It’s a start


The Canadian Federation of Students gave some student media access to their recent national conference in Ottawa. This is a good first step on their part and a huge leap forward from their position of a year ago.

The Student Society of McGill University can be proud. They joined the Federation saying they planned to move it towards transparency and last year, they tabled a motion calling on the CFS to open its meetings to the student media. The motion was overwhelmingly rejected and the SSMU was kicked out of the CFS later in the year.

The opening of their meeting to move selected student journalists is a good first step on the part of the CFS and hopefully represents the beginning of a reform movement within the organization.

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It’s a start

  1. How can we read the stories on CUP? It says we need a password.

  2. I will post a link as soon as it is republished in a student paper.

    – Joey

  3. Joey,
    Why do you have to use none-linear arguments?

    “The motion was overwhelmingly rejected and the SSMU was kicked out of the CFS later in the year.”

    Those are two quite separate issues:
    1. CUP has been able for a long time to come and report from both opening and closing plenary – when every and all final decisions of CFS are made. The motion you are talking about stated that members of CUP be aloud in to every committee and constituency group meeting (which would mean students in Queer Consistency group be named and recorded for the public, whihc many may not feel comfortable doing; in to advocacy and action planning committees that need relative privacy to hammer out; etc.)

    2. SSMU was not “kicked out” and their leaving had nothing to do with any motions they presented. SSMU had been a prospective member (not full, not paying) member for two years and was asking to extend their prospective membership again. The point of prospective is to try out membership, then decide if you want to join, and run a referendum – you can’t continue to participate, year after year, without either paying membership dues or running a referendum.

    How about some journalistic integrity, Joey.

  4. Seamus,

    I always enjoy the CFS spin on events. It is rather amusing and could easily be made into a best-selling squeal to 1984.

    1) The motion did not require unreasonable transparency. Further, it could have been amended at committee. Instead, the delegates at the CFS conference “decided” to overwhelmingly reject the motion. Try getting your facts correct, and not take the spin as fact. NOBODY is suggesting that students who are not comfortable revealing their sexuality, due to the discrimination that continues to exist in our society, be required to. In short, the answer to a “flawed” motion is to amend it. You only reject the entire motion if there is a disagreement with the principal. Hence this blog post, the CFS has moved forward on transparency. This is a good first step.

    2) The May 2007 conference was the first that CUP had attended in the recent history of the CFS. Even at that, the CFS conference passed a motion condemning their “interference” at the conference. The CUP President had lobbied in favour of greater transparency. The CFS rejected requests from the Carleton and McGill student newspapers for access to that conference. Again, this year is a vast improvement compared to last.

    3) The SSMU had been a prospective member for about 1.5 years, not two. They joined in the spring of 2006. They originally planned to hold their referendum in the fall of 2007. Due to the legal situation which shut down CFS-Quebec, no referendum could be held. Talks were underway to hold a spring 2008 referendum on full membership. For a group as committed to “letting the members decide” as the CFS, it is surprising they never let the students vote.

    4) There is also a cost involved in prospective membership.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. 1) I already stated my opinion on the student newspapers at CFS general meetings (all newspapers, not just CUP, should be allowed at the plenaries and workshops), but for the next points I want maybe to make some precisions since I was attending both general meetings Joey is referring too.

    2) “The May 2007 conference was the first that CUP had attended in the recent history of the CFS. Even at that, the CFS conference passed a motion condemning their “interference” at the conference.”

    Don’t mix up two things though. The “inteference” was relating to the Organizational and Service Development subcommittee (to some members of which CUP had sent e-mails), not to the plenary (which CUP was allowed in). Again, I voted against the motion, but I just want to avoid being confused into thinking that it was the journalist’s presence at the plenary that was called “interference” by some people at CFS, rather it was their lobbying of a subcommittee.

    3) For SSMU, the bottom line is that the National Executive wanted to give them a prospective membership extension, for the reasons Joey mentioned, but at the surprise of a lot of people, the general meeting voted against it.

    (By the way, Joey, it kinds of disproves the point that the National Exec. controls the minds of delegates, doesn’t it?)

    As you all should know, however, McGill could still have a referendum to join CFS without a prospective member status. Removing prospective membership does not remove their ability to call a referendum. (Do you seriously think CFS would not recognize a “Yes” vote for federation because the student union was not prospective members first?)

    4) I don’t know about the case of SSMU, but I think the prospective membership fee (around 10% of the full membership levy) has been waived in many cases. Thus Seamus might be correct.

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