Results of The Cambridge Accord – 20 January 2007
by Mike Houghtling
- Location – Conference
Room, Super 8 Motel, 650 Hespler Rd, Cambridge, Ontario
- Although scheduled to
begin at 10:00 am, due to problems connecting to the internet, the meeting
started at 11:00 am. Webconferencing was not available for people wanting
to attend from out of town.
- Prior to the official
start of the meeting, Mike H relayed concerns from Don MacAlpine of
Nipigon, Ontario who had chosen not to participate, but wanted it known
his worry the proposed alliance would not address the issue of influence
peddling and what he sees as a blatant disregard to the current
Accountability Act by political parties and people working in the Canadian
justice system. Although no official stand was made on the issue, the
consensus drawn from the group was that a strong contingent of
non-partisan MPs could be the best method to ensure the government would
hold itself accountable to the will and intention of the people.
- Introductions were made –
In attendance (in no particular order) was Don Korbin, Andrew Long, Brad
Harness, Fred Harness, Adam Bilodeau, John Oprea, Mike Houghtling – chair,
and Steve Garry.
- The consensus building –
colour card voting system was explained by Mike H and accepted by the
assembly. Rather then voting yea or nay on a motion. The membership was
asked to hold up a green card if the motion was acceptable, a yellow card
if they had an alternate proposal, or a red card only if passing of the
motion was morally or otherwise unacceptable or would require the member to leave
the group. From here on, agreement or approval means the membership all
held up a green card when asked for their approval or the motion was
amended until the entire membership held up a green card.
- The mission statement was
read and approved by all members. The mission statement is as follows:
establish an alliance of political organizations, independents, reformers and
citizens committed to working together for a strong and truly
Canada with responsible governments. This organization believes
should have a greater say in how this country is governed and should
real choices on Election Day and between elections as well.
- Adam B. gave a brief
presentation on the Westminister Parliamentary system and explained the
need to amend this for a system that provides more direct democracy to the
- Steve G. gave a brief
presentation on the requirements needed to register a party with Elections
Canada. Emphasis was placed on needing to register 60 days before an
election call, with a party name, 250 declared members, the name and
address of the leader and other officers, and a minimum of one candidate.
- Mike H asked for someone
to provide an explanation on the financial obligations required by
Elections Canada. Brad H and John B explained there was $1000 deposit
required for each candidate which Elections Canada returned after all post
elections reports were filed. A further $500 dollar deposit was needed
which was returned after an official post election audit of campaign
expenses was filed.
- The for principles of the
proposed alliance was amended and approved by the assembly. The amended
principle proclaims an elected representative’s first responsibility should
be to the people of his or her riding. An MP's foremost consideration should
be what is best for the country and community.
principle assures our objective to give greater control of the democratic
process to all Canadians
principle demonstrates our objective to have the methods of voting represent
more truly and fairly the country as a whole.
principle acknowledges that our objective is to make positive changes in the
way government operates, the way it is organized, the systems it uses to
create and enact legislation, eliminating the overlap between our levels of
government, and the way it interacts with and is perceived by the population.
- At 12:30 the assembly broke
for lunch. Do to a medical problem, Andrew Long had to leave the meeting.
- At 13:20 approximately
the meeting resumed
- A second reading of the
mission statement was waived.
- Discussions commenced on
the proposed structure for the alliance. Much discussion went back and
forth concerning whether the organization should be a traditional party or
a non-traditional umbrella party. Concerns over policy, labeling and
overlapping jurisdiction of the members groups were the hot items. The
role of Independent candidates and how they should be represented on the
board of directors was also discussed. A third item of concern was over
the necessity of member groups continuing with their recruitment
initiatives and the potential for confusion with prospective members. It
was also mentioned that the legal requirements of election signage would
need to be addressed before any final decision was made. It was eventually decided
the organization should be an umbrella style organization, with an interim
steering committee and a board of directors consisting of representatives
from the participating groups, NewCanada.ca, Direct Democracy Canada and
The Democracy Party of Canada. Other groups could join in if they wanted.
The details of how the alliance would actually be formed, the requirements
for membership, the method of fair representation for Indy candidates, a
dispute resolution mechanism, bi-laws, and a glossary of terms common to
the organization and all other details would be left up to the steering
committee to determine and then presented for general approval at a later
- Discussion over the name
of the proposed alliance was also hotly discussed. At first it had been
decided the name would also be determined by the steering committee, but
eventually it was agreed ‘New Canada’ would be the name of the new
alliance. Brad H agreed NewCanada.ca would hand over their website and
bank account to the new alliance, and that NewCanada.ca would then adopt
another name for their own ventures.
- Discussions over the
method for electing an interim leader for New Canada was waived as all
participants felt they were too busy to take on the role. Mike H was
unanimously elected by a show of green cards to continue as the interim
leader, no length of term was established as it was also accepted this
would be determined by the steering committee.
- Determination of a Party
logo and motto were discussed briefly with conclusion that this could be
determined at a later date.
- Further discussion on the
tasks before the steering committee were discussed. Brad H suggested that
each member group and the interim leader should donate $100 each to cover
the cost of mailing membership cards, the maintenance of the website, the
cost of the next meet-up room and other expenses. It was also determined that
this amount would not likely be enough, but hopefully additional fund
would come in the from donations from prospected recruits.
- Mike H proposed a target
of 400 declarations by March 1. And the signed declarations could be
mailed to his home address which he would email to the membership. This
proposal was approved with a show of green cards. Although it was
determined the 400 names could be divided evenly between the member
groups, this would be unlikely and that member groups would work to sign
on as many people as possible until the target was met.
- Mike H proposed the next
meet-up be scheduled for Saturday, March 10. The tentative location would
be the Quality Inn, Woodstock, but this location could be moved depending
on where the bulk of attendees are living. This was also approved with a
show of green cards.
- The meeting concluded at
15:30 and was followed by a short interview by a reporter from Rogers
Cable, Kitchener, of Brad H, Adam B and Mike H. The interview was
scheduled to air locally at 5 p.m. Monday the 22nd of January.
conclusion for following resolutions were adopted by the assembly;
That the structure of the organization
will consist of a Board of:
- Direct Democracy Canada.
- New Canada.CA
- Democracy Party of Canada.
- Other entities as approved by the Board
Each member group will provide a member
of the board of directors
The present members will form a steering
committee to decide structure, etc.
Next meeting in Woodstock? March 10/07,
from 10am –3pm
Ea member group will contribute $100
brief will be sent to the people who assembled in Cambridge, those who intended
to attend via the video conference, and will also be posted on the
makingadifference forum. A copy will also be made available for review at the
meet-up on March 10, 2007.