On Sunday, 27 April, the Toronto Curling Association’s Mississaugua Golf & Country Club hosted a second Special General Meeting of the Ontario Curling Association (OCA) in as many months.
As evidenced by the SGM of 30 March, many curlers in Ontario had lost faith that the knowledge, skills and abilities of the current OCA Board of Directors can effectively direct our provincial association. This was the position outlined by TCA, the Ottawa Valley Curling Association (OVCA) and Hamilton and Area Curling Association (HACA) on April 16.
The second Special General Meeting dealt with various voting items, and also provided an opportunity for both OCA delegates and meeting observers to re-address numerous concerns.
The members of the TCA Board who were in attendance noted some positive steps forward. One example was the introduction of the new OCA Executive Director, who brought an audible level of enthusiasm to the session. He spoke regularly, clearly and professionally during the meeting about his interest in being highly communicative. He explained that the OCA’s service standard, going forward, will be that all calls and messages to the OCA office should be answered within 24 hours.
Another positive example was a public indication of the OCA Board’s indication to invite the TCA, OVCA and HACA to each have a voting seat at the OCA table.
However, during the meeting, numerous members of the OCA Board demonstrated a substantial lack of understanding of some core issues at hand. Three examples:
- When asked if Board meetings were open, it was clear there was disagreement and contradictory responses among Board members as to who was eligible to attend board meetings. Ultimately, no clear answer was offered.
- The Board identified several new committees, but one Board member appeared confused and unable to name any of members of his committee when asked.
- Many in attendance were of the opinion that Board members should have recused themselves from voting on a motion of non-confidence in the Board due to a conflict of interest. One Board member explained that she felt no conflict of interest in voting to effectively retain her own position, demonstrating the lack of understanding and arrogance among board members that has frustrated the Ontario curling community.
These are only three examples from the meeting that leave the TCA with little confidence that the current OCA Board of Directors has what will be necessary to shepherd our sport forward.
In the end, the voting members of the OCA – including those who chose not to recuse themselves despite a clear conflict of interest – defeated a vote of non-confidence in the OCA Board thus permitting the Board to remain in office. In turn, the OCA Board made a commitment to renovate its antiquated bylaws, policies and procedures, but it made no clear commitment to immediately changing internal processes that have created the current and dysfunctional Board.
Hugh Avery, the Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Curling Association (CCA) spoke at this meeting. He admitted there has been considerable friction between the OCA and the CCA in the past and he explained the OCA should be a leader within the sport, but that it is not. He offered a commitment to improved communication with the OCA and continued support of Ontario curling.
While it was good of Mr. Avery to attend and to offer a degree of assurance that the CCA and the OCA are on their way to mending fences, the TCA believes the root of the OCA’s problems have been internal for many years, and that it will require strong guidance from within to extricate the OCA from its current situation. The recent debacle with the CCA has only been a symptom of the provincial association’s internal issues.
The TCA thanks the Mississaugua Golf & Country Club for being a gracious host and also the High Park Club, which was the original choice for host venue before large attendance predictions required the change. The well-represented OVCA deserves thanks for its constructive input during the session and we look forward to working closely with both OVCA and HACA in the near future to help address the OCA matters that have not yet been resolved.
The Toronto Curling Association truly looks forward to playing an active part in revitalizing the Ontario Curling Association and in returning it to a position of leadership in our country.
Hugh Murphy, President
Toronto Curling Association
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