President’s June Message

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Since last writing to you, I have “attended” two CFUW on-line Town Halls (one with GWI) and the virtual Ontario AGM. I have also traded emails with two very knowledgeable club members from Preschat, have just about finished reading “Our Hundred Years” (the history of CFUW), and have studied at least 30 CFUW documents, all in preparation for voting at the National CFUW AGM on June 19-20.

As mentioned in the May Newsletter, I need your opinion on how I must vote at the National AGM, specifically on the proposed amendments to the National Bylaws and the Guelph motion to withdraw from membership in GWI. For background on these issues, please see the October 2018, September 2019, and May 2020 Newsletters, as well as the links listed at the end of this message.

What follows is what I think about the various issues based on what I have learned from the meetings, my readings and discussions with presidents from other clubs. The questions that require your voting decision are listed below. Replies are required by Tuesday, June 16th.

The Articles of Incorporation is the legally registered document under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporation Act (CNCA) that governs membership class and voting for CFUW which is incorporated. It is these articles that need to be amended to align them with our bylaws and our custom and practice. The Clubs are the members of CFUW, and according to CNCA, have only one vote each at meetings. In practice, however, we use a weighted voting structure, where, depending on its size, a club is allocated a variable number of votes. This change in Section C. Membership Clause #7 is what will be voted on, and I agree with this proposal. Most of the others clarify duties of the Board of Directors, Regional Directors, and the appointment of Committees, and how to discipline members, which seem noncontroversial to me.

The ones I don’t agree with are in Section C. Membership Clause #14 which removes the requirement that annual dues be approved by the membership. The CFUW Board would simply present the dues it deems necessary to run the national organization. Clubs can request changes, but only the Board can change the dues payable. Likewise in Section K Financial and Administration Clause #82, the CFUW Board would simply present the annual budget as information at the AGM, but it would not be approved by the membership. Neither of these changes is required by the CNCA, but is recommended by the CFUW lawyer because it is the Board of Directors that is liable for the financial sustainability of the organization. It seems to me that this amendment reduces the incentive to change to less expensive practices. CFUW, as a member, refused to pay the dues increase which forced GWI to reduce its expenses and resulted in a much more efficient organization.

The original Guelph motion, which called for the removal of Article 4 requiring CFUW membership in GWI, has been modified to just making GWI membership optional. This could mean (if Clause #82 is passed) that if the CFUW Board decides the budget can’t afford GWI dues, it could end its membership in GWI without a vote by the clubs! The result would be the same as the original Guelph motion. CFUW is the largest member of GWI, and withdrawing would mean the end of GWI. The last virtual National Town Hall with GWI on May 25th was the best one so far in my opinion. I learned a lot about both impressive organizations, but especially about the massive amount of international advocacy GWI does, and feel that the plight of women worldwide would be so much worse if GWI ceases to exist. The main point I keep coming back to is that our founding mothers wanted to help promote peace by advocating that women be involved in the process. This meant women needed to be educated. By joining forces, that is, using national and international collective action, we amplify our influence.

Links to background reading:
CFUW Articles and Bylaws Proposed Amendments
Articles and Bylaws Q&A Version 2
Proposed Amendment of Article 4
CFUW Stratford response to Guelph Motion
CFUW North Vancouver response to Guelph Motion
GWI Questions and Answers – Financial Issues
Post CFUW Mediation Town Hall (CFUW participation in UN)

Voting Instructions:

You can send an email to cfuwstcatharines@gmail.com with the numbers 1-7 on it and your answers, Yes, No, or Abstain for each question, by Tuesday June 16th.

The asterisk on Question 5 is to alert you that the Guelph motion contains many unsubstantiated claims and opinions, so the responses from the Stratford and North Vancouver clubs should be read as well as the Guelph Motion to Amend Article 4.

Voting Questions:

  1. I am in favour of amending the National Bylaws to allow a weighted voting structure.

Yes                No          Abstain

A Yes vote allows our current weighted voting system to continue unchanged.
A No vote means each club regardless of size gets one vote.

 

  1. I am in favour of amending the National Bylaws to allow ONLY the National Board

to decide the club dues payable to CFUW National.                 Yes         No          Abstain

A Yes vote means the National board will dictate what our dues to National per person will be.
A No vote means the clubs can vote to accept or refuse the proposed National dues per person.

 

  1. I am in favour of amending the National Bylaws to allow ONLY the National Board

to decide the National Budget.                  Yes         No          Abstain

A Yes vote means the National Board will dictate the National Budget and Clubs will have no vote.
A No vote means clubs can vote to approve or not the National Budget.

 

  1. I am in favour of giving Gail the option to use her best judgment when voting on other

Bylaw amendments and changes.                   Yes         No          Abstain

 

  1. I am in favour of CFUW remaining a member of GWI. *                Yes         No                Abstain
A Yes vote means voting against the Guelph Motion and remaining in GWI.
A No vote means approving the Guelph Motion and putting GWI membership in jeopardy.

 

  1. I am in favour of a dues increase of approximately $5.00 if necessary to remain in GWI.

 Yes                No          Abstain

A Yes vote means allowing CFUW to be a member in good standing of GWI.
A No vote means not paying GWI dues in full and leaving CFUW owing GWI again.

 

  1. I am in favour of allowing Gail to use her best judgment when voting on other motions.

Yes                No          Abstain