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Capital Pride files for bankruptcy

New Pride group will begin talks on Jan 20

Capital Pride filed bankruptcy papers on Jan 7, 2015. Credit: Ben Welland

The bankruptcy papers have been filed, and on Jan 20 a new incarnation of Capital Pride will begin.

Peter Zanette, who was a member of the interim board, served as treasurer for the purpose of filing bankruptcy papers on Jan 7. He says he and the trustees were unable to meet until the new year.

“It really didn’t make a difference in terms of the supposed deadline,” Zanette says, referring to Capital Pride members’ resolution to file bankruptcy papers on Dec 31, 2014. “It gave me more time to prep the files, as much as I could, to make their life easier.”

BDO Canada is acting as Capital Pride’s bankruptcy trustee. Zanette says it was an “exhausting” process doing what he could to get the financial files in order for the trustee. Now that the bankruptcy is in BDO Canada’s hands, he says, the community can move forward with a new Pride organization. “I only hope the new people learn from the mistakes made in the past,” he says. “It would be a failure if they didn’t.”

That said, he’s encouraged by the community response, from the Bank Street BIA offering up a possible partnership for the Pride festival to the energy and interest of the community members who have been attending meetings and consultations since the news of Capital Pride’s “accounting irregularities” was first announced post-festival.

“There seems to be a good vibe to somehow get this thing going,” Zanette says of forming a new Pride organization and putting on a festival this year. “I think a partnership of a bunch of people — like the BIA, like the city — want to see this happen, along with other allies. It’s a matter of piecing it together. It’s a matter of then getting the governance fixed up.” Transparency, accountability and good governance will be key to any new Pride organization, he says.

“We’ve got to get through this year, the 30th year, and build a solid foundation for 2016 and beyond,” Zanette says, adding that he hasn’t decided to what extent he’d like to be involved in the new Pride organization but that he will definitely attend the Jan 20 public meeting at Ottawa City Hall.

Christine Leadman, executive director of the Bank Street BIA, says nothing official has arisen since the BIA announced interest in a possible Pride partnership in Xtra in late December. “We’ve talked to different individuals . . . but it’s just talk,” she says. “There’s nothing really on the horizon as a structure at this point.”

Until a new Pride organization is formed, no one can speak on behalf of Pride, so nothing can be decided until after community members meet on Jan 20, Leadman says.

“Our board is saying that we would certainly like to have that discussion with the community to see how we can be helpful in making the 30th anniversary happen in 2015,” she says. “It’s been challenging because there’s no [official Pride] body, so it’s a challenge to try to have that discussion in an organized fashion.”

She agrees with Zanette that ultimately the new Pride organization will represent the will and the wishes of the community. “It really is up to the community itself to move the agenda forward,” she says, adding she’s looking forward to the Jan 20 meeting. “We will be there as we have been throughout the whole process.”

One community member who won’t attend is Jeremy Dias, executive director of Jer’s Vision and a former interim board member.

“Unfortunately, I’ll be out of the country, so I won’t be able to make it. However I have faith in our community to come up with something totally incredible,” he says. “I have no doubt that people are going to stand together . . . and build a Pride festival to celebrate our 30th anniversary.”