It’s getting towards the end of the election period. On-line voting for the CHFC Ontario Regional began April 15th and will be closing May 15th, a few days from now. When I’ve ran for CHF positions in the past voting was done at the CHFC AGM. There were all-candidates meetings, opportunities to meet with and talk to delegates, sharing of ideas and participating in debates on issues of the day. This time the election is being done on-line in advance of the AGM. While I’ve had the chance to meet some delegates at the regional meetings I’ve been able to attend, most of the people who can cast a vote will remain strangers to me as they make their decision at computers from Windsor to Timmins to Cornwall to Thunderbay.
It is hard to wait while one’s skills and ideals are being weighed. All those running for a CHFC position—from CHF Ontario Council to the Audit and Finance Committee to the CHFC Board of Directors—share a strong commitment to the co-op housing movement and have something unique to contribute. Each of us running brings something of value to the movement and each of us hopes that the co-op delegates want us to bring our voice to the leadership table. But in the near future some of us will have convinced the majority of voters to support us while others of us will deal with the real pain that comes from being rejected by our peers.
I do feel I can make important contributions to debates at Ontario Council and the CHFC Board of Directors—both of which the Ontario Regional Director sits on. I have experience in development—I’m the president of a non-profit that has developed close to 500 units of new affordable housing in 12 years. I have experience in funding co-operatives from the perspective of a lender—I’m the president of the Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative which has provided financing to housing co-ops, worker co-ops, community loan funds and other forms of grass roots initiatives across Canada.
I have experience in other co-operative endeavours, from starting food buying clubs to being a member/owner of a worker co-ops to assisting in the winding down of a credit union. I believe that in the diversity of expressions of the idea that people sharing their own resources to meet their individual and communal needs, which is the core of the co-operative vision, is the expression of the type of world I want to live in.
Since 1984 I have lived in Don Area Co-operative (DACHI) and have served my home co-op in many capacities from delivering newsletters to drafting policies to serving on the board. DACHI is a 75 unit federally funded co-op, with units developed under two different programmes.
For 15 years I have co-ordinated 43rd Housing Co-operative, a 106 unit provincial/municipal co-op.
I have twice reached term limitations while serving on the board of the
Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto—once representing member housing co-ops and once representing staff associations.
I will be reaching the end of my second term on the CHF Ontario Council at the June AGM. During most of this period I served as treasurer of Ontario Council and on the Finance and Audit Committee of CHF Canada.
I have served the co-op sector in many ways from sitting on the board of Rooftops Canada and the CHFT Charitable Fund to chairing members’ meetings and facilitating workshops to meeting with politicians.
I value the different views on members have on what is important to their co-op communities and try to learn from everyone who shares in our movement. I have been there when our movement has suffered setbacks and been there when we’ve had important victories that secured our control over our co-op homes.
On occasion I reflect on issues, from the need to add a new co-op principle dealing with co-ops as employers to a desire to fund housing instead of the military, that lead to postings on my blog. These musing can be found at: https://morecoherent.wordpress.com/category/co-operatives/
It would be great if questions for those running for a CHFC position could be posted on CHFC’s Co-op Talk. (http://www.chfcanada.coop/cgi-local/cooptalk/discus.pl) . We may not be having all-candidates meetings for those running for all positions but Co-op Talk provides opportunities for exchanging ideas and information.
DACHI has been a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I want such safe, affordable, secure and member controlled co-op housing to continue to be their for our current members and to explore ways to develop new co-op communities across Canada. I bring skills and dreams to the leadership tables and hope that the Ontario co-ops will trust me to work with them in sustaining and renewing our movement.