CSA defends CFS referendum stance

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


A recent article by Greg Beneteau criticized the neutral stance of that the Executive of the Central Students Association is taking during the current student driven membership review of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). This letter is a response to that concern.

Undergraduate students at Guelph pay $224,917.74 in total for membership of CFS. Students also have the CSA External Commissioner act as their CFS Local 54 representative. Questions have been raised about whether or not students receive sufficient benefit from this association. It is certainly a significant allocation of resources and it is vital that students should be able to make a collective decision on whether or not to continue membership. 

 There is a formal process laid out by CFS if students in an institution determine that they wish to defederate and it is important, should the students at Guelph decide to move to defederate that we follow this process.

The CSA at Guelph has always valued and relied on the democratic process and the Executive believe strongly and unanimously that any decision must be made by the body of students at Guelph, not by a select group of Student Leaders.

Not withstanding the opinion of Mr. Beneteau, the Executive is showing strong leadership by making sure that the process of debate about such an important decision can and will be made free of bias. Our position is not about “fear of being sued”; it is about asserting the right of students to determine whether or not they wish to remain associated with CFS. As stewards of the process it is vital that the CSA Executive ensure that the discourse should remain fair, transparent, and safe to both sides of the argument.

 In saying all of this, I also want to be clear that CFS has yet to accept the receipt of the petitions. We are at the earliest of stages in what could be yearlong process.  It is important that students familiarize themselves with the issues in this debate and to take part in discussions. As CSA Communications Commissioner I will ensure that information is updated as it becomes available.

 And as always, any questions or concerns can be addressed to my office at

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question

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