Outgoing Capital Pride chair Loresa Novy issued two apologies to former board member Guy Hughes at the Oct 24 Capital Pride annual general meeting.
Novy said she was atoning for calling Hughes “mentally unstable” in an interview with Xtra.
“I want to send my apology for a comment that I made regarding Mr Guy Hughes,” Novy said. “My comment regarding Guy was in poor taste and poor judgment. I don’t believe that Mr Hughes is at all mentally unstable . . . it was not my intention to make light of any mental illness. I would like to take the opportunity to apologize to all the volunteers and members of Capital Pride and my fellow board members.”
While Hughes was not present during the statement, he arrived a short time later and brought forward a motion of censure against Novy, prompting Novy to repeat her apology. In light of the statement, Hughes agreed to retract the motion, but Pride’s rules state that once a motion is put forward it cannot be retracted. Several members reported that the motion was defeated by a vote of seven to 13, with three abstaining.
Novy emerged as a divisive figure ahead of Capital Pride’s August festival. While many in the community publicly criticized her leadership, others have been as vocal in their support of her work on the Pride board. She declined to comment for this story.
Hughes says that while he has withdrawn an official notice of complaint against Novy under the Libel and Slander Act, he thinks she should have issued a statement sooner. “She made [the apology] under pressure and duress,” Hughes says. “It is totally unacceptable that that comment wasn’t made earlier. It should have been made immediately.”
Outgoing corporate sponsorship coordinator Róisín Holahan said Novy’s comments potentially damaged Capital Pride’s reputation.
“I have to say that I was really disappointed . . . by some of the comments in the media,” she said. “It doesn’t just damage Capital Pride as a brand; it goes on to potentially damage our sponsors. We really want people to be there with us and not have this negativity passed on to us.”
Holahan also criticized Novy in her written report: “The chair was lacking in direction and took little responsibility or accountability as a figurehead of Capital Pride.”
New board member Elliott Youden questioned Holahan’s report. “One of the points you drove home hard during your little chat there was working together and professionalism. I’m curious how you think that jives with attacking fellow board members during your presentation?”
Holahan responded that she was stating facts as constructive criticism and noted she hopes the next board will avoid the same mistakes.
AGM attendees also selected Capital Pride’s new board members. Hughes nominated Novy, who declined, before asking members to nominate him for a position on the board.
“No one nominated me even after I expressly asked. And that hurts to the core,” Hughes says. “I can't help but feel that Loresa Novy's actions and comments must have irreparably damaged my reputation in the community for this to happen. The damage is done and her apology tonight was sincere, but it was more successful at reestablishing her own reputation than mitigating the serious damages she intentionally caused to mine."
The new board members are Youden, Ashley Blackwood, Ian McLeod, Jodie McNamara, Justin Broekema, Sebastien Provost and Tova Larsen. They will join Chris Ellis, Micheal Lafontaine and Steve Crosby.
Lafontaine says he is excited to work with the new and energetic group. He says he will oversee any personal conflicts that may arise to avoid more controversy.
“There are going to be personality clashes. There’s no two ways about that,” Lafontaine says. “When people are not open to receiving information or it is not being given, that’s where it gets to be worse. I personally will encourage people to sit down and talk.”
Outgoing treasurer Jonathan Dawe presented a lengthy financial report. Dawe says Capital Pride currently has $53,000, but he noted that only $30,000 belongs to the organization, as several cheques have not been cashed.
Youden criticized Dawe’s accounting system, calling it confusing. “Every year we come to the AGM and have a different accounting system; we have no way to compare. As a member it is extremely frustrating . . . all of this becomes very wishy-washy.”
Dawe says he hopes the next treasurer will maintain his accounting system to guarantee clarity moving forward. “We’re moving to something that’s more streamlined and giving more information to members.”
Capital Pride’s current debt is $45,280.90. It owes $20,030 to the City of Ottawa and $25,250.90 to a private loan.
Community member Gary Leger, who made clear that his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of his employer, TD Bank, said he is disappointed that Pride has been unable to pay down its private loan.
“It keeps jumping from balance sheet to balance sheet without resolution,” Leger said. “Why wasn’t any resolution made with this board to resolve it at the beginning of your term?”
Dawe said the organization is trying to determine the best way to pay the loan. “That’s an ongoing process with the board and the people who hold those loans,” Dawe said.
Dawe says that if Pride wants to be debt free, the festival must become profitable.
“I would hope the board going forward would put money towards contingency plans, building the festival and paying off debt,” Dawe says.
The vote on proposed bylaw amendments will take place at a special meeting within 90 days.Capital Pride Financial Statements Year Ended Sep 30 2012 Capital Pride 2012 Annual Report Capital Pride 2012 Sponsorship Reports