Following election day on October 24, Hamilton welcomes Andrea Horwath as its new mayor and incumbent Maureen Wilson is re-elected as Ward 1 city councillor

Over one hundred thousand Hamilton residents cast their votes in Hamilton’s municipal election, which concluded on Oct. 24. Following election day, former Ontario New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath was announced as Hamilton’s new mayor, capturing 41.68 per cent of the vote.  

Horwath’s leadership marks a milestone for Hamilton — she will be the city’s first female mayor.  

Horwath’s leadership marks a milestone for Hamilton — she will be the city’s first female mayor.

The race was close between Horwath and Keanin Loomis, former CEO of Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. Horwath emerged just under two thousand votes ahead of Loomis, who captured 40.51 per cent of the vote.  

Bob Bratina, a former mayor of Hamilton, came third in the mayoral race with 12.27 per cent of the vote. 

“Hamilton is my pride and my inspiration. I could not have asked for a better hometown. And there are so many people who poured their hearts into making our city even greater. I am filled with gratitude,” tweeted Horwath on Oct. 24, following her election. 

“Hamilton is my pride and my inspiration. I could not have asked for a better hometown. And there are so many people who poured their hearts into making our city even greater. I am filled with gratitude.”

Andrea horwath, mayor of hamilton

Horwath’s platform throughout her campaign addressed many key issues affecting Hamilton residents, such as transportation, housing and trust between city hall and the public.  

Along with electing a new mayor, Hamilton residents also voted for their city councillors. In Ward 1, over eight thousand residents cast their ballots and incumbent Maureen Wilson won the seat with 74.96 per cent of the vote.  

In Ward 1, over eight thousand residents cast their ballots and incumbent Maureen Wilson won the seat with 74.96 per cent of the vote.

Ian MacPherson received 15.72 per cent of the votes and John Vail received 9.32 per cent of the votes.  

Wilson addressed Ward 1 residents in a long Twitter thread on October 25. 

In this thread, she expressed her appreciation for residents of Ward 1 and her desire to address their concerns. She also thanked her opponent, Ian MacPherson, for his community contributions and for his campaign.  

A precise breakdown of the election results can be found on the City of Hamilton website.  

C/O Michael Pattison

Pattison has built his campaign on affordability, transparency and food insecurity 

The Silhouette sat down with mayoral candidate Michael Pattison to reflect on his current campaign and the most pressing issues for the upcoming election. 

Pattison is running as a mayoral candidate for the third time in his political career, having previously campaigned for the position in 2014 and 2018. He is running again this term to address issues involving affordability, transparency and food insecurity in the municipal government. 

Affordability is the biggest point of Pattison’s platform. He discussed the importance of funding mental health initiatives as a key part of his affordability plan. 

“The worse that our mental health slides down and the harder that finances get on people, I believe [that] is one of the biggest precursors for mental health [challenges]. When you are terrified of losing your home, not being able to eat or not being able to pay your bills — these things weigh on people so heavily on a common scale. Whether it is through more therapy or having different social meeting groups, [mental health initiatives] can help the overall city of Hamilton as a whole,” said Pattison. 

As another key aspect of affordability, Pattison highlighted the importance of addressing the housing crisis in Hamilton. 

“From a city perspective, my number one thing is: winter is coming. We have to have safe, secure spots for those that are homeless or are becoming homeless or we're going to then have a death issue on our hands,” said Pattison. 

From a city perspective, my number one thing is: winter is coming. We have to have safe, secure spots for those that are homeless or are becoming homeless or we're going to then have a death issue on our hands.

Michael Pattison, Hamilton Mayoral Candidate

Pattison also advocated for transparency in city spending. Discussing the allocation of funds from residential taxes, Pattison claimed the largest allocation is towards an unknown department listed as “other” in the 2021 tax distribution report. 

“When you go through the city budgets, they give you an average residential tax rate and they break it down by department. And if you were to look, you'll see where social services comes in, you'll see where education comes in, policing, and things like that, but yet the largest piece of the pie is just listed as ‘other’. And after going through line by line of our overall budget, I am yet to figure out what the ‘other’ is,” said Pattison. 

However, the City of Hamilton’s annual tax dollar distribution chart only mentions “other” for other city services. After reaching out to city hall, other city services was explained to encompass the capital levy, where tax dollars are used to finance capital projects for all city programs and services, as well as smaller dollar value city services. Additionally, policing services were found to be the largest allocation, followed by education services, and then other city services. 

The third main issue in Pattison’s platform is the importance of food security for Hamiltonians, similar to his platform in 2018, due to increased rates of food insecurity across Hamilton. 

“We're going to come into a food crunch. I believe that this winter is going to be a very unfulfilling time for people . . . We've done nothing as a city to work on our food security issues. Even dealing with local farmers, we haven't put anything in place. We haven't helped them with green housing, we haven't done anything to come up with a local supply of guaranteed food,” said Pattison. 

When asked about the potential challenges of mayorship, Pattison foresaw the learning curve that comes with the position as the biggest hurdle. 

“A mayor basically has three distinct roles and mastering those three roles is something that I'm game for. I have the ability to maintain all three levels: within city council, you're basically a moderator; within the city executive, you're the CEO and in the public, you need to be a role model. So, trying to master those three, coming from just a blue-collar background that was just born and raised in this city,” said Pattison. 

Addressing the McMaster University community, Pattison wanted students to become more engaged with the election and municipal government. 

“I believe that you're our future leaders. And you know, it's the choices that are made today that set up tomorrow. You guys are the future and you need to be involved now. If you're not involved now, then you're going to let old coots make all the decisions; they're going to be detrimental. Whereas the fresh new ideas, the fresh new perspectives on life, give me different perspectives that we don't see in our lifetime,” said Pattison. 

I believe that you're our future leaders. And you know, it's the choices that are made today that set up tomorrow. You guys are the future and you need to be involved now. If you're not involved now, then you're going to let old coots make all the decisions; they're going to be detrimental.

Michael Pattison, Hamilton Mayoral Candidate

Michael Pattison is running for mayor in the Oct. 2022 municipal election. His candidate profile has be posted as part of a series the Silhouette is running to build student awareness about the municipal election. Candidate profiles will continue to be posted in alphabetical order over the next few weeks. Election Day is Oct. 24 and more details on how to vote can be found here.  

Vail discusses key points of his platform, including avoiding over-intensification, being a collaborative member of the community and building transparency

The Silhouette sat down with Ward 1 city councillor candidate John Vail to reflect on his current campaign and the most pressing issues for the upcoming election. 

Vail has previously run for city councillor and for the Hamilton Centre seat in the provincial campaign under the Conservative Party in 2014. He has also been a chartered accountant and is now the small business owner of Real Estate Strategy Ltd.  

In the Ward 1 candidate debate on Sept. 13, Vail pledged he would work on measures to avoid congestion from over-intensification, meaning re-developing the ward could only happen at the same residential and business density that currently exists. 

“Rapid development [means] that people are up in arms now in Ward 1 that their way of life is being undermined with intensification,” explained Vail.  

"Rapid development [means] that people are up in arms now in Ward 1 that their way of life is being undermined with intensification."

John Vail, Ward 1 City Councillor candidate

Vail also spoke about the importance of striking a balance between creating businesses, so students have opportunities to stay in Hamilton and residents can also continue from lifelong learning that he and his family have benefited from at McMaster University. 

If elected City Councillor for Ward 1, Vail stated he would be a collaborative member of the community and a liaison between McMaster students and Hamilton residents. 

Vail discussed about the importance of transparency and trust and the role these would play in his work, should he be elected. He referenced the 2014 Sewergate incident, where a sewer grate accidentally left open began to leak sewage in the Chedoke Creek for the next four years, and he criticized his opponent, incumbent city councillor Maureen Wilson, on how the issue was handled in terms of public transparency. 

Wilson pushed for the issue to go public after learning about the spillage but it was first broken by The Spectator. The sewage gate was mistakenly left open from 2014 to 2018, spilling 24 billion litres of sewage, and was left open before Wilson was elected as Ward 1 city councillor in 2018. 

“When we look at the city council right now, the viewpoint of the public that I've talked to is that it is somewhat dysfunctional and part of the reason for being dysfunctional is the existing councillor is seen as seen by some as a disruptive figure. So, we're looking at more of a collaborative approach,” said Vail. 

Finally, Vail emphasized the duty he believes each citizen has, including students, to go out and vote.  

“Democracy won't work unless people vote. And it’s got to start early in life, and just because they’re students is no excuse not to vote . . . Municipal is closest to the everyday needs of all of us,” said Vail.  

"Democracy won't work unless people vote. And it’s got to start early in life, and just because they’re students is no excuse not to vote . . . Municipal is closest to the everyday needs of all of us."

John Vail, Ward 1 City Councillor candidate

Vail pledged to satisfy the current residents of Ward 1 and to continue to participate in the McMaster community.  

John Vail is running for city councillor in Ward 1 in the Oct. 2022 municipal election. His candidate profile has be posted as part of a series the Silhouette is running to build student awareness about the municipal election. Candidate profiles will continue to be posted in alphabetical order over the next few weeks. Election Day is Oct. 24 and more details on how to vote can be found here.  

Macpherson plans to build safer intersections and address the city’s housing crisis

The Silhouette sat down with Ward 1 city councillor candidate Ian Macpherson to reflect on his current campaign and the most pressing issues for the upcoming election. 

Prior to throwing his hat into the ring for the position of city councillor Macpherson has been an active member of the community. He started the Canadian Association of Pompe to lobby the government to fund new treatment for Pompe, a genetic metabolic disorder.

However, frustrated by the long process to pass bills and certain decision-making by the Hamilton government, Macpherson now wants to now make a difference in the city. 

He pointed to proposed legislation to turn Main St. into a two-way street as an example of an inefficient, expensive project. Macpherson said the legislation, aimed to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths, is not the best solution to make the street safer and will instead end up increasing traffic and emissions.  

Macpherson created an alternative proposal to make an all-way pedestrian scramble, where all traffic is stopped to allow pedestrians to cross in a multidirectional fashion, with a five-second delay between phases of traffic. He argued the five-second delay would reduce any pedestrian injuries or vehicle damages from cars running red lights. 

“[The proposal] addresses all intersections at the same time, is cheaper and has faster implementation,” said Macpherson. 

Macpherson has also proposed an adaptation of a traffic light program introduced in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where through traffic control software traffic lights on the opposing street in an intersection will remain red if a car runs a red light on the main street until it safely passes. 

In addition to making safer intersections, Macpherson advocated for helping Hamilton’s unhoused population and addressing the affordable housing crisis in the city. He plans on expanding the Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters program, a volunteer and donation-based temporary housing program, by providing areas for shelters as well as financial support.  

“The HATS program is a great initiative and Hamilton should support them in any way they can and try to expand this project to get people off the streets, out of tents and help them find permanent housing,” said Macpherson. 

“The HATS program is a great initiative and Hamilton should support them in any way they can and try to expand this project to get people off the streets, out of tents and help them find permanent housing."

Ian Macpherson, ward 1 city councillor candidate

Macpherson described perseverance and understanding different perspectives as some of his strongest asset as a prospective city councillor. 

“I have persevered all my life. I've viewed society from a different position than most and I've learned to problem solve really quickly. I had to do that my whole life due to my disability. I also see three perspectives instead of one.  I think every problem is not one problem. There's many problems surrounding that problem and you have to address all those problems at the same time,” said Macpherson. 

If elected, Macpherson views cohesiveness as the main challenge of a city councillor. 

 “I really hope that the new councillors are on the same page and they're not voting against each other. If you look at everybody's platform, they all say affordable housing, safer and better infrastructure, etcetera but these things don’t get done. I think cohesiveness is a big part of it . . . If the councillors are cohesive and have the same mindset and goals, a lot should be done for the next four years in Hamilton that will help improve the city,” said Macpherson. 

“If you look at everybody's platform, they all say affordable housing, safer and better infrastructure, etcetera but these things don’t get done . . . If the councillors are cohesive and have the same mindset and goals, a lot should be done for the next four years in Hamilton that will help improve the city,”

Ian Macpherson, ward 1 city councillor candidate

Ian Macpherson is running for city councillor in Ward 1 in the Oct. 2022 municipal election. His candidate profile has be posted as part of a series the Silhouette is running to build student awareness about the municipal election. Candidate profiles will continue to be posted in alphabetical order over the next few weeks. Election Day is Oct. 24 and more details on how to vote can be found here.  

C/O Travis Nguyen, Photo Editor

President-elect Simranjeet Singh discusses this year’s low voter turnout and his hopes to rebuild student engagement with the MSU

On Jan. 27, after a three-day election period, Simranjeet Singh was announced as the president-elect of the McMaster Students Union, winning 65.7 per cent of the votes.  

Out of 27, 149 eligible voters, only 3,107 students, or 11.4 per cent of the eligible student population, chose to cast their votes. According to Singh, the online nature of the campaigning period may have contributed to the low voter turnout.  

“When I, for example, gave class talks, it probably wasn’t as impactful [as in-person class talks] just because of the nature of how online courses are delivered,” said Singh.  

However, Singh also noted that the voter turnout for MSU elections has been trending downwards for a few years, even prior to the onset of the pandemic.  

“Even though 2020 and 2018, for example, were only two years apart and they were both in a pre-pandemic landscape, there was still a vast difference in voter turnout,” said Singh.  

“Even though 2020 and 2018, for example, were only two years apart and they were both in a pre-pandemic landscape, there was still a vast difference in voter turnout."

Simranjeet Singh, MSU President-elect

Singh explained that the decline in voter turnout may be due to a disconnect between the programming offered by the MSU and the needs of the students.  

“I certainly hope that with some of the changes I hope to bring forth, we can ensure that students are receiving the services and resources they need, and then hopefully are more engaged,” said Singh.  

According to Singh, helping students to better engage with and understand the MSU is one of his key priorities. Singh highlighted how students are often not aware of which services are offered by the MSU or how to access them. This is a problem that he hopes to address in his term as president.  

“Because we have such a low engagement, there's a disconnect that exists between what [students’] needs are and what the MSU is able to accomplish. And I hope, if we can change that, we can set ourselves on a path where students are more aware of what MSU services [there] are and the MSU is better able to actually serve their needs,” said Singh.  

“Because we have such a low engagement, there's a disconnect that exists between what [students’] needs are and what the MSU is able to accomplish. And I hope, if we can change that, we can set ourselves on a path where students are more aware of what MSU services [there] are and the MSU is better able to actually serve their needs."

Simranjeet Singh, MSU President-elect

Aside from hoping to increase student engagement, Singh stated that he also hopes to create lasting change within the MSU, making an impact that will be noted by students in years to come.  

“I hope that the impact that I have is big enough that people can look back in a few years or next year and say ‘this was a turning point,’” said Singh.  

As well, Singh emphasized his intentions to work with community partners and levels of government beyond McMaster. Singh explained that, in forming these relationships, he hopes to ensure that student advocacy is received and acted upon.  

However, Singh recognized that not all of his campaign points are equal in scope.  

"I think I’ll have to balance between trying to understand what is a goal that I can accomplish quite quickly and immediately, and what is a goal that I know will take many years to do, but that I can make significant progress on,” said Singh.  

"I think I’ll have to balance between trying to understand what is a goal that I can accomplish quite quickly and immediately, and what is a goal that I know will take many years to do, but that I can make significant progress on."

Simranjeet Singh, MSU President-elect

Overall, Singh emphasized his intention to make a lasting positive impact on the MSU over the course of his term, highlighting the importance of considering student voices in this process. He stated that throughout his campaign he had heard the opinions of a variety of students, which was important for understanding what kinds of changes need to be made.  

“The questions [students] asked, the concerns they had, the feedback and critiques they gave of my campaign points, what they felt I could do better and where I could improve. . .that was a very, very insightful experience, and I really hope to take some of that feedback and actually apply it,” said Singh.  

Starting May 1, Singh will officially take office as MSU president for the 2022-2023 year.  

C/O MSU Elections

The two candidates in the MSU presidential election clash over different approaches to advocacy

On Jan. 21, McMaster Students Union presidential candidates Simranjeet Singh and Denver Della-Vedova engaged in a two-hour long debate, in which they each responded to several questions pertaining to their platforms and the biggest issues on campus right now.  

In his opening statements, Della-Vedova expressed that he wants students to experience a better transition to in-person learning than the one they experienced this year. Additionally, he introduced the three main pillars of his platform: amplifying voices, student stability and keeping momentum.  

In Singh’s opening statements, he emphasized that his campaign is inspired by research and he introduced the five themes of his platform: building a more supportive student wellness institution, stronger Hamilton community, environmental sustainability, equitable education and career development. 

The candidates then went on to discuss several issues that are important to McMaster students right now. They were asked directly about how their platforms tackled issues such as environmental sustainability, student mental health and student expenses. The candidates were also asked several more general questions about how their platforms and styles of advocacy would benefit the student body. 

Regarding environmental sustainability, both Della-Vedova and Singh expressed that McMaster could be doing more for sustainability.  

Della-Vedova suggested offering more eco-friendly food packaging on campus and collaborating with student-driven environmental initiatives, stressing the feasibility of these targets.  

Singh also supported a reusable container program; however, Singh’s approach to environmental sustainability focused more on implementing auditing initiatives regarding McMaster’s waste management and educating students about sustainable waste management.  

Singh and Della-Vedova clashed over the need for waste management audits. Singh stated that, due to COVID-19, much has likely changed since the last audit in 2019 and that a key role of the MSU is to fill gaps in the university’s knowledge. Della-Vedova, on the other hand, argued that data from 2019 is still quite recent and because of temporary changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new audit may yield less reliable data.  

Regarding student mental health, Singh and Della-Vedova were in agreement about the seriousness of this issue and the importance of collaborating with the Student Wellness Centre.  

Regarding student mental health, Singh and Della-Vedova were in agreement about the seriousness of this issue and the importance of collaborating with the Student Wellness Centre.  

Amarah hasham-Steele, News reporter

Singh stressed his plan to advocate for further expansion of the SWC, expand and effectively market Thrive Week and advocate to expand McMaster’s student health and dental plan.  

Della-Vedova proposed introducing telehealth and online booking options to the SWC in order to expand the use of preexisting resources. Della-Vedova also stressed the importance of student security and a positive campus environment for student mental health.  

Regarding student expenses, Della-Vedova emphasized his aim to partner with the Food Collective Centre and with local businesses to assist food insecure students. Regarding rent expenses specifically, Della-Vedova discussed the possibility of revitalizing an MSU role dedicated to connecting students with reasonable housing.  

Singh, on the other hand, proposed a large-scale audit of student housing and expanding usage of Open Educational Resources to decrease textbook costs.  

Della-Vedova and Singh clashed over OER. Della-Vedova argued that financial changes due to OER would likely occur over many years and that more immediate expense issues should take priority. To this, Singh responded that the structures necessary to support OER already exist and that even a small decrease in average textbook costs would impact students significantly.  

Overall, it seemed that Singh and Della-Vedova clashed on two major issues: the importance of data collection and the scope of their platform points. 

Regarding data collection, Singh repeatedly stressed the research basis of his platform, proposing two major audits regarding environmental sustainability and a study about student housing. When asked whether he was more invested in student advocacy or in enhancing student life, Singh explained that his platform's research focus will enable him to enhance student life through advocacy.  

According to Singh, he aims to collect information that’s lacking so that it can be used as the basis for more focused and effective advocacy. 

According to Singh, he aims to collect information that’s lacking so that it can be used as the basis for more focused and effective advocacy. 

Amarah hasham-Steele, News reporter

Della-Vedova disagreed with Singh on the role of data collection. He responded by stating that the MSU often collects a lot of data that goes unused because new leaders enter the MSU with new ideas every year. Della-Vedova emphasized action over data collection, saying that preexisting and online data are sufficient bases for advocacy.  

Della-Vedova emphasized action over data collection, saying that preexisting and online data are sufficient bases for advocacy. 

Amarah hasham-Steele, News reporter

The second major point of clash in this debate was regarding the scope of the ideas put forward and the role of feasibility. When asked which point on Singh’s platform he was most critical of, Della-Vedova stated that although he liked many of Singh’s ideas, he believed many of them to be unfeasible within a year. Della-Vedova was particularly critical of Singh’s plan to transition to more OERs, emphasizing that there are limits on what the MSU can achieve within a year. 

When asked which point on Singh’s platform he was most critical of, Della-Vedova stated that although he liked many of Singh’s ideas, he believed many of them to be unfeasible within a year.

Amarah hasham-Steele, News reporter

Singh, on the other hand, criticized Della-Vedova's platform points for simply focusing on increasing supports already in place. For example, as Singh explained, Della-Vedova was advocating for expansion of the compostable container program, whereas Singh was advocating for a widespread reusable container program.  

Singh, on the other hand, criticized Della-Vedova's platform points for simply focusing on increasing supports already in place.

Amarah hasham-Steele, News reporter

Further, regarding OER, Singh explained that while he did not expect to see this transition completed within a year, he believed that progress towards more OER would still be worth pursuing.  

Voting will take place online from Jan. 25 to Jan. 27. An overview of Della-Vedova's entire platform can be found here and an overview of Singh’s platform can be found here.  

C/O Denver Della-Vedova

Getting to know the person behind the platform 

Denver Della-Vedova is one of the candidates running to be the McMaster Students Union President for the 2022-2023 academic year. Della-Vedova's platform outlines three main pillars: amplifying diverse voices, prioritizing student stability and keeping momentum. 

The Silhouette: What made you run for president and what is it about the role that attracts you? 

Denver Della-Vedova: Great question! Aside from the elephant in the room of the obvious past experience [as current MSU President], with which I can say I like it, I think there’s a lot that I’ve realized I can do differently this year. Hindsight is a really handy thing and the second time around I can do a lot of that.  

A couple examples would be the SRA support; we tried it this year, but it didn’t work, not the way we envisioned. So, trying to re-envision that and change it so there’s a better way to do it. Same with faculty support.  

Another example would be Welcome Week – [I] didn’t really realize that there [were] communication errors there until I was involved in it and went, “Oh, this actually is an issue. We should really try to revitalize this for the coming year and make it clearer for everybody.”  

A third reason would be, as much as everyone else, I would love it as an in-person experience. It’s not a guarantee, but I would really like that opportunity. I find my personality is very approachable; I try to be pretty friendly and connect with folks.  

So, I’d really just like that opportunity to be with folks in the office, with students, engaged in student events – all of the things that weren’t necessarily possible this year.  

The last thing that made me run is – and I think I had some trouble with this because it felt a little weird running again – but I think this is something that everyone who wants to should. I have a lot more that I feel I could give to the MSU, so I wanted to do it again.  

What do you think is your strongest asset for the role? 

At the risk of sounding conceited here, I’m probably going to say personality. I find I mesh well with most folks. I try to be patient, I’m a pretty good listener – I know I’ve been talking a lot here, but I’m typically pretty good. And I’m also not afraid to go my own way on things. If I don’t necessarily think what is happening is ideal, I’m not afraid to voice that.  

So, I think [I am] that mix of being somebody who can work with folks while also being able to [say,] “I think what we’re doing isn’t working.” And identify[ing] that and communicat[ing] that in kind ways to groups and trying to work with them to find solutions is probably my biggest asset to the role because it’s that working with people element that I think is really important to a role like this.  

For a complete overview of Della-Vedova's platform, please visit https://www.thesil.ca/msu-elections-2022-denver-della-vedova-platform-overview.   

PHOTO C/O Arnaud Jaegers

An overview of the current state of Canada’s political parties

By: Max Cornblum, Contributor

On Sept. 20, 2021, Canadians across the country voted in an early federal election called by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

Results of the election formed another minority government under the Liberal party, leaving Canadians to wonder what the future of the government would look like in the face of a new, but almost identical, parliament.

Liberal Party 

After winning 159 seats and maintaining their minority government, many now-former members of parliament have lost their pensions. Pensions are awarded after six years of being seated in parliament and this election was called just over two months before some of those pensions would have vested. 

Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for the Hamilton West, Ancaster and Dundas constituency, stands by the Liberal government’s decision to call a snap election.

Tassi believes that the party’s win proves Canadians agree with what the party has been doing and what they plan to do moving forward.

“The Canadians have accepted the mandate and that they agree with the way that we have navigated through COVID-19 and they say that they agree with our plan moving forward with regards to [future plans in things] such as environment, childcare and housing,” said Tassi. 

Tassi added that she doesn’t see the snap election as a waste of money, but rather as a mandate from Canadians to have either voice heard. 

“It is important that as we move forward, we are listening to Canadians, and this was the opportunity for Canadians to have their say with respect to what we have invested in,” explained Tassi.

“It is important that as we move forward, we are listening to Canadians, and this was the opportunity for Canadians to have their say with respect to what we have invested in.”

Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for Hamilton West, Ancaster & Dundas Constituency

Justin Trudeau currently remains the leader of the party. However, following public outrage regarding Trudeau’s decision to call the snap election, it remains to be seen as to whether the Liberal party is still committed to the Trudeau name.

Conservative Party 

As the Conservative Party’s leader, Erin O’Toole’s platform let the voters know that he was pro-2SLGBTQIA+ and pro-abortion. He also supported a federal carbon tax, which was unheard of for a conservative leader. 

However, the Conservative Party’s turn towards the centre with a more moderate leader such as O’Toole didn’t make up any ground from the Liberals. 

As a result of the snap election, the Conservative Party now holds 119 seats in the House of Commons, a loss of two seats compared to the 2019 election

“While [the Conservative Party] didn’t get the results we had hoped for, I am proud of our team for holding the Liberals to a minority in this pandemic election,” said O’Toole. 

“While [the Conservative Party] didn’t get the results we had hoped for, I am proud of our team for holding the Liberals to a minority in this pandemic election.”

Erin O'Toole, Conservative Party Leader

New Democratic Party 

The New Democratic Party was unable to pick up a sizable amount of seats despite their overwhelmingly popular policies. The NDP now holds 25 seats in the house of commons. 

Although NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, has garnered a large amount of popularity through social media platforms such as TikTok, this did not translate to an increase in seats in the House of Commons. 

The NDP will reevaluate their leadership and platform to see if they can improve their results with another leader or may decide to continue the course with Jagmeet Singh.

Jagmeet Singh remains the leader of the NDP and has stated that he’s confident he will keep that position.

Bloc Quebecois Party

The Bloc Quebecois won 33 seats, short of their goal of 40 seats. As is the case with other parties, the Bloc Quebecois won a similar number of seats as the 2019 election where they won 32 seats

Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the party, criticized Trudeau for calling the election.

“We almost feel like saying ‘All of that for this’,” said Blanchet. 

“We almost feel like saying ‘All of that for this’.”

Yves-François Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Quebecois

Green Party 

After losing a Member of Parliament to the Liberals because of an internal party dispute about the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Green Party received far fewer votes than in 2019 and won two seats. 

Despite climate change being a top priority for voters, the party dedicated to the climate lost ground and credibility with voters.

In her own riding in Toronto Centre, the previous leader of the Green Party, Annamie Paul, was unable to win her seat as well. Even before the election, her standing within the party was already in tatters

Paul has now resigned and the Green party will begin its search for a new leader. 

With only two seats in the House of Commons after this election, the Green Party does not meet the requirement of at least 12 seats to be deemed a recognized party for parliamentary proceedings. 

People’s Party 

While the People’s Party of Canada was able to increase its share of the popular vote, it remained unable to make any ground and won zero seats. 

PPC leader, Maxime Bernier, also lost in his own riding in Beauce. 

While the rise of right-wing populism has given great success to parties around the world, it appears that the ideology shared by these parties is not welcomed by enough Canadians to make this party feasible. 

After an election that didn’t change the political landscape, every party is left to reflect on what happened in their campaign. Every party must reevaluate its strategies and come prepared for the next election either in 2025 or earlier.

MSU President Giancarlo Da-Ré discusses election “what ifs?”, advice and engagement

The McMaster Students Union Elections department announced a one-week extension of the MSU Presidentials nomination period from Jan. 14 to Jan. 21, 2021. The extension was announced the morning of Jan. 13 via social media — one day before nominations were set to close. The reason for the extension was unclear; however, it was likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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A post shared by MSU Elections Department (@msu_elections)

The nomination period opened on Dec. 2, 2020 and ended at 5:00 p.m. on Jan. 21, 2021. The extended nomination period would delay the start of the campaigning period. Campaigning was supposed to be from Jan. 24 and end on Feb. 4 at 4:30pm, while the voting period would be from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4 at 4:30pm. 

However, MSU Elections announced on Jan. 22 that at the end of the nomination period one nomination had been received. Denver Della-Vedova has been acclaimed MSU President-Elect for the 2021/2022 term. 

In an interview with the Silhouette prior to the acclamation, current MSU President Giancarlo Da-Ré discussed his experiences with running for MSU president, offered advice to candidates and shared insight on how the campaign period may play out.

"We want students to know about all of our services, all of our offerings and benefits that they have as a part of the MSU. But also we're not trying to contribute to that stress and that Zoom fatigue,” said Da-Ré.

"We want students to know about all of our services, all of our offerings and benefits that they have as a part of the MSU. But also we're not trying to contribute to that stress and that Zoom fatigue,” said Da-Ré.

As the MSU Elections department operates with a degree of impartiality from the MSU elected officials, including the Board of Directors, they made the decision to extend the nomination period. Da-Ré noted that earlier this year, he discussed electoral engagement with his counterparts at student unions across the country and noted that they shared concerns of lowered engagement due to a virtual learning environment. 

“All the options to engage with friends and with MSU services are online. I don't blame students for wanting a break from all that. And so we've naturally had to take that in consideration from the MSU, where obviously we want students to know about all of our services, all of our offerings and benefits that they have as a part of the MSU. But also we're not trying to contribute to that stress and that Zoom fatigue,” said Da-Ré.

However, Da-Ré remained hopeful that even with potentially fewer candidates, the election could see an increase in voter engagement from previous years. When asked what he hoped to see from the candidates, Da-Ré was interested to see how candidates would find new ways to campaign. 

“I think it's up to candidates to ensure that they're creating opportunities to engage with voters and for voters to engage with candidates how those voters will want to engage with candidates,” said Da-Ré. 

An entirely online MSU presidential election has never happened before — a stark contrast to the typical in-person tabling that many candidates do within the McMaster University Student Centre.

Da-Ré was also curious to see candidate ideas for supporting students through the pandemic. He acknowledged that students have been struggling with the pandemic and online learning, while noting how ideal supports differ among students.

He expected that candidates would discuss student supports as a key issue of the campaign, similar to how the Student Choice Initiative was an issue of importance during his run for office in 2020.

"What is your overall reasoning for running for MSU president?" said Da-Ré.

"What is your overall reasoning for running for MSU president?" said Da-Ré.

Da-Ré reflected on his experience running for MSU president. He noted that it was challenging at first but that he ultimately enjoyed the experience, especially interacting with students and understanding their priorities. 

“I had a lot of fun with it, chatting with folks, but you do feel like you are under a microscope for the duration of the campaign period. So it takes a little bit of time to get used to that level of scrutiny and then ideally, if you can kind of get past that a little bit or get used to it, then it starts to be lots of fun,” said Da-Ré.

When asked to offer advice to candidates or those who hoped to run, Da-Ré shared that he sought advice and reflected a lot before his campaign.

“One of the most important things for folks, just when you're thinking about running or when you're building your campaign or your vision, is why you want to run. What is your overall reasoning for running for MSU president? If you can really solidify your vision for campus and your reason for wanting to run for MSU President, ideally have that vision and that reasoning, that “why” is reflected in everything that you’re trying to do,” said Da-Ré.

"That “why” is reflected in everything that you’re trying to do,” said Da-Ré.

Da-Ré also expressed gratitude to the potential candidates for stepping outside of their comfort zones and supporting students. 

“Thank you to all these candidates for committing their time during school and for trying to build a better MSU community for students. Students need a little support right now and we're doing what we can do to try and leave the MSU in a better place than we found it. I want to thank the candidates for looking forward to continuing that work and supporting students during some difficult times of tribulation,” said Da-Ré.

Due to a lack of engagement seen during COVID-19, questions surrounding how many students would run for MSU president arose. If no candidates were to come forward by the end of the campaign period, Da-Ré hesitated to speculate but believed that the nomination period would likely be extended; however, the decision would be up to the MSU Elections department.

If only one candidate ran MSU president, according to Da-Ré, the MSU bylaw states that the candidate would be acclaimed MSU President-Elect.

“3.3.1 If the number of valid nomination forms submitted is fewer than or equal to the number of available positions, the CRO shall declare all nominees duly elected by acclamation.”

“3.3.1 If the number of valid nomination forms submitted is fewer than or equal to the number of available positions, the CRO shall declare all nominees duly elected by acclamation.”

On Jan. 22, the MSU Elections Department announced on social media that one presidential candidate application had been received. Denver Della-Vedova has been acclaimed as MSU President-Elect for the 2021/2022 term. 

 

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A post shared by MSU Elections Department (@msu_elections)

Da-Ré took to social media to congratulate Della-Vedova. “Very excited to start the transition process and to watch Denver strengthen the undergraduate experience at McMaster,” wrote Da-Ré.

The Silhouette will be posting more MSU presidential elections 2021 coverage in our annual Presidentials issue on Feb. 1, 2021 available on Issuu.

Sil Time Capsule is a new series that will continue to bring forward student voices

As we near the end of 2020, now is a good time to reflect, especially given how much has changed this past year. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone, but with its difficulties come opportunities for learning and changing, both within all of us as individuals and within our society. 

The COVID-19 pandemic remains the event that will define 2020 for years to come. The pandemic and its regulations have caused tensions, a shift across the board in education and different sectors to a virtual environment and rises in mental health issues due to isolation and other issues faced by many.

This pandemic has brought forth many challenges, particularly for students struggling to make the best of their youth amid a world of isolation and online classrooms. However, it has also highlighted pre-existing issues within our society, such as serious health disparities as a result of socioeconomic status. All in all, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has forever changed our world and how we experience it as individuals and as students. 

[/media-credit] Information from the City of Toronto, as reported by Jessica Cheung of the CBC

 

Next, there was the shooting of George Floyd and the rallying cry against anti-Black racism in North America and across the world. The Black Lives Matter movement, an existing movement against police brutality and anti-Black racism, shifted into the limelight, offering all a chance to reflect on their role in anti-Black racism.

The effects of this were far-reaching, with systemic racism being highlighted across our nation at an institutional and individual level. Beyond discussions on anti-Black racism, there was also a rise in the discourse regarding anti-Indigenous racism. The Land Back protests are a prime example of the important role activism played this year in sparking dialogue on inequities in our society. As students and as a student newspaper, it is essential these events are brought forth and discussed adequately.

[/media-credit] Black Lives Matter protests in Toronto, as reported by Laura Armstrong and Jacob Lorinc of the Toronto Star

 

Finally, there was the 2020 United States federal election. Although American politics can sometimes feel distant, this election caused — and will cause for the next four years — a shift in global politics and marked the end of an era in the United States and North America with Donald Trump as the President of the United States.

Additionally, given the close ties between Canada and the US, the repercussions and changes that will accompany the election and its results will be felt here more than in other countries. 

It is important to note the election, along with all other monumental aspects of 2020 mentioned thus far, was accompanied by a multitude of other important global events. These must — and will — be discussed in great detail in the coming issues at the Silhouette through both this series as well as through our Summer of Activism series in the News section. 

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As a student newspaper, it is important we discuss global events and how they affect us and the McMaster student community. Global events affect everyone in one way or another. COVID-19 is a global health issue but has left deep impacts on the lives of students. It highlighted important issues in our society such as the extent to which income and privilege dictate your level of health and protection. Students are not isolated nor removed from these realities.

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It is also important to discuss the many global events of 2020 as a student newspaper because these are in many ways mirrored by realities in our own community. For example, just as systemic racism and police brutality shifted to the limelight of national political discourse in the United States, realities at McMaster such as the anti-Black racism culture in the university’s athletics department were highlighted in a recent report.

As a student newspaper, we are responsible for informing our peers, discussing these issues and how they have affected our students. As global citizens, we are responsible for raising awareness of global issues, events and inequities. 

More than just being mirrored in our community, these events have also had a profound influence on our very sense of community.

More than just being mirrored in our community, these events have also had a profound influence on our very sense of community. Often exceptional and unprecedented events encourage stronger connections and drive communities closer together.

However, the nature of the pandemic has resulted in the opposite, with many students feeling disconnected and unsupported in these difficult times. As a student newspaper, it is important that we not only inform our peers and raise awareness about global events and issues but also that we do our part to maintain community and facilitate the connection between students.

Furthermore, this kind of coverage and engagement with global events is something that many, if not most, students are interested and invested in. During the Black Lives Matter protests at the beginning of June, the Silhouette posted a short message in solidarity, but we were challenged by our community to do more. Over the last few months, we have been working to deliver on those promises that were made and are continuing to look for ways in which we can improve.

Across all sections this past semester we have worked to ensure that we address and acknowledge these issues and events and their influence on our community. This article in particular serves as the introduction to a new series. Titled Sil Time Capsule, this series is an opportunity to reflect on this past year and draw attention to the ways in which it has affected our community as well as the wider world.

2020 has been an eventful and unprecedented year and as a student newspaper, we have a responsibility to acknowledge these events, inform our peers and raise awareness about them. We also have a responsibility to address the ways in which they have affected and influenced not only the wider world but also our own community. This time capsule series is one way by which we are working to do justice to the events and issues of this year and their influence on the communities big and small of which we are a part.

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