VP external candidate looks ahead to new relationships while leaving one behind

The February 24 debate saw the sole candidate for AMS VP external, Saad Shoaib, juggle questions about how he’d work with a variety of stakeholders.

From sexual assault organizations and the Graduate Student Society to the BC NDP and federal lobby groups, Shoaib emphasized his experience as current associate VP external.

But while promising continued partnerships, he distanced himself from ThePlug Vancouver — the events organization that’s part of an investigation into incumbent VP external Kalith Nanayakkara’s potential conflict of interest.

Shoaib said he “resigned from ThePlug to ensure that there are no future conflicts of interest” in January, adding that he only did data analytics in his role.

The candidate said that he would continue lobbying for SkyTrain to UBC because it would help not only students, but the community at large.

“The SkyTrain to UBC isn’t just important for UBC. It’s important for all of British Columbia, because of the jobs, because of the housing affordability, because of the reconciliation and all sorts of the sustainability options it offers,” Shoaib said.

While he mentioned that the federal government had established a permanent transit fund that would invest $3 billion into public transit annually, payments will only begin in 2026.

He ran through the different levels of government he would lobby, including the Mayors’ Council that oversees transit in Greater Vancouver.

When asked about lobbying through Undergraduates of Canadian Research-Intensive Universities (UCRU), the fledgling association of 15 universities across the country, Shoaib said he would represent the AMS’s needs as the only school from Western Canada. He pledged to run for UCRU vice-chair.

Shoaib highlighted that UCRU advocated for the removal of interest on federal student loans, which the federal government has done through 2022.

Beyond student affordability, Shoaib also pledged to work with UCRU to lobby Ottawa to meet its emission reduction standards.

“It is something that you need to continuously advocate for because the climate that we live in will be the climate that impacts us in the future.”