Accomplishing more than ever
Re: Educating Messages, Nov. 20
To the Editor:
I must agree with the tone of your Nov. 20 editorial, which stated "we need answers and changes, not meetings and maybes." Nothing echoes CASA's philosophy more closely. I do, however, take exception to your contentions that this year's CASA lobbying conference and the accompanying meetings with ministers, "accomplished little or nothing."
Last week, in many ways, was more successful than last year. First off, we have broadened the access that students have to decision-makers. Compared to only two ministers last year, this conference attracted five cabinet ministers, the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the Human Resource Development bureaucracy in charge of the Canada Student Loans Program.
Further, we are meeting with said officials four months earlier than last year. Our influence has increased to the point where we are able to have multiple consultations. As just one example, I have met with Finance Minister Paul Martin five times in 1998.
Also, your statement that we came to the table with more last year is misleading. We have intentionally not released our Second Declaration of Real Solutions until after the conference so as to participate in consultations that are less about ultimatums and more about winning over decision-makers. On that note, our "manifesto" will be released in the next few weeks. That is on track with last year and poised to make the cabinet agenda.
It's almost as though people are viewing CASA in the same manner as people do lottery winners with a healthy amount of awe and they can't wait until we lose all our fame in a deep-fryer grease fire.
Maclean's magazine commented on CASA by stating "not since the '60s have students flexed such political muscle." We are as strong, passionate and determined as ever.
Canadian Alliance of Students