“Let’s Make Trent Great Again!” the slogan of Corey LeBlanc’s campaign for the presidency of the TCSA, may be the greatest insult to Trent University students yet.
LeBlanc’s campaign, which allegedly promises “democracy on student fees,” “inclusivity” and “aid for students in need,” could not be more hypocritical considering LeBlanc’s proximity to the OPCCA (Ontario Progressive Conservatives Campus Association), his disguised attack on student groups, oppressive online presence, anti-international student sentiment, involvement in last year’s scandal at the TCSA and his play on words of Donald Trump’s racist and misogynistic “Let’s Make America Great Again!” campaign.
In 2009, OPCCA documents that outlined plans for conservative groups on campus to take over student unions were leaked.
The documents contained information on partisan goals to target student unions like the TCSA in order to undermine campus radio stations and “leftist” campus organizations with a specific emphasis on Ontario Public Interest Research Groups (OPIRGs) and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).
Documents were leaked from an OPCCA session that included strategies on how to redirect funding from student unions towards the Conservative Party and on how to run for and win positions within student unions to further political interests.
This approach to student unions is not only problematic in that it clearly seeks to align student unions with partisan politics, but it also represents a direct attack on campus groups that are integral to a university’s fabric.
Part of LeBlanc’s campaign is to “democratize student fees.”
However, his proposed method of “democratization” threatens all levy groups including Arthur Newspaper, Trent Radio, OPIRG, the Trent International Students Association, Trent Active Minds, the Seasoned Spoon, Sexual Violence Support and many others.
Additionally, de-linking from the CFS not only means Trent students’ voices will be excluded from the largest student organization in Canada, which seeks to represent the collective voice of Canadian students at the federal level, but that members of the TCSA will not have access to services provided by the CFS including the International Student Identity Card, the National Student Health Network, the Student Saver Discount Card or the Student Work Abroad Program.
LeBlanc’s leaked conversation with former TCSA president, Braden Freer, which outlines LeBlanc’s intention of de-federating from the CFS, his outspoken opposition to OPIRG Peterborough and his obvious support of the OPCCA through his social media feeds makes the “take-over” of our student union a very real concern.
Furthermore, LeBlanc also published a poorly researched article in the Peterborough Examiner that targeted international student jobs.
The article was written with nationalistic and racist language, and evoked anti-international student sentiments.
Screenshots of LeBlanc’s personal facebook garnered attention at Trent University. “Get over yourself dude. Your fucking ‘ancestral culture’? Fuck your culture” were among the comments LeBlanc had made in an argument with a fellow Trent student online.
It is clear that LeBlanc is not in tune with international student issues and has no intention of lobbying for increased support for international students.
Lastly, his use of Donald Trump’s campaign slogan speaks for itself.
The “Let’s Make America Great Again!” campaign has been widely critiqued for being racist, sexist and run by a “phony and a fraud,” which also accurately describes LeBlanc’s “Lets Make Trent Great Again!” campaign.
Corey LeBlanc is attacking the very values, student groups and diverse voices that already make Trent University great.