No Money Trail for the ‘Yes’ Campaign

CSU Executives, CEO Haven’t Produced Campaign Budget Lines

The Concordia Student Union released its annual budget report Friday, but specific amounts pertaining to its spending on the “Yes” campaign for the Student Centre in preparation of November’s referendum still haven’t been revealed.

Standing regulation 229(d), which can be found via the CSU website, clearly states the maximum amount of election expenses a candidate may use for a particular office or referendum committee is $375.

“Yes” Committee Chair Adrien Severyns and the CSU’s Chief Electoral Officer Oliver Cohen either claimed to have had no immediate knowledge of the amounts spent or didn’t have “the time” to divulge them, despite repeated attempts made by The Link over a period of several days to procure a budget breakdown of the individual campaign.

“I don’t have the numbers in front of me now,” said Cohen, whose position demands non-partisanship to ensure an impartial voting process. “All I know is that it was within the budget and it was dealt with accordingly.”

Article 237 of the standard regulations stipulates that “within 25 days after the expiry of the time prescribed for filing returns of election expenses, the Chief Electoral Officer shall provide a report to Council that includes a summary of every return received within the prescribed time.”

To date, the only numbers available to the public are those in the report that was issued on Friday, which only contains the latest official total amount the CSU spent on campaigns.

But in a three-page letter detailing her resignation from the position of VP sustainability and promotions, Morgan Pudwell said the executives “were recently presented with a financial update which indicated that nearly every budget line had been over-spent.

“We were told not to speak to anyone about our current financial situation, and were presented with no solutions,” she continued.

Expenses for the campaign included T-shirts, printing, posters and flyers, according to VP Clubs and Finance Ramy Khoriaty.

However, it was confirmed by Severyns in late November that the salaries paid to the CSU’s Campaigns Coordinator Daniel Shakibainan and lawyer Francois Longpré had come out of the “Yes” campaign’s budget. Videos on the CSU’s website and a K’Nex structure in the Hall building’s mezzanine were also used to promote the campaign.

With the next CSU general election looming, the certification for November’s referendum still hasn’t been brought to council, but Judicial Board Chair Bella Ratner confirmed Sunday that the referendum had been certified with the JB on Dec. 20, 2010.

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 25, published March 8, 2011.

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