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General News · 13th February 2018
Gabriel Dinim
It was a perfect gotcha moment, the Executive of the WCC had goofed on a constitutional point of procedure and the AGM was thrown in a disarray.
However it did not need to be a “gotcha” moment it could have been a “oh you guys goofed, but you had a good intention, which a large majority of the membership supported; so lets make an amendment to the minutes, and move on, lets keep serving the community”
What made it a GOTCHA moment was the strategy adopted by a small group of members who are absolutely convinced, beyond the shadow of a doubt that the current WCC Executive is responsible for the Hall tax referendum.
They have stated at meetings that if the executive tells the Regional District that the WCC is not in favour of the Hall tax, it will derail the referendum process.
Control of the WCC executive is for these members the way to achieve that end.
The attempt was made yesterday and the mean spirited strategy ( I say mean spirited because it demeans the current board and the majority of the membership which does support the board), the mean spirited strategy succeeded in throwing the meeting in a disarray and the AGM disbanded without a vote for a new executive.
In a somewhat surrealist outcome of that strategy, there is a strong possibility that there has not been a board at all in 2017, yes you read that right. Who needs Kafka.
The brilliant work of the WCC executive for that year summarily dismissed because of the narrow self interest of a few.
I am always disappointed at how quickly I loose my composure when confronted with ill will. I cultivate observation and equanimity but I keep proving poor soil.
I recommend that all members who can, do show up at the AGM, when it is called, in order to insure that the vote does reflect the will of the majority of the membership and the spirit of our community.
Meetings in February
Comment by Brigid on 19th February 2018
Re the observation by Mr Mckenzie that important meetings tend to be held at a time when so many are away - the AGM has been in February since the beginning of time. In the days before we had a ferry, NOBODY went away in February. The working people were home from fishing and logging, it was hardly a time for venturing away on small boats for any reason; Everyone was hunkered down for the winter. There were meetings on the first Monday of every month except for the summer ones, which was when people were away because of work. At some point in recent decades the schedule was changed to quarterly meetings, as people had more social events to attend than in former days. In my last couple of watches as President, general meeting attendance was pretty tepid, to put it mildly, although we advertised, put out a monthly newsletter, and supplied cookies and coffee. It looks like there is more interest now, which is a good thing. As for the suggestive "hmm..." - a large turnout at the AGM, and a large membership, is always a desirable outcome.
RE: What's this all about, really?
Comment by Matthew Pope on 18th February 2018
No one is suggesting the board has not been active and accomplished things, and for that they can be proud.

This is about the board not engaging or communicating with the WCC membership by holding regular general meetings as prescribed in the WCC constitution or even publishing newsletters of their activities. The WCC board has essentially cut off the WCC membership, which they represent. This lack of participation and communication has now sown discord amongst WCC members and made many feel unwelcome in their own community hall and club.

The WCC Constitution was written many decades ago, with the intention and wisdom of involving the membership on a regular basis. Engaging the membership with regular general meetings and newsletters gives a sense of welcoming and truly belonging to their community club which is an incentive to become involved in activities and to volunteer.

When one is elected to the board, it’s their obligation to uphold both the WCC constitution and the BC Societies Act, and become familiar with the history of the club. The board cannot act as an autocracy, as they were elected at the pleasure of the membership to represent the membership.

Despite such tenuous engagement with the membership the board undertook bold initiatives. The board has had executive meetings (monthly?) within the past year where many decisions were made. However, the membership has never had input nor communications about these board decisions.

No matter how good intentioned the individuals on the board, they lost confidence of many members by:
- failing to engage the membership with regular General Meetings as prescribed in the constitution
- failing to follow the constitution in the Feb/2017 Special Meeting on Constitutional change, the Nov/2017 meeting on the tax, and even in the 2018 AGM.

The board must read the WCC Constitution, the BC Societies Act, and take responsibility for their actions and inactions that have lost the confidence of many members.

Matthew Pope
What's this all about, really?
Comment by Jon from Whaletown on 18th February 2018
The record speaks for itself over the last few years. New septic tank, new heating system, new windows,new annex, new paint and there is more. All the while offering outstanding events and programs for the community. All accomplished by people who gave their personal time unselfishly to the community.
"The failure of the board to following (sic) the constitution is the issue", "constitutional violations by the board", "undemocratic move to avoid admitting error",
Strong language to discredit a board whose intent an credibility is beyond reproach.
This constitutional thing is an oversight , insignificant, and easily fixed so if not about the Hall tax, what's it all about? Be honest.
Comment by Cali on 18th February 2018
I am so sorry that I intimidate people (RE: Matthew's recent article).I never meant to do that. I am 75 yrs old, a bit crippled up, and weigh in at about 140 lbs and never thought of myself as intimidating. I enjoy participating in activities at the halls and would like them to be able to continue to function. All I want is a referendum so everyone gets a vote on whether taxes can be used to keep the halls open and running. If the vote is "no", then I'll live with that but I would like to have a say. We should be able to work this out without all the fighting and ill feelings that I see happening now. I'm not a wordsmith and don't know how to manipulate words. I just want honesty, fairness, and an appreciation of the people who volunteer their time and energy to make this island better.
WCC AGM, and 'Gotcha' article
Comment by Matthew Pope on 17th February 2018
RE: WCC AGM, The ‘Thorns’ letter on Cortes Marketer Feb 16, 2018

I addressed the WCC executive at the Feb. 12 AGM on the first agenda point which was reviewing three sets of minutes.  Since there had been no Regular General Meeting for three years (despite the constitution prescribing monthly meetings unless otherwise agreed by the membership), the minutes we first reviewed were from a Feb/2017 special meeting prior to the 2017 AGM, where a constitutional amendment passed.  I pointed out that this constitutional change failed to follow the correct process on page 5 paragraph 10 of the WCC Constitution.

I suggested the WCC executive amend the minutes to reflect that the constitutional amendment was not valid, and to continue to the current meeting.  The Secretary (co-writer of the 'Thorns' letter) agreed to amend the minutes and was ready to proceed.  Then he got angry, called us a**holes, and left the meeting with the minute book, so it was impossible to proceed with approving the minutes of the three meetings.

It was the WCC executive that decided that they could not continue the meeting, and from what the VP said it was because of concern “we might be an illegal board.” In a knowingly undemocratic move to avoid admitting the error, the chair ruled the objection out of order, despite the fact it directly addressed the current agenda item.

In return for a WCC member pointing out the Feb/2017 constitutional amendment did not follow the WCC constitution, he was visited by an angry male perhaps 25 years his junior who sat beside him and demanded “What is your problem!?”.   Another asked where he lived.

It’s no wonder that some of the more mature citizens asked me to raise the constitutional issue; they may have been afraid to do so.  This has little to do with the tax issue. The failure of the board to follow the constitution is the issue. The level of emnity by those close supporters of the board, and even a board member, towards members citing constitutional violations does not befit a civilized society, and sets a poor example.

Matthew Pope
Small Town Politics
Comment by George McKenzie on 15th February 2018
I was not at the meeting. These important meetings are always scheduled when many of us are away. I wonder why that is. Hmmm...
Small town politics is always the same. Divisions are accentuated into huge chasms and things degenerate into lobbing potshots off the bow as this post seems to be. It doesn’t help bring people together but then perhaps that’s not the purpose.
No hall taxes please. Nothing personal.

Comment by Jon from Whaletown on 15th February 2018
The way it's supposed to work is that we discuss and consider all the points of view, vote on it together and abide the decision of the majority with respect, for those who don't know. This is democratic.

What happened the other night appeared to be a planned attempt to derail this process which it did. Furthermore, it was an insult against the goodwill of the board and outraged the vast majority of those present. My way or no Way! And for what? a bit more tax, ideology, personality disorder.

The point is what is being taken from us is Far more valuable than any political decisions.
Comment by Chris Good on 14th February 2018
Cut the board some slack. They give way too much, to be accused of any wrongdoing.
Thank You,
Comment by Peter Henbury/Catharine Bushe on 14th February 2018
Your article acurately represeents the anti-taxer attempt to disrupt the WCC AGM
Comment by Cali on 14th February 2018
I attended the meeting as well, thank you for your comments and insight into the reasons for the disruption. It is sad to see to what lengths this small group will go to get their way.