Well, they’ve finally done it. Just like Thelma and Louise driving off the cliff, the six hell-no provinces officially seceded from Equine Canada this week. And that is where the similarity to T & L ends (after all, truth IS stranger than fiction). Other than a few dead men whose rotten souls no one would miss, T & L took only themselves on their road trip of self destruction. Not so with the provinces of AB, SK, QC, NS, PEI and NF. Their leap, made without consultation or notification to their thousands of paying members, is no solo affair. If you are a member of any of those six provincial organizations and did not separately purchase a sport license from EC this year, you are no longer a member of EC. And you had absolutely no say in the matter. It remains to be seen if there is anything in the provinces’ governance that makes the actions of the provinces’ executives illegal. If I lived in one of those provinces, I know I’d be asking the board of my PSO some tough questions right now.
The AEF website has been the easiest place for me to follow the trail of communication to members, so that is where I went to see if, perhaps, just maybe, the executive decided to share this momentous occasion with their members. Nothing so far. It’s a kind of ‘less is more’ attitude to disseminating information. What they don’t know can’t hurt them, right? I may be alone here, but I find it incredibly arrogant of these presidents and executive directors to act unilaterally on behalf of their members while applying the mushroom principle of keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit. All this time they have been harping on and on about EC punishing their members by imposing a $5 (soon to become $10) annual fee so that EC could support the very programs that the provinces have been moaning about. In the meantime the provinces punished their own members by a larger dollar amount by not signing on the proverbial dotted line – but they blamed EC for that too. It’s like that poem Howie Mandel used to recite back in his Bobby days:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I’m a schizophrenic
And so am I.
The provinces were just possibly reluctant to keep their members abreast of things because the picture kept changing as fast as the subliminal advertising images from seventies TV commercials. I don’t think anyone knew what was next until next happened. A week ago a letter was sent from Team hell-no stating in unambiguous terms that they were pulling out of EC. But when EC went back with a ‘this is your last chance and our last offer -if you don’t take it we will assume you are divorcing us’ message, Team hell-no back pedaled, raising the suspicion that they had unsuccessfully tried their hand at bluffing. Then, bam! All of a sudden they back-back-pedaled – if such a thing is possible – and each province sent EC identical two-sentence letters of resignation on behalf of their organization. I guess I have to give them credit for one thing: they kept their word of staying united to the end. It’s too bad their loyalty was misplaced. What will they do now, I wonder? I know the first consequence will be that they will lose most of their sport members and become primarily recreation-based associations. But their recreation programs won’t receive any of the dough EC has been sharing with the Team heck-yes provinces, so they are really hurting those members by seceding (in spite of their stubborn refusal to believe any of the contented murmurs coming from the heck-yes provinces in that regard). The six provinces will also lose what remaining programs EC had left in their hands this year (such as NCCP coaching program), so their revenue will dwindle still more than it did already with the loss of running silver and bronze shows – and we mustn’t forget the drug program, the apple of AEF’s eye.
I suspect that if we held concurrent ‘Rally to Restore Sanity‘ and ‘Keep Fear Alive’ marches in Canada, as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are planning to host in the US, the six members of Team hell-no would be far likelier to show up at the Fear march than the Sanity march. I’m actually surprised Mike or Akaash haven’t been called Hitler yet.
Here is a (very poor) rendering of the image that sticks in my head about the hell-no provinces’ secession. I share it not only because it was easier to draw than put into words, but also to show you why I am a writer and not a painter.
Of course it’s not all doom and gloom. Think of all the time the EC exec will have to concentrate on other important matters now that the divorce papers have been served. And what a strange divorce it is.