At the CFS conference that was held this past weekend, the organization opposed the economic update presented by the government. Below is the text of the motion, that can also be found on La Rotunde’s Celine Basto’s blog.
Whereas the federal conservative government has tabled an economic update that ignores the need for investment in public infrastructures and furthers an ideological agenda through reckless tax cuts and wrongheaded limitation of union rights ; and
Whereas investment in accessible public post-secondary education is an important economic stimulus and a proactive measure for promoting economic stability in a knowledge-based society; and
Whereas in a minority parliament, opposition parties have the power to work together to oppose regressive policies and pass policies that reflect the priorities and interests of the majority of Canadians ; therefore
Be it resolved that the November federal economic update be strongly opposed ; and
Be it further resolved that the opposition parties be called upon to work together to oppose the economic update and to develop a plan to increase funding for public infrastructure, including a dedicated provincial transfer for post-secondary education that promotes national standards in quality and affordability.
Normally, the CFS’ (or any lobby group for that matter) opposition or endorsement of government legislation would be rather mundane and routine. But the context surrounding this particular economic update is definitely not routine. The Liberals and NDP have been in widely reported talks aimed at toppling the Conservatives and installing a new coalition government over the update.
Is the endorsement of a new coalition government what is meant by calling on the opposition “to work together to oppose the economic update and to develop a plan to increase funding for public infrastructure”? The phrasing is admittedly vague, but what else, given the context, could it mean?
The CFS is not simply calling for a specific action to be taken, as they do during election campaigns when they (appear) to lobby all parties to endorse particular policies. Here they are calling for specific action from specific political parties, the result of such action could be the installation of a new government. One wonders if the CFS has abandoned whatever veneer of non-partisanship they may have had.
One also wonders what regular students, those who fund the CFS, think of the organization offering an implicit endorsement of a change of government? Since when is that in the mandate students supposedly give the CFS when they vote to federate?
Is it not the mandate of the CFS to lobby on behalf of students, and not political parties? If the Tories survive the next few weeks, this makes it all that much more easy for the organization to be dismissed as an extension of the opposition.