Discussion topics included BurMac, town relations, and noise by-law
On Thursday, September 22nd, the StFX Students' Union hosted a mayoral candidates debate at The Inn. Here, StFX students were able to gain insight on certain issues pertaining to the university. A breadth of questions were asked in order for students to make the most informed choice possible when Election Day comes. The three candidates running for the highest seat in town hall this year are Sean Cameron, Irene MacLeod, and Laurie Boucher.
The overlying theme of the debate was the issue of the annual BurMac hockey cup which was cancelled for this year. Multiple questions regarding the fate of the game were posed and student reaction was enthusiastic.
When asked if BurMac will make its return, Sean Cameron said, “I can’t promise it, but BurMac should come back.” Cameron emphasized that although he supports the return of the game, it should remain just that, a game. He expressed dissatisfaction with student behaviour at the arena and would like to see better security measures put in place should the cup be reinstated. The Xaverian Weekly reached out to the players and coaches of the two teams and has been informed that the coaches from both Burke and MacIsaac have met with Cameron to discuss the return of the game and a potential strategy to ensure that happens.
Laurie Boucher added, “No doubt BurMac will be back, maybe not this year, but eventually.” Boucher insists that she will work to bring it back and wants to take a collaborative approach. Boucher’s strategy to have the game reinstated is working together, and a plan that involves students, town hall, and the entire community.
When Irene MacLeod had her turn to speak she simply said, “It’s in the students' hands.” MacLeod did not further elaborate a specific strategy. When the candidates were asked what students have to do to get the game back, Boucher started off by saying, “It has escalated to a tipping point, what happens in the stands and at the arena isn’t healthy.” Boucher proposed two strategies. The first is for security to do a better job to ensure that liquor does not enter the arena and the second is that students sign a pledge that ensures their behaviour will be improved compared to previous years.
MacLeod’s primary concern regarding BurMac is the issue of safety. One of her proposals would be coming up with a new, more effective security plan. Echoing MacLeod’s statements, Mr. Cameron’s primary concern is safety. He proposes the use of new security professionals. He also offers the idea that first row seating be removed, in order not to damage arena glass.
Because the debate was student focused, the relationship between StFX students and town hall was discussed. Candidates were asked, “What approach will you take with your relationship with X as a whole?”
MacLeod said collaboration between the university and the town is extremely important. She went on to say that safety and security is important to all of us. MacLeod also proposed to keep students in Antigonish after graduation by working with job placement services.
Cameron says that in regards to town decisions, the actions of a few don’t represent the masses. He outlines the importance of student consultation in order for maximum representation.
Boucher then offered the statement that affordable and safe housing for students is essential and wants to see renters and the landlord association work together to solve issues.
Another issue that concerns many students is the town’s by-laws. Students may feel like when it comes time to writing policy, they are underrepresented. When asked about how important student consultation is when writing policy as well as if they would make any changes to fines, Boucher declared that student consultation is important because the student effect on the community is critical. Boucher also states that it has been proven that fines deter reoccurrence of offences, and is therefore in favor of by-law fines.
MacLeod stated that when it comes to noise by-laws, students are “probably bothered by noise as anyone else,” so these by-laws do not concentrate on students specifically, but the town in general. In terms of fines, MacLeod does not know what current solutions there are but offers the idea of potentially working a fine off if a student is not in a financial position to pay it.
Cameron states that during his time in town hall, complaints came directly to him and therefore has experience dealing with the issue. He goes on to say that “fines are put into place for guilty people.” If someone didn’t break the law, they won’t have to worry about a fine.
Overall, many students that wished to register to vote were disappointed to see that they had to be an ‘ordinary resident’ of the town for six months. Therefore this prevented most students from all years from registering, and subsequently voting in the election, which takes place October 15th.
*The Xaverian Weekly would like to retract its statement in last week’s issue where we mistakenly implied that Sean Cameron did not support BurMac’s return. This is not the case.