by Joel Schulz – Publisher
Effective today, Alberta Buzz is returning to its weekly presence with a new format. Every Tuesday we will be publishing articles of general community interest in addition to our commitment to film and stage under The Reel Can banner. This editorial is the first article in our relaunch to our valued and loyal readers.
As a member of Calgary CO-OP, we have become aware of some rather disturbing practices on the part of its Board of Directors. A recent practice has been for the board to hand pick the candidates they wish to join them for a three-year term and effectively tell the cooperative members who they should vote for. My sources will remain anonymous, but management has been telling employees, who are members, whom they should vote for too. We see this as the corporate/cooperative equivalent of gerrymandering.
The process involves board candidates submitting their nomination packages to Grant Thornton, accountants for Calgary CO-OP, in what would, on the surface, seemingly be construed as an impartial process. This is anything but true. The Board of Directors has retained the services of an outside consultant in British Columbia who then hand picks the candidates, on their behalf, which the board then presents to the members of the Calgary CO-OP as their recommendations as to whom they wish to join them.
The membership has no input nor say in this process. On the Calgary CO-OP Board of Directors website the board is attempting to influence the membership’s voting decision by listing the candidates they recommend. Even the ballots have the word “recommended” beside the board’s personal picks. That would be like current governments, be they municipal, provincial or federal, telling the voters on the ballots whom they should vote for. If Elections Canada or Elections Alberta allowed this, they would end up in court for violations of the respective Elections Acts.
One candidate, a non-recommended one, has identified this issue and it forms the basis of their entire platform presented to the members. You may find the candidate platforms here. There are motions on the agenda for this year’s annual meeting of members to address this issue.
Alberta Buzz believes it is time for the CO-OP Board of Directors to return control of choosing who should sit on that board. It has become an old boys club where the board chooses whom they wish to join them. The members of Calgary CO-OP should be outraged and I urge them to take an active role and vote for the candidate who wishes to return democracy to this great cooperative.
In closing, no non-recommended candidate has been elected to the Board of Directors of Calgary CO-OP since this process began.