Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Equine Canada Special Bulletin

Equine Canada acknowledges the recent formation of the Canadian Horse Alliance.

By the nature of our interaction with horses we are already much too fragmented as a community.

Our interests are already so divergent between, recreation, agriculture, breeds and industry, and sport, not to mention all the divisions within sport such as breed sports, English, dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, para-equestrian, reining, and vaulting and western. It is extremely challenging to represent this diversification by one unified voice.

The formation of the Canadian Horse Alliance could possibly further dilute the "message" and will negatively affect equestrianism in Canada. This alliance has been created based on the opinions of a handful of people with limited and or no consultation from their membership.

We must all share the vision of how a single united voice would truly serve to elevate the interests of all stakeholders. 

Yours sincerely,

Mike Gallagher
President
Equine Canada


Open Letter from Equine Canada - November 2010

By now you may be aware of the recent decision of six provincial equestrian corporations to dissolve their partnerships with Canada's national equestrian federation, Equine Canada.

In 2008, consultations took place with members of Equine Canada's Provinces Council, representing all 10 provinces, on how to move Equine Canada forward to best benefit our various stakeholders. At that time all 10 provinces unanimously voted in principle to support the concept of a harmonized membership where a provincial member would also become a national member and pay one fee.

In 2010, four of the 10 provinces as well as the newly formed Yukon equestrian corporation moved forward with the signing of an individualized Service Agreement. Since these partnerships were formed, all five corporations positively state that this new agreement is working very well and have reported a marked increase in membership.

Additionally, this partnership has offered the ability to create a grant fund to be distributed within the five provinces and territory. Examples of this grant program at work are recent financial investments in both New Brunswick and British Columbia.

With regards to the remaining six provinces that have yet to negotiate successful Service Agreements with Equine Canada, they proceeded to present a sincere offer in the form of a proposal in June 2010.

Their proposal asked that Equine Canada agree to 21 requests or concerns. Equine Canada had agreed completely with 16 of the 21 requests including the need for a business plan, provincial input into a new strategic plan, a governance review, a method of collecting membership fees that provinces would consider acceptable, as well as agreement on most areas of competition administration, combined officials programs and a requirement that a major percentage of funds collected be used exclusively for recreation programs across the country.

While Equine Canada willingly continued to negotiate the remaining five proposed items with the assistance of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, the ultimate stalemate occurred when the six provinces advised that they would only accept a $5 membership fee, not a $10 membership fee. It had became apparent that all of the provincial concerns noted above regarding representation, legality, seriously flawed structure, etc. would seemingly disappear if Equine Canada would merely agree to a $5 fee.

It was at this point it become evident that the sole argument that jeopardized the future of equestrianism in Canada was merely about $5, nothing more.

For over a year, Equine Canada has tried to extend discussions beyond that of just the provincial executive directors by offering to meet with the Board of Directors of each of these 6 provinces. To date, each Board has refused to meet to discuss their concerns.

While Equine Canada makes no apologies for attempting to streamline and incorporate additional services to our members and other stakeholders, we do want to take the opportunity to recognize that as a result of attempting to incorporate a harmonized provincial/national membership there has been some confusion and perhaps frustration.

We appreciate that there is a lot of information, and sadly misinformation, being distributed on the subject of our reform. Equine Canada wants to assure you, our stakeholder, that we are committed to the continuation of provision of programs and services to Canadians that allow everyone to enjoy your horse-related activity.

We are also committed to ensuring matters related to horse health and welfare is paramount and effectively presented, and acknowledged, at various levels of government. We believe in the strength of the Canadian herd and the quality of our breeding programs and are supportive partners in their international promotion.

In addition to the delivery of programs and services related to sport, recreation and industry, Equine Canada believes its membership holds additional benefits for our members. Outstanding discounts from our Members First discount program, which includes savings from a variety of purchasing partners such as John Deere, Toshiba, Office Depot and Sherwin Williams products, as well as other benefits  of membership such as discounts at Choice Hotels, Hertz Car Rental and the newly added Park' N Fly add personal value to your Equine Canada membership.

As a demonstration of our commitment to servicing all Canadians, new for 2011 Equine Canada will extend its offerings to include a Service Package for individuals residing in provinces outside of the harmonized structure. This $25 package will offer the opportunity to individuals not requiring or wanting a provincial membership to have the security of full liability insurance ($5,000,000) as well as the discount opportunities previously mentioned. Monthly EC e-Newsletters will also be part of this service package and will be a useful tool in keeping Canadians up to date with industry information.

Lastly we would like to formally state that Equine Canada still believes in the strength of the unified structure and are of the mind that together we are better. As has been the case, we welcome the opportunity for the five provinces outside the harmonized structure to participate in discussions that will lead to a productive and purposeful partnership and betterment of services to Canadians.