Friday, Nov. 2 saw the completion of another phase in the U-Pass referendum, as the deadline for the registration of “yes” or “no” sides closed. Registering a side enables students to officially campaign for either side on campus.
The process of registering a side required students to fill out an application form, gather 50 signatures from University of Manitoba students, provide a list of all individuals that will be participating in the side’s activities, and attend the All Candidates’ Meeting.
Kelsey Clifford, chief returning officer (CRO) overseeing the referendum, explained to the Manitoban that a side has UMSU approval to “publicly express their opinion using posters and banners, online media, and referendum forums.”
Clifford also noted that registered sides are provided with a budget.
According to Bylaw 1021 of the UMSU bylaw manual, members of the UMSU executive are allowed to campaign for a side – but must take a leave of absence from their position on the executive. Clifford told the Manitoban that a member of the executive will be taking a leave in order to take on campaigning duties with a side.
At the time of the deadline, Clifford’s office had received two application packages – one for each side. Although only one “yes” and one “no” side is permitted to campaign, students may still sign-up to volunteer for the side of their choice post registration deadline. Clifford explained that students who would like to become involved with a side can do so through the CRO’s office.
A series of forums will be held on Nov. 8 and 9, at which both sides will express why they believe the U-pass should be adopted or not.
Forums will be held on the Bannatyne campus on Nov. 8 at 11:45 a.m. in the Buhler Building Atrium and on the Fort Garry campus on Nov. 9 at 11:45 a.m. at the Fireplace Lounge in University Centre.
UMFM, the U of M’s student radio station, will host an on-air forum on Nov. 9 at 5:00 p.m..
Tyler Wiebe, a student involved in the registered “no” side, recently spoke with the Manitoban about his objections to the U-Pass, encouraging other students to join his campaign.
“I believe that it’s a great idea to get all the students that take the bus to form a collective group in order to gain purchasing power and ultimately, get better bus rates. But you cannot force those students who do not take the bus to pay for a service that they do not want [ . . . ] All I want is to make sure that the students who do not take the bus are given the option to opt-out.”
A “yes” majority vote in the referendum would enable UMSU to move forward in negotiations with Winnipeg Transit and the municipal government. UMSU’s U-Pass website notes that, following a referendum, finalizing an agreement could take anywhere from several months to a year.
Those who would like to know more about the referendum process can contact the CRO’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit umsu.ca/u-pass.