SFUO referendum on CFS: results

U Ottawa votes yes to CFS with a win of fewer than 300 votes


 Thanks to Philippe Marchand for posting them as a comment on the site.

Yes 3328
No 3086
Spoiled 67

– My thoughts on the process coming in a blog post later today.


SFUO referendum on CFS: results

  1. I don’t know if this is significant, but I’ve been told that the number of spoiled ballots was higher — 242. Almost enough to cover the difference between federation and independence.

  2. Nick, the rebel alliance has been crushed. They are part of the empire now.

  3. I just took it from La Rotonde’s website. The Fulcrum had the same numbers.

  4. I was in the room and although I wish it were true or that they successfully managed to hide 150 ballots from me when I was not looking, the rumours are false. There were only 67 spoiled ballots.

    Also the win was by 242 votes.

    With a result of 51.8% YES and 48.2% NO, I am very proud of the campaign Ryan and I ran. Despite what the YES people are saying (see Joel Duff’s Facebook status), we ran a clean and respectful campaign despite being outspent, outnumbered, and intimidated by professional campaigners and our own students. We never gave up and that is what they wanted. We are proud. And after 32 hours in that ballot room, I know I am a stronger person.

    Although the results are rather divisive as was our campus over the past couple of weeks, we need to come together. We need to put our differences behind us, or overcome them in order to work together for the good of the University of Ottawa students. Afterall, both sides honestly believed that that was what they were fighting for.

  5. My condolences to the students of U of O, who will, as with all universities with CFS-owned student unions, see their democratic capital diminish over the next three or so years. I know you tried to speak your minds, but the CFS is rather good at buying elections and referenda. When they send execs from assimilated student unions over to meddle in your affairs and throw money at an issue that benefits them, honest debate that should remain in the domain of your university hardly stands a chance.

    As a student at U of T, I know this firsthand, as the CFS manages to constantly make itself a contentious issue by inserting people and ideas into our agenda and gaining patronage appointments in key areas to keep themselves in power. There’s a lot of criticism, but what can students do? They even sent our student union President and some execs over to your campus to help with their efforts much like they did with our execs in B.C. last year. Indeed, it’s likely that you can soon expect the same behaviour from future SFUO execs.

    You will find that U of O issues will cease to be important, and SFUO (even thought they’re not necessarily to blame here) will rapidly reorganize internally and begin to spout CFS talking points and spend your money on the radical-left agenda dictated by the CFS. They will become a member local of a lobby group rather than a student union. Their chief goal will cease to be one of advocacy, support, and representation for your students and will simply withdraw to be another voice in a monotonous chorus to eliminate tuition fees and advance the agenda of special interests. U of O issues will cease to be important in the domain of the SFUO. Your clubs will become underfunded and your academic rights won’t be as important.

    And indeed, perhaps these are all admirable causes, but they are not causes that should be addressed by student unions. tuition fees, abortion, and federal laws on organ donations are for a different forum. It’s safe to say that the CFS has some 3000 students supporting SFUO membership, and I respect their opinion. But everyone else either is not informed, doesn’t care enough, or positively doesn’t want the CFS controlling local student politics. For these three groups, SFUO’s membership in the CFS is detrimental, and the first warning sign will be a rapid decline in voter turnout from this day forward.

    Maybe I’m fearmongering, and I really hope I’ve just been overly-pessimistic here, but my university has no representative assembly of students anymore. We just have a puppet local of lobby group that has to bribe its apathetic and forsaken membership to vote in its elections. If I’m wrong with my predictions, then great, so let them serve as a warning.

  6. The last comment was deleted?

    In any case, I agree with the deleted comment. Fearmongering and being overly pessimistic does not accomplish anything for the 500,000 students who are currently members of the CFS. Like the deleted comment pointed out, new people and a new influx of ideas can only be beneficial.

    I think Michèle’s comment should be celebrated: “We need to put our differences behind us, or overcome them in order to work together for the good of the University of Ottawa students.” It is true that there is more that unites us than divides us. It is true that U of Ottawa students have done great things in the past, precisely because they didn’t listen to the pessimists who said: “you can’t do anything about it”.

    I say go U of O!

  7. Hmmmm…

    Have a look at the article “Controversy at CFS polls: Students encounter campaigning, identified ballots at polling stations” in The Fulcrum on page 4:

    Although the article itself is interesting, I found the photo accompanying the article to be much more interesting. The poll clerk shown in the photo (the guy with the beard) is none other than our dear friend Brent Farrington, National Deputy Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. I wonder if I would recognize any of the other CFS-appointed poll clerks?

  8. Hey Titus,

    Whatever happened to your website “www.studentunion.ca”?

  9. The No side sob stories are the usual boringly predictable rhetoric.

    But I am satisfied, if only because the Yes victory proves that all the smear-blogging and mud-slinging are ineffectual.

    Keep typing, boys! It’s a good way to spend your time, all holed up beyond your monitors, in your PJs. You’re clearly winning, one keystroke at a time!

  10. Rick:

    There is still the fact that the level of support for the Yes side is low compared to the level of support most CFS campaigns typically get among students at U of O and elsewhere. I hope CFS is doing a serious effort at finding the reasons for this. Quick claims that the difference is solely due to misinformation from the No side seems like a cop out.

    If it is found that many people support CFS “in theory, but not in practice” (I heard that exact phrase quite a couple times) means that potentially small and easy changes could really help gather the support of a larger number of students and increase the success of CFS campaigns.

  11. United we stand, divided we fall.

    I think that while some “no side” campaigners had no idea what they were doing, in principle many members of the “no side” were opposed to the joining the greater student movement for one major reason:

    Education is a privilege, not a right. They are opposed to decreasing tuition fees because it ‘devalues’ their degrees. This was what resulted from my interaction with the No side.

    As for the misinformation and smear campaigning? Of course!
    I think it’s easier to convince people to vote no by spreading lies about the CFS, rather than telling people that they (the “no side”) didn’t believe in lower tuition fees.

    As for telling international students that they weren’t allowed to vote? Now that’s an all time low – next to campaigning in a batman suit.

  12. Seriously, that last post displays some of the worst reasoning of any I’ve witnessed in this debate – and plenty of other points are pretty bad.

    There are many rational reasons to be both for and against the CFS as an organization. To assume that anyone who disagrees with your views is obviously motivated by the worst possible instincts is only to blind yourself to opposing viewpoints. While you’re trumpeting the value of education on one hand, on the other you’re displaying an inability to even listen to alternative views. Real education is just the opposite.

    As for the natural egalitarianism of lower tuition … I hate to burst your bubble, but there’s nothing egalitarian about low or free tuition for all. Real egalitarianism rests on the principle that those who can best afford to pay do pay, in order to underwrite the costs for those who cannot. You can’t achieve that by starving the system of revenue by giving everyone a free ride, as the CFS advocates. You achieve that by keeping tuition at a reasonable level and directing very significant funding towards needs-based bursaries and scholarships.

    The fact is, the CFS is a middle-class movement. It’s driven primarily by the voices of students who can pay the sticker price for post-secondary education but would rather not. If I thought it were really about improving access I might feel better about it. The CFS talks a good talk. I do believe their leaders are well-intentioned. But their policies don’t actually correspond to their stated goals. Low or free tuition for all won’t solve the problem of access. It’ll only starve the system of the funds it needs to support the students who genuinely can’t afford it.

    That’s both the worst thing I can say about the CFS but also, bizarrely, the best. I realized some time ago the CFS actually is responsive to its members. This whole lower and free tuition rhetoric is all most students want to hear. It plays well because it plays to the CFS membership which is, though you’ll hate to hear it, predominantly middle-class, established, and relatively privileged. Most can afford to pay – they’d just rather not. The people who are most needful of greater support aren’t even CFS members because they aren’t in the system at all.

    The CFS does work. It advances the agenda its members most want. Sadly, its members are self-interested just like everyone else. You’re fooling yourself if you think this is about access for people who aren’t in university right now. It’s entirely about those who are already there and would prefer to pay less.

  13. “To assume that anyone who disagrees with your views is obviously motivated by the worst possible instincts is only to blind yourself to opposing viewpoints.”

    If this comment was directed at me, it was not an assumption. It wasn’t even a generalization. I was simply recalling my experience with a specific group at a particular time.

    “It plays well because it plays to the CFS membership which is, though you’ll hate to hear it, predominantly middle-class, established, and relatively privileged.”

    I don’t hate to hear that actually, and I agree that in some ways I am privileged and in some ways I am not. And at the end of the day, you have to really get to know some of student leaders because you’d be pleasantly surprised by how unprivileged some of their lives have been.

    What is important is taking that privilege and using it to be able better the situation for those who are not privileged.
    Being an ally helps to galvanize social change and even legitimizes the movement – kind of how Caucasians backed the civil rights movement, or how men helped women get the right to vote.

    Working together is essential in creating change. As for your criticisms on the end goal of reducing or eliminating fees? I say that’s just a part of it. Increasing access can mean reducing fees, implementing more grants, raising minimum wage, etc. The CFS campaigns take various approaches aimed at relieving financial burden as well as making PSE more affordable.

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  15. Stating that the No campaign was driven by lies and smear campaigns is refusing to look at the actual picture, it is sad that people honestly believe that 48 % of the students who voted were merely misled. Isn’t it time to go beyond the arrogance?

  16. @Titus,

    How can I contact you? Can you send me an email? wassim@wassim.ca


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