I’ll wear a poppy if I want to

A videoblog response to the CFS annual general meeting.


Last week, the Canadian Federation of Students conducted their 28th Annual General Meeting in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

Some thoughts:

Click here to check out the AGM motions package


CFS threatens legal action against Eyeopener

Breaking up is now harder to do

Breaking up with Canada’s largest student lobby group

If you can’t win, change the rules

SFU-CFS dispute keeps going and going


I’ll wear a poppy if I want to

  1. Nicely done. I love it.

  2. Haha.. I second that comment. Thanks for the laugh, Robyn.

  3. Yes, the CFS hates veterans, and you are an unbiased journalist.Thanks Robyn.

    I can’t imagine why they would think that you – the National Enquirer of campus media – would misrepresent the student movement!!

    All delegates clearly receive Mao textbooks, and also flog themselves at night.

    This is definitely a good reason why we should all defederate, and ask our moms and dads for a bigger allowance to pay our tuition fees as they increase exponentially. Why should we work in concert with other students when we can have sarcastic videodiaries on Macleans.ca, and operate free from the crusty intrusions of fact checkers?

  4. Yeah totally!

    I mean, local 68 of the CFS support the actions of another union during a strike that blocked veterans from coming into campus during a Remembrance Day Ceremonies!

    AMR, do you mind if I quote you on some of that stuff?

    “CFS hate veterans”

    “a good reason we should all defederate”

    “We can…operate free from the crusty intrusions of fact checkers”

    Sound good?

  5. Speaking of CFS and Mao:


    But no, seriously, AMR is right. If we don’t submit to the CFS, give up our right to democracy, and prostrate ourselves at the altar of the “student movement”, tuition fees will never go down!

    Only the CFS has the proven track record of lowering tuition fees year after year.

    I mean, look at the numbers.

    In the last year alone, the CFS has managed to…

    Okay, well fine, at least in the last decade tuition fees have gone WAY way…

    In any case, they’ve made significant progress on…

    Look, let’s not let facts get in the way of solidarity.

  6. I don’t understand why the CFS and its supporters continue to pretent that outside of the CFS there is only a vacuum. There is CASA. I’m not saying CASA isn’t flawed, I am suggesting, however, that leaving the CFS does not preclude Working “in concert with other students” because if one were to leave CFS and join CASA they would still be working “in concert with other students”. Furthermore, one could “work in concert with other students” by trying to create a new organization that has flexibility, transparency and allows dissention but also does legitimate lobbying in attempt in increase the student standard of living.

    To conclude CFS does not = only legitimate way to lobby Federal government for students. In fact, it currently seems to be the worst way.

  7. Yes, let’s just lobby for student needs through the Liberal party of Canada! I’ll go to the dry cleaners and be ready to speak on behalf of the youth of Canada! Where’s my brie and chardonnay?

    Oh and obvs. Canadian students are better with a divided movement. It works so well for labour unions. Why have one united voice when we could build a fractured and dissonant movement with two – no three – decentralized and self involved student groups that allow me to wear my suit over brie and chardonnay at endless conventions per year.

    Politicians poised to cut education funding will feel weak kneed in the face of my crisply ironed suit, and waver when they see that I represent 17% of the undergraduate students in Canada!

  8. Hey AMR, if you were a disheveled looking accused thief, would you want a disheveled looking lawyer?

  9. Absolutely hilarious. Satire is the people’s only approach to arbitrary excesses of authority.

  10. The CFS and the people involved with the CFS are a bunch of self-important future politicians. They don’t care about student issues – they care about hearing the sound of their own voices. And while they pretend to be fair and equitable,the CFS is mainly run by a bunch of annoying know-it-alls who only pretend to care about the issues.

    It’s a pretty shallow organization; based in power and petty politics.

    They are unrealistic with their goals and their method of working with the government.

    Regardless of the number of students they get to sign a petition – Stephen Harper can not give them a unicorn. Or pull a whole bunch of funding out of his ass when the government is looking at a $56 BILLION deficit.

    The policies don’t work.

    The campaigns are almost useless.

    And the people are rigidly left-minded – no doubt alienating half of their student membership.

    (On the positive side, the CFS makes nice agendas that students actually use.)

  11. CFS, which I agree is totally out in left field. Very few actually vote in student elections because they see student unions powerless and impotent to do things such as lower tuition fees, while at the same time, increasing student union fees.

    Has anyone ever looked at what your local student union’s budget is directed towards? I have, its the small minority of radicals that occupy and/or have influence in the student unions.

  12. So AMR, you’d be totally cool if all the student unions nationwide quit CFS and joined CASA? After all, they’d still be united, right?

  13. I don’t mean to take sides here by any stretch, but I think that the people involved in the CFS, CASA, and similar organizations are in most respects self-important future politicians.

  14. Robyn, I have a new crush :)! Smart, insightful and beautiful!

    Anyhow back to the topic, yes this democratic farce was covered by one journalist who completely missed Friday because she had other work to do so wasn’t able to provide 100% coverage, a journalist who was not allowed to interview or ask questions until after the AGM, a venue where members of Quebec got harassed non-stop and nothing was done about it, a venue where someone pulled a fire alarm to stop discussion on Motion 6 as soon as Concordia stepped up to the plate, and then the chair repeatedly ignored Robert’s rules of order in the process for the discussion of motion 6, the voting on motion 6, and the challenges on the validity of motion 6.

    All in all, a democratic framework the CFS can be proud of!

  15. Oh Curtis, perhaps your hormones are blinding you to the truth.

    Perhaps the Federation should allow a contingent of CUP reps – 4 or 5. Perhaps some of these policies should change. But I’m curious whether that would change your opinion of CFS…methinks not.

    I didn’t know that “members of Quebec” were harassed. I’m sure you’re not referring to the students from Victoria, Carleton and Guelph that came with the PGSS. You’re probably not even referring the PGSS delegates who actually attend McGill University since they are from PEI, Vancouver and Chicago. But that’s OK, you can just let your accusation hang in the air, implying that somehow Quebecois students were unwelcome (nevermind that the National Chairperson is a francophone Quebecoise student!). And as for their harassment, I’m glad that you see the difference between the wholly inappropriate political criticism that delegates from the PGSS or CSU got and the completely mature and appropriate snarky YouTube videos or anonymous ad hominem attacks on the internet made by sophisticated characters like Stevo052.

    CFS only provides a trained mediator to serve as the 24-7 anti-harassment advisor available to 300+ delegates throughout their meeting, but Macleans.ca/education has the clearly superior anonymous comment box. (I’m glad they have this instead of a fact checker or qualified journalists). It’s pretty obvious who is committed to a safe space for dialogue, right?

    As for your allegation that the Chair ignored Roberts Rules, perhaps you could post the rule that says abstaining counts as a vote? Or perhaps you could just go to RobertsRules.com (http://www.robertsrules.com/faq.html#6) and you can see:

    Question 6:
    Do abstention votes count?

    The phrase “abstention votes” is an oxymoron, an abstention being a refusal to vote. To abstain means to refrain from voting, and, as a consequence, there can be no such thing as an “abstention vote.”

    In the usual situation, where either a majority vote or a two-thirds vote is required, abstentions have absolutely no effect on the outcome of the vote since what is required is either a majority or two thirds of the votes cast. On the other hand, if the vote required is a majority or two thirds of the members present, or a majority or two thirds of the entire membership, an abstention will have the same effect as a “no” vote. Even in such a case, however, an abstention is not a vote.

  16. Well then, “AMR”, based on what you’ve just written, I’m glad that we can all agree that the CFS passed it’s new ball-and-chain bylaw motion in violation of its own constitution.

    After all, as you say: “if the vote required is a majority or two thirds of the members present . . . an abstention will have the same effect as a ‘no’ vote.”

    And, as it happens, section 15 of the CFS Bylaws (“Amendments”) states quite plainly that:

    “The Constitution and Bylaws of the Federation may only be repealed or amended by the vote of at least two‑thirds of the voting members present at a general meeting.”

    “Voting members” being defined in Section 1.1 as “Local student associations representing individual members”.

    And since the CFS meeting Chair declared the motion passed despite receiving the support of only 44 of 69 “voting members”, there should be little debate on the clear bad faith at work in the decision to pass the new rules.

    Thanks for clearing that up for us all.

  17. No my dear, I’m afraid you have not closely read the by-laws. Voting members means members that vote. A vote can be yay or nay, but an abstention is not a vote. 2/3 of voting members does not include abstaining votes.

    The chair was challenged and her ruling was upheld on this issue.

  18. Actually, I have read the bylaws.

    For instance, I’ve read Bylaw 1.1, which reads:

    “There are two types of members of the Federation, individual members and voting members. Students, or individual members, are represented through the local student association to which they belong. Local student associations representing individual members are called voting members.”

    That last sentence makes absolutely clear what the term “Voting members” means, and it isn’t “members who vote”. I don’t know where you got this latter interpretation – maybe Robert’s Rules, maybe Noah Stewart’s Christmas wishlist – but just t’aint so. Neither of these things trump what’s written clearly into the CFS bylaws, no matter how inconvenient the fact may be for you.

    Mind you, since you seem to think that I haven’t read the Bylaws clearly, I’d love for you to point to the section of the Bylaws that supports your case.

    If you can’t, well, let’s just admit that the CFS broke its own rules in order to prevent its members from exercising their rights.

    Nuff said.

  19. Who came from Guelph in the delegation from PGSS?

    The undertone in your message is rather dismissive of Macleans and the quality of their representatives. No wonder nothing nice gets reported about the CFS. They spend all their time pissing off the media instead of allowing them to do their job. Perhaps quality of reporting will improve if the CFS, you know, LET MORE JOURNALISTS IN.

    Now whether or not they were Quebec students is not the issue. The issue here is the disrespectful attitude and actions of the CFS regarding member representatives. The CFS has absolutely no right to dismiss or belittle appointed representatives from their own member locales. As far as I’m concerned, PGSS could of brought in Hitler himself and you would have absolutely no grounds to dismiss him as a representative of a democratically elected student union so long as that appointment was backed up by the student union. It’s one of those “rights to representation” that we have enshrined in our secular values, and I’d like to know what grounds you have arguing against that democratic right.

  20. Pingback: CFS AGM information! | Kevin Morris

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