Kwantlen leaks CFS-BC referendum 'war plans'

Some call it a 'smoking gun' for backroom CFS problems

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

CFS Plans

The Kwantlen Students’ Association claims to have discovered secret “war plans” made by the British Columbia branch of the Canadian Federation of Students.

The plans are for the upcoming referendum concerning CFS membership at the Simon Fraser Student Society set for March 18-20. The KSA and University of Victoria Graduate Students’ Society are also considering leaving the national association and holding March referendums.

The KSA received a “Referendum Campaign Plan and Tasklist” when CFS-BC organizer Summer McFadyen accidentally emailed the document to the wrong person.

“For years now, the KSA has been wanting to stand at the general meetings and to point out where things have gone awry in the background. This is really like a smoking gun,” KSA chairperson and director of external affairs Laura Anderson explained.

Shamus Reid, chairperson of CFS-BC, said the KSA was mistaken. He explained the document was a single staff member’s personal notes and brainstorming.

The “war plans” listed several tasks such as determining names and contact information for supportive students in residence, booking advertising space in the student newspaper and arranging for other flights and flight authorizations. It also included the names of possible CFS-supportive contacts in student unions across the country and a grade for their campaigning ability ranging from A+ to C.

Anderson said the CFS regularly ignores the requests of its members, only discussing a handful of the 51 motions they have submitted at the provincial and federal levels.

“How can we justify to our students staying in the [CFS] when they’re clearly far more focused on organizational stability than their actual campaigns and services,” she said.

Reid said Anderson’s comments were unwarranted.

“She’s trying to allege that planning in any situation is somehow wrong and, quite frankly, we would be derelict if we didn’t have a plan.”

The controversy expanded when CFS contacted KSA and complained it manipulated the truth by portraying CFS as responsible for the document, when it actually belonged to CFS-BC, which is an autonomous, although affiliated, association.

“Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that we’ve had to correct the record after the [KSA] has sent out a news release with all sorts of misinformation in it,” Amanda Aziz, CFS national chairperson, said.

Anderson, however, maintained her stance: “It’s not the open and accountable student organization that it should be.”

She cautioned anyone from getting involved with CFS: “This document and the fact that any schools are thinking of leaving ... are a giant flashing sign that there are things that need to be addressed in [CFS].”

Reid thought the KSA was only trying to create havoc for CFS.

“There’s a lot of misinformation that unfortunately is confusing students. Certainly we’d like to clear the air.”

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