position?

I have a number of valuable experiences which I think will prove valuable. I have served as the SUS Executive Secretary for one year, which, if nothing else, has taught me to function in a position of authority and to become more organized. I have also served as the AMS Representative for Science, which has allowed me to become familiarized with this organization and how it works. In this capacity, I have served as the Chair of the Ad-hoc Lobbying Review Committee, and was responsible for changing its terms of reference so that it can serve as an elected driver of policy, to work in conjunction with the VP-External and the External Commission, in addition to a body that will give oversight and accountability to the lobbying activities of the VP-External.

8) What are your lobbying priorities?

I have four major lobbying priorities. The first deals more with how I lobby than with what I am lobbying for. The fighting between the CFS and CASA must stop, and I want to work with those schools to lobby the provincial and federal government on a United Front from BC. The first thing I would do when I got into office would be to phone the VP-Externals and Presidents of the other student societies in the province, and tell them that I am willing to work with them. Second, I want to lobby the government on increasing funding to the BC Grant program, to reduce the resentful dependence on student loans, and to improve access to out University. Third, I want to lobby the cabinet to appoint people to our Board of Governors who will be willing to listen to student issues. Finally, and most importantly, I want to work toward a long term tuition proportion reduction agreement, where we pay only 20% of our tuition, as opposed to the current 28%. That 8% can account for a significant amount of money, and could make the different between someone being able to afford school and someone having to go in to debt, or, in the worst case scenario, not attend at all.

9) If you could change one thing about the AMS, what would it be?

I would like to make the AMS more accountable to the people who pay its fees. As such, I will, if elected, be holding bi-monthly forums with the members of the External Commission, the Ad-hoc Lobbying Review Committee, and myself. I think it is absolutely ridiculous to state that you are working for students if the students you are working for have no idea what you are doing. I want to lobby for things that are important for students, and that would be the major function of these consultation meetings.