Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dues Referendum 2014 - guest post

I've been a proud member of Equity for almost 50 years, including 20 years as an elected representative on both the West Coast Advisory and National Council. Thirteen years after I last stepped off Council, I ran again in the 2012 election because I wanted to work on improving communications. Since my re-election, many Council meetings have dealt with communication: what we’re doing, what we wish we were doing, how we could clarify, simplify, reach out. Staff and Councillors have many ideas for improvement – but implementing them will cost money. I can’t think of a thing that doesn’t cost more now than it did 14 years ago, but Equity hasn’t increased member dues since I left Council in 1999! 

Council and staff have spent countless hours reviewing what we do and how we do it. We’ve done everything we can to trim costs without cutting deeply into core services. We've listened to the message sent two years ago when the dues increase failed to pass. We’ve asked and answered tough questions. I am confident that the dues increase is necessary for Equity to become the organization we all want it to be. Even though I personally may not need all the services Equity provides, someone else in the association does; CAEA was created to give strength to the weakest of us, so that as a profession we are strengthened and able to create the best Canadian live performance we can. I hope this is a view that will be shared by two thirds of the voters in the dues referendum.

Last Monday, a lively group of members came out to the Vancouver Membership Forum despite the cold to discuss the dues increase with our Executive Director, Arden Ryshpan and Council President, Allan Teichman. The discussion was multi-faceted and revealing. Everyone was passionate and committed. We didn’t agree on everything, but the respect in the room was palpable, as was the quality of the listening and openness within the group. We were talking about something very important to us all, and we opened our hearts. I felt the same pride I had when I joined my professional association so many years ago.

At the Forum, we talked a lot about how to engage more of members in the discussion and the vote. I was saddened to learn that fewer than 50% of the membership voted in the last dues referendum – a lower turnout than the pitiful 61% of Canadians who voted in the last general election. I was inspired by the ideas and energy of the group around me – determined to get out the vote and engage more of us in improving our association. I hope that spirit of engagement spreads far and wide to those unable to attend an in-person discussion. Please take the time to read the materials, ask questions, give feedback, and VOTE! Let’s set a new standard for voter turnout and launch Equity into the next exciting stage in our journey.

Jane Heyman
Councillor, BC/Yukon

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please include your name. Comments may be reviewed before appearing, and may be withheld or removed at the administrator's discretion.