Winnipeg students to take over CFS leadership

Former UMSU president, current UWSA president elected to two of organization’s three top positions

Two Winnipeggers have been elected to the leadership team that will steer the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) through the next year at the association’s annual national general meeting in Gatineau, Que. last week.

Incumbent national chairperson and former University of Manitoba Students’ Union president Bilan Arte was elected to her second term heading up the federation, while Peyton Veitch, president of the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA), was voted in as treasurer at the association’s leadership election Nov. 25.

The elections installed the Winnipeggers into two of the organization’s three top positions. Vice-chairperson Anne-Marie Roy, a former member of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, will remain in the position for a second term.

Arte told the Manitoban about her excitement with the victory and the continued opportunity to serve as the number-one CFS representative in Canada.

“It feels great,” she said. “I’m excited to keep working with Canada’s student movement and am grateful for the renewed opportunity to do so.”

After spending much of her first year at the helm of CFS working to deliver students to the voting booth, she said she will focus her next term on holding the new federal Liberal administration, under Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, to account.

“I was passionate then about getting students to the ballot box,” she said. “Today, I’m redirecting that passion to ensure the Trudeau government lives up to the commitments it made to Canada’s students.”

Veitch is due to take office in June 2016 and told the Manitoban he wants to open the doors of post-secondary education to a wider audience.

“I believe that education is a right for all and by serving Canada’s student movement as treasurer, I can be a part of the fight to make our public, post-secondary system truly public,” he said.

Veitch highlighted his achievements as president of UWSA, which include spearheading a fossil fuel divestment campaign, bringing mental health issues to the top of the University of Winnipeg’s agenda, resulting in the hiring of three new full-time councillors, and participation in a lobby campaign that led the provincial NDP government to strike interest fees from student loans.

In his new position, he said he plans to push similar initiatives at the national level.

“I am excited to work with students across the country in responding directly to the new federal government,” he said. “I want us to ensure that Prime Minister Trudeau not only keeps his promises to the youth of this country but also takes greater steps towards ensuring accessible education for all.”