York’s new council plans to leave CFS
By Laura Katsirdakis
York University’s new student union representatives
were finally ratified last Thursday after defending their November
election victory against accusations from some of the losing
According to Paul Cooper, president of the York Federation
of Students, one of the first things the federation will deal
with is to leave the Canadian Federation of Students, a federal
student lobby group.
“We are intent on leaving the CFS — we will be
defederating from CFS at the earliest opportunity, in anyway
possible,” he said, adding the issue would be addressed
at their first meeting since ratification, scheduled for today.
“There are absolutely no benefits to students to be
part of CFS, except maybe the [International Student Identity
Cards],” Cooper noted. “CFS embodies [a] political
agenda that has distracted from student politics.”
But Joel Duff, Ontario Chairperson for the CFS, said he disagreed. “Lower
tuition and better quality education are the benefits of CFS — the
[provincial government’s] tuition freeze is a direct
success of [a CFS] campaign.”
York’s student union has been a member of CFS since 1991,
Duff confirmed. “Their students voted to join and [if
they were to leave] it’s obviously not just a decision
of the council.
“I don’t know any of the specifics of what council’s
doing,” he said.
“Historically, it has been very difficult for student
unions to pull out of CFS. The rules surrounding referendums
and aggressive campaigns [by CFS] combine to form a difficult
situation,” explained Dave Ford, University Students’ Council
VP-education. Ford also serves as the Ontario representative
of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, another federal
student lobby group.
York’s population of approximately 50,000 students will
mean a significant loss of membership to the CFS, Ford explained. “But
this by no means [will cause] the demise of that organization,” he
said. “CFS, CASA and [the Ontario Undergraduate Student
Alliance] always deal with membership fluctuations; this is
When asked if YFS was planning to join CASA, Cooper declined