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CFS: Didn’t make “any such financial contributions” to York strikers

CFS says claim it gave money to CUPE is “false”


 

We received a letter this afternoon from the lawyers for the Canadian Federation of Students. It says the CFS never gave $2,500 to the union representing York strikers, CUPE local 3903. “This passage is false,” reads the letter. “CFS has not made any such financial contribution to CUPE 3093.”


What we’re trying to understand — and what we’ve have just emailed CFS spokesman Ian Boyko to ask — is exactly what that means.Is the CFS saying that no part of the CFS gave $2,500 to CUPE local 3903? The original Excalibur story says that the Ontario arm of CFS, CFS-Ontario, provided the money. Is the CFS splitting hairs (as they often do) between the closely related CFS and CFS-O? Is that the alleged falsehood in our post and the Excalibur story? Or is CFS saying that no money was given to CUPE 3903 by any part of the CFS, whether the national body or the provincial body, and that the Excalibur story is entirely false?

We note for now that the Excalibur is sticking by its story and the Canadian University Press has just moved the Excalibur story on its newswire, which is distributed to Canadian campus newspapers.

More details to come as soon as we receive them from the CFS. We’re happy to make their position clear and public, but so far all we have is this letter (and this earlier exchange with Ian Boyko), so that’s what we’ve published.

Update 28-Nov-08 1458EST: Ian Boyko responded to use with the following email:

Joey,

Every statement about the Canadian Federation of Students in the original post, including the title, is false. The Canadian Federation of Students has not made a donation to CUPE 3903 (“zero dollars”).

As for determining the actions taken by affiliated organizations, you should ask their representatives yourself. The difference between our organization and our affiliates has been explained to you before.

Now they we’ve received a specific complaint from the CFS, we are in the process of clarifying the information provided by the CUPE 3903 website.


 

CFS: Didn’t make “any such financial contributions” to York strikers

  1. Splitting hairs?

    Are you aware that CFS and CFS-O are separately incorporated entities with different memberships?

    (Yes, members of CFS-O are also members of CFS; but not all members of CFS are also members of CFS-O.)

    You are repeating false information. Why?

  2. How can one get so upset over such a trivial difference? It’s all one student fee.

  3. @Joey Coleman

    Read Ian Boyko’s email slowly.

    “CFS has not made any such financial contribution to CUPE 3093.”

    I will take Ian Boyko’s word on this one. The Canadian Federation of Students has never made a financial contribution to CUPE 3093, which presumably, does not even exist.

    Assuming it is a typo and not a witty yet utterly useless trick, I think journalists need to concede this point. It does not matter that every single member of the CFS-O is also a member of the CFS. And it does not matter that it is impossible to be a member of the CFS-O and not a member of the CFS. And really, it does not matter that the CFS seems to raise this point only when it is negative press coverage and not when the opposite occurs. I also doubt – though I stand to be corrected – that Mr. Boyko sent an equally insulting email to CUPE demanding they correct their website.

    What really matters is the following: This issue is so petty that it is diverting attention away from the initial issue. The donation itself. It is a valid debate as to whether or not the CFS-O should be able to make such donations and what criteria should be considered. Personally, I think it is legitimate, though a debate on the issue is certainly appropriate.

    Rick has a point. Though the names are similar (CFS-CFS-O), they are still two separate bodies and one does not control, nor is responsible, for the actions of the other.

    Finally, being Ian Boyko right now, I would wonder if this is what being part of the Student Movement™ is. Sending passive-aggressive emails to journalists demanding apologies and retractions for something this petty. A simple email asking the blogger in question to correct his obvious mistake would have sufficed.

    Instead, he is propagating the impression that the CFS is hostile toward journalists, insecure about its image, eerily eager to use language giving the impression that a lawsuit is imminent and quite frankly, immature.

    Hopefully Ian Boyko will send an email explaining – for an umpteenth time – that the two bodies are distinct, and ask Joey Coleman to correct the posts. On the other side of the exchance, Joey Coleman can respond back to Ian Boyko, and apologize for repeating this mistake, and explain that it is an honest mistake.

    Oh. But wait. That would require common sense, maturity and a desire to put students/readers first.

    I am happy that Joey Coleman posted the email exchange, for the simple fact that student journalists and student politicians can see exactly what they should not be doing. Not to mention the fact that Ian Boyko now knows that his emails will be posted on websites and blogs everywhere. Maybe he will think twice before sending half-assed correspondences.

  4. Ian – If I was a CFS member outside Ontario, the difference would matter to me, because I would be contributing to CFS national (and I would care about how they spend that money), but I wouldn’t be contributing to CFS-Ontario, so I wouldn’t care about what the students there do with their money.

    Like Rick said:

    “members of CFS-O are also members of CFS; but not all members of CFS are also members of CFS-O.”

  5. @Joey Coleman

    My apologies for my above post.

    I had not seen the SLAPP letter when I initially posted.

    I think Ian Boyko and the Canadian Federation of Students have lost all credibility – and reason – on this issue.

    Also, please note that I am not writing Ian Boyko’s full name as often as possible to ensure that people googling “Ian Boyko” will land on this page, though I am quite pleased that Ian Boyko will be associated with frivolous threats and petty disputes whenever a government staffer will google “Ian Boyko” before meeting him. And yes, I know, Ian Boyko is only doing his job and it is not entirely Ian Boyko’s fault.

    I wonder whether Ian Boyko’s lawyers – err, the Canadian Federation of Students’ lawyers – sent the same letter to CUPE. As it is still on the union’s website: http://www.3903strike.ca/solidarity-rally-big-boost-to-3903-strike

  6. Also, when arguing for “Lower Fees”, it might be a good idea not to spend a few hundred dollars on legal threats.

    I would be curious to know how much was spent on this SLAPP. I would guess somewhere near $500, though I might be wrong.

    And this letter can be added to the next “NO” campaign. And published by the Excalibur and a host of other campus newspapers. Oh. And remind everyone that the CFS-O gave $2500 to CUPE during the York Strike.

  7. Ian: It’s two separate fees, actually.

    Wassim: What is “petty” is Joey’s politically motivated campaign of misinformation. So, if CFS does not respond, it loses; Joey’s deliberate misinformation posting remains forever. And if CFS does respond, then it’s being “immature.” Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Really can’t win with you boys, eh?

  8. Isn’t he just quoting from another article? Is the Excalibur running a “campaign of misinformation” too?

  9. Joey, can’t you just do what the letter says and get this nonsense over with? I mean, really!

    The complainant is still perfectly in the right, now matter how thinly you split the hairs.

  10. “A simple email asking the blogger in question to correct his obvious mistake would have sufficed.”

    But, the blogger in question is a journalist who works for Macleans! So, the libelous blog post has a high impact, since Macleans is “Canada’s Newsmagazine (TM)”, right?

  11. [Nov 27] “A false statement is also repeated on the main Oncampus page, increasing the harm to our organisation. The Canadian Federation of Students has done nothing you describe in this entry. Please delete it immediately and place the retraction and apology in an equally conspicuous location.”

    Oh, look, he DID ask you to remove the post in a simple communication.

  12. The way I see it, this issue could really be about one of two things.

    1. The CFS representative is upset that Coleman mixed up two organizations. If this was the case, he’d respond by telling Coleman exactly what his mistake was, and hoping for a correction.

    2. The CFS representaive is upset that Coleman is reporting on a widely unpopular move that the CFS(-O?) has taken. If this was the case, he’d respond by sending a threatening letter with no imformation about how to correct the mistake, and hoping for a retraction.

    One of those two has occurred.

  13. If (2) has occurred, Coleman must take special care on “reporting” the CFS(-O?)’s widely unpopular move to avoid being libelous.

  14. Reading the back and forth plus this letter, it is clear that the CFS has not yet told Maclean’s what is wrong about the Excalibur article and the union’s own website.

    (It is the union that says the Canadian Federation of Students gave them money, not Joey. Maybe the CFS should sue CUPE instead of Maclean’s.)

    If somebody demanded I apologize for something somebody else said, I’d tell them to bugger off.

    The real questions are:

    1) Why is CUPE claiming the CFS gave money?
    2) Why is the CFS not asking them for the apology?
    3) Why hasn’t the CFS actually answered Joey’s simple question: What is actually false?
    4) Why is the CFS spending my student fee on CUPE and lawyers?
    5) How much did the lawyers letter cost?

    This isn’t the first time the CFS has engaged in SLAPP suits.
    They’ve
    threatened the paper at my school a few times as well.

  15. LOL, I love how targeted legal threats are the staple of the CFS! I mean seriously, the UNION is even saying they gave money, the Excalibur is saying they gave money, and Joey is reiterating those exact sources. Must be a tough job to appease a whole bunch of left-wing activists during the AGM right now …

  16. Rick said:

    “So, if CFS does not respond, it loses; Joey’s deliberate misinformation posting remains forever. And if CFS does respond, then it’s being “immature.” Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Really can’t win with you boys, eh?”

    Sounds like a false dilemma to me (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma). If only because there’s different ways to respond.

    However I agree with Wassim that we have to recognize immaturity on both sides. It’s obvious to anyone who reads the Excalibur article than the donation was made from the CFS-Ontario budget and approved by the CFS-Ontario executive. What’s the point of Joey to deny it outside of gratuitous provocation?

  17. It looks like CUPE 3903 has removed any mention of the CFS from their site. Anyone have a screen-capture?

  18. Joey,

    Have you contacted TExcalibur to find out if they’ve received a similar letter? If so, what were the results?

  19. Classic CFS: pedantry and litigiousness.

  20. Another thing about it being great to be a member of CUSA: Ian Boyko chairs the CUSA Council meetings.

    Damn the CFS. Sorry, Damn the CFS *and* the CFS-Ontario.

  21. I think Wassim is correct: CFS looks to have spent about $500 on this ridiculous matter. Mr. Bernstein is listed at his firm’s Web site as a partner of his small law firm, and as 8 years past his initial call to the bar. A $500/h billing rate sounds about right, and assume an hour or so spent on this matter (talking to his clients at CFS, composing the letter, conferring back with CFS, etc.).

  22. Pingback: An interesting link on the York strike : Macleans OnCampus

  23. Rick said,

    “Wassim: What is “petty” is Joey’s politically motivated campaign of misinformation. So, if CFS does not respond, it loses; Joey’s deliberate misinformation posting remains forever. And if CFS does respond, then it’s being “immature.” Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Really can’t win with you boys, eh?”

    Rick, have you considered he might have more rational reasons than simple politics to dislike the CFS and its many wings? Reasons like receiving petty legal threats from an overly litigious student organization that likes to waste student money on legal fees?

  24. Pingback: CFS and SFSS go to court : Macleans OnCampus

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