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Canadian Federation of Students Approves Motion to Expel BC Member Unions

| By: Whitney Rothwell |

On April 13th, 2018 the National Executive of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) voted unanimously to initiate the expulsion of BC students’ unions which are joint members of both the CFS and its BC provincial component, the British Columbia Federation of Students (BCFS). The motion will be added to the CFS national general meeting agenda in June and, if approved, will expel 120,000 individual students.

A letter to the Selkirk College Students’ Union (SCSU) sent on April 30th, 2018 from Coty Zachariah, CFS Chairperson, Charlotte Kiddel, CFS Deputy Chairperson, and Peyton Veitch Treasurer of the CFS, states that the motion comes after nine of the twelve joint member students’ unions have petitioned for the CFS to hold referendums deciding whether to stay or leave the organization.

Many students’ unions in BC, including the SCSU, remit their CFS and BCFS membership dues to the BCFS, where they are divided and the appropriate portion is remitted to the CFS. For a number of historical reasons, BCFS continues to withhold the CFS membership fees of local associations in BC while the CFS is withholding BC monies owed to the BCFS. CFS considers the membership dues of the BC member students’ unions as outstanding, so the Ottawa-based group asserts that allowing students to vote on decertification would violate CFS bylaws. The SCSU considers its membership dues to the CFS to be paid up-to-date.

Tensions between CFS and BCFS have been mounting for some time, and the letter also cites a significant distraction from the ability for all involved to serve their core mandates as a consideration in the motion.

SCSU is currently a member of both CFS and the BCFS and therefore will be expelled from the CFS if the motion is approved in June.