Volume 94, Issue 94

Tuesday, March 20, 2001


Huron student dies in highway tragedy

Heartbreak in Halifax

CASA delegates meet with Ottawa

New board ready to take over

Snowy day tough on campus drivers


Corroded Disorder

CASA delegates meet with Ottawa

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is getting "tonnes of recognition on the hill," according to Jeff Sutton, University Students' Council VP-education, who claims CASA's week-long annual lobbying conference in Ottawa was a grand success.

"There is absolute stability in the organization," he said, adding CASA delegates had the opportunity to meet with close to 120 members of Parliament during the conference.

The conference was highlighted by the CASA board of directors' meeting with various ministers in the federal government, including Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources and Paul Martin, Minister of Finance.

Sutton said CASA's lobbying focussed upon a number of major areas, including the need for the federal government to ear-mark specific funding for post-secondary education in its monetary transfers to the provinces, as well as decreasing the interest rates for federal student loans.

"Student loans are a social program, not a revenue generator," Sutton said. "Students have an excellent history of repaying loans."

CASA national director, Mark Kissel, stressed the need for the federal government to contribute funding to the over-head and infrastructure costs that are associated with academic research.

"We told the government what [Canadian students are] interested in," he said.

CASA has been very effective in a short period of time, said Scott Reed, communication director for the Ministry of Finance. "Their focus is on the ball. It's set upon post-secondary education and its policy needs," he added.

"It's clear they know where they're coming from. There is a degree of professionality to their actions that's not universally experienced [with all student groups]. They're the 'go-to guys' on education," Reed said.

London-West Member of Parliament, Sue Barnes, said her talks with CASA allowed both the Liberal Party and students to exchange views and ideas on government and education.

She said she thought the existence of two separate student lobby groups caused confusion at times – as CASA and the Canadian Federation of Students often expressed different views on the same subjects.

Erin George, Ontario chair of the CFS, agreed with Barnes' assessment, noting the conflicting political messages which are produced when major student organizations are in disagreement over an issue.

"CFS advocates students being united under a democratically elected student association," she said, adding provinces dominated by CFS affiliates have seen strong results in the reduction of student tuition fees.

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