Do as I say, not as I do


I wish I had thought of this argument.


Do as I say, not as I do

  1. I’m confused by your interest in this story. The Fulcrum piece is about trial membership in the CFS. As the story says, a vote to join as full members (where all students participte) will happen this fall.

    But here’s a story about a real tragedy:

    The the U of A students’ union council made the unilateral decision to join CASA as full members, no vote for students–ever.
    Why does Joey Colemann prefer to attack the CFS and not cover the CASA membership cover-up at U of A!?

  2. To which argument are you referring? The editorial draws an erroneous parallel. Is that “the argument” you like? If so, then clearly it’s the rhetorical effect you like — and not it’s problematic logic.

  3. Rick, if the parallel is erroneous, please explain why!

  4. Rick, are you refering to the “argument” Joey wishes he thought of or the argument I am making?

    My point is just that there is a real glaring example of shutting students out of an important decision at the U of A. Here is a decision by a small group of people committs the entire student union to FULL membership in CASA, which has gone unreported. I feel strongly that it’s a double standard for Maclean’s to highlight the situation at U of O (which seems to me to be a far lesser issue because of the campus-wide vote that all students will soon get to vote in) and to totally neglect the terrible method of joining CASA at U of A that is outlined in the story I cited in my first post. It’s that simple.

  5. We could argue for hours about whether the parallel is accurated, but instead I will note that the editorial concluded this way:
    “Thankfully the BOA made the right call, and a decision on membership in the CFS will go directly to students later this year. However, the fact remains that a significant step in the membership process was taken during a time that the BOA must have known that student participation would fall far short of expected levels during the school year.”

    I don’t think the Fulcrum is suddenly in favour of the SFUO joining CFS. But I think “thankfully” in that case means “finally, we will have a referendum and the case will be closed”. I had that impression last year that people on both sides of the debate at U of Ottawa think it has been dragging for way too long.

    The Fulcrum are doing their work by reporting on what happened and encouraging the student population to get more involved in the issue. When the debate about full membership kicks in I doubt the issue of the summer vote will get much attention. I’m not saying the debate about the “rightfulness” of this decision is totally useless, but it will likely be replaced by more substantive points.

  6. the case will be closed? No matter what the outcome, I sincerely doubt that!

  7. The key difference — making the parallel spurious — is that the students’ union’s decision to become a prospective member is not the final decision. It is merely one step towards making the final decision (i.e., through referendum). Of course, Team Joey Carson will frame it differently for maximum political effect. No surprises, there: it’s the same old, same old. I imagine you’d both prefer a world without a progressive national student organization. What else could we expect from a fringe ideologue who thinks McCain-Palin is a good idea for America?

  8. IF person likes McCain (or any other statement different than my point of view)
    THEN person does not subscribe to my ideology AND person is fringe ideologue

    How can I defeat some great logic.

  9. Carson: Last time there was a vote in CFS at University of Ottawa it was in 1995 (to defederate). And they federated in the 1980s. So maybe there will be another one 10-15 years after 2008-2009… 3-4 complete membership turnovers an eternity for a students’ union.

  10. Rick, it is not the final decision, you are correct on that. However the SFUO made a huge deal when the administration approached them about a student code of conduct around exam time, this also was not the final decision. And, anyway you put it, prospective membership IS membership. As you know prospective members have voting rights at general meetings. It seems a decision such as that could have been postponed until September when students are around. That doesn`t mean the SFUO doesn`t have the right to have done this in the summer, as they most certainly do, as the university most certainly has the right to pass policy when it pleases. But given the SFUO has tried to take the moral high ground, the parallel is relevant.

  11. Joey: Nice try. But that wasn’t my argument. Just pointing out, as an aside, that your views are radically right-wing. So, as I said, I’m ‘not surprised’ by your line of argumentation. It reflects your ideological bent and history of attacking progressive student organizations and initiatives. Papa McCain would be proud.

    Carson: Surely you think that the parallel is ‘relevant’ because, like Joey, you relish any line of argumentation aimed at undermining the legitimacy of students’ unions and progressive activism. You have a clear history in that regard. So, again, no surprises. At the end of the day, SFUO will be putting the question to its members in a general referendum. I doubt that the U of O administration was planning to do the same thing with the Student Code of Conduct. Now, I realize that ‘comparing apples to apples’ would not suit your right-wing agenda, but a little bit of honesty would do you well.

  12. Rick, how is that in any world an argument or a response to what I said. How am I undermining the legitimacy of anything? If I really had the power to do that, man I would be living large…

  13. I guess that is how Rick would respond as he appears to see the world as one big useless ideological competition. Bleh. The Canadian Federation of Students has critics from across the political spectrum. The assumption that anyone who criticizes the CFS is therefore a right wing nut is a baseless assumption that only holds weight among the staunchest of partisan supporters.

  14. “At the end of the day, SFUO will be putting the question to its members in a general referendum. I doubt that the U of O administration was planning to do the same thing with the Student Code of Conduct.”

    You don’t even have to speculate. Bruce Feldthusen was quoted quite clearly (in an article written by Carson) saying that the University of Ottawa was not considering a student referendum on this.

    On a side point, I’d like to precise that the timing of the Code proposal was not (and could not) be the main argument to oppose the Code. It was mostly an additional frustration for students opposed to the Code for more fundamental reasons. It seems almost like an obvious point that we only criticize a process when we think that, at least on some points, the conclusion and consequence of this process was wrong.

  15. Should the SFUO really get credit for putting the question of CFS membership to students? It is not a decision chosen by the SFUO indepently, it is a condition of membership stipulated by the CFS.

    So the suggestion that the SFUO somehow does better because they are holding a referendum on this issue while the university is not holding one regarding the code of conduct doesn’t hold. Absent such conditions from the CFS, the SFUO might have still opted for a referendum, but there is no way to know, and as such they should not get credit for it.

  16. I suppose I am not alone, Carson. “In the unlikely event that conservatives are successful in their push for greater representation in American universities, and if the same occurs in Canada (also unlikely), they might just be the saviours of the diversity and freedom of thought that the left has fought so long to achieve and maintain.” Sound familiar? Of course, you wrote it. Sounds like a right-wing vs. left-wing worldview to me. And, of course, you were arguing on the side of the right. Surprise, surprise.

    Furthermore: (1) I did not argue that you were undermining legitimacy; I noted that you/Joey support arguments that aim to do so. (2) Most politicos/pundits who criticize the Federation (in the same manner as you and Joey) are right-wing; they’re the same kind of people who favour elitist (private) systems of education–which, of course, is what the Federation works against. So, no wonder. (3) I did not assume that “anyone who criticizes the CFS is therefore a right wing nut.” Your rhetorical word-twisting is amusing, nonetheless.

  17. Carson: They didn’t have to put the question to referendum. The board could have decided by themselves (as they did two years in a row) to just reject the idea of being member of CFS before even having a referendum to assess the general student opinion.

    It is in the by-laws of the SFUO (as most if not all other student associations in the country) that a new levy (like the CFS levy) has to go through referendum.

    Now you might say they get “less credit” because the rule forces them to do a referendum. I find that point a bit moot. I think it is better to rely on policies than on the general “nice-ness” of whoever in on the executive at a given point.

    Compared to stories you hear elsewhere in the country, the SFUO has had surprisingly good governance standards in the last few years, and they have even solved a potential conflict of interest by giving independence to both student papers. Sure, it is not all the credit of the current executive, but rather something that has been building up for many years. But the fact that the credit is spread over more people doesn’t mean it’s any less improtant.

  18. Carson, I guess you missed my point. The substance of your convictions didn’t interest me. Rather, I was merely pointing out that your worldview is obviously structured according to a Right vs. Left logic — and that you situate yourself on the Right. So, once again, one is not surprised by the anti-progressive babble that Maclean’s invites you to publish routinely as (quasi-)journalism. Why pretend? Just be honest: “I’m a conservative and I hate the fact that the Canadian Federation of Students works (effectively) against the (bad) policies of governments that I support. So, I’ll post all kinds of ‘journalism’ in order to smear and de-legitimize the CFS as much as possible.” How about it?

  19. You were pointing out that my worldview was structured in a certain way by using a particular piece of evidence, a position a took once that I no longer hold.

    And which governments do I in fact support?

  20. Did CFS not sue the SFUO after that defederation referendum?

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