Live Blogging the GA
Concisely, I’ll sum up the GA with a Pie Chart of my own making (based on almost-exact statistics)
I’d like to make a disclaimer here, I’m not being critical of the SSMU exec, because these guys are doing a damn fine job. I just note that, as the group gets larger, the ability to govern through Robert’s Rules gets less and less effective.
Here’s the official website, if you feel like seeing the shit we are debating: http://ssmu.mcgill.ca/ga/
5:20: Packed, Nothing started yet. Lots of angry-looking people.
5:30 “Question Period” In which SSMU Executives ask each other questions that the others have conveniently prepared.
5:40 More procedural stuff from the Execs.. Something about Robert’s Rules. Can’t hear very much
5:41 An Engineer asks them to turn it the hell up. And there was much rejoicing.
5:50 A vote to mess around with Robert’s rules, bringing the important and contentious stuff (in this case, to move the contentious stuff like the “THE DEFENSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION”) Motion Passes
5:51: Motion immediately thereafter to change that previous motion
5:52 Motion fails
5:55: All motions to limit debate fail. I am NOT amused
5:55 The debate begins. Money, corporations, greed… murmers of anger and dissatisfaction go through the crowds.. A short cheer at the end
6:02 Changes to the motion, to eliminate the very contensious Palestinian clauses
6:04 Division begins. I am extremely unamused byt his development, as it will take forever. Of course, I was right about this, and this brings me to one of my pet peeves about GA- it’s unimaginably difficult to get anything done while still respecting the rules for order. Now look, I’m a student politician, myself, and I do understand the importance of rules of order. But this is DIRECT DEMOCRACY, and when the will of the people is to talk about issues openly, literally the LAST thing that they want to do is sit, and wait while the non-binding pre-amble clauses are voted upon by division. This drives people away from a process that should be engaging, and it explains why people are so very unwilling to come out to GA’s where there are not contentious motions on the docket.
6:22 We’ve finally gotten to abstention counting… No progress whatsoever
6:30 Nothing has happened. Nothing. We’ve done nothing and there is no visible leadership. We’ve been here an hour and a half.
6:36 The vote is in, but before we can proceed with any business we must get us some placards. The resolution passes- The inflammatory clauses were dropped.
6:40 STILL ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS VOTE A Councillor brings up a point of order
6:40 There is seriously, a motion to reconsider the previous vote, due to not enough people understanding the first vote on the amendment to the original motion. Evidently people are not aware of how democracy works, as the previous motion passed 282:232
In another note, The people in charge are seemingly unaware that NOBODY IN THE BACK CAN HEAR ANYTHING! I’m not at all surprised that there is so much damned confusion.
6:45 There is a call from some engineers to adjourn. Threats from the speaker come up to kick them out.
6:46 There is another call to count votes, which presents a problem as NOBODY HAS ANY F*CKING PLACARDS FROM LAST TIME. They are passing out the placards, so that in another 25 minutes, we can then see that vote that clearly failed by simple majority, did indeed fail by simple majority. Ladies and Non-Ladies, I present to you the reason why all conspiracy theories are destined to fail: Government incompetence.
6:50 The engineers begin to sing “Chicago” This can only end in tears.
7:00 The current motion of the floor is to appeal the decision of the chair. This decision was to strike the two last whereas clauses about corporate involvement about profiting from occupying territories. For the record, we ALREADY VOTED ON THIS MOTION, and it passed. The vote now is whether we want to reconsider this motion or not. This is becoming increasingly embarassing by the second.
7:05 And, yes, seriously, we’re doing this by counting ballots. This is moving quickly from embarassing to pure incompetence.
7:10 Unsurprisingly, we’ve been hemmoraging people since this electoral-boondoggle. I’m going to stay until quorum is broken, which will be very soon at this rate.
7:20 … Still voting, on the reconsideration of the non-binding procedural clause that wouldn’t effect anything. We got to the yes votes now.
7:21 The engineers break into an impromptu version of “I want to hold your hand”. And there was much rejoycing.
7:28 They are still counting the votes….
7:31 And the verdict on whether we will re-vote on the vote we already did was:
272 against, 211 for
7:34 There was a vote whether to kick some guy out.. it failed.
7:35 We FINALLY GET TO DEBATE. It’s only been 2:35 hours.
7:38 Someone put forward an adjournment vote. It fails like the running of this meeting.
7:41 We’re still debating the first Human Rights Ethics Committee bill. Someone wants to put it to a vote, but that was unconstitutional.. the debate continues.
7:44 We called the vote, are voting to vote on the now non-controversial vote
7:47 SUPERMAJORITY We move on to the real vote
7:49 Resolution to establish ethics committee passes by SUPER MAJORITY
7:50 EXODUS OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS
7:55 Moved onto the next one- the self funded tuition model
8:00 We amended the where-as clauses for the motion.
8:02 There are certain people who recieved mysterious text messages from a blackberry number (393939) that told them not to leave.
8:06 The self-funded tuition model is now up for debate, Question for the folks at home- Is education a RIGHT, or a PRIVILIGE?
8:08 Rebecca Dooley states that the Self-Funded student model leads us towards an AMERICAN SYSTEM!!! <runs from room in terror>
8:09 An Engineer calls the Question <well done, bill>
8:10 Vote passes by simple majority
8:11 Moving over towards vote for restoration of the five dollar ATM machines.
8:12 An engineer motivates this bill. And there was much rejoicing.
8:15 Question Called. It passes by simple majority.
8:17 Ancillary fee increase Motions DEBATE
8:19 These Increases are inevitable and nessisary – it’s our education, we have to foot the bill- Engineer
8:20 These fees are tuition increases by stealth- these ancillary fees impact the non-wealthy folks
8:27 We could constitutional increase the Ancillary fees to whatever we want.. as long as there’s a vote. Hooray!
8:20 Vote to oppose ancillary fee increases: It passes. BAM
8:30 Tar Sand Motion. Time for the gloves to come off, methinks.
8:34 Motivation for the tar sands. I don’t know where I stand on this one, honestly. There is an amendment to remove investments in international/national financial institutions. This amendment is us up for debate.
8:39 “Putting all your money, eggs in one investment is probably the LEAST INTELLIGENT IDEA POSSIBLE”- only a broker who would profit from your idiocy would recommend that.
8:41 “you can get the meat of the bill without cutting off the financial institutions” SSMU needs money for their initiatives.- Bill
8:44 Motion to call the question on the amendment fails.
8:46 Anti-amendment girl: Short-Sighted, Narrow-Minded- Plug for “What’s the trouble with Kansas’
8:50 The amendment fails, the Motion comes up for Vote (without any vote on the main motion)
8:51 There are lots of pissed people behind the mic.. I’m staying away from there..
8:52 The resolution passes <BAM>
8:53 Finally, the resolution to ask whether SSMU has the right to discriminate against one particular kind of group. Handing out placards now. This is going to be a long one (and it’s pretty obvious where I stand on this one, eh?)
9:00 There is some motivation from the pro.. three people in line. There are currently about a dozen in the con line <Fist-Pump>
9:05 First speaker against the motion NAILS it. Shock, appalled and disgusted. Sorry to editorialize here, but I definitely agree with him- This is an issue of free-speech, and to vote this through is absolutely unacceptable.
9:10 There’s an amendment to the bill, to strike the “such as but not limited to pro-life groups” as discriminatory. They are playing the religion card now… this is very heated debate, going on.
9:17 The motivator of this bill is attempting to frame the question as a pro-life, pro-choice debate, which it patently isn’t.
9:23 We are voting on the amendment .. by collection.. AGAIN. This is pretty bullshit. I am not amused.
9:35 The votes are in 97 in favor, 62 opposed. The one line was stricken. Back to Debate
9:37 We tried to call the question, it failed.
9:45 there was an amendment to include “Bodily Sovereignty” into the SSMU non-discrimatory clauses. This also went into a box count. My motivation to stay here to blog about this is fading.. fading with my battery power.
9:52 This vote comes in: Pro 78 for 70 against, amendment passes
10:00 There is another amendment.. This one adding the charter of fundamental rights and freedoms to the law that curtails freedom of speech.
10:07 We’re voting. There was no real debate on the main motion. THE VOTE FAILS! YESSSS
Seconds later: The room clears.