Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeNewsCandidate profile: Dylan Letendre

Candidate profile: Dylan Letendre

Senate candidate Dylan Letendre. (Photo by Kristie Smith)
Senate candidate Dylan Letendre. (Photo by Kristie Smith)

Name: Dylan Letendre

Age: 28

Hometown: Prince Albert, SK

Program: International Development Studies and Economics, 3rd year

Position: Senate

Relevant Political Experience: None

Dalhousie Gazette: Why are you running for a Senate position?

Dylan Letendre: I heard through the grapevine that there weren’t enough people running. It was important to me to make sure that students have a voice, and if not enough candidates were available it was my understanding that we would be deprived of one seat at the table, and that’s not very good.

DG: What policy experience do you have?

DT: I’ve been involved in management positions prior to university. I’m a mature student, so I worked for seven years before I began my undergrad. I worked in both the non-profit and private sectors. I worked for two year as a project leader, so I was directly involved in communication, making sure that people were heard and relaying that information up the ladder of the organization. I know that from working in management positions—I have different stories—it really depends on what outcome you want to have happen, the strategy you’re going to implement.

DG: If you were on the Senate this year, what issue would you bring to the table?

DT: I’m not too well informed about what the Senate position entails. I’ve only been involved in the DSU over concerns that I’ve had, and wanted to voice those opinions.

I’ve felt that in the past, the DSU hasn’t been 100 per cent responsive to my concerns regarding student life. I want to make sure students are being heard, and that the DSU as an organization is working as efficiently as possible to meet student needs.

In my past, I didn’t really understand why my concerns weren’t being heard, so I want to make sure student are a little more informed about the process behind the DSU and the Senate. For example, I didn’t know that there was a Senate before this year. Earlier on, I learned in first term that there was a Senate, but the difference between that and the Board of Governors can be confusing as to what falls under what jurisdiction.

DG: What role do you see the Senate having in the coming year?

DT: Again, I would have to learn more. It was a fairly last minute decision to run, and so whether or not people will want to vote for me is really up to them.  I’m sure many students have concerns they want addressed. For example, during the debate on Sexton campus, a lot of students were very vocal about wanting the DSU to be more responsive to their needs. I prompted a few of them after the debate, just asked them, “if this is something that is important to you, why didn’t you run?” So one of my primary goals  is to increase student engagement, by informing them of what goes on in Senate meetings, DSU meetings and empowering them—making them feel that they do have a role—making them feel that their voice will make a difference, even if it is just one voice.

Like I said, I’m just a guy who had some concerns, and if I wasn’t running, there would be one less person to listen. Small things from each individual person can make a difference.

DG: An expected one per cent increase in government funding this year is not enough to prevent another tuition hike. What would you do to help the university’s budgetary concerns?

DT: It depends on what students would like me to do. I made the calculated choice not to run a platform, based on the fact that if I have a platform and got elected based on a platform, I’m obligated to stick to that platform. I want to know what students would like me to do—I want students to reach out to me and tell me what they would like me to do about different policies that are being put forward.

That’s generally what your MP and your MLA, in federal and provincial politics, are supposed to do. You’re supposed to go to them, tell them, “This is what concerns me,” and they’re supposed to be 100 per cent responsive, and act in your best interest and in the best interest of the community. What I’ve found in my experience, before I was a student, was that anytime I had an issue I was concerned about provincially/federally/municipally, I would voice my concern and a lot of times  they would give me answers like “This is what we’re doing,” “This is what the other party isn’t doing,” or even, “We got elected on this platform and can’t respond to what you need because we got elected based on this platform.” Oftentimes, that silences many of their constituents, and I don’t want that to happen at Dal. I want to be responsive to what students need.

DG: What committees would you hope to serve on if elected and why?

DT: That’s something else I need to learn about. I know the expectation is to present myself as someone who knows everything, who’s going to be the best and the epitome of perfection—but I am not that person. I’ll do the best I can, and when I don’t know I’ll say it; this is a situation where I have room to grow. I need to learn more about what each committee does. I need to learn more about what the Senate itself does before I can inform students and take an interest in one specific issue.

DG: Some would perceive you to be a DSU outsider. How do you plan to combat that criticism?

DT: I don’t see that as criticism at all. I’m a member of the union, am I not? All students are. So no student is an outsider to the DSU. I don’t support exclusionary ideas like that; I want to make sure that anybody who is a member of the union feels capable of running for the DSU.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t been involved in the union, I’ve just never held a position before. I’ve attended meetings before and I’ve tried to represent the concerns of my peers as best I can. The idea that certain members of the union are outsiders—I’d like to combat that.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Recent Comments