TORONTO (CUP) — Calling the national lobby group’s efforts “woefully inadequate,” the University of Prince Edward Island student union has moved to sever its ties with the Canadian Federation of Students, joining its counterpart at York University.
The UPEI student council voted in April to leave the CFS, following the presentation of a 35-page report that criticized many of the group’s activities, including its tendency to lobby on issues not related to education — a subject that has also been a sore point at York.
Brandon McKenzie, then-president of the student union, claimed the relevant contracts were not produced properly. “The revelations raised within the report indicate that our organization never entered into a binding agreement with the CFS,” he said. “In light of this fact, combined with serious points of conflict and diverging principles between our organizations, I fully support the decision made by our elected representatives.”
The current president, Clare Henderson, would not comment on what steps are currently being taken to complete “defederation,” noting only: “The process is ongoing.” The student union had previously tried to “defederate” through a referendum in 1996. It passed with 74 per cent voting to leave the CFS. But the CFS appealed the referendum results, and they were later overturned.
The York Federation of Students has declared their “unequivocal support” for the UPEI students.
YFS president Paul Cooper said: “While the CFS may have served us in the past, its tactics and extreme political positions it has taken over the last few years have caused it to drift away from the mainstream.”
But the CFS claims they are puzzled as to why UPEI wants out. National chair Ian Boyko noted that CFS policies are all determined by its member student unions. “It’s not been clearly articulated to us by the UPEI student union why it doesn’t want to work with other student unions,” he said, adding: “We respect their democratic decision.”