Feds raises questions about long-term federal advocacy strategy

The reallocation of $36,044.56  originally slotted to CASA and the elimination of a staff position has raised questions regarding the future of Feds federal advocacy.

When Feds dropped to associate members within CASA, funding went into hiring part-time commissioners. The two positions include academic affairs and municipal affairs.

Now that the new 2014/2015 budget has been released, Stephane Hamade, Feds VP education, said that the money from CASA “has been reallocated across different parts of the organization.”

“When we make changes to the budget, we make decisions as a whole organization, not just on specific money. One place where I’ve seen increases is in hiring a part-time research commissioner and an executive assistant for the fall and winter, but for the most of the money it’s gone back into the organization for the best interest of students.”

Besides CASA, the position of research and policy officer, which is a full-time position that helps the advocacy cause at all levels of government, is also in flux.

“We’re hiring a stakeholder relations officer,” Hamade said. “With this position we’re trying to figure out how the organization and the department is going to be looking for the next few months, so it’s probably more of an evaluation period. Probably in six months we’ll look into if we want to hire again or if there are still gaps in the organization in that area.”

In the meantime, Andres Fuentes, who held the research and policy officer position, will stay with Feds in a part-time role. The research capacity will be split between Fuentes, Hamade himself, and the stakeholder relations officer.

Hamade said in an interview with <em>Imprint</em> that Feds remains committed to federal advocacy.

&ldquo;If you look at travelling conferences and professional development line [sic], some of that will be used to travel to meet Federal MPs, the ones locally,&rdquo; Hamade said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to make a proposal to council, as I said in the previous council meeting, we are going to make a proposal on what our plan is for federal advocacy in October.&rdquo;

Hamade added that after leaving CASA it would ultimately be up to council to decide what Feds&rsquo; future federal advocacy strategy will be.

When asked whether or not he thinks UW&rsquo;s Federal advocacy efforts are subpar compared to other post-secondary institutions, Hamade highlighted Queens, the University of British Columbia, and Dalhousie as examples of universities that have left CASA or have a similar level of commitment as UW.

&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been trying to figure out what students want us to be advocating for them at the federal level, so we&rsquo;re going to be looking to make our own policies. I wouldn&rsquo;t say that necessarily our strength is a lot weaker than other institutions,&rdquo; Hamade said.


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