Canadian Federation of Students 34th annual general meeting

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and the Canadian Federation of Students-Services (CFS-S) will hold their 34th annual general meeting from November 22 to November 25, 2015. has obtained the agenda for the opening plenary.

Confusion surrounds UMGSA VP External Faizan Khan has obtained a copy of the University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association (UMGSA) vice-president external Faizan Khan’s resignation letter which he submitted to the University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association (UMGSA) Council on January 9, 2015. In it, he claims to have

received a tremendous amount of pressure over the irreconcilable political differences [he has] had with the [UMGSA] President [Laura Rempel]. Most recently, I was pressured to support CFS in their Anti-Cuts Campaign. In fact, this past Monday [January 5, 2015], I was asked by our President to assist CFS with running this campaign by chairing the Anti-cuts meetings and such. Her rationale for asking so was that my participation would help decrease the workload on CFS officials, and ensure that ‘it does not look like it’s a CFS Campaign‘ (emphasis added). 

However, an article published in The Manitoban quotes the UMGSA president Laura Rempel as having said that Khan remains a member of the UMGSA executive. Khan did not respond to a request for comment. In response to that article, Rempel penned a letter to the editor in which she states that she refused to comment on a “confidential issue” that became public after the letter was leaked. She does however claim that his “resignation letter was not the result of UMGSA involvement in the ‘Stop the Cuts’ campaign, but rather stems from a different issue.”

Update – February 1, 2015 at 11:45

It remains unclear if Khan remains a member of the UMGSA executive at the time of publication.

Canadian Federation of Students elects new national executive

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During the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) national general meeting, held last week in Gatineau, Quebec, the plenary elected a new national executive for the 2015-2016 academic year. It should be noted that all three executive positions will be filled by held by women. 

Bilan Arte's March 2012 election campaign poster

Bilan Arte’s March 2012 election campaign poster

Bilan Arte was elected CFS national chairperson for the 2015-2016 academic year. Her involvement in student politics is extensive: she was elected twice as president of the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) (2011-2012 and 2012-2013), was deputy chairperson (2011-2012) and chairperson (2013-2014) of the Canadian Federation of Students-Manitoba (CFS-MB) as well as being the Manitoba representative (2013-2014) on the CFS national executive. Ms. Arte is currently the deputy chairperson on the CFS national executive. 

Anne-Marie Roy - BoD poster - February 2011

Current Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) president (2014-2015), Anne-Marie Roy, was elected as CFS national deputy chairperson. You can read about her record as a student politician as of February 2013 here. She is currently in her second term as SFUO president and as Francophone students representative (2013-2014 and 2014-2015) on the CFS national executive. She will likely continue her fast ascent in the CFS ranks. Earlier this year, Ms. Roy was the subject of explicit Facebook messages which were somehow obtained and subsequently made public. This incident received the attention of the national news media in which ‘rape culture’ was highlighted as becoming an epidemic on Canadian college and university campuses and in society in general. Ms. Roy could very easily become the CFS national chairperson in the next couple of years. 

CFS-NS chairperson Anna Dubinski

Anna Dubinski – Photo credits: The Chronicle Herald

Finally, the plenary elected Anna Dubinsky as CFS national treasurer. She is currently the CFS-Nova Scotia (CFS-NS) chairperson as well as the CFS-NS’s national executive representative. Ms. Dubinsky attended the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Here’s her experience in campus politics: 

2010-2011: first year representative on the King Students’ Union (KSU) Council of representatives

2011-2012: KSU’s Vice-president, student life

2012-2013: Student union representative on the University of King’s College Board of Governors; Board of governors representative on the KSU’s Council of representatives

2013-2014: She followed in the footsteps of influential CFS personalities such as Kaley Kennedy, David Etherington, Gabe Hoogers and Nick Stark by becoming the KSU president; she also sat as one of the student representatives on the University’s Board of Governors and on the Board’s executive committee.

2014-2015: CFS-NS chairperson and the Nova Scotia representative on the CFS national executive.

It should be noted that, during her tenure as KSU president, Dubinski’s executive faced a $10,000 deficit. Read the discussions surrounding the budget deficit here and the subsequent decision to hold a referendum to increase student union dues by $9,40 in order to eliminate the deficit.

Canadian Federation of Students-Manitoba retracts Winnipeg mayoral candidate report cards

CFS-MB - Winnipeg Election Report Card - October 2014

After having published a report card which graded current City of Winnipeg mayoral candidates, the Canadian Federation of Students-Manitoba Component (CFS-MB) has retracted the report from its website. According to an article in The Manitoban, the report card was removed following an October 2nd CFS-MB executive meeting, only one day after having been published. For whatever reason, nobody was willing to talk about why the report card was revoked:

Zach Fleisher, chair of CFS-MB, refused to provide comment on the report card or its removal after the board meeting.

Jesse Blackman, UWSA [University of Winnipeg Students’ Association] representative for the CFS-MB executive, was present at the board meeting and said “the board has decided to not comment publicly on this matter.”

However, CFS-MB deputy chairperson Mitchell van Ineveld told the Manitoban that a motion was passed at the meeting to remove the report card from the CFS-MB’s website and social media accounts, effectively cancelling the project.

While secrecy is nothing new when it comes to the CFS and all of its provincial components, not willing to comment publicly on the decision to cancel the project after spending time and resources is outright bizarre. However, thanks to Google, you can access the report card’s main page and all but one mayoral candidate’s report card page that appeared on the CFS-MB website:

CFS-MB Mayoral Report Cards main page:

Robert Falcon-Ouellette (A-):

Judy Wasylycia-Leis (A-):

Brian Bowman (B+):

Paula Havixbeck (C+):

David Sanders (C+):

Michel Fillion (D): Unavailable

Gord Steeves (F):

The methodology used to arrive at the letter grades for each candidate was not provided. All we know is that “[e]ach of the mayoral candidates was interviewed and each platform was assessed by members of the CFS-MB executive, who then assigned grades to each candidate.” The main page did however specify that the report card “does not represent a formal endorsement of any kind.”

Canadian Federation of Students loses legal battle with its Quebec wing

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The Superior Court of Quebec yesterday released its judgement (in french) in the case “
Rassemblement des associations étudiantes v Fédération canadienne des étudiants et étudiantes“, representing the culmination of a five-year war between the Canadian Federation of Students and the now defunct CFS-Quebec.

Consult more documents relating to this case here

The Court ruled that the Canadian Federation of Students had illegally withheld certain sums of money from CFS-Quebec for a certain period of time between 2007 and 2010, in violation of its own bylaws. The actual amount of money was not specified in the judgement.

This judgement could possibly influence judicial proceedings that are set to be heard in 2015 regarding the validity of disaffiliation referenda that saw three out of four CFS member students’ unions withdraw from the national student organization in 2010: the Concordia Students’ Union, the Concordia Graduate Students’ Association, and the Post-Graduate Students’ Society of McGill University.