Results of The Cambridge Accord – 20 January 2007

Prepared by Mike Houghtling

 

  1. Location – Conference Room, Super 8 Motel, 650 Hespler Rd, Cambridge, Ontario
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. The mission statement was read and approved by all members. The mission statement is as follows:

 

To establish an alliance of political organizations, independents, reformers and

concerned citizens committed to working together for a strong and truly

democratic Canada with responsible governments. This organization believes

Canadians should have a greater say in how this country is governed and should

have real choices on Election Day and between elections as well.

 

  1. 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 people.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The for principles of the proposed alliance was amended and approved by the assembly. The amended principles are:

 

Assured Autonomy

This 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.

Direct Democracy

This principle assures our objective to give greater control of the democratic process to all Canadians

Electoral Reform

This principle demonstrates our objective to have the methods of voting represent more truly and fairly the country as a whole.

Reform of Government

This 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.

 

  1. At 12:30 the assembly broke for lunch. Do to a medical problem, Andrew Long had to leave the meeting.
  2. At 13:20 approximately the meeting resumed
  3. A second reading of the mission statement was waived.
  4. 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 date.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Determination of a Party logo and motto were discussed briefly with conclusion that this could be determined at a later date.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

 

In 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 toward costs

 

This 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.