the healthy fear

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The AMS must always be vigilant to threats from outside, and I can really think of no greater threat to the efficacy and general health of the AMS than that of the Canadian Federation of Students. While the referendum to join the CFS was the referendum that failed by the largest margin in AMS history, this is not to say that such a referendum would not pass now. The CFS, for all its problems, still has the campaign competence and the legal heft to make stopping a federation process, once initiated, very, very difficult.

Historically, the AMS has been skeptical of CASA, but I worry that we are losing the institutionalized fear that has protected us from that organization for so long.

How does this affect this year’s election, you might ask? Well, the CFS is something that would pertain primarily to the President and the VP External Affairs. The stances on the CFS should be known, both in terms of working with the CFS, and CFS locals, and in terms of whether or not to consider initiating the referendum process.

Seeing some of the problems that we’ve had with the improper signing of contracts with the folks over at PIVOT indicate to me the most vulnerable points in the AMS armour. There have been cases in the past where contracts were signed without the consent of the Council to enter into agreements to hold a referendum for federation, and while the circumstances were somewhat different (executives in that case were entitled to make resolutions on behalf of that society during the summer) I can still imagine a long and protracted legal battle over any number of things the moment we sign anything with the CFS.

One (of the many sadly doomed) bylaw referendum questions is to make sure that any referendum question that would affect the fees of the society would have to enumerate the fee changes. This is one of the tricks that the CFS has used in the past has to win referenda in the past. Amongst the other things that they do is to truck in organizers from around the province and the country to help with the campaign. During the rash of defederations two years ago, there was a secret war plan document that was leaked to the press, and it included a number of names at UBC and, naturally, in the GVRD. It is linked here.

Last year, all the candidates for President made it clear that the CFS was not an option for the AMS, and the Tribune will be asking this year’s candidates their opinions on the topic in our very exciting candidate questionnaires – stay tuned for these early next week. We need to make sure that we are vigilant against the advances of the federation, and ensure that we are aware of where their influence is, and what they are trying to do with it.


3 Responses to “the healthy fear”

  1. 1 Spencer
    January 15, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Typo in your second paragraph…

  2. January 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Yeah, I like CASA 😛

    Aren’t Blake Frederick and Tim Chu seen as friendly to the CFS?

  3. 3 Patrick M.
    January 15, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Both Blake and Tim said they opposed it because, though they don’t have much, they do have some political sense, and can sense a suicide statement when they see one coming.

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