By Justin Field
The 2019 IGNITE student elections are just around the corner, but little information is available for students as of yet.
This election year may prove to be unique, as an All Candidates Meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday February 6, had to be postponed due to a campus closure caused by an ice storm. It is unclear whether this postponement will have an effect on the timing of the elections, as the current candidates’ names have not been released to the public. Submissions for candidacy closed on February 1, 2019.
The official election campaign begins on Monday February 11, with voting week taking place between February 25 and March 1. This leaves students just two weeks to get to know candidates, their platforms and the major election issues.
A Candidate Forum will also be held on February 13 at Humber College Lakeshore Campus, where students are able to meet their election candidates, and ask questions in order to inform their decisions.
One issue on the minds of both students and IGNITE alike is funding. The current Ontario Government plans on making some student fees optional. “The initiative will give students the right to opt-out of any fees deemed non-essential,” reports The Globe and Mail, meaning that students may no longer have to pay for student unions.
A lack of funding could be a roadblock for IGNITE themselves, as they have budgeted $90,000 for the 2018-2019 election. This money is for “planning, promotions and executions” of the campaign, says IGNITE.
Excerpt from IGNITES 2018-2019 budget — specifically their $422,000 governance budget
The $90,000 is a mere fraction of the $422,000 dollars allocated by IGNITE for Governance for the 2018-2019 year, which all-together is just a small part of IGNITES total $11,133,000 budget.
Although money is an issue right now due to potential government cuts, IGNITE spent $1,992,010 on salaries in the 2017-2018 year, according to their approved financial statements.
The provincial government’s decision to make student fees optional has sparked concern for the current IGNITE administration. “We strongly disagree with any government decision to put more roadblocks in the way for students requiring funding for their education. School is expensive and we hope the government reconsiders their decision,” says Graham Budgeon, IGNITES Lakeshore vice-president.
While there is nothing stopping the public from attending the All Candidates Meeting, IGNITE has neglected to post any details on its whereabouts or exact time.
IGNITE project coordinator Vanessa Silaphet, and executive director Ercole Perrone did not respond to a request to comment about the IGNITE elections in time for file.