CARPAY: Ending mandatory student union fees is fair and just
If student unions are truly good and wonderful, providing immense benefits to all their members, then why must university students be forced to join them and pay dues? Won’t the benefits and wonders attract sufficient support without coercion?
The Ontario government has announced that it will require universities to allow students to opt out of non-essential fees that fund student newspapers, student clubs, and campus advocacy groups.
The vast majority of student union dues – as high as $2,000 per year per student in some cases – will still be mandatory. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities explains that students must still fund “major, campus-wide services and facilities” and contribute to “the health and safety of students,” including things like walk-safe programs, health and counselling, athletics and recreation, and academic support.
This has not stopped outrage from predictable quarters like the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), an umbrella student organization of student unions across the country. Ignoring the reality of the new policy, the CFS claims the Ford government will take away from “basic necessities that students need to succeed.”
The CFS goes on to claim that “student unions are non-partisan, student politicians have diverse views, and all work to improve life for their classmates.” The CFS asserts that “leaders of student unions are democratically elected, and students have the right to join any group or union they please.”
Kevin Arriola and Alexandra Godlewski know these CFS claims are not true. They and other Ryerson students were prohibited by the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) from establishing a Men’s Issues Awareness Society (MIAS) on campus, purely because RSU student executives were ideologically opposed to the group. In keeping with their own radical feminist ideology, RSU’s autocratic student politicians rejected the group because it failed to affirm that “systemic male privilege” is a problem. RSU thought it irrelevant that nearly half of MIAS’ members were women, and that the group was at various times headed by a female president.
RSU even claimed that the mere discussion of how men and boys experience higher rates of suicide, homelessness, workplace injuries and failure in school would threaten the “safety” of “women-identified students” on campus.
You can’t join a group when the student union prevents its creation. Clearly, students do not have “the right to join any group they please.” Clearly, student politicians do not appreciate the diversity of other students’ views. Yet Mr. Arriola and Ms. Godlewski were forced to fund the same student union that trampled on their freedoms of expression and association.
Diane Zettel also knows the CFS claims are not true. When she and other students tried to set up a Students for Life club, the University of Toronto Mississauga Student Union crushed their efforts. The Student Union’s capricious denial of formal club status effectively prevented Ms. Zettel and others from engaging fellow students in student spaces on campus, from organizing events, debates and presentations on campus. Student union intolerance of diverse opinion on campus was the sole reason for denying Ms. Zettel and other students an equal opportunity to participate in campus life.
Likewise, Kathleen Hepworth and other students at Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology were prevented by their Student Association from forming a campus club called Speak for the Weak. The Student Association claimed that allowing a pro-life club on campus would constitute “systemic societal oppression,” and that only abortion-supporting clubs qualify as “equity-seeking.”
The CFS claims to want to improve life for students, yet supports the censoring of “incorrect” opinions on campus. Good-bye, diversity. The only way to fight oppression and seek equity is the student union’s way; anything different is not tolerated.
Further, student unions are very partisan towards politically correct ideologies and causes. The CFS has passed a motion endorsing the Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions campaign against Israel. In so doing, the CFS requires its member unions to follow suit. Student unions may be non-partisan toward political parties, but they are very partisan in promoting pet political causes. And they use the mandatory dues of students to do so.
Making student union dues voluntary rather than mandatory, at least in regard to the funding of campus organizations and causes, is long overdue.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) which has represented students who defended their freedom of expression and freedom of association in court actions against their own student unions.
What a wild couple of weeks it has been for broadcasting legend Don Cherry. After getting fired on Remembrance Day for his controversial “You people” comments, Cherry went on a media no-apology tour, making it clear that he meant what he said, though he wishes he could have phrased it a little more eloquently.
Now Cherry is back, on his own podcast The Grapevine, featuring none other than his son, Tim Cherry, as co-host.
Cherry’s first episode didn’t shy away from all the controversy that got him in this situation in the first place — in fact, it was the main topic in Cherry’s debut, which lasted nearly half an hour.
The podcast, which was made available on Spotify Tuesday morning, opened with a short conversation about his family’s time in Boston, before diving into the fiasco surrounding Cherry’s last ten days as a sports broadcaster—which has perhaps been some of the most interesting in the last forty years.
On the topic of Ron MacLean, who has publically apologized for nodding along with Cherry’s comments, Cherry said he was “disappointed with MacLean,” but stated that they were “still friends”.
Shortly after, the Cherrys started discussing Don’s firing from Sportsnet, explaining that he attempted to clear the air with the company, wanting to “explain himself”. Cherry was not ready to make an apology, though, which ultimately may have been his demise.
“I just couldn’t do it,” said Cherry. “Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy,” going on to add, “We have the best country in the world.”
Cherry, 85, outlined how he, for the first time in decades, is unemployed, besides the rebooted Grapevine.
Tim Cherry told the Toronto Sun the game plan is to record the podcast on Mondays, and release it throughout the hockey season.
Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party (UCP) have denied accusations of electoral interference after moving to fire Alberta’s election commissioner, according to the CBC.
This comes in the middle of an investigation into the UCP’s “kamikaze” electoral tactics in their party’s leadership election.
The UCP has planned to combine both the election commissioner’s office with the province’s chief electoral officer. This comes after the election commissioner levied $200,000 in fines towards the party.
Responding to this, the Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley said the UCP’s plan “reeks of corruption. It reeks of the sort of entitlement and self-dealing the conservatives became known for … It’s an abuse of power.”
The NDP’s strong reaction may be a result of them creating the election commissioner’s office in the first place. Many of the NDP’s complaints may be regarded as partisan rather than a serious electoral concern.
The UCP, however, have brushed off these accusations. One UCP spokesperson, for instance, stated that the move to unify the two offices only had to do with increasing government efficiency.
Premier Jason Kenney is yet to comment on the bill’s controversy.
Chrystia Freeland will no longer serve as foreign affairs minister, as the job will instead go to Saint-Maurice—Champlain MP Francois-Philippe Champagne.
Champagne served as minister of infrastructure and communities in the Trudeau government’s last parliament, and will be replacing cabinet faithful Chrystia Freeland. Champagne, who also worked as a trade lawyer, has served as minister of international trade in the past.
It is not yet known what position Freeland will be moved to, though it has been rumoured by sources that she will serve as deputy prime minister.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make a formal announcement on Wednesday afternoon to unveil his new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
Additionally, North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson will serve as the new environment minister, according to Radio-Canada. Pablo Rodriguez will be government house leader, and Steven Guilbeault will serve as the new heritage minister, according to CBC-Radio Canada‘s sources.
Montreal native Erick Marciano was honored by the city in Montreal after using his SUV to shield pedestrians from a speeding car. Marciano acted with bravery in a split-second decision to use his SUV to shield pedestrians from a car fleeing from police that was heading directly towards a busy intersection.
Marciano, a 48-year-old father-of-three told CTV News that “I figured I had to act,” after he saw the vehicle speeding towards the defenseless pedestrians. His mind immediately went to the terrible stories in Europe of drivers running over pedestrians and he rushed to act to prevent the same thing from happening in Montreal.
Marciano proceeded to honk his horn and put his SUV in front of the speeding driver before managing to get out of his car moments before the collision. The 19-year-old suspect who Marciano managed to stop was arrested and is now facing charges for his role in the incident.
Marciano, a general contractor has been incredibly humble about the incident, telling CTV It was just a natural thing to do, and if I had to do it again, I would do it again.” His wife Michelle commented on his modesty and selflessness at the ceremony honouring her husbands deed “He’s always thinking about others and always puts himself before others, so it’s just something he does.”
Marciano was given a certificate of honor by mayor Valérie Plante, telling journalists, “To commit such a bold act, at the risk of his personal safety, to protect the life of pedestrians is among the most admirable acts of bravery.” He was also given the honour to sign his name in Montreal’s Golden Book, which he said was last signed by climate activist Greta Thunberg.
When Michelle was asked if she would lend her SUV to her husband she told CTV while laughing: “Never, ever.”