Democracy for the Dogs
By Scouter Ted Claxton, February 14, 2005
What should Scouters have in common with dog breeders? Why, democracy, of course! The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) is an organization whose objectives encompass the classification, registration, and regulation of standards for breeders of purebred dogs. Its mission is to be "dedicated to... encouraging, guiding, and advancing the interests of purebred dogs and their responsible owners and breeders in Canada" and "promoting the knowledge and understanding of the benefits which dogs can bring to Canadian society". The CKC is a democratic organization. Its directors are elected by the members across the country. Referendums are routinely carried out to allow the membership control over significant decisions affecting those classifications, standards, or regulations that will affect those members interested in specific breeds or the members generally.
The Ordinary-members of Scouts Canada are shut out from any democratic participation in our organization despite the fact that we are, both individually and collectively, dedicated to helping youth reach their full potential as individuals and as citizens in a democratic society. We, unlike dog breeders, are not permitted by our organization, Scouts Canada, to exercise democratic rights. These are the very rights that we are charged with instilling in the youth members of our Scouting movement. It is totally incongruous that a corporate body dealing with the welfare of dogs and dog owners grants to its membership democratic control while the Scouts Canada corporate body, whose goal it is to help mold youth for participation in democratic society, relegates its adult leadership to the role of compliant yes-men.
The objective of SCOUT eh! is the betterment of Scouts Canada. Undoubtedly, the most important single contribution to that betterment will be the implementation of democracy!