By: Samantha Relich and Anna-Kaye Evans
There are “gross inconsistencies” and “inaccurate information” in the report released by the RSU on its relationship with the CFS, said Rajean Hoilett, former RSU president and chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario.
Hoilett slammed the report at a debate with Victoria Morton, RSU vice-president education, at the Ryersonian yesterday. The debate took place just one day after the RSU released a joint letter with nine other student unions expressing collective dissatisfaction with the CFS.
“I’m really concerned about the intentions of this process,” said Hoilett, after the debate. He added that he hopes that Morton’s statements about wanting to work with the federation are true.
Tensions between the CFS and student unions across the country have been rising. At the University of Toronto — one of the signatories on the letter — a petition has been launched by students to get the signatures of the 20 per cent of the student union membership needed to trigger a referendum for defederation.
“The question here isn’t necessarily is there any value provided by the CFS whatsoever,” said Morton at the debate. “The question is, can that value be bettered elsewhere? And the answer to that, if you read (the RSU) report, is irrefutably, yes.”
In the letter, the signatories wrote that they “can no longer accept or support” the governance structure of the CFS. This year Ryerson students paid upwards of $500,000 in membership fees to the CFS.
The current situation is “very discouraging” said Morton. “The complaints we’re having now, we’ve been having the same complaints for over 30 years,” she said.
Both participants expressed a desire to improve the relationship between the RSU and CFS, however, there was no discussion of how that might happen.
Hoilett did not comment on the possibility of defederation among the CFS’ membership.
With files from Shaian Martin.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that the Cape Breton University Students’ Union (CBUSU) filed for bankruptcy. In fact, the union did not file for bankruptcy. This version of the story has been corrected.