A Date to Remember

Graphic Paku Daoust-Cloutier

The year 2015 can’t come soon enough.

Since 2009, Concordia’s graduate and undergraduate student unions have been fighting to escape the dastardly clutches of Canada’s largest student lobby group: the Canadian Federation of Students.

They took an important stride forward this month, however, when the Concordia Student Union and the Graduate Students’ Association both unanimously voted to combine their cases against the CFS.

A united front is good for many reasons. By combining forces—and legal fees—there might be more of a chance we can finally find the independence we have long been seeking from CFS.

Both unions are fighting for defederation. It’s been a long battle, and a few years from now we’ll have our chance to finally sever all ties with the
federation—potentially saving us nearly $2 million in fees that the CFS claims we owe them.

Our history with the CFS has been long and tumultuous, wrought with nonsensical member-trapping bylaw changes, doors blockaded to stop referendums and a dubious attempt to tamper with CSU elections.

Finally, we’re heading to court. In the spring of 2015 it will be time for the CFS to stand trial and have justice served to them—hopefully.

The federation’s complete lack of respect for elections and the democratic process should be noted. In 2010 the referenda of both the CSU and the GSA were not recognized as legitimate, courtesy of newly established and highly contentious bylaw amendments.

Since then, things have been tapering. Aside from lawsuits filed by the CSU and GSA in 2011 and a countersuit slung back at the CSU in 2012, not much has transpired since the utter chaos of 2009 and 2010.

It is reasonable to expect the relative calm to continue as we wait for 2015—but until then, we must remain informed, aware and vigilant.

There are still proactive steps we can take, such as choosing our future representation wisely.

Think about it. Who do you want representing you, not only on council, but also in court?

Ultimately, the executive that students elect in 2014 will more than likely determine whether the CSU and the GSA will win this excruciatingly long and arduous legal fight.

That may be 14 months away, and by then a significant chunk of currently enrolled undergraduate students will have graduated. By 2015, about half the student body will be new to the issues.

But our collective institutional memory cannot falter along the way.

The executive needs to diligently pass its knowledge on to whoever takes office when they leave—and that trend needs to continue until we meet in court.