Five years and counting ….

Almost overnight, spring has bounded in like a Labrador Retriever puppy …. so full of enthusiasm it wants to do everything at once!   The forsythia is in full yellow glory, the shrubbery is bursting with new buds and we are only a heartbeat away from mowing!

As with everything else in life, there is always a fly in the ointment ….  literally!    By the time we finished our hike this morning, it was crystal clear that  it is time to pack away my beloved perfume for the season … sigh!

Six years ago, when we were all reeling in the brutally mismanaged wake of the Celtic Pets Seizure, our outrage became the catalyst for change!    Sentiment was so strong at the grassroots level that the election at the 2009 AGM was a slam dunk!  

One of the mixed blessings that comes with living in such a lovely  old-fashioned small province is that time is relative.  What does that mean in realspeak?   Why of course that past misdeeds are never yesterday’s news.   Two days is two weeks is two years is two decades or more around here!     

So there was not a lot of surprise when things did not really change at the branch level.   All the branch presidents who bothered to attend the provincial board meetings just nodded and smiled … and then went back to doing exactly as they pleased!   

Even worse, with Branches holding ten of the voting positions on the provincial board, it was … to put it politely .. a challenge to reach consensus on anything … let alone compliance.     ( The sticky subject of how branches now have to ‘share’ voting positions is a testy topic that is difficult to muster any sympathy for .. especially if one has regularly read the online board minutes all along.)

So WHAT DID happen at the private provincial board meeting after the public AGM was over on April 13th?     Did the controversial Motion for Change pass?   Not at first!    After the first vote, it was clear why the ‘big guns’ were brought in … Sean Kelly and Mary Hill.   

The short version is .. that after lengthy “discussion” the motion passed on a second vote!  Changes will not be overnight, but they will start rolling out today, which is when the new Provincial Controller position kicks in.

Now the Libra in me would like to empathize with the branches about all this.  Honestly, I would.   After all … some of these folks were saving lives when noone else really gave a rats a**!   

However, this Libra also gets regular, unsolicited stories in her inbox about unhappiness at the branch level    Although each and every time, I encourage folks to contact provincial … odds are slim to none that ever happens.   Not at least twice anyway!   Why would they when provincial refers them back to the branch?   Makes excuses for the inexcusable?   Makes them wish they had saved their breath to cool their porridge?

In other words … as a Libra I know it takes two to tango.   It may be easier to turn a blind eye!   It may be simpler to circle the wagons and pass out a pat party line when folks complain!    But that is no substitute for action .. and no guarantee that the line of retreat will not cause more problems than it fixes!

It has been five years since that 2009 election!   For five years … the forsythia has been first to burst into bloom!   For five years, the rhubarb has kept coming up!   In five years time, the day lilies have been divided twice … so that friends have been able to share their bright beauty all summer!

Even in my most pessimistic moments ,  I could not have imagined that I would still be finding so many Unhappy bits in my inbox five years later!   That the society would still be in such an adversarial position with its fellow stakeholders!  (And before the keyboards catch on fire … media folks are not constrained by confidentiality when animal advocates are belittled by those who are supposed to speak for the animals, eh?)

What time is it?   It is time to hope that this Motion for Change will help the society sort things out so that they can stop playing games like tug of war and move ahead more gracefully.

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