Feds reveals new federal advocacy strategy

In the latest students’ council meeting Stephane Hamade, Feds’ VP Education, introduced a federal advocacy strategy that he says would save Feds close to $60,000.

The savings are compared to the money spent by Feds in the past when they were full members of Canadian Alliance of Student Association (CASA); which Feds opted to leave, as associate members, in the winter of 2014.

When it comes to the cost, approximately $3,000 of the current $7,000 VPED’s special project fund will be allocated to the strategy. The time spent on the strategy will be split up between the VP education, the stakeholder relationship officer, and the research commissioner.

The strategy, approved unanimously by the governmental affairs advisory committee, would focus its strategy on engaging local MPs and meeting with “relevant decision makers” in Ottawa.

The reasons why this federal advocacy approach has been introduced is to address and advocate on issues unique to the University of Waterloo, such as an extensive co-op program, and the large international student population. Issues, which Hamade said, other student unions and federal lobbying organizations, such as CASA, may not be concerned with at this time.

“One of the real advantages is that we get to focus on priorities that might have more impact on University of Waterloo students,” Hamade said. “The effect it has on co-op students or something that won’t affect many other universities, because they don’t have strong co-op programs yet, will affect UW students quite a bit.”

Policies Feds will look to advocate for includes tax credits that incentivize co-op, or other policies that encourage students to enter co-op programs.

Hamade assured that their new federal advocacy approach will not affect their efforts in advocating on the national level, concerning broader post-secondary issues such as the Canadian Student Loans program, which CASA, as a federal advocacy lobbying organization, does effectively.

“We still will be doing some degree of advocacy around the Student Loans Program... CASA will continue doing that as well,” Hamade said.

“We will be doing work beneficial for the country, but will be targeted towards benefiting Waterloo students,” Hamade said. “As education around the country changes it probably will benefit the rest of the country if they invest more into co-op.”

He admitted that the introduction of this federal advocacy strategy is no coincidence.

“This year it’s really critical for us to be doing federal advocacy because of the federal election that’s coming up in 2015,” Hamade said. “We want to be able to influence their platforms because that’s what the party that wins is then going to be working on that platform for four to five years. We need to meet with them as they’re developing their platform so we can give them solutions they can hopefully incorporate.”

Hamade and Feds hopes the new focused federal advocacy strategy will  significantly  result in less costs than other alternatives, while enhancing effectiveness.


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