The Legislative Council is the legislative arm of the SSMU. Thirty councillors elected by specific constituencies, including school and faculty associations and councils representing particular student demographics, and the six (6) SSMU Executives comprise the voting members of Council. The Speakers, General Manager, and Recording Secretary are non-voting members. According to Article 3 of the SSMU Constitution, Council is the governing body of the Society and “shall be empowered to make all decisions and take all actions on behalf of the Society.”
All SSMU members are welcome to attend open sessions of Council, which are generally held every second Thursday in the Lev Bukhman Room (2nd floor of the Shatner Building) beginning at 6pm. For Winter 2014, the dates of Council are:
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014
While Council is run according to Robert’s Rules of Order, its proceedings should be accessible to all members; don’t hesitate to ask the Speakers or a Councillor (including Executives) how you can participate in the debate. Council meetings can last several hours, so if you are interested in a particular issue it may be wise to check the agenda in advance and/or ask a Councillor or Executive to contact you (e.g. by text message) when the item your issue is coming up. You can peruse its agenda and “documents in advance” (reports of Executives and Committees, as well as proposed resolutions and policies) below.
Please note that we aim to post reports of Committees and Executives by the Monday morning preceding Council. The agenda and all reports and motions will be available by Tuesday evening.
Speakers of Council
The Speakers of Council act alternately as the chair of Council. They are responsible for the smooth procedural functioning of Council meetings which includes the call to order (which opens the meeting), granting the floor (i.e. giving people permission to speak) and stating motions and putting them to a vote. The Speakers are guided in their tasks by Robert’s Rules of Order in addition to the Constitution, by-laws and any relevant resolutions of Council.
It is Robert’s Rules that give the Speaker most of their powers. They make rulings on the procedural regularity of motions and makes initial interpretations of the Constitution and by-laws when deciding if motions are in order. It is very important to note that, with a few exceptions, no councillor is permitted to speak without having previously obtained the permission of the Speaker. Very strict respect of this rule is crucial to the smooth and orderly functioning of Council.
Committees of Council
SSMU Committees make recommendations to Council on everything from the allocation of funding to student groups to the approval of new clubs to the adoption of new policies. Each Councillor sits on at least one SSMU Committee.
How does SSMU work? Click here to read the explanation in the 2009-2010 SSMU Student Handbook.
Council’s committee structure was revamped in 2010. The new system is simple, transparent, and easy to understand. Executives should use it thoroughly, in order to maximize Councillor and student-at-large participation in high level policy and decision-making. For the longer descriptions of the purview of each committee, please see the SSMU Legislative Council Committee Terms of Reference in the Constitution, Bylaws, and Policy section.
The Steering Committee will be responsible for all matters relating to the operation and management of Council business.
Membership: The President (Chair), The Vice-President (University Affairs), Speaker of Council (Non-Voting), 4 Councillors, and a 3rd Executive Member to be chosen by a vote of Council
The Nominating Committee will be responsible for ensuring all positions and committees are adequately filled.
Membership: President (Chair), Vice-President (Internal), Vice-President (External), Vice-President (Finance and Operations), Vice-President (Clubs and Services), Vice-President (University Affairs), and Councillors (3).
The primary purpose of the Funding Committee shall be the disbursement of the following internal funds: Campus Life Fund (CLF), SSMU Environment Fee Fund, Ambassador Fund, the Club Fund, and the Space Fee.
Membership: Finance Committee Coordinator (Chair, non-voting), VP Finance & Operations, VP Clubs & Services, Members-at-Large (2), Representatives from Clubs & Services (2), Representative from the Student Athletic Council [SAC] (1), Councillors (2), and Environment Commissioner (1) (voting on Green Fund applications only)
The Finance Committee will be responsible for setting SSMU’s operating budget for the following fiscal year and ensure that the current year’s statements are in line with projected figures.
Membership: Vice-President (Finance and Operations), Councillors (3), Members-at-Large (3), General Manager (Ex Officio, Non-voting), and Comptroller (Ex officio, Non-Voting).
Financial Ethics Research Committee
This committee shall be responsible for reviewing the ethical nature of the Society’s business transactions.
Membership: Financial Ethics Research Commissioner, Vice-President (Finance & Operations), General Manager (Ex Officio, Non-voting), Councillors (3), and Members-at-Large (2).
Operations Management Committee
The objective of this Committee is two-fold. First, it will provide strategic oversight and direction for all of the Society’s revenue-generating operations. Second, it will provide long-term objectives and goals for the management of the William Shatner University Centre.
Membership: The Vice-President (Finance & Operations), The General Manager (Ex Officio, Non-voting), Councillors (3), and Members-at-Large (4).
Committee on Student Equity
The mandate of the Student Equity Committee is to confront historical and current inequities at McGill through active engagement and public education in agreement with Student Society of McGill University’s policy on equality and social justice.
Membership: The Student Equity Commissioner (chair), The Vice President of University Affairs, Councillor (1), Five additional members, to be appointed by members 1 through 3 above, that will act as a representative for the following categories: One member for Race and Ethnic Relations, One member for Women, One member for Disabled Persons, One member for First Peoples, One member for Queer and Transgender, and Two (2) Members-At-Large also appointed by members 1 through 3 above.
External Affairs Committee
This committee will be responsible for keeping SSMU Council informed on all matters related to the External Affairs portfolio. The committee will serve as an advisory to the Vice-President (External), but may from time to time present research and other pertinent recommendations to Council.
Membership: The Vice-President (External), Councillors (3), and Members-at-Large (Amount to be determined by the Vice-President (External)).
Interest Group Committee
The primary responsibility of this committee shall be the review and approval of interim club status, full club status, and service status applications. The committee shall also present recommendations to improve policies and processes on behalf of SSMU interest groups.
Membership: The Vice-President (Clubs & Services), The Interest Group Coordinator (Chair, Non-voting), Councillors (3), Representatives from Clubs & Services (2), and Members-at-large (2).
Students’ Society Programming Network (SSPN)
The Students’ Society Programming Network (SSPN) shall serve as the principal advisory committee for the Vice-President (Internal) on the organization and execution of all SSMU events.
Membership: The Vice-President (Internal), Councillors (1), and any interested SSMU Members.