September 9, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 6  

Front Page >> News > The USC's never ending lawsuit delayed again


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The USC's never ending lawsuit delayed again

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

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 for CFS-S.

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 for McNair.

"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," explained Knitter.

McNair's appointment is for a four month term and the lawsuit is expected to resume in the spring of 2004, Yeoman said.

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.



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