"A Collegial Letter of Farewell"
A Collegial Letter of Farewell From the Board of the Independent Living Resource Centre - Winnipeg To: CAILC office and all CAILC affiliated centre personnel; IL Centre Community Dear Friends: We are proud, as we know you are too, in having participated in CAILC‘s 20th anniversary celebrations, October 23-25, in Richmond and that two years ago, you were here in Winnipeg helping us do the same in regard to our own 20th. The many friendship bonds forged in the course of our two decades‘ worth of creative interactivity may, over time, be transformed into that even more abstract element commonly called memories. But for our part at least, you may be sure that those won‘t cease to exist until we do. We wish you all the best and bid you a fond farewell. You, the surviving centres, comprising the now-more-than-ever more vulnerable, junior segment of the ―CAILC family‖ (to repeat a sinister phrase used several times during the Richmond conference), must come to terms with the fact that a fundamental change of course came into being with the expulsion of Winnipeg ILRC from your midst. CAILC‘s celebratory launch into its third decade coincided, to the exact day, with a sudden descent of menacing darkness that has come to be associated, wherever freedom and truth are revered and political manipulation despised, with an abuse of power on the part of a leadership that, until now, none of us have ever had reason to mistrust. What‘s there to back up the phrase ―abuse of power‖? You might want to check out the following salient points: The official notice we received says we were expelled because we are ―negative‖ and ―confrontational‖, surely a rare occasion when a member of anything has had its membership pulled on the basis of a couple of vague impressions; It was pretty clear to our board representative that the moving and seconding of the expulsion motion was, let‘s just say, less than entirely spontaneous?; ―I‘m insulted by how badly Paul-Claude was treated in Winnipeg last Tuesday‖ (or words to that effect), said a more-or-less permanent CAILC board member during the discussion who, needless to say, was nowhere near Winnipeg at the time. Rubbish! It may have been lively enough in spots but included a nearly full turn-out of my board (as Paul-Claude requested), a hot and delicious roast beef dinner, Lori Ross in attendance to help with matters French/English, an agenda Paul-Claude himself wrote and, since I was chairing it, no mistreatment of anyone. If it lacked anything it was a better organized, less repetitious Paul-Claude Berube (incidentally, the minutes that bear this out are available on request); As we were getting banished, so was ordinary standard board mechanics. It‘s usual for even minor decisions to get the benefit of Ad Hoc board committee study along with a recommendation or two—but not, curiously, this pretty major decision. A professional conciliator‘s report (also available to you on request), prepared in late August and containing many useful insights and recommendations, was barely referred to all that weekend; and now for the clincher, Paul-Claude opened the fateful discussion by stating that if Winnipeg wasn‘t sent a message not only would he resign, but probably so would Traci and half her staff. It was then that the principle of conflict of interest went on vacation, for not only did Paul-Claude refrain from absenting himself from the remainder of the discussion, he stayed in the chair right up to the toting of ayes and nays. Perhaps it‘s permissible to suspend regular board practice when you‘re dealing with such a dreadful emergency as Winnipeg ILRC‘s remaining in CAILC? A sordid little tale, but it‘s only striking you that way because up to now, CAILC‘s always done business in a spirit of amity, mutual trust, tolerance with all cards face-up on the table. Many would inform you that all those nods, winks and ducks in a row that happened a few Saturday afternoons ago is merely a matter of sharp political acumen, an example of neatly- played tactical finessing. Maybe they‘re right, but we here in Winnipeg won‘t miss further participation in the New Edition of CAILC because we insist that any administrative arrangement we‘re involved in reflect the kind of values our service-users encounter when they come here. Allan Simpson and Henry Enns never had to resort to ‗cloak-and-dagger‘ methods in the fulfillment of their many extraordinary achievements; their example will do for us. Don‘t be too quick to conclude that we‘re over-reacting to one traumatic incident which has affected us in particular and that we‘ve had to resort to exaggeration to save face. Keep in mind that this was all over an inter- office communications glitch of a few months standing and that we had done all we were asked to do during that period with regard to remedial efforts. Take heed as well that there was never the prospect of suspension or of our having to agree with A, B and C conditions if the question weren‘t to come up for the final time. No—on this version of Monopoly, as CAILC now means to be understood to conduct its affairs, centres go straight through to expulsion without passing go, without collecting 200 dollars. As for CAILC‘s likely future, maybe that depends on who you are. For a few, it looks pretty bright; lots more November thirtieths coming up, complete with honours, accolades, rubbing of shoulders with the powerful and the very nicest of public profile. And if you‘re only directly connected to one of the now 28 centres, if, to borrow from George Orwell‘s ―Animal Farm‖, you‘re one of the critters confined to the barn. Well, it‘s kind of like what that great jazz pianist Fats Waller used to say: ―One never knows, do one?‖ Good luck and stay well. We‘ll probably run into one another from time to time. Regards, Mel Graham Chairperson On behalf of the ILRC – Winnipeg Board of Directors