Dear editor,


This past Wednesday, I attempted to set up an interview with the slate running for next year’s UTMSU executive team, UTM Connect. I approached Raymond Noronha, who is running for the position of president, and was told that his team would be able to meet me on Thursday morning for an interview.

On Thursday morning, two hours before the interview, I called Raymond to ask him to confirm. He informed me that because three of the candidates on his team, including himself, have class during that hour, we would be unable to hold the interview.

I rescheduled for the following afternoon. Three hours before the interview, Raymond messaged me asking me to send him the questions for the interview in advance so that his team could prepare. Also, the CRO needed the questions as well. I was a little confused about why the CRO needed the questions, but because I was in the middle of The Medium’s elections and about to present a speech, I only had time to quickly type out three or four questions and email them to Raymond.

When the time for the interview arrived, I met Raymond and his team in the boardroom of the Student Centre. After we’d sat down, I asked Nausheen Adam my first three questions and she responded. Then I asked my fourth question: “You say you want to lobby to improve the amount of services offered at the infobooth. What services would you implement?”

She looked over at Raymond. Everyone looked over at Raymond. There was a pause. Then I asked, “What’s going on?”

Raymond explained to me that I’d only sent three questions, and that only those three questions had been approved by the CRO, and so I was unable to ask anything but those three questions.

I told Raymond that I’d been unaware that questions needed to be approved by the CRO. I asked if we could proceed with the interview anyway; I’d send the questions to the CRO, and if my questions weren’t approved, then I wouldn’t use their responses for my article. Raymond said they could not answer anything that hadn’t been approved by the CRO.

I told Raymond that I needed his team to answer my questions because my article on the elections was due before Sunday. It would be in the last print issue of The Medium for the year, and their voices were a crucial part of the article.

Raymond said that his team would respond to my questions by midnight, after they’d been approved.

A couple of hours after midnight, Raymond sent me a question: “Larissa, sorry, I just got home from an event. Do you still need the responses or are we just going to wait for the all-candidates debate?” I reiterated that the questions needed to be be answered by tomorrow night at the very latest so they could appear in the issue.

I finally received their answers the next afternoon, after a long few days of anxiety over whether or not I would actually have any of their answers for the article.

All of my questions were germane to the elections, so I have trouble understanding why the slate wasn’t able to answer them, and I truly hope this doesn’t happen again in the future.


Larissa Ho

News editor

  • Urgh

    Rather than ranting, maybe you could have just done some research/asked why they couldn’t answer the questions? Usually during an election the CRO needs to approve everything because at times answers and questions can be seen as “precampaigning” or going beyond the scope of the election. This is usually most important during a contested election but I’m glad to see that they’re keeping to the rules. I see things still haven’t changed…the medium refuses to properly research before complaining. Quick to point fingers.

    • FYI, I have participated in two elections and closely followed three more. This has never been the case. The medium has always covered the candidate platforms and where possible interviewed the candidates (Thomas Kristan jumps to mind).

      In a year where the union privately agreed with the medium’s coverage of a contested issue (aka the student center expansion referendum) but publicly continued to bash the paper, it is no surprise that the CRO, a union employee, could be pressured into making such a ruling. After all, even on the day of the debate, the CRO tried to slip the reading of questions as a ERC ruling and was reminded that no such ruling or precedence exists…at which point she proceeded to walk over the executive director and seek his opinion.

      You’re right when you say things haven’t changed but if you had done your research instead of preaching the medium to do so, you would realize it’s the union that has had the same figurehead for more than a decade. That isn’t democratic- having an independent newspaper is.

    • Luke

      What finger-pointing? The closest the letter gets to expressing that this behaviour is undesirable is saying “I have trouble understanding why the slate wasn’t able to answer them”. I kinda do too. I mean, read that question. How could you campaign on the point of adding more services to the infobooth yet rule out the possibility of actually saying what those services are?!?!

    • Stefanie

      1) It can’t be considered “precampaigning” because the campaign period had already officially begun.
      2) If the questions needed to be approved, why wasn’t Larissa informed of this on Wednesday when she requested the interview? Why was she suddenly informed less than 4 hours before the interview was supposed to begin?
      3) This is my third time reporting on an election, fifth time being an involved student in elections — I’ve never had to have the questions approved. See last year’s interview with independent candidate, Thomas Kristan, as a reference.
      4) The Elections and Procedures Code makes no reference to interviews as campaign material.
      5) I don’t see the problem with answering the questions that pertain to their platform points and then stating they cannot comment on questions exceeding the scope of the election because this violates the EPC. This would have been understandable. Not bringing the interview to an abrupt halt when a relevant, albeit not approved, question was asked.

      Sounds like you haven’t done any actual research but rather got your facts from the people involved. If anyone was quick to point fingers, I’d say it was the people insinuating that The Medium would maliciously propose an interview with the intention of catching candidates off guard with questions irrelevant to the election or with complaints in attempt to have demerit points awarded.

      Intimidating students into silence will get the union nowhere and I’m proud of Larissa for speaking up. The union is more than welcome, and this had been made exceptionally clear on various occasions, to submit letters to the editor for publication in The Medium to present their own opinions.