Mowat v. University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union and Canadian Federation of Students v. Mowat (2005 referendum)

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In October 2005, the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union (USSU) narrowly voted to join the CFS, with 55% in favour. The USSU Elections Board found a significant number of irregularities in the poll, and decided to annul the results of the referendum. However, the USSU Students’ Council, upon the urging of Gavin Gardiner (USSU President and CFS loyalist), voted to overruled the Elections Board and accept the referendum as valid. Robin Mowat, a student and former USSU executive, sued both the USSU and the CFS in an attempt to overturn the decision of Students’ Council. The CFS argued: (1) the ROC process was fair and unbiased; (2) Robin Mowat did not have standing to bring the lawsuit, because he was no longer a student; and (3) the CFS bylaws, not the USSU bylaws, governed the referendum. The Court of Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal ruled, however, that Mowat did have standing, and that the USSU Elections Board’s finding of irregularities in the conduct of the referendum was persuasive. The Courts relied on certain provisions in the Saskatchewan Non-Profit Corporations Act in reaching their conclusions. As of June 11, 2013, the USSU is still listed as a member of the CFS (Local 17) on the organization’s member list webpage.