Carillon CFS Referendum Forum – live tweets


Today the Carillon hosted a forum that had representatives from the Yes and No side of the CFS referendum issue. We live-tweeted the event on our twitter. If you missed it or you can't stand that thar twit-machine, here's a transcript of our tweets as written by our lovely Business Manager, Kent Peterson.

Will be live-tweeting the CFS referendum forum in a few minutes. PREPARE YOUR NEWS FEED.

E-in-C John Cameron: Welcome to the forum! We are here to present information about both sides of the argument.

John C. reads rules from the Referendum Oversight Committee.

John C.: Each opening remark gets 5 minutes. Followed by moderated questions, then closing arguments, with audience questions after.

No side wins coin toss to present first.

No-side: U of R students pay $89,000 a year to CFS. What have they done?

No-side: CFS is doing nothing on the provincial level. There are only 4 CFS press releases that mention Saskatchewan.

No-side: From 1990-2007 tuition has increased 227%. CFS lobbying federally does not work.

No-side: CFS does not post financial documents online. "That's a little bit weird."

No-side: U of R is not the only university trying to leave CFS. U of S students are not CFS members.

No-side: "This is the big one." The majority of post-secondary education is administered at the provincial level, not provincial.

No-side: We are not for increased tuition. "We're realists."

No-side: The most alarming thing about this referendum is that we can only have one every five years.

No-side: It is easier to recall the Governor of California than it is to leave the CFS.

No-side: The CFS flies people in from across Canada to "campaign against us. That's embarrassing."

Yes-side: 600,000 students across the country have decided to be members of the CFS.

Yes-side: The CFS is a national union of students. It functions like URSU, but it also provides represenation to prov. and fed govts

Yes-side: There are general meetings that allow students to make decisions. Budgets and other documents are available.

Yes-side: CFS focusses on advocacy for post-secondary education. It should be accessible to everyone.

Yes-side: Over 1000 students at U of R have signed post-cards re: more accessible education.

Yes-side: CFS lobbied for FNUniv. There were solidarity marches across the country. Funding was then reinstated for one year.

Yes-side: There are many examples of local issues that are stronger due to national support.

Yes-side: All CFS campaign shirts were created using a single-mothers cooperative from El Salvador.

Yes-side: Students pay $5 per semester. Collective representation, GST-exempt tuition, and other services are well worth it.

Yes-side: Using economies of scale, and working together means cost-savings for local student unions.

John C.: Moderated questions now.

John C.: How has URSU worked to address its concerns with CFS-Sask involvement?

No-side Barber: There is a need for CFS-Sask representatives. There were too many roles and responsibilities required to get CFS-SK working

No-side Barber: A lot of my time on CFS-SK was spent trying to get CFS-SK operational.

Yes-side: We have posted the SK-Org. position. The closing date is Nov. 5. Of course we can do more, but that will happen by staying in CFS.

Yes-side: These issues were not brought up in general meetings. CFS and URSU reps have a reciprocal relationship.

JC: How has CFS worked to fill the Sask-Organizer position?

Yes-side: We have posted it, we have been recruiting in labour circles. There are positions that have been filled.

Yes-side: It is not a good use of students money to hire somebody who will not do their job.

No-side: Posting is good, but the position has been empty since 2007.

JC: What are URSU’s plans if this referendum is answered with a NO?

No-side: We will not continue memberhsip with CFS. We will work with the SK Studetns Association. We raise issues on the provincial level.

Yes-side: We are going to continue running campaigns. But our strength is based on our numbers.

JC: Why aren`t CFS` financial statements online?

Yes-side: We need a motion passed to put our documents online. I haven’t heard one.

No-side: I think there may have been a motion.

JC: Has URSU worked with CFS to address its concerns on policy?

NO: We have not submitted any motions. It takes a while, there is a lot to learn.

Yes: There is a notion in advance of general meetings. It encourages people to contact the office if there are questions re: process.

JC: Where does U of R student fees to CFS go to?

Yes: It goes into program infrastructure, services, and campaigns. For exact details, pick-up our audited statements.

No: The audited statements do not represent the entire picture.

JC: How will URSU work to represent Regina on a federal level, or will it?

No: We will contine to meet with local MPs, and we will get the prov. Govt to lobby the fed level.

Yes: Graduate, Aboriginal students, transfers, and many other things come from the federal level. 60% of student loans are from fed. gov.

JC: There are 13 student unions attempting to leave CFS, if U of R votes to remain, how will you adress our concerns?

Yes: It is a question if we want to work collectivelyt together. Communiation can be strengthened. Let’s find ways to make it better.

No: Do you want to be part of an org. that has a long history of horror stories. Do the research. There is too much negative press.

Closing remarks

No: We’re arguing that CFS hasn’t been good in Sask. This is a pretty weird organization. There are many red flags out there. Do research.

Yes: This campaign on campus is being run by local students.They believe in our services and programs. How is it most effective to organize?

Yes: Over the last number of years, 25 student unions have said YES to the CFS.

Queries from the AUDIENCE!

URSU President Addison: Is the identity card in receivership?

Yes: It is not in receivership.

30% of your members are trying to leave CFS. Where is the collective nature of CFS that's benefiting SK students?

Yes: Students have the right to make the decision. Collecive strength has brought change to post-secondary education. ex) Grants not Loans

Yes: As a result of nation-wide efforts, CFS won the largest grant program in Canadian history.

Q: Without a Prairie Organizer, how can URSU be blamed for not knowing the process?

Yes: The position is posted. But I’m only a phone call away.

Q: URSU is funding $3000 for the No side. How much is CFS campaign costing?

Yes: We also have a $3000 limit. I am here as part of my job to campaign.

Q: After 2005 has CFS done anything for students re: tuition?

Yes: After 2005 there was a tuition freeze in Saskatchewan, and throughout Canada there have been efforts to get P-SE investment.

Public Service Announcement: Psst! P-SE means Post-secondary Education. THE MORE YOU KNOW!

Q: We can all agree the CFS is about student voices. Where is the line re: censorship and minimum voter turnouts, etc.?

Yes: Financial documents would be posted online if students passed a motion. But online posting isn't the definition of accountability.

Yes: We have 29 years of unqualified audits. That means there are no concerns with the organization's documents.

Yes: The voting process is taking place, we are allowing students to have their say.

Q: Why would you support pro-choice(packages, etc.)?

Yes: Student unions have the say re: student groups, not the CFS. Any campus has the right to critical thinking. You have been misinformed.

Q: To URSU: Why are you taking a side on this issue?

No: You elected us. You had your say. Your Board of Directors made the decision.

Q: Don't you think such a fundamental question should be consulted with students?

No: The Board has the responsibility to do that.

Q: URSU hasn't provided minutes since June/2010, and tried to run a referndum last year. What is the full cost of the refernda?

No: I don't have the numbers in front of me. I don't have an answer for you. Neither side has to disperse information, but prob. will.

Q: What have either side been doing to lobby the prov. government since the tuition freeze ended?

No: We have discussed child care, scholarships, and so on. We will continue to do that work.

Yes: A CFS-Sask report was commissioned that addressed many issues and solutions on provincial level.

Q: Will we see results if we make this investment (re: CFS)?

Yes: You still have GST-exempt tuition and other services. There are lots of opportunities to grow and do even more.

Q: Why does CFS visibility on campus matter?

No: It's an individual's choice as to whether it is important or not. We think it is. Students should see results and value.

Q: FNUniv hasn't had an organizer either, but we managed to get everything done. Also, why can't FNUniv students vote in this referendum?

No: FNUniv is a separate local re: CFS.

Q: FNUniv has been paying full URSU fees, therefore we should be able to vote in this referendum. Why are we not able to vote?

No: We're not actually excluding you. FNUniv pay separate CFS local fees. This is a local 9 referendum.

Q: As URSU have you talked to CFS re: the referendum?

No: We have talked about financial, organizing, and other concerns.

Q: In URSU's constitution it says URSU must remain non-partisan. Are your actions appropriate?

No: I can't comment on behalf of the Board. CFS is a third-party issue. [then, silence]

Q: If you don't bring our concerns to CFS, then how are they supposed to know our issues?

No: We didn't bring forth any motions, but we did bring forward concerns.


UPDATE: To clarify – Kaytlyn Barber was indeed correct when referring to a motion to put the CFS' audited financial statements online. The motion, which was put forward during the organization's Nov. 2009 Annual National General Meeting, was heavily amended in committee and closing plenary. The motion originally called to put its fundamental documents – bylaws, letters patent, standing resolutions, operating procedures, and the past five years' audited financial statements – online in an easily accessible location; as amended, the motion called to put the organization's bylaws in a "members' only" section of the website. More on this as we can find it.


  1. Thomas Roussin 27 October, 2010 at 01:00

    (1) All members in good standing as members of the Students’ Union are entitled to vote or cast a ballot in any or all referenda, elections, or general meetings of the Students’ Union.
    All FNU students pay FULL URSU fees – Account Summaries to prove it.
    Just saying.
    PS – Carillon,  genuine thanks for putting this forum together

  2. John 28 October, 2010 at 08:30

    1. Types of Memberships
    General Description: There are two types of members of the Federation, individual members and voting members. Students, or individual members, are represented through the local student association to which they belong. Local student associations representing individual members are called voting members.
    Perhaps you can enlighten us, Thomas, as to how FNU students comprise a separate CFS member local despite not being a separate student union. In membership referenda, CFS bylaws hold. Otherwise, your referendum would be very different. There might be a fair & effective complaints process, reasonable campaign materials, spending limits, etc.
    The reason FNU students can't vote now, is that CFS has been ignoring it's bylaws in order to let you have a separate vote.

  3. Thomas Roussin 2 November, 2010 at 15:05

    Hey John, great question. Here's what I make of it:
    It starts with your quote of Bylaws on Membership.
    " Local student associations representing individual members are called voting members."
    There are individual members (each of us who pay into our students'union/association). [Almost] every university student is a fee-paying member of URSU. These are the members who get to vote in referenda and can run for elected positions within the URSU/CFS.
    Then, when our representatives from our university represent us at the provincial/national CFS bodies, they are referred to as "voting members". These voting members are responsible for attending Prov/National meetings to represent the will of the individual members from their campus.
    The problem being, is that FNUniv students (like Campion & Luther colleges) are fee-paying union members of the URSU. Therefore they are allowed to vote in any URSU election, referendum & AGM.
    Yes, the FNUniv is a separate member of the CFS. HOWEVER, it has come to the attention that FNUniv students have all paid FULL URSU fees, thus paying their dues twice.
    Bylaw I.6 of the CFS state that “the individual members of the belonging to a member local association may vote on continued membership…”
    That being said, in either the URSU & CFS constitutions, it mentions nothing about fees … just that the individual members must be in good standing with the [member local] URSU. So if you, the student, has your union fees paid, you have the constitutional right to vote in this referendum. 
    I can only imagine that there were many double-enveloped ballots – of which URSU has to now show whether or not the individual students have paid their union dues – in order to deem them eligible voters in this referendum. 
    Because FNUniv students are also members of URSU (just like Campion/Luther/Engineers) while also having their own students association (and associated fees).
    Of course, this is just my interpretation of the bylaws – the ROC will have the last say on this regardless.
    Cheers bud.

Comments are closed.