National news briefs

CFS no more?

More than 15 student associations from colleges and universities across Canada have created a petition to leave the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). There are currently 83 members who are a part of the federation. Members of CFS wishing to leave are required to show a petition with signatures before holding a referendum.

The student associations involved in applications to host a referendum are attempting to increase their control over affairs on campus, as well as to explore alternatives to CFS that would allow students to have more power in making campus decisions.

A CFS spokesperson has stated that the federation does not currently have plans to carry out a counter campaign.

University students chant in support of sexual assault

Frosh Week celebrations at Saint Mary’s University (SMU) in Halifax involved male and female students chanting about underage, non-consensual sex. Eighty student orientation leaders participated in the chant, which occurred as part of a traditional back-to-school festivity.

In a video shared on Instagram, students can be seen shouting, “SMU boys we like them young / ‘Y’ is for your sister / ‘O’ is for oh so tight / ‘U’ is for underage / ‘N’ is for no consent / ‘G’ is for grab that ass.”

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter expressed his disturbance with the students’ actions, and suggested that the students may not have thought about the consequences of their words.

Jared Perry, former president of SMU’s student association, participated in the chant and has named it the “biggest mistake” he has made during his career in university. He has stepped down from his position. All participating students have been mandated to take a sensitivity seminar.

Final Afghanistan withdrawal plans complete 

Next month marks the beginning of the phased withdrawal of Canadian military soldiers in Afghanistan. Their mission will terminate on Mar. 13, 2014. On Sept. 4,Major-General Dean Milner announced that plans for withdrawing the soldiers have been finalized.

Canada has been diplomatically involved with Afghanistan since 1968, and first deployed troops in October 2002. Canadian forces concluded their combat role in Kandahar in 2011.

Since 2010, the Canadian military’s mission focused on four main categories: programming for children, increasing security in Afghanistan, encouraging diplomacy, and providing humanitarian assistance.

The current number of troops in Afghanistan sits just below 800, and will decrease to about 650 after the first phase of withdrawal in October.