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Upcoming CFS meeting to cover a variety of issues

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) will be holding its 34th Annual General Meeting  Nov. 22-25 this year, according to

On the agenda are motions such as making it easier for student unions to decertify from the CFS, launching a campaign in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage, and expanding a pre-existing anti-corporate campaign.

It also includes hosting a national summit against racism and colonialism, open only to racialized students and lobbying Elections Canada, and to make on-campus voting a permanent feature.

The CFS is a national organisation that  represents students in Canada. The Student Federation of the University Ottawa joined the CFS in 2008 after a tight referendum—52 per cent of students voted “Yes”.

The budget draft in the agenda shows that the CFS will collect almost $4-million in student fees and finish with a small budget surplus. Of that $4-million, about $760,000 will be spent on campaigns.

The CFS doesn’t publish information on its annual GMs online. No location was given for the meeting.

—Nicholas Robinson

City approves new bike lanes

The City of Ottawa’s transportation committee unanimously approved a plan to spend $1.7 -million on new segregated bike lanes. The bike lanes are planned for Mackenzie Avenue, near the U.S. Embassy.

After 9/11, the U.S. Embassy installed roadside concrete barriers on the east side of Mackenzie

Avenue. The proposed project will have the barriers replaced with bollards, with segregated bike lanes built between Rideau and Murray Streets. The new paths would also connect to existing bike paths on Sussex Drive, St Patrick Street, Alexandria Bridge, and the Eastern Rideau Canal Pathway.

Installation of bollards and bike lanes will be done simultaneously with the resurfacing for Mackenzie due for completion in 2016. Vehicle lanes at Wellington Street and Rideau Street intersection will remain the same.

The National Capital Commission (NCC) will contribute $875,000, while the City of Ottawa will pay $825,000. The U.S. Embassy and the NCC plan to cover any additional costs. Cycling paths on Mackenzie Avenue is part of the City of Ottawa’s 2013 Cycling Plan and the NCC’s Strategic Plan for Canada Capital’s Pathway. The city says the plan will produce about $20,000 a year in revenue.

City council meets on Nov. 12 to decide if the plan will move forward.

—Lindsay Macmillan

Trudeau unhappy with Keystone cancellation

After United States president Barack Obama nixed the much-debated Keystone XL pipeline on Nov. 6, freshly elected Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said he was disappointed, but that he is still looking forward to working with the US.

“We are disappointed by the decision but respect the right of the United States to make the decision,” he told the Ottawa Citizen. “The Canada-U.S. relationship is much bigger than any one project and I look forward to a fresh start with President Obama to strengthen our remarkable ties in a spirit of friendship and co-operation.”

While he supported the pipeline to export crude oil to the U.S., Trudeau said he also wants to improve Canada’s environmental record.

“We know that Canadians want a government that they can trust to protect the environment and grow the economy,” he said in a statement.

—Eric Davidson

Canada’s New Environment Minister Addresses Climate Change

With Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna’s recent appointment as Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate change—along with five other cabinet committees—she has an ambitious agenda to pursue.

Mckenna is keeping the environment as a main priority as she will soon head to Paris for the upcoming United Nation meeting on climate change. This meeting is aimed at organizing a treaty to enforce United Nations members to reduce their carbon emissions, in a vital attempt to keep the change in world temperature below 2 degrees celsius.

“The outcome of the summit will have major implications for the future of our planet. Paris will be the first test of the new minister and the new government’s dedication to tackling climate change and building a clean economy.” Executive Director of Environmental Defence Tim Gray told the Ottawa Citizen.

­—Hannah Schickedanz