LETTER: Canadian Federation of Students replies to Selkirk students

Letters to the editor
By Letters to the editor
April 10th, 2017

Selkirk Students Deserve Fair, Transparent and Democratic Referendum

(On April 5) the Castlegar Source published a letter to the editor containing  misinformation about Selkirk College students’ membership in the Canadian  Federation of Students. The letter leaves out some critical information that Selkirk students need to hear. (To read the letter, click here).

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest and oldest student organization that unites over 650,000 students and has a proud history of winning important victories for students. A few important wins include: a 50 per cent increase to Canada Student Grants, the right for international students to work off-campus, the first ever national system of needs-based grants, legislation addressing sexual and gender based violence and $90 million in funding for Indigenous learners.

Selkirk College Students’ Union is one of the founding members of the Canadian Federation of Students. More than 35 years ago, students at Selkirk recognized the importance of having national representation for their issues. Because colleges and universities in Canada are funded by both the federal and provincial government, government policies and priorities have a tremendous impact on our lives as students. It is vital that student interests and concerns are represented to all levels of government.

It’s true that students at Selkirk will have a vote on continued membership in the Federation. But it’s also true that Selkirk students have a right to a fair, transparent and democratic referendum that is oversee by an impartial Chief Returning Officer (CRO). Asking for a court to reaffirm the importance of an independent CRO was a last attempt at ensuring the process is fair for everyone and followed many attempts to reach a compromise with the students union and its staff that incorrectly acted as CRO. It initially looked like a judge would need to make a ruling on the issue, but we’re pleased that Selkirk College Students’ Union stopped moving forward with an illegitimate referendum process lacking third-party oversight without requiring a court decision to compel them.  The Selkirk College Student Union is well aware of the necessary steps to resolving this conflict in the best interest of students. This includes following the democratic bylaws, and directing the British Columbia Federation of Students to remit membership fees paid by Selkirk students that they are improperly withholding from the Canadian  
Federation of Students.

For more information about the Canadian Federation of Students’ advocacy campaigns and cost-saving services, find us on Facebook at  facebook.com/cfsfcee or visit our website at cfs-fcee.ca. I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have on the matter. I can be reached at  p.veitch@cfs-fcee.ca

Peyton Veitch
National Treasurer
Canadian Federation of Students


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