Who knew that student reps want to represent…students?

The CFS-BC had its hands full over the past couple of weeks.

Derek Robertson, Director of External Affairs for the Kwantlen Students’  Association (KSA) and newly-recognized KSA CFS representative, has been in an ongoing battle with the CFS-BC for a couple of years – most recently in the Supreme Court of BC.

He was elected Director of External Affairs of the KSA in April 2008, which is synonymous in that organization with becoming their student association’s representative at the CFS. There was a period of time when Robertson stepped down from representing Kwantlen at the CFS, so that he could work on a CFS defederation campaign for the KSA without a conflict of interest.

Following the conclusion of the campaign, the CFS-BC has refused to allow Robertson back on their board of directors. The board of directors for the CFS-BC is comprised of enough seats to allow for a representative from each member local.

There is a ratification process that is to be followed in order to recognize members of the executive. Shamus Reid, Chairperson of the CFS-BC, says that the court ruling “ignored that a super-majority of members at a general meeting of the CFS-BC voted against the ratification of Mr. Robertson to the Executive Committee because he could not represent their interests.”

Robertson, however, says that the ratification process is in place “as merely a mechanism to make sure that proper process was followed in the appointment of that representative, not to allow or disallow that representative from serving.”

The case was in court at the beginning of January, and the CFS-BC and the KSA received the ruling on January 20. Madame Justice Brown, who presided over the trial, ruled that by refusing to acknowledge Derek Robertson as the CFS representative for the KSA, they were in violation of Section 24 of the Society Act for BC.

The section reads, “The members of a society may, in accordance with the bylaws, nominate, elect, or appoint directors”. The Act also states that directors are responsible for handling the affairs of the society, subject to the Society Act and the constitution and bylaws for the society.

The Act does not, however, allow directors to refuse to recognize a fellow director who has been duly elected.

We’re certainly perplexed by the ruling,” says Reid. “The BC Society Act provides that directors of a society are legally responsible for protecting from harm. Despite this legal responsibility, Justice Brown’s ruling denies directors the legal power to do so.”

A court ruling that would overturn the democratic will of the overwhelming majority of voting members is not in the best interests of a society,” he added.

Justice Brown awarded the KSA with costs, as well as re-establishing Robertson on the CFS-BC Executive Committee.

The ruling further set a precedent that deems societies in B.C. unable to create qualifications for the appointment of society directors outside that of what is outlined in the Society Act-BC. 

We believe this ruling was made in error,” says Reid, “and will have profoundly negative consequences for societies in BC.”

Robertson, who is pleased with the victory, disagrees. “Kwantlen students have been without a representative for almost two years because the CFS-BC Executive has seen fit on multiple occasions to disallow Kwantlen’s duly elected representative ... from serving as a representative of Kwantlen. It’s absolutely preposterous.”

Robertson says he is thrilled with the outcome of the court ruling.

If you cannot speak critically of an organization, how can you make it a better organization? It’s just impossible.”

//Samantha Thompson
Assistant News Editor

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: