The winds of change hit the CFS-BC, hard

Four days in Nanaimo for their Annual General Meeting left the CFS-BC (Canadian Federation of Students-British Columbia) a slightly different society.

Of particular note is the motion that came out of the AGM regarding outstanding CFS-BC delegation fees. The motion, which passed, states that if a member has outstanding delegate fees older than 180 days, the delegate is then unable to attend the next AGM.

The motion would require that a local union pay any delegate fees outstanding from previous general meetings, before that local may register delegates for a subsequent general meeting,” says Shamus Reid, CFS-BC Chairperson.

It would make sense and put it [the CFS] in line with a lot of organizations,” says Gurpreet Kambo, the Capilano Student Union’s CFS representative, of the motion. “But we tried to move an amendment…that unfortunately didn’t pass.”

The amendment would have required the CFS to deliver prior written notice to locals with outstanding fees, so they were aware of their situation.

Derek Robertson, CFS representative for the Kwantlen Students’ Association, says that his local pushed for such provisions to be put in place – something that is currently absent in CFS-BC policy.

Elections also took place at the AGM, for the CFS-BC Executive. Reid, who has been re-elected as the CFS-BC Chairperson four times, decided not to run again this year.

Being elected four times has been a huge honour and a privilege,” he says. “It has also been an extraordinary challenge and has required spending a great deal of time away from family and friends.”

He plans to spend more time with his partner, and to turn his focus onto completing his degree.

I have absolute confidence that Nimmi Takkar (Chairperson-elect) and others who were elected…will be strong leaders on behalf of BC’s university and college students, and will hold the government’s feet to the fire to make education more affordable,” says Reid.

Chelsea Berry, Lansdowne Director-at-Large for Camosun College, found it strange that Takkar had told her “that she had only decided the day prior to the Election Forum that she was going to be running for the position.”

I have come to learn,” says Berry, “that the Chairperson works a sixteen-hour day…clearly, deciding to run [for the position] and put aside your life is a big decision and one that students would not take lightly.”

The incoming Chairperson was placed under scrutiny during the candidates’ forum, in particular when she was asked a question about a feeling of alienation some school locals were experiencing within the CFS-BC.

She said she knew nothing about member locals feeling alienated, according to Kailey Willetts’ report in The Martlet. 

She has been with her board for nearly two years, not knowing what the issues are is totally unacceptable,” says Berry, who confronted Takkar  about her response after the forum.

Despite her criticisms of Takkar, “I feel that the CFS is a valuable lobbying organization and does provide students with valuable benefits,” says Berry. “I enjoyed the AGM a lot. I’ve shown to the delegates that I will speak my mind even if it goes against the status quo of the CFS.”

In comparison to the national one [CFS AGM], it was a cakewalk,” says Kambo. “There was less tension, there were less emotions…it was certainly easier than the national one. There wasn’t a lot of really controversial things happening.”

//Samantha Thompson
Assistant News Editor

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com