Legal Trouble Between the KSA and the BCFS Concludes

For years, the Kwantlen Student Association and the British Columbia Federation of Students have been embroiled in legal disputes over the student association’s attempt to leave the federation via referendum in 2013.

The BCFS claimed that the association owed outstanding fees which invalidated its right to host a petition, and further disputed that the KSA’s petition had received the minimum amount of signatures to trigger a referendum.

After four years, it seems that these issues have finally been resolved in court. When the KSA’s budget operations worksheet for 2018 was released, the line item dedicated to “Legal & Professional Fees” was reduced from $250,000 to $50,000 in allocated funding, indicating that the association is confident that the case will be concluded this year.

“We’re not predicting any lawsuits in the new fiscal year,” says KSA VP Finance & Operations Rawan Ramini. “We are done with our lawsuits with the BCFS … so we’re not expecting any major expenses.”

This news comes after a development in the case which was published by the B.C. Court of Appeal on Jan. 17. Justice Harvey Groberman ruled in favour of neither party, saying that only the impartial KPU Office of the Registrar could determine the validity of the signatures.

“From a practical standpoint, it would have been sensible for the parties to discuss and hopefully resolve discrepancies among themselves, perhaps with the assistance of the Registrar,” wrote Groberman in the court document.

“Even a brief dialog would have demonstrated that the numbers used by the [BCFS] were obviously flawed, and that the Registrar’s original assessment of the total number of eligible voters was probably accurate.”

Gorberman pointed out that, of the 165 signatures that the BCFS alleged were invalid, only nine had to be proven valid for the petition to meet the 10 per cent threshold.

“This year, we’re starting off 2018 without being in any legal disputes, so it’s a good situation for us to be in,” says KSA President Tanvir Singh. “It gives us the opportunity to start putting more money back into reserves so if, in the future, we need to use the money for other legal reasons, the KSA [will] have a healthy legal defence fund so that we can protect students if we need to.”