Marcie Laking was the third to speak from the Faces of Change slate. First was Ferne Sinkins who spoke about plans for animal welfare at the Toronto Humane Society, then came Michael Downey who spoke about governance and then came Marcie. Marcie's speech was the rah rah speech. It was the speech that was supposed to bring it all together for Faces of Change.
When she finished, she looked up around her and the clapping started. And it didn't stop. It was like the crowd of around 200 was asking for an encore.
The clapping took so long to die down that it drowned out part of the introductions for the Save the THS slate.
The STHS speeches began with what amounted to a resume reading of all their candidates and went downhill from there.
Afterwards Marcie went around to several of the individuals from the other slate who had been denigrating her and the Faces of Change for the last few weeks with outlandish suppositions and not quite lies. She introduced herself, shook their hands and told them in plain English what she thought of them and their tactics. It was just politics, explained one of them
Which is why FOC won and STHS lost.
The THS membership saw who was passionate about animal welfare at the THS and who was passionate about winning the election.
The volunteers won over the telemarketers.
A few hours later, outside a restaurant a few blocks away from the THS, there were a lot of joyful tears on the sidewalk when the results came back with the news that Faces of Change had won the day. In fact they had won the year, as it was almost exactly one year ago today that Kate Hammer in The Globe and Mail first broke the news about the neglect that was occuring at the THS.
Since then, there have been protests, raids, arrests, animal cruelty charges, trials, animal martyrs, more protests, shelter closure, more cruelty charges, campaigning and finally these elections.
This has been one long journey and the journey's just begun.
The members of the Toronto Humane Society have put their faith in you, Faces of Change.
Do right by the animals.
P.S. I'd like to give a huge shout out to Mel Laking and Lisa Gibbens and the other members of StART (you know who you are and what you're about). Without them, I doubt this victory would have been possible. I look forward to seeing both Mel and Lisa on the board at some point.