Fake candidate Rob Ford wins student election at the University of British Columbia

The way things are going for the Toronto Mayor, this may be the only time, this year, that we write these words: 'Rob Ford wins the election'.

Harsev Oshan was a candidate for Alma Mater Society Rep. for the UBC Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS). He won the election, earlier this week beating out seven others.

He did it, however, being Rob Ford.

Oshan actually ran as Rob Ford — that's the name he submitted for the ballot; he set-up a Facebook page; he made campaign promises, according to the Ubyssey newspaper, which included abolishing tuition and providing free alcohol; and he even warned students about his drunken stupors.

Low and behold the scheme worked. He earned 240 votes and is now one of five new AMS Reps.

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As you might imagine, AUS officials at UBC are not pleased.

"It’s not fair that he pushed out more serious candidates," Courtney Lee, AUS elections coordinator, told the Ubyssey.

On Thursday, Oshan took to Facebook to explain himself.

"I recently ran as a joke candidate (Rob Ford)in the UBC Arts Undergraduate Society election. While I think joke candidates can be detrimental to elections - since they take votes away from actual candidates, everyone has the right to run in the elections. Joke candidates tend to be hilarious and get more students to notice elections. However, if students vote for joke candidates, they should also realize that they may actually win and take office. The AUS elections if anything proves that students are very disconnected from the AUS and what it does. It hasn't happened before (from my knowledge) but I will be representing arts students on the AMS council as Harsev and not Rob Ford. Should I have continued as Rob Ford, I think it would have been a waste of a seat/vote on council that has a say in everything."

In an email exchange with Yahoo Canada News, Oshan said that he ran as Rob Ford because he wanted to prove a point.

"The point i was making is that students are very disconnected from the whole electoral process," he said.

"Many students are apathetic. This past election is a good example. Out of the 12,000 arts undergraduates, only about 1,000 arts students voted.

He also makes no apologies for keeping his seat.

"I did everything within my rights to run as a joke candidate, win and keep my seat," he said.

"I'm keeping my seat because in the past we have had joke candidates win, and many step down. This is the tradition that has propagated the whole belief that joke candidates are funny. Because they hardly ever take the position."

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Joke candidates seem to be a common thing at universities across the country including UBC.

According to a recent article by The Peak (Simon Fraser University's student newspaper), the candidate list for a recent UBC Alma Mater Society election included a fire hydrant.

The newspaper also notes that a character by the name of Space Moose finished second at a 1997 University of Alberta Student Union election.

What do you think?

Should these student unions tighten up their candidate eligibility rules?

What about Oshan: should he get to keep his seat? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

(Photo from Facebook)

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