This is my first ‘COFFEE’ blog article of the new year! There is generally something refreshingly optimistic about the start of a new year… I think this is because people instinctively want to evolve and improve themselves, to do better than they normally do in their day to day life –whether at work or in their relationships with family and friends–and so they naturally sense a new year as an opportunity. The new year is like a blank page in a diary, ready to be written by you. Fresh. And only you are the author.
This sense of expectation–whether rational or simply euphoric–usually lasts for a week to ten days before we soberly come to accept that REALITY rules the game, not the start of a new calênder year. In anycase, I like the start of a new year!
2014: The CFC’s last year incorporated?
Some time in October of this year the CFC will legally forfeit its incorporated not-for profit status and could be legally dissolved. At such time, what little of its assets still remain intact would then be given to charities. UNLESS, ofcourse, the CFC executive does something before then, such as re-applying for incorporation under the new Canada Not For Profit Corporations Act (NFP)
The problem with re-applying is that the CFC is faced with two solid obstacles. First, there appears to be a critcial shortage of expertise amongst those who currently run the CFC about how to go about and successfully become eligible for re-applying. And the second obstacle has to do with the general lack of good faith on the part of the leadership in actually wanting to conform to the new requirements of the legislation for NFP: the CFC leadership fears losing its traditional power/voters base (which the new Canadian legislation changes).
Another issue is this: Last year (January 2013, to be exact) the Ottawa team of Bunning and Ritchie were to have presented a report on the changes that would be necessary to make for the CFC to conform to the new NFP legislation.
I wrote about this. But the report never got off the ground because the Ottawa duo alienated many by tieing acceptance of their report with controversial changes not really required by the NFP act. Making matters worse, both Bunning and Ritchie insisted that the report be accepted unconditionally, without adequate time for discussion and for making ammendments to the Bunning/Ritchie proposals. (This ‘one step forward–two steps backward’ approach is one of a handful of reasons why chess in Canada has been failing badly in recent years; Canadian chess players are fed up: almost half of the membership have left the CFC and just last year the Saskatchewan Chess Association withdrew from the CFC and dissolved itself).
Since that time last year, virtually nothing has been done about meeting the coming October deadline. The current CFC president recently called for volunteers to look into the NFP changes and what it means to the CFC, but I think this is too little, too late. CFC volunteers have a poor track record, often volunteering for things that they know absolutely nothing about (!), and then being entirely unreliable.CFC webpage (above). The ‘Recent Photos’ are already 6 months out dated!
With ten months to go, the CFC should instead recognize the urgency of the matter and hire a professional to handle the matter. He/she may not be more knowledgeable than the Bunning/Ritchie duo, but of this you can be certain: he will NOT bring a political agenda to the table.
Does the CFC need to be incorporated?
No, ofcourse not. There are many viable models out there for small organizations like the CFC that are not incorporated as a not-for-profit. One such is the Canadian Go Association.
The Canadian Go Association is the official representative in Canada of the International Go Federation. This association is not incorporated, nor does it have charity status. It charges NOTHING to be a member. It does not sell books or rating fees. It publishes a bi-monthly newsletter. YET it does have a positive bank balance at the end of the year that would make the CFC envious! HOW DOES IT DO IT? The Canadian Go Association survives on goodwill and donations from its members.
The Canadian Go Association sponsors and sanctions tournaments and selects participants to represent Canada at the World Amateur Go Championship, as well as numerous other prestigious international competitions. At the equivalent of the annual Canadian Open a meeting of the CGA is held where each member of the executive is elected for a two year period. While there is no elaborate constitution, should the executive fuck up then the members can propose changes at the annual meeting.
To be able to do what the Canadian Go Association does would require the CFC to make a number of key changes with respect to its business model. The CFC would have to eliminate taxable income: no more membership fees or rating fees. Nor contracts /commissions for book and equipment sales by third parties. No special FQE/CFC agreements. And probably a few other minor changes…
Eliminating the CFC rating system altogether and replacing it by the FIDE elo system has been talked about increasingly in recent years, and already has signifcant support amongst Canada’s top players. Considering that the Canadian rating system has been repeatedly tampered with by unqualifed members of the executive and rendered next to useless (as well as the fact that the CFC makes no money from it after paying a part time employee to update the ratings), the FIDE rating system is the logical choice, being the most accurate and widely used rating system in the chess world. Canadian chess players would still have to pay rating fees, but they would be paid to FIDE and not the CFC.