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Tory student groups hijack democracy on Ontario campuses

posted by dawn Geography: Ontario Topics: Conservatives, Universities

March 14, 2009

Tory student groups hijack democracy on Ontario campuses

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A series of documents posted on Wikileaks show that the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association, a Tory-connected student group, held workshops at which participants were taught how to take over various student organizations on Ontario campuses.

"Presenters and participants are caught on tape advocating for the creation of front groups for the Conservative Party to masquerade as non-partisan grassroots organizations, influencing the political discourse on campus, stacking student elections with Party members, and conspiring to defeat non-profit organizations because of political differences, all with the intention of hiding their affiliations to the Party in the process," reads a release put out by the anonymous source who posted the documents.

The OPCCA hosted events on campuses in Ottawa, Toronto, and Waterloo that targeted Public Interest Research Groups in particular (see photo above).

"Sometimes you can't attach the party's name to something. You just can't. If it's a really controversial issue on campus or something that might show up in the newspaper, you want to be careful. You just have your shell organization and have the Campus Coalition for Liberty and two other Tory front groups which are front organizations, all of those groups might actually qualify for funding too," said Ryan O'Connor, a workshop facilitator and former member of the OPCCA.

Nick Smith, a student activist from Toronto, has written about the attempts of Conservative student groups to hijack student politics in the past.

The documents released today on Wikileaks provide damning evidence that Ontario's Progressive Conservative party is interfering directly with student politics in Ontario.

The OPCCA has not yet commented on the matter.


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Realtor

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OPIRG attack at Queen's University

PLEASE REPOST AND TAG AS MANY QUEEN'S UNDERGRADS AS POSSIBLE!

MONDAY NIGHT: AMS Annual General Meeting, 8PM, BAN RIGH CAFETERIA

Friends and Supporters,

This weekend we discovered that the Ontario Progressive Conservative
Campus Association (OPCCA) held workshops apparently sponsored by the
Progressive Conservative Party aimed at taking over student government and
trying to destroy the Ontario Public Interest Research Group. The Dominion
reported on this breaking story on Saturday, and has links to leaked audio
files and photos that provide evidence to support this claim. See the
article at http://www.dominionpaper.ca/weblogs/dawn/2543

After examining the leaked documents, we made a disturbing discovery.
According to the files posted to Wikileaks, Queen's University Student
Senator Kevin Wiener (http://www.kevinwiener.ca) participated in these
workshops and made direct reference to a plan to eradicate OPIRG through
taking over student government and modifying eligibility criteria so as to
render OPIRG ineligible for student funding.

According to the leaked transcript and the corresponding audio file, Kevin
Wiener was quoted as saying the following:

"So, um, how about instead of necessarily fighting [OPIRG] we just get our
own non-profit corporation that receives student fees, and just have our
own student funding to fight them. Or the alternative, if you can get
student government which in some places you can, because OPIRG is a non-
profit and not a club or a charity, just amending the student funding
rules, like, "in order to receive funding you must be a club or a
charity," and then, bam, they're just not eligible to receive fees."

We encourage everyone to view these documents and audio files for
themselves at:
http://wikileaks.org/wiki/OPCCA_workshop_on_how-to_takeover_student_governments%2C_2009

Furthermore, we learned late last week that Kevin Wiener has proposed a
motion for the upcoming AMS Annual General Meeting targeting all staffed
organizations receiving student fees. Specifically, the motion seeks to
give power to the Vice President (Operations) to unilaterally decide
whether groups are acting in a way that is "consistent with the intent of
the original fee question" and not "overspending" on its staff. We believe
that this motion, while vaguely worded, is part of a larger plan of attack
on OPIRG which is articulated in the leaked tapes. It has the effect of a
major breach on the autonomy of organizations that have permanent staff
and could potentially threaten groups including OPIRG, HIV/AIDs Regional
Services, Kingston Youth Shelter, Interval House, and the Reelout Queer
Film and Video Festival.

If you appreciate the work these groups have done for the Queen's
University and Kingston communities, we ask that you show up in force on
Monday night at 8pm at Ban Righ cafeteria (University Ave + Bader Lane)
and show your solidarity. All undergraduate students have voting and
speaking rights, and other community members can speak by proxy.

The devil is in the details.

OPIRG Kingston
http://www.opirgkingston.org/

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