Saturday, April 27, 2013

@MEC slides from #democracy to #oligarchy -- AGM report

Mountain Equipment Corporation Cooperative held its 2013 Annual General Meeting on April 25. Unfortunately, the outreach efforts of us 600 MEC Members for a Democratic Co-op were not enough to counter the MEC board's control of information flowing to members. The board's resolution on rule changes passed by a vote of 91% to 9%. For an overview of how the vote was biased, see my article in the Vancouver Observer: "We want our co-ops back"

So in addition to last year's new power to reject director candidates from standing for election, the board can now reject any member resolution for any reason, without submitting it to member vote. The new rule changes reduce the board's accountability to members in several other ways detailed in my March 14 blog post.

Many members were shocked to see how quickly the board took advantage of its new power by rejecting 2013 director election nominee Anders Ourom. His qualifications include:
  • MEC Director (1981-1986, 1988-1992)
  • MEC Board Chair (1989-1991)
  • President, Climbers' Access Society of B.C. (1995-2004)
  • Lawyer, Advising Societies and Co-operatives (1995 - present)
  • Legal Advisor, MEC Rules Revision Projects (1997-1998, 2001-2002)
Apparently the board decided that MEC members needed to be benevolently protected from having the option to vote for Anders this year. In the AGM's Reports Q&A section, I stepped up to the mike and asked this question:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stand up for member #democracy: attend AGMs @MEC @Coast_Capital @Vancity

You can help reclaim member democracy by attending these upcoming Annual General Meetings:

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC):
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Doors open at 5:30pm
Meeting at 6:00pm
Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver
Please bring your MEC membership card or 2 pieces of ID

Coast Capital Savings Credit Union:
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Registration and light refreshments from 4:30pm to 5pm
Meeting begins at 5pm
Executive Airport Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre
7311 Westminster Highway, Richmond, BC

Vancity Credit Union:
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Registration at 6pm
Meeting at 7pm
Italian Cultural Centre, 3075 Slocan Street, Vancouver

(Vancity director election voting ends April 26. Here's why I'm voting for Williams, Barrett & Yaron.)

Reclaiming member democracy in co-ops and credit unions can be a first step toward making our elected leaders accountable to voters in corporations and democracies too -- see recent Vancouver Observer article "We want out co-ops back."

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Oppose biased election ballot @Vancity - vote for Williams, Barrett, Yaron

A dominant majority of the Vancity board are using their control of information flowing to Vancity members, to tighten their grip on power over the credit union. Taking advantage of voters who are too busy to search for other info sources, the controlling group ensures that their recommendations are the only info conveniently available to members. I have documented this in a series of posts since April 2012 -- see

Notably this year, one of the board's "recommended" candidates -- Bob Williams -- is not a member of the controlling majority (details in this report, from page 8). So I plan to vote for him. Challengers to the dominant group can help improve democratic competition and thus accountability to members.

I also plan to vote for Lisa Barrett and Gil Yaron, for the same pro-democracy reasons why I voted for them last year.

Vancity members can vote by Friday April 26, via mail or online.