Help Stop the Harmful Scouts Canada Act

The Scouts Canada Act, which if passed will entrench the non-democratic structure of Scouts Canada, has passed Third Reading in the Senate and now heads to the House of Commons. We need you help to stop this harmful bill. Please write you MP!

By Ted Claxton

On Monday, December 4 at 1:00pm your Chair, Mike Reid, and your Treasurer, Ted Claxton, made a presentation to the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. We had a good hearing. It was obvious that some of the Senators were concerned by the undemocratic structure of Scouts Canada. We had hoped that there would be sober reflection by the Committee. Regrettably, this did not happen. Bill S-1001 was passed in the Senate on Thursday, December 7. ( A transcript of proceedings before the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.)

Although this Bill had been in limbo for some time, Scouter Ted got word on Wednesday, November 29 that the Senate hearings would likely be scheduled for the next Monday, December 4. This date was confirmed on Thursday. Scouter Ted put together a briefing book and sent it to the Senate early Friday morning. On Wednesday, December 6 the Bill was sent back to the Senate without comment. On Thursday, December 7 the Bill was placed before the Senate for third Reading and was passed.

In his letter to Scouters advising them of the Senate Hearings, Scouter Ted indicated that the Bill was being fast tracked in Committee. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Consiglio Di Nino, cross-questioned Scouter Ted about that remark. The facts speak for themselves. The ink was not even dry on the transcript of the proceedings before the Bill was passed on Thursday afternoon.

In his speech to the Senate on third reading on this bill, Senator Di Nino asserted that 60 council representatives were elected as Voting members of Scouts Canada. It is apparent that Senator Di Nino is only selling the Scouts Canada party line in complete disregard of the fact that there is no process in place anywhere for the membership to vote for the Council Representatives. Senator Di Nino is on the Board of the Scouts Canada Foundation and was formerly an Honourary Officer and Honourary Voting Member of Scouts Canada. He has wilfully misled the Senate by repeatedly asserting this nonsense.

The Chief Commissioner likewise misinformed the Senate Committee. He asserted that there were only three Councils in which the Voting Members were not elected. There is nothing in the By-laws of Scouts Canada that mandates an every-member vote and such voting does not happen anywhere.

Even if there were such voting it would be for nothing so long as the Nominating Committee puts forward a slate of candidates equal to the number of positions to be filled. The voting members carry out a mere rubber stamp exercise that is really only a ratification vote for the preordained slate of candidates. Scouts Canada has taken no concrete steps, has made no open submission on how it intends to fulfil Strategic Direction No. 7. The statement in the Annual Report is the epitome of obfuscation.

We have one more opportunity to challenge this bill: in the House of Commons, provided that it is not railroaded there as it was in the Senate. It will be an omen if hearings are held in the Railway Committee Room, 237-C. Take a look at the information about the Scouts Canada Act and contact your Member of Parliament to let them hear your views.