Grownups meddling in kiddie politics?

A political operative on the provincial Liberal payroll appears to be campaigning on behalf of right-wing candidates running in the University of Victoria Students' Society elections. But a representative from the starboard-leaning Coalition of Independent Students slate is denying those reports, saying Dallas Henault, the party's Lower Vancouver Island field organizer, is simply "supporting" those candidates.

In an interview with Public Eye, student newspaper editor Bryna Hallam told us she spotted Mr. Henault hanging pro-coalition posters earlier this week. Ms. Hallam then added, "I've seen him a few times," during the election "but on different days."

And, when Public Eye contacted outgoing student society chairperson Joanna Groves, a member of the left-wing slate, she told us, "He's been around a lot. He's been sitting with them at all-candidate forums. He's also been in the (the independent students') candidate for chairperson's office a lot...I don't really know exactly what he's doing. But he's always in (Agata Lis's) office."

But, in an interview with Public Eye, Ms. Lis, who is currently the society's finance director, said, "Dallas Henault isn't really a student at UVic. So he's not helping us out with the campaign. I mean obviously he supports us and he used to run with us in the past. So he's with us from time to time - watching the speeches and whatnot. But the campaign is something I'm heading."

She then said he isn't helping out aside from, "supporting the candidates. And showing up to some of the candidates' forums to support them."

Mr. Henault, who previously ran as the right-wing candidate for chairperson last year, did not return repeated phone calls from Public Eye. Nor have the Liberals responded to our questions about whether Mr. Henault's alleged involvement in the student society elections was authorized by the party. The University of Victoria is in Advanced Education Minister Ida Chong's riding.

48 Comments

Wow, stop the presses, a former U-Vic student is hanging out with his friends who still go to U-Vic. You're reaching with this one Sean.

When was the last time anybody supported by Henault actually won something?

Uhh...last time I checked henault's slate won half the seats last year. refreshing if you ask me...the uvss shouldnt be an ndp training camp using manditory studetn fees like it has been for years

Well, I'm glad the BC Liberals have had a chance to comment on this one - it would be a shame if they let their poster boy go undefended.

Reaching? I think if a NDP staffer had been visiting the UVSS offices on a regular basis it would be seen as a story - friend or not. The fact is the BC Liberals are upset that students at UVic have been effectively speaking out against their regressive policies, and there's evidence to show that they've hired someone to help elect their supporters.

And I'm tired of the argument that the UVSS is some sort of NDP training ground. What's your evidence? That some former UVSS student leaders have become involved in the NDP? Big deal - active students get involved in politics all the time (just look at the young libs). This argument always seems to come from people upset that their right-wing vision for the world isn't popularly held, and rarely is it backed up by anything but empty rhetoric. Now, maybe if they had evidence that a party staffer was hanging out in the Student Union Building, then they'd have something. Oh wait, that was Henault.

As long as the BC Liberal Party isn't paying him to campaign, or actively aiding him and the Coalition of Independent Students in their campaign, then nothing unethical is happening (unless the UVSS' electoral policies prohibit that sort of thing from happening).

I follow student politics from what I've seen and done for the Martlet and none of the key BC Liberal players on campus are even running for the Coalition of Independnet Students - Trisha Girard, Tom Grainger, Neal Evans, et al.

It's actually a lot of fresh faces and people I don't recognize...I have no idea where most of them came from.

What is disappointing is this desperate attempt to pin the Coalition of Independent Students as a "right wing" slate. Isn't it called a political spectrum because of all that "grey area" in between? Upon conducting some research on the slate's members, I found that the majority of the candidates were actually apolitical and there was even a bit of NDP flavor added to the mix -- but without the bad after taste. I believe that Joanna Groves can better explain the concept of "grey area," seeing as it was her key term used to defend her unconstitutional two and a half year reign as Queen of the NDP training camp. Sadly Sean, the only black and white dichotomy I see here is a website that people read and a website that people don't read. Guess which one yours is?

I think it’s pretty pathetic that the Liberal party is paying an organizer to work on Student Union elections. I would think that the party would have better things to do, like focusing on their own upcoming election. I wish that they would stop worrying about winning seats at UVIC and instead work on the ridiculous tuition fees students have to pay or the alarming number of homeless people in BC. As a former UVIC student I have seen that the hard work that the student union there has done and I hope that the “left” slate kicks ass again this year. And bravo to the individual who attacked Joanna Groves and the other members of the Student Union, you have clearly demonstrated to me that politics is petty no matter what level it is at. Thanks for the lesson.

While I'm not based in Victoria, I don't think there is anything wrong with Henault donating his time to help a friend's slate win support, whether or not I like the slate (although I know some people on the slate, and some of them are leftist federal liberals, [I believe]). This isn't really a story...

Lemme get this straight... With all the shenanigans that have gone on at the UVSS under NDP leadership in the last decade, the big news story is that a former slate member and activist is lending his former compatriots in the war against UVSS corruption some moral support by showing up to some meetings?

Sean, I usually laugh off the people who question the value of the stuff you put up on this site, but in this case I've gotta say your priorities are completely out of whack.

Just think of the BC Liberals using UVSS as a training ground - kinda like the Germans practicing the blitzkrieg on Spain before the big event.

This just shows how insidious the unions and there lapdogs the ndp are.They are poisoning our childrens minds with there fairy tales of social justice.Gordon Campbell exists firmly in reality.Babies die and and people suffer,get over it and get a job. My money will never go to supporting these welfare skums again.4 more years.

This is considered a story? Slow day or what? Let me see if I get what you're saying, students are no longer allowed to hang out with their friends after they graduate ?

That sucks.... This story sucks.. Anyone who says otherwise sucks...

The line between student and actual politics at UVic has always been porous. Former Chairs Jaime Matten and Michelle Kinney both have or are currently working for the NDP caucus and NDP operatives Marne Jensen and Rich Tones occupy the two most senior Beaurocratic posts in the Student Union (or at least they did when I left UVic at the end of last year.)

The big boys have never been adverse to dabbling in student politics: Half an hour before the Chair debate last year the Martlet got an anonymous tip to watch that day's question period where Joy MacPhail launched an oddball attack on then Chair candidate Henault.

Sean: Get a LIFE !
Dallas: Thanks for giving of your time to make a difference.

Yeah, and of course, Henault was sitting in the Leg when the Finance Minister announced that the Liberals were cutting out grants. (I remember now why I thought it funny Henault was putting up posters... *S*) While it would seem odd if a party worker in Victoria was putting up posters at SFU or UNBC, its Victoria, and provincial and student politics are meshed quite a bit. Leave him alone on this one...

too bad that mis-information reins supreme in this attempt at trashing some good people...The coalition is diverse and will surely be best for all students...rumors of Dallas H. being behind it are glorfied and exagerated...sad that people are being labelled by an uninformed source.

I am delighted that Mr. H. is spending his precious days (E-77 today) working hard to make the UVic a comfy home for the BCYLs. And more to the point, I hope he is spending all his time on this project that is so vital to right-wing politics in this province at this time. In fact, maybe the Libs could send some more organizers down there to help him out. Keep up the good work Dallas!

as a UVIC undergrad I’ve been a firsthand witness of Henault's constant creeping around campus like a political pedophile looking for young naïve minds to join him in his “free” market fetish. Being that I know many of the candidates on both sides of the contesting UVSS slates, I can say with the utmost confidence that this member of the liberal payroll in question is doing far more than just standing on the side lines with his “new era” for uvic pom-poms. A few of the candidates for the right-wing UVSS slate have directly informed me they were personally recruited by Henault. Numerous spotting have been made on campus of Henault, along with his lackeys Graigner and Evans, posting up the elections signs for their right-wing puppet slate that cloaks itself in the lie of being a ‘Coalition of “Independents.”’

This year the right-wing slate has taken a page from the federal liberal party by recruiting some token “softer” liberals or apparent “left” wingers as their new tactic in luring UVIC’s mostly apathetic, but traditionally political and progressive, student body into a far more liberal friendly UVSS representative. If this tactic should prove successful, which I fear it very well could, I would not be surprised to see the ‘Coalition of Independents’ silence the vast majority of student’s disapproval toward liberal policies. To see Henault meddling around the UVSS offices whispering liberal lullabies into the ears of his apprentices would also be of no surprise, but let us hope that the progressive slate retains its rightful place on UVIC as the voice for student’s real interests.
In response to all the doubt that the Public Eye is engaging with a worthy story, I ask how a payroll liberal engineering a coalition of right-wing replacements is not alarming to anyone without a liberal membership. Is it far reaching to think the liberal government is concerned about securing a liberal friendly student government to silence some of this provinces hardest hit citizens and loudest opponents to the liberal tyranny?

HEY - Be nice or I'll come back and remind y'all what a real opposition is!

GSP3
Director at Large 89/90, 91/92
Board of Governors 91/92
7 or 8 terms on the Senate
Director of Academics 93/94
Chair & CEO of the Marlet Publishing Society 95/96

George! Kinda wondered what happened to you - I couldn't believe that you finally left UVic and UVic (student) politics. And what is this "7 or 8" terms as a student senator? Don't you remember? Or were you, of all people, dazed and confused back then, just like the rest of us?

Let's all be honest here.... I think the real question in all this is to the Liberals. Is there really noone else on the lower island they could find to be their organizer? This is going to be one tough election, and the best they can find is a kid with only a University Campaign under his belt?

Funny how seemingly so many of you lefties loath Mr. Henault, yet you're all so infatuated by him. Get over it. Let some new stars sparkle!

In terms of you worrying about Dallas' credibility as a political organizer, remember he is the one that was able to organize well enough in the left-wing dominated world of UVic, enough for all of you to spend your spare time in an internet chat room.............sounds like the liberals have put a lot of trust in this guy.

Not sure who are, Nim? I like to to up front on the net although it gets me in constant trouble.

I could put my Senate service on down but I'd have to think about it and remember which Faculty I was in at the time. Dazed and confused was the 70's back home in Deeetroit!

And for those who care, I just did a stint in Ottawa as an EA to an MP who was just defeated and rather than stay and work for someone else, I moved to North Van. Check in the North Shore News for further info!

PS: Vote NO to BC-STV!

As a UVic alumnus from the 1970s, I can recall some pretty aggressive student elections, and often there was a kind of spill-over from federal and provincial politics. It's true that the various student slates, ... the actual names have slipped now, I would have to be prompted with some old Martlet issues, ... tended to have an approximately left, right, or centre flavour. (I really think HS Stern has a huge nerve talking about "bad after taste".)

But, I cannot recall any instance were a "downtown" organizer for NDP, Liberals, Tories or Socreds was dispatched to Ring Road to help "their" student slate to prevail. It was just not the sort of thing that ever reached the radar screens of any of the federal or provincial parties. It was nice to recruit a successful student politician, ... well, most of the time, ... but the parties never spent downtown dollars or racked up hours on the clocks of regular party organizers trying to create a student pol success story.

So lets look at this from the other angle...do you guys complaining about this think Henault should be barred from coming to campus to help out his friends? I agree with those who say leave him alone on this one.

Well MP3, as you well know, no one said anything about banning anyone from campus. Do you think people should be prohibited from discussing Henault's activities? Why the hyper-sensitivity over people talking about the fact that the BC Liberals are putting major organizational muscle into a campus election???

BUDD - "major organizational muscle"??? gimme a break - who cares what Mr. Henault does with his free time?

And really, if you know Dallas, you wouldn't consider him a) an adult or b) "major muscle"

Dallas is a nice guy and someone I call a friend, but he's hardly representative of some vast right-wing conspiracy on campus.

If we want to talk about inappropriate partisan tactics in UVic elections why aren't we talking about the partisan UVSS board hiring former activists and party loyalists? Why aren't we talking about the gerrymandering of their polling hours and poll locations? Why aren't we talking about staff campaigning on paid time?

When I ran for UVSS Chair in 2001 the big issue was that the chair at the time was campaigning for the other team while she sat on the supposedly non-partisan electoral committee! And by definition she wasn't even a member in good standing of the UVSS while she was chair!

If you want scandle at the UVSS, you're barking up the wrong tree if you're chasing someone as benign as Dallas Henault.

As you well know, Andres McVie, no one used the word scandal. Except you.

Budd, no matter what your choice of lexicon, what's being suggested here is that Dallas' presence at a few meetings and hanging a few signs is somehow an eggregious and scandalous partisan involvement in the UVSS elections.

I'm just pointing out that that is rubbish, bunk, nonsense, or run any of those through Thesaurus.com if you want a different version.

But I'm getting tired of arguing about how irrelevant, unimportant and downright foolish the subject of this posting is. Really, explaining just how utterly ridiculous it is for anyone to think that this story is news isn't a very effective use of my time.

Jeez, Dallas was a candidate last year, wasn't he? This is a case of a continuing involvement, not a hired gun being "sent" from the Leg. Once the left gerrymandered all future elections by putting constituency reps in, it was impossible for an oppposition slate to take down the governing coalition that has run the SUB. The only line of attack on these NDP cronies is by referendum and attacking their involuntary taxes/student fees, the rest of this is just battling over paid executive positions.

I agree, Andrew, that making the same, simple point, over and over again, can be tiresome. So why are you doing it? The explanation that comes to mind is an acute sensitivity, a hypersensitivity really, to what others have said.

As you know, I never said or implied that this organizer's involvement in a student election was in any way an impropriety. Only that it's really odd, I have never heard of this kind of thing happening before in a student election. It makes a person wonder what kind of calculations (miscalculations?) are going on in the BC Liberal War Room. What are the Liberals hoping to accomplish by this maneouvre? Perhaps one has to recall the old aphorism that in student politics the infighting is so intense because the stakes are so small, and then hypothesize that somehow the MBAs and PoliSci Grads at Liberal HQ have been swept up in the misplaced enthusiasm.

BTW, Andrew, what was that in your earlier post about the "the gerrymandering of their polling hours and poll locations"? Was there some problem with the way the last set of UVic student council elections was run?


Budd,

I've been off campus for several years so I can't speak to the current polling hour situation, but when I ran in 2001 we had to force an emergency meeting of the board because the stacked electoral committee had ensured that only buildings that houses faculties friendly to the status-quo far left slate got full access to polling staitions. Even when we demanded proportionate access to polls based on the number of students using the different polling buildinds we still faced wildly unfair voting hours.

Finally, if you haven't figured out yet that any involvement on Dallas' part is in his capacity as the former leader of this slate and a former candidate with an interest in seeing the tyranical "Putting Students First" slate overthrown, and not as a BC Liberal staffer, then you really aren't getting this.

Finally, for some perspective on BC Liberal involvement (which from what little I know of this campaign is non-existant) I'm not a BC Liberal, and haven't supported the party since Gordon Wilson was leader when I was in junior high. I'm proud to be voting for Rob Flemming in May.

This seems pretty clear to me. No one is denying that Henault is a paid BC Liberal organizer, and no one is denying that he is helping out on a campaign at UVic. If it truly is on his own time then fine, but what are his hours of work? Is he on the clock with the Liberals when he's up at UVic? I think this is the real question.

So that's saying that if you work at a job that might be seen as being partisan, you can't volunteer your free time to causes you believe in?

mmkay, I'll explect no union workers to work on the NDPs election campaign REGARDLESS whether they believe in the cause or if it's in their spare time.

BH

This is ridiculous, and a clear indication of why people assume that student politics in Victoria is connected to politics outside the student population.

However, Andrew, whether you believe the PSF slate is tyrannical, I'm quite sure that they have just as many pleasant things to say about Henaults former slate. Save your personal problems for PSF, not this site.

If Henault is donating time to the campaign, that's his business, and really, good for him for staying involved. If he is donating hours that he's billing to the Liberal party (not proven) then he'll either be reprimanded or he'll cost the Liberals a lot of face.

Sean, can you PLEASE update the site, so we can move on?

It sounds like you're making a wise choice on May 17th, Andrew. As for these polling hours and access to polling stations, my involvement with UVic goes back much further, to the 1970s, and I really don't recall how balloting was done, but in those days I think most voting was done in the SUB.

I assume the board you complained to was a body of the student society? If they didn't rectify the matter for you, it seems to speak to a need for some kind of independent check on how student elections are conducted. But who is going to provide this independent check, and at what cost? Certainly, I cannot picture the university administration being considered "independent" or "disinterested" in UVSS elections. What other body could provide this service?

Budd, your question speaks to one of the core problems with the UVSS and student's society's in general.

The UVSS is a government-type body. Membership (and the high fees that accompany) is mandatory for students, they have no choice but to be in the UVSS. Yet the vast majority (90% + most years) of students are too apathetic to vote in the elections this self-administering body holds. Because of the nature of the Universities Act, no one but the 'rightfully' elected board of student's societies has any say in the matter.

I would suggest that the first step towards repairing student societies is to require minimum voter turnout rates for a mandate. If a reasonable minimum percentage of the membership can't be bothered to vote the election should be nulified and the administration of the society handed over to the University until such time as a sufficient number of students are willing to participate.

Andrew McVie voting for Rob Flemming? is this the same Andrew that sat with the conservatives in this year's University Model Parliament?
I was also curious if your adamant defense of Dallas's activity has anything to do with your recent activity on UVIC campus? Little birds have been chirping about your presence on the UVSS campaign trail....hmm, perhaps this story touches a personal note for you? Not that there would be anything wrong with volunteering your time for a cause you believe in (Dallas is another story being that he’s on Liberal payroll); however, the Coalition of Independents is looking more like the “Coalition of Disgruntled Former Chair Candidates” the deeper one looks. Maybe you’re right though…maybe all this right wing energy devoted to bringing down the student union is just a coincidence.

Arnold,

Yes, this is the the one and the same federal Conservative Andrew McVie. And yes, I'm excited to be voting for Rob Flemming in the May election. I'm just shy of actually supporting the NDP as a whole, but I definitly consider them the lesser of the two evils in this election.

Why does this matter? Because in the last 15 years UVic has become a major source of young blood for the left and right in BC politics.

AS UVic has become a powerhouse in Canadian sports, it is has also become a powerhouse within BC politics. The rise really takes off with the eleciton of Mike Harcourt in 1991, or when the AMS adopted the name UVSS.

The number of MAs, EAs, SAs, DMs and now MLAs that have been UVictims is getting bigger each every year. It would be interesting to see a list who has come out of there.

UVic is also a major source for the white collar civil service in BC. Of the Universities in BC, UVic is now the most important when it comes to the future of government.

Partial List:

Mike Geoghegan
Elizabeth Loughran
Rob Flemming
David Basi
George Pringle
Brian Menzies

feel free to fling out the names you know

ps VOTE YES to STV! It is fair and democratic, two things our current system can claim. So far there has not been a single princpled and ethical argument against STV by anyone

This is great stuff!

George...good to see you are still alive!

We actually agree on something...BC STV SUCKS!

Cheers

Different student societies adopt different rules for guaranteeing the independence of their elections. At my student society, elections are governed by an Independent Electoral Commission, whose members are appointed by 2/3rds vote of the Board of Directors, and can only legally be removed "for cause". Current Directors are ineligible to serve on the commission.

Other student societies have different procedures. The National Union of Students (U.K.) maintains an Elections Committee of five members that includes one appointee each of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Law Society, and the Bar.

Of course, one can note that there are plenty of other democratic organisations that control their own elections (e.g. the provincial and federal governments)....

I don't know what university Student Politician is associated with, but it looks like they are making an attempt to ensure impartiality on the part of the election machinery. The suggestion by Andrew that all student elections be nullified until they can get a "reasonable" turnout is just not on. After all, someone might suggest applying similar rules to local government, or to corporate governance.

I have to say that Bernard's post is particularly amusing. His citing of failed UVic grads Mike Geoghegan, whose intolerant foot-in-mouth disease cost him a job with the construction lobby, and Dave Basi, whose activities cost the two most powerful BC Ministers their careers and may yet liquidate both the provincial and federal Liberal Parties, is not the kind of recommendation that the UVic Alumni Assn is going to want to use in its fundraising mailouts.

I think part of the solution can be found on Public Eye's localized little cousins:
LangleyPolitics.com
Northvancouverpolitics.blogspot.com
Burnabypolitics.blogspot.com

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