The USC's never ending
lawsuit delayed again
By Laura Katsirdakis
Since 1997, the University Students' Council
and several other Canadian student unions have been contesting
a lawsuit with the Canadian Federation of Students-Services,
Travel Cuts and the Association of Student Councils.
The dispute centres around the ownership of
Travel Cuts. Before 1991, over 70 student associations owned
Travel Cuts by way of their membership in the Association of
Student Councils. In 1991 AOSC's assets were transferred to
CFS-S, meaning student associations who were members of both
AOSC and the Canadian Federation of Students would still share
in ownership of Travel Cuts, but those who belonged to AOSC
alone were cut out.
Travel Cuts had been the main asset of the
AOSC. According to a press release from the plaintiffs, those
student associations belonging to CFS now stood to draw substantial
income from Travel Cuts, although most sales by the company
are made in non-CFS schools.
Western's USC (which also owns The Gazette)
initiated the lawsuit, which was joined in 1999 by the University
of Alberta Students' Union, the Alma Mater Society of the University
of British Columbia and Queen's University's Alma Mater Society.
"The lawsuit was set to go to trial
[September 8, 2003]," said Philip Link, director of programs
Recently however, John McNair, lead lawyer
for the plaintiffs, was appointed as the prosecutor with the
Anti-Crime and Corruption Unit of the Office of the High Representative
in Bosnia and Herzegovinia, USC President Paul Yeoman said,
noting McNair was selected for this position from a pool of
the world's brightest lawyers.
Mat Brechtel, president of the University
of Alberta Students' Union, said he was disappointed. "We
were hoping this case would not have to go to trial, we would
have liked to find some kind of settlement."
Despite this, Brechtel said he was excited
"This shows that [McNair] is quite a
substantial lawyer," said Chrissie Knitter, president of
the Alma Mater Society of Queen's University. "This reflects
the fact we are in good hands," she added.
"[This lawsuit] is intended to create
a more representative and pragmatic ownership model for Travel
Cuts, so all students across Canada can benefit from it,"
McNair's appointment is for a four month term
and the lawsuit is expected to resume in the spring of 2004,
Link noted that although Travel Cuts is incurring
the legal costs involved, there has been no change to the company
consumers will notice.
McNair's appointment is an inconvenience to
CFS-S lawyers, said Link, but it is rare for a court to deny
a lawyer such an opportunity.