VP External candidate Jude Crasta speaks at Great Debate, opponent Janzen Lee absent

VP External candidate Jude Crasta was the sole participant at the Great Debate on Tuesday, as his opponent and fellow candidate Janzen Lee was unable to attend.

Crasta, who currently serves as the associate VP xternal, opened the debate by introducing his campaign platform. He prioritized fairer legislation regarding student housing costs, promoting the federal election, better public transportation opportunities and a more equitable Upass for students.

When asked about his political affiliations, Crasta responded by stating that the AMS is a non-partisan organization that has no political affiliations, and that this route is the best way for the organization to run. Crasta declined to share any political opinions or affiliations, instead commenting that he would choose to support the activities of all political parties and groups on campus.

“I think that everybody has something they need to bring to the table," said Crasta.

The talk soon turned to discussion of Crasta’s campaigns to improve transit and his work with the transit referendum. When asked why he believed that he should continue to work in the VP external office, Crasta referred to his accomplishment of changing the voting period of the transit referendum from August to March in order to include more UBC students as registered voters.

“If the referendum were to take place over the summer, a lot of our students who actually take transit over the winter would not have been able to vote,” said Crasta.

Crasta also mentioned that working to improve transit was one of his most important achievements while working as the associate VP external. He is especially proud of Coffee for Commuters, a program which gives free coffee to students as they get off the bus to campus.

The debate also brought up the municipal election and the upcoming federal election. After an audience member asked him how he would promote the federal election, Crasta referred to his plans to promote two upcoming programs -- Democracy Talks, which encourages political discussion and debate on campus, and Get Out and Vote, a program that encourages student voting.

“It’s a lively political season,” said Crasta.