Hey Students: Vote Yes For CFS

University of Regina students began voting today in a bizarre, URSU-backed campus-wide referendum. Weirdly, their student council is advising them to sever ties with the Canadian Federation of Students, the national lobby group representing university and college students belonging to 83 Canadian student unions.

If you’re a student reading this, there are two things you should do. The first is have a beer. Head to the Lazy Owl and have a draft. Domestic beers are $5.25 and imports are $6.50. I’ll wait here. Tum de dum deedoo.

Back? The second thing to do is vote yes in the CFS referendum. You have until Thursday to do this.

Why should you support the CFS? Aha, the real question is, why shouldn’t you? The Canadian Federation of Students is a national lobby group representing 83 university and college student associations coast to coast, including the U of R. The CFS lobbies federal and provincial governments for increased college and university funding and lower tuition fees, among many other things, including fighting for First Nations University. Your “Yes” vote will support the most effective organization dedicated to Canadian post-secondary students’ interests.

CFS also runs Travel Cuts and the Student Work Abroad Program. You may visit their website here and learn more.

It is true that U of R students send the CFS a big chunk of cash: URSU’S budget sets the amount at $88,000. (You can find a link to the budget on this page.) Then again, as the business students who run URSU must know, it takes real money to run a national lobbing organization. Besides, that price tag works out to a piddly $5.50 per student. Counting the tip, that’s less than the cost of the beer I just tricked you into having to put the cost in perspective. (I did it for your own good!)

And unlike that delicious beer, CFS membership lasts you 12 months. And it won’t make you pee!

Still opposed to CFS? Keen to take URSU president Kyle Addison’s side? That’s a little ironic, since you’re paying your anti-CFS student executive $83,701.53 this year. This for four people–the executive also includes Kaytlyn Barber, Matt Steen and Tyler Willox–who apparently think looking out for your interests means cutting you off from your own national lobby group.

I’m a little surprised that the URSU executive complains about how much cash goes to CFS when they’re pocketing nearly as much money from students. I guess they don’t study irony in the business and engineering faculties. Zing!

Wrapping up: you can find much more information, presented in a much more neutral and balanced manner than you’ll get here, on The Carillon’s website.

And that’s all I’ve got to say. Brotheridge, who’s a student at the U of R, will likely step in in the next couple of days with some additional thoughts. Vote “Yes” for CFS!

UPDATE: Puty ( rhymes with “duty”) said we needed a drawing to go with this and sent one in, which designer Awesome Klassen coloured.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

8 thoughts on “Hey Students: Vote Yes For CFS”

  1. It should be noted the URSU Executive is amongst the lowest paid by students’ unions in Canada. Based on a 35 hour work week, which is probably on the low side based on the number of hours they work, the wage per hour of these individuals is only $11.50/hour.

  2. I agree with you 100 per cent Peter and I’m glad you brought that up. Thank you. I think the URSU exec deserves their money and probably more. Having said that, I’m extremely unhappy that this hard-working bunch is disparaging and minimizing the hard work of the people at CFS.

    Look at this ridiculous referendum. Why is it happening? Is it because CFS isn’t providing a worthwhile service to U of R students or is it because the URSU exec is ideologically opposed to a lot of what CFS has to say? Sure as hell looks like the latter to me.

    Imagine if a referendum was launched on short notice to slash URSU exec’s pay with the same specious arguments. “URSU: WTF do they do?” “They haven’t updated their blogs since February!” “They’re late posting minutes of meetings!” “DID YOU KNOW: students pay URSU execs $84,ooo a year? Vote NO to URSU exec salaries!”

    See? This kind of cheap shot arguing is just despicable. The fact URSU is pulling this shit is absolutely disgraceful.

    You shit on other people’s hard work, you’re going to get shit on. You throw punches, you have to take punches. Or as that bible thing says, you’ll reap what you sow.

    I’d prefer to keep the tone light but seriously, this referendum is just awful and shameful and embarrassing. And I’m irked.

    Thanks for your presumed patience with my ranting. Back to work, paper to put out next week.

  3. I hope students at URSU will be smarter than to simply read this one sided-article and research a bit further into the way the CFS functions.

    First of all, I have many answers as to why URSU students should vote “NO” to the CFS: the CFS semi-annual general assembly, which will be held in Gatineau, QC at the end of the November, is NOT open to ANY individual members, US, THE STUDENTS without which the CFS would even exist. Secondly, if you look at the $90 000 your students are paying in membership fees, there is no accountability as to how and where this money is spent. Why you ask? Visit http://www.cfs-fcee.ca and try to find any sort of budget document. Don’t bother: You won’t find one. The CFS will be the first organization to cry foul when government (federal or provincial) isn’t being as transparent as it should, yet the CFS is way more secretive. Example? Try to contact the National Chair of the CFS, Dave Molenhuis; the National Treasurer, Roxanne Dubois. There is ONE email address on the CFS website: web.@cfs-fcee.ca

    When I’ve asked about why each executive doesn’t have their own email address, I was told that since the National Executives travel a lot, they simply have one person vet the emails and forward each message on the relevant person. That’s not good enough for me. By the way, this piece mentions that students pay $83,701.53 for the URSU executives; All I can say is this: At least this number is known or can be easily accessible to students who would like to know. Attempt to find out how much each CFS National Executive member’s salary is. Enough said…

    Another good question you might want to ask yourself: how much has the CFS paid their employees in order for them to be campaigning in favour of the organization on your campus? The National Headquarters is situated in Ottawa, Ontario. It is certain that many plane flights, motel rooms and meals have been charged to us, the students, in order for CFS staff to travel to Saskatchewan and lobby in favour of the organization.

    Another good reason: have any of your students visited the CFS-Saskatchewan website lately? If you’d like to get an idea of why the URSU executive is encouraging you to vote “NO” to continued membership in the CFS, visit http://www.cfs-sk.ca/

    Do any of your students know someone by the name Desarae Eashappie? Well, all I can say is that this person is supposed to be representing Saskatchewan on the CFS National Executive. If you haven’t heard of this person before, well, I think you get the picture.

    And, finally, I strongly encourage you to make your own individual judgement by viewing this document: http://www.scribd.com/full/29379517?access_key=key-2mw12orggt1jigihaxhi
    This document will give you many more legitimate reasons to question the relevance of the URSU’s continued membership in the CFS.

    For more relevant information, please visit climbrandon.blogspot.com or http://eyeontheuvss.blogspot.com/

  4. Thank you very much for the comments, Brandon. There are problems with your arguments. Let’s look at one example.

    You complain that the CFS AGM is not open to individual students. Assuming that’s true, so what? You’ll be represented at it by someone you’ve been involved in electing, will you not?

    It’s like any organization. You would not expect the right to walk into Parliament and sit with politicians during question period because you’re a Canadian citizen. You would not expect to walk into a director’s meeting of a corporation you own shares in and be given an automatic seat at the board table. There are always structured limitations to an individual’s involvement with large organizations and CFS quite reasonably has democratically-determined limits on how one individual can be participate.

    There are avenues open for students who want to be involved in CFS. This is not a reason to defederate.

    Being an individual member of an organization does not entitle one to the president’s e-mail.

    In my view, U of R students would be wise to direct some of the mistrust and suspicion they’re being encouraged in toward their own student council.

    [Edited for clarity]

  5. Although they do not publish their financial records online like Kyle’s complaining about what he’s NOT telling you is that he HIMSELF (Along with every other delegate at the last AGM) received a binder full of not ONLY complete financial records and campaigns and projects, but that he was also obligated to bring this binder back with him for UofR students to view upon request.

    Also, there were meetings going over the past spending of the CFS and approval of the next budget. Our representatives from URSU did attend them.

    Ergo the financial records of the CFS are available to all its members.

    What he also won’t tell you is that he was sluffing off meetings for shopping at the mall while UofR students PAID for him to be there.

    Oh and I know this because I was there for the CFS’ last AGM, and I was completely disgusted with the representation by URSU exectutive, other than Katlyn Barber who actually did her job.

  6. What I don’t understand is that there is no recognition of the many other schools who have ALSO tried to opt out of the CFS. Obviously there is a pattern here. These schools aren’t just randomly deciding that they don’t like the CFS.

  7. It would be interesting to get a list of schools that have tried to opt out (or have opted out) in the last, say, five years, and get a list of the faculties represented on the execs. I don’t have the time to chase this story in that much detail. But I submit that business, management and engineering students (good short-term economic prospects) tend to be anti-CFS and liberal arts and grad students (terrible short-term economic prospects) tend to be pro-CFS.

    I also think CFS does nothing to harm the interests of business, management and engineering students and quite a bit to help liberal arts students, so there’s bound to be hostility as a result of this referendum to kick CFS off the U of R campus. No matter what happens I think the URSU exec will regret getting into this fight. This isn’t the way to deal with alleged problems in CFS. The whole situation’s been rushed, pushy and reckless.

    What do you think of that analysis?

  8. Just so students know your URSU Execs are in Ottawa right now Nov.25/10 attending an AGM where they can help plan for budgeting the “WTF” do they do with it money! But they did not even bother to show up to the rally!! Shopping seems more important I guess? Good on you URSU way to be inactive…. this looks like a pattern here! Our University involvement sucks! Students ask yourselves, What does URSU do for you?! Remember that and reflect when you vote in the next URSU Elections!

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