On October 28, SSMU Legislative Council convened for their fourth meeting of the Fall 2021 term. They discussed various fee levies and existence referendums for a variety of student services, clubs, and programs, and passed a motion condemning the Quebec National Assembly’s Bill 2, which requires ID holders to disclose their sex and gender identities.
QPIRG and CKUT Existence Referendums and Other Fee Levies
On the agenda this meeting were several motions moved to maintain the existence of certain clubs and services supported by SSMU fee levies. One of which is CKUT, an independent student-run radio station that provides entertainment to students and community members, as well as many experiential opportunities for students who are interested in careers in broadcasting, arts and culture, and journalism. CKUT’s radio station has been in operation since 1987.
The committee/council also voted on QPIRG (Quebec Public Interest Research Group) McGill, which uses funds acquired from its $5.00 opt-outable SSMU fee levy. QPIRG aims to promote social and environmental justice for McGill students and connect them with the greater Montreal community. QPIRG programs include an alternative library, research exchanges, rad frosh, social justice days, and culture shock, which is “an annual event series on anti-racism, migrant justice, and Indigenous solidarity.”
SSMU voted unanimously to hold a referendum on the aforementioned programs in the coming year, which would put the CKUT and QPIRG fee levies up to vote by all students.
Legislative Council also approved motions to increase the fee levy from $3.97 to $4.37 for SSMU referral services such as Queer McGill, Nightline, and the Peer Support Centre, among others, and they increased an MSERT fee levy as part of the SSMU safety network fee from $3.97 to 4.32, which would allow MSERT to provide free first aid training to SSMU members.
Finally, they approved the proposal for an implementation of a SSMU fee for MUSTBUS, a student-run transportation service that would provide McGill and Concordia students with buses from Montreal to and from Boston, New York, and Toronto. The introduction of the MUSTBUS fee levy proposal was approved by seventeen votes for, three opposed, and two abstentions.
Condemnation of Bill 2
The final issue considered during this meeting was a motion to oppose elements of Bill 2 which “[amends] the Civil Code in relation to personality rights and civil status” and it was introduced by Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette.
Several of the articles of this bill seek to require ID-holders to disclose their gender identity and sex assigned at birth. According to LGBTQ+ rights advocates, this measure will result in those who don’t identify with their sex assigned at birth, such as transgender, non-binary, or two-spirit people, to disclose these identities to the public. This change could result in discrimination, harassment, and danger to an already marginalized population.
The article would also require transgender individuals to undergo sex-reassignment surgery to change their status on their identification. This change would require a male or female gender identity to be ascribed to intersex newborns, possibly resulting in such surgeries. SSMU stated that “adopting this mandate will send a message of solidarity to trans, intersex, gender diverse, two spirit, and non-binary members of the SSMU and McGill communities.” The motion was passed unanimously with only one abstention.
The Legislative Council will reconvene on Thursday, November 11, at 6 pm.