Sandi Stetson was reelected board president of Fierté Canada Pride (FCP) at the organization’s annual general meeting in Ottawa March 17. Stetson ran unopposed for the position.
Two bylaws were ratified at the AGM: the first calls for the appointment of two vice-presidents to oversee governance and membership and redefines their roles, while the second changes the structure of the executive board of directors to comprise five elected officers. Prior to the change, four elected officers and one board member sat on the board.
In the deliberations over the first bylaw, Pride Toronto board member Kerry Bell took issue with the language used in the clause that outlined the vice-president’s role in the absence of the president.
The clause initially stated, “The vice-president shall in the absence or disability of the president, perform the duties and exercise the powers of the president and shall perform such other duties [and] shall from time to time be imposed upon him by the board of directors.”
Bell and a majority of the board wanted the word “disability” removed, even though FCP president Sandi Stetson did not.
“It wasn’t used in the right context,” Bell said. “With so many people in the LGBTQ community that have already been marginalized for their sexuality and gender identity, there are also people who feel like they are already discriminated against because of their disabilities. We just didn’t like the word.”
The bylaw now reads, “The vice-president governance shall in the absence of the president for any reason perform the duties and exercise the powers of the president and shall perform such other duties [and] shall from time to time be imposed upon him by the board of directors. The vice-president governance will coordinate regulatory compliance, chair the election committee, chair the bylaw committee and report and consult on governance issues to the board of directors.”
The bylaw relating to the vice-president membership is similar but defines the role as follows: “The vice-president membership will coordinate outreach efforts and membership applications, maintain the current membership and Canadian Pride Organizations list and manage member benefits. The vice-president membership will chair the communications committee.”
Bell, who is a board member of Toronto’s 519 Church Street Community Centre, successfully ran for the position of FCP director representing central Canada and will share the position with Brody Fraser and Brandon Timmerman.
“I’m very proud to be here because I’m from Jamaica. We can’t even have the freedom ourselves to celebrate Pride. I feel like my skill sets and my life experience can really help us to grow in the LGBTQ community.”
Former Capital Pride chair and current Halifax Pride board member Marion Steele successfully ran for the co-director position to represent Atlantic Canada.
In her president’s report, Stetson detailed FCP’s progress in the past year, highlighting the overhaul of the organization’s email and communication system as a key achievement.
“I had a great board to work with. I worked as a mother hen, councillor, drill sergeant and traffic cop. The key thing to further our organization was to get more organized,” Stetson said.
Pride Winnipeg president Jonathan Niemczak previewed the 2014 FCP conference. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which is the first national museum built outside Ottawa-Gatineau, and experience an exhibit on queer rights in Canada.
The theme for next year’s conference is “Pride at the Heart of Canada.”
Additionally, InterPride reelected Chrissy Taylor and Dallas Barnes as region-seven directors. Chris Ellis will serve as alternate.
Fierté Canada Pride board:
President: Sandi Stetson
Vice-president governance: Sean Hillier
Vice-president membership: Jonathan Niemczak
Treasurer: Dustyn Baulkham
Secretary: Doug Saunders-Riggins
Atlantic regional directors: Marion Steele, Chris Scullino
Central regional directors: Kerry Bell, Brodie Fraser, Brandon Timmerman
Prairie regional director: Brice Field
The pacific regional director position remains vacant.