Thursday, February 02, 2006


Petty Politcs

Rules are rules - even if the stakes are low and the pettiness high.

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) quest to add the University of Saskatchewan to their membership base has failed. The referendum results for that school have NOT been ratified. FYI - Someone should tell the CFS webmaster who lists the U of S as local 17.

A couple of statements are repeated over and over in the documents hosted on the USSU website -

CFS representatives were privy to this information before anyone else. Other campaign teams would not have the same access.

Some other notable mentions:

There was no clear resolution on the inconsistencies of USSU and CFS bylaw’s
prior to the campaign period.

CFS members were involved in referendum campaigning; CFS bylaws and USSU policies are silent about the ability of members to campaign. However, the Elections Board considered this issue in the interest of meeting the requirements of fairness of process.
Accessibility and equality of treatment are issues. Equality of treatment - CFS members of the OC were also involved in campaigning and represented the “yes” side. The “No” side did not have representation on the OC therefore, it could be argued that the yes side were
provided preferential treatment.

Accessibility – CFS members had gained first knowledge prior to its communication. CFS members also had the opportunity to be part of the decision making process. Other teams did not have this same access.

Finally, this nugget:

Given the fluidity of the overall referendum process, the fact that the members from the CFS were also involved in campaigning seemed to allow them an advantage in terms of having up-to-date and accurate information on the “ground rules.” In the case that the authority of the ROC and the referendum guidelines had been already established, the involvement of CFS ROC members in campaigning may not have had a sufficient effect on the outcome. In this particular referendum, this advantage of information and input into the guidelines, as the campaign progressed, would likely have placed them in a position of significant advantage.

Now, you may ask yourself how the hell the U of S got into this mess. Could it be the Saskatchewan Representative - Gavin Gardiner - is also the President of the Students' Union? Funny, shouldn't a representative for an organization from a jurisdiction be a member of the union first? Hello, insider trading!

I don't particularly have an affinity to the Canadian Association of Student Associations - the chief rival of the Canadian Federation of Students - but I do know recognize structural flaws . The CFS has a track record in dealing in questionable activities- e.g. a $100 million lawsuit with various Canadian student unions over the ownership of travel cuts. This combined with the various ex-CFS executive members who simply recycle themselves treating their positions like tenure and entitlements is enough to make anyone throw up. Lads, some of you are in your 30s with PhDs - the real world beckons.

Who was it who said that university politics are so nasty because the stakes are so small?
About fricking time! God, the CFS made voting look like Haiti in the 40's. Their election by-laws superseded any by-laws of the USSU -- uh, how is that?

As an undergrad student I didn't vote for CFS so why are they telling me how to do my referendum? Even more, if you want out, you have to wait at lest a year before you have another referendum -- what?

I don't know the guy but Gardiner showed an extreme lack of judgement on his part by being the CFS rep and USSU prez at the same time. He was either:

a) too stupid to know there was conflict of interest;
b) too naive to think that he could seperate the two and others wouldn't care; or
c) simply lacking any sort of moral integrity

none of them pretty, all them pointing to poor leadership on his part.

Some good quotes from Gardiner in the last two weeks:

About U of S President Peter MacKinnon's opinion on a Tuition Freeze:

"Peter MacKinnon is a well-known guy in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan; Maclean’s called him a ‘nation builder.’ A lot of people respect and listen to him. Basically what I think he’s threatening is a pissing-match with the provincial government if things go that way"

About the Millenium Scholarship Foundation:

"It's a well known fact that the Millenium Scholarship Foundation is categorically a complete failure"

Good luck in the real world my friend...
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