Opinion: The NO campaign on CFS membership
Friday, April 2, 201022 Comments
We are the “No” campaign. We are a local group of students—each and every one of us is an undergraduate student at the University of Guelph, and we are encouraging you to vote “No” to the Canadian Federation of Students. While there are certainly UoG students involved with the “Yes” campaign, there are many involved who are not; our campaign is 100% UoG student-run.
So why should you vote “No” to the Canadian Federation of Students? Let’s start with the lack of value and output for what it costs us to be a part of CFS. Yearly, we pay approximately $225, 000 to be a part of CFS and CFS Ontario. Prior to this referendum, when was the last time we had heard anything about CFS? They purport to represent students, lower tuition and provide countless necessary services. Considering UoG students pay approximately $225, 000 in membership fees annually (that’s a lot of money over four years), we implore you to think about what you have gotten for your money, and what else you would rather have seen that go towards. The situation we’re in is unacceptable.
The majority of us don’t even use the services they offer. There are 5 main services that CFS offers: ISIC, Travel Cuts, Studentsaver Card, SWAP, and StudentPhones. This year, the CSA conducted a survey looking at how many of us use these services (amongst others), and over 2400 of us responded:
- 65% of us had never used ISIC cards
- 67% of us had never used Travel Cuts
- 88% of us had never used Studentsaver cards
- 94% of us had never used SWAP
- 95% of us had never used StudentPhones
As University of Guelph students, we are paying a ton of money for services we don’t even use!
Sadly, the Canadian of Federation of Students isn’t just taking our money in membership fees. The Central Student Association (our undergraduate student representatives) had to pay approximately $70,000 in legal fees, to force the Canadian Federation of Students to let us have a vote on our membership. As members of the CFS we find it incredibly challenging to understand why they resisted so hard to have us ask this question, or why they resisted allowing us to practice our democratic rights. We have the right to choose what we want or don’t want to do with our money; a student movement that purports to represent us shouldn’t have to be taken to court to allow us our basic rights.
Our Central Students’ Association is a group of students that we elect or appoint, to represent us here at Guelph —sometimes this requires them taking a stand on a contentious issue. This week, the CSA Board of Directors had a serious debate as to whether they should take a side on this referendum. Individually, some directors wish to stay neutral, some directors support the “Yes” campaign, and some directors support the “No” campaign. However, a clear majority of the CSA Board voted in favour of supporting the “No” campaign. A majority of our Guelph student representatives at the CSA are encouraging us to VOTE NO.
We are not, however, asking you to blindly follow our lead; we want you to make an educated decision! We want to you inform yourselves regarding the issue—read, talk to the CFS supporters and come talk to us! You can identify us by our purple t-shirts that say “Vote No, Just No, Only No”. Come visit us in the UC on Monday & Tuesday. We don’t carry clipboards, and we want you to ask us about this issue—we respect your space, and don’t think it’s right to come up to you.
After talking with us, we will ask you to do two simple things:
1) VOTE NO between April 7-9, and
2) Tell 5 reasons to 5 friends for why you should vote no —we’re calling it our Guelph 5-4-5 campaign
This vote is one of the most important decisions on our campus this year. We believe that it is a decision to be made by our community and our students, not to be influenced or biased by outside influences from other schools. Make sure you’re getting information from your peers. If someone wants to talk to you about the campaign, ask to see their student cards! We’ll proudly show you!
At the end of the day, we are running this campaign because we care about our peers, friends and community. So remember:
April 7th, 8th & 9th
Think about it, when was the last time CFS actually “dropped fees” for you? It’s time to demonstrate our own strength and effectiveness as a Guelph community. It’s time to show CFS exactly how to “drop fees” – their fee!
John Sakaluk is a CSA Board Member and Student Senator.
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