Ever since the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) voted to leave the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) back in 1995, there has never been another referendum on the issue.
It has come close. In 2007, a group of students, lead by Ryan Kennery, overturned a decision made by the executive of the SFUO to become prospective members of the CFS.
Before that, Mr. Anti-CFS at the University of Ottawa was no doubt Mr. Dan Bova, also a member of the executive from 2003 to 2005. He is credited to have blocked (and squashed) any attempt to join the Canadian Federation of Students.
The Winds of change
A big challenge for anyone interested in having a referendum on the question of the CFS was the BOA of the SFUO. It was always been relatively conservative.
In 2007, a reform brought forward by then President Pam Hrick, Seamus Wolfe (current VP University Affairs) and a handful of other students, saw the Board structure completely reformed.
Members of the Board are now directly elected by students and slates are permitted, if only by the lack of rules governing the Board elections.
Following the elections in February 2008, a majority of the members elected seemed to be in favour of at least having a referendum on the Canadian Federation of Students.
At the June meeting of the Board, a motion brought forward by Ryan Kennery to study different national unions was amended to exclude the non-bilingual ones, thus leaving the Canadian Federation of Students as the only national union the SFUO was going to study. Though bilingualism was the official reason for the rejection of CASA and other unions, some members brought up the point that two years ago, a committee came to the conclusion the the CFS was the most suited to represent University of Ottawa students and there was no point in repeating the process.
A committee of five students recommended "prospective membership" and the vote on the issue will take place today, Sunday July 27th, 2008.
Read the report, in English, here.
Read the report, in French, here.