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Ashley Scorpio

Carleton students must demand more from the CUSA Executive than delayed meetings and mystery budgets

As a taxpayer, you pay taxes. With your tax dollars, you expect the government to provide services and ensure the common good. In order to spend your money, the government communicates how it aims to spend it and introduces a draft budget for debate and consideration by your representatives. This budget can be amended and thoroughly scrutinized by your representatives before being passed. This system is appropriate, given that the government aims to spend your money.Currently, the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) Council is dysfunctional due to a lack of transparency and accountability of the Executive. This summer, CUSA Council was supposed to sit three times, but on more than one occasion the meeting could not take place and had to be adjourned before any official business could be addressed.A council meeting was supposed to take place yesterday (July 26), where the VP Finance was seeking adoption of his mystery budget. As of today, Council—your representatives—have yet to see it, despite numerous requests for its release. On each occasion, the VP Finance has refused, despite the fact that he continues to put forward motions to adopt his budget.Fact is, CUSA’s operating budget is roughly $2,000,000. This does not include the CUSA Health and Dental Plan or the U-Pass Program. CUSA’s budget is allocated to the nine Service Centres, the four businesses CUSA manages, Clubs and Societies programming, and various other programs including but not limited to theOmbudsman’s Office.To give you an example of other past budget expenditures, each member of the Executive currently makes a salary of $36,000, one of the highest in Canada. Last year, the VP Student Life’s operations totalled just over $200,000 while the VP Students Issues spent $50,000 on controversial campaigns. These campaigns don’t even reflect the values of most of the student body—needless to say they do not reflect… Read More

Ready, aim, fire at the long-gun registry

Last week, the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, tabled Bill C-19 Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act in the House of Commons; a Bill that aims to scrap the current long-gun registry. This measure has been long awaited, and is hopefully only the beginning of the Government’s action to protect gun owner’s rights, and get rid of wasteful and ineffective legislation.The legislation will repeal the requirement to register non-restricted firearms (long-guns); provide for the destruction of all records pertaining to the registration of long-guns currently contained in the Canadian Firearms Registry and under the control of the chief firearms officers; and maintain controls over restricted and prohibited firearms.However, under the proposed reforms, firearms owners will still require a valid firearm license to purchase or possess firearms and to purchase ammunition. They will also be required to undergo police background checks, pass a firearms safety training course, and comply with firearms safe storage and transportation requirements. In addition, individuals will still be required to register prohibited and restricted firearms, such as handguns. As per its name, this Bill seeks only to end the long-gun registry, not the gun registry in its entirety.At a time when the Government is responsibly tightening its belt during a global economic downturn, this measure will save millions of dollars per year. Although there are no specific numbers relating solely to the cost of the long-gun registry, the total cost of operating the gun registry per year is $23 million. This operations cost every year since the registry was established in 1995 is in addition to the original $2 billion it cost just to set up the program.It is important to know that the Liberal Government that established the registry originally estimated it would only cost $2 million to set up the program; instead of the… Read More