Sunday, May 30, 2010

Toronto Humane Society election day

In few hours we'll know who will be on the board of the Toronto Humane Society. As one final post before the main event this afternoon I thought I'd share with you a letter Marcie Laking, one of the candidates running on the Faces of Change slate, wrote to Scott Brownrigg at Sussex Strategy Group who was listed as the contact person at the bottom of a particularly disingenuous piece of electioneering propaganda put out by the Save the THS slate.

Here is the original Save the THS communication (I have removed Mr. Brownrigg's contact info) followed by Marcie's letter:

Toronto, May 28, 2010 – The following is a statement on behalf of the 13 people running for election to the Toronto Humane Society’s Board of Directors as part of the Save the THS team:

“The actions undertaken by the OSPCA today are a calculated interference in the current campaign to elect a new Board of Directors for the Toronto Humane Society.

The OSPCA has had six months to complete its investigation and take any additional action it deemed necessary. With only a day left in that mandate, and just four days before the board election meeting, the OSPCA has chosen to blatantly interfere in the democratic process.

The OSPCA’s actions are a desperate attempt to prop up their favoured slate which has run a month-long smear campaign against its opponents. In addition we feel it’s a cynical political move to deflect attention away from the OSPCA’s recent management of the ring worm crisis at the York Region branch.

The OSPCA has long cooperated with the leadership of the other major slate running in the election process. Just today in the Globe and Mail, reporter Kate Hammer reported that Faces of Change “partnered with the OSPCA to have the old leadership thrown out.”

The question needs to be raised again. Who is policing the OSPCA? As the Save the THS slate said last week ‘the OSPCA should be one of charity or police force, but not both.’ Save the THS is again calling on the provincial government to enact amendments to existing legislation to ensure there is proper oversight, governance and accountability concerning the enforcement of animal welfare.

Clearly today’s actions by the OSPCA on behalf of their confidants should not be allowed to happen. It is simply an abuse of power.”

For more information:
Scott Brownrigg

Here is Marcie's letter:

Hi Scott,

We spoke briefly the other day when I called you to obtain more information about the inaccurate statements you published on the STTHS website about the Faces of Change & the OSPCA.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that you were too busy to call me back like you said you would the other day. I feel it’s important for me to point a few things out to you.

Animals at the Toronto Humane Society were suffering. I don’t know if you are an animal lover but I do know that people in general are good and would not defend animal abusers. Also, I’d like to assume that you are unaware of the neglect that was rampant inside the THS otherwise you would not of attacked the Faces of Change slate for trying to help the animals inside the shelter.

Filing a complaint with the OSPCA (along with the CRA, CVO, MNR & OPGT) hardly makes me an OSPCA “confidant” and I certainly hadn’t “partnered with the OSPCA to have the old leadership thrown out.” My involvement in reforming the THS has always been about the animals and doing whatever I could to help them.

Out of the 15 members on our slate only 5 of us had anything at all to do with the investigation. That is not our entire slate nor is it even a majority. It’s also not something we’re ashamed of. What would you have done if you knew that defenceless animals were being mistreated? Would you have turned a blind eye or would of stepped up and done everything you could to stop it?

I am not an affiliate, a volunteer, a member, or a donor of the OSPCA. What you seem to be missing is the fact that the OSPCA came into the THS and charged the people who were responsible for countless cases of neglect and countless cage deaths with animal abuse. If people like myself had not taken a stand against something that was wrong on many levels and if the staff and volunteers had not asked the OSPCA to step in then this abuse would still be happening today. This is not about the OSPCA and our personal views on the organization. This is about the animals that were under the roof of the THS that needed help.

While your company was being paid by the THS to implement a public relations crisis management strategy about the neglect inside the shelter, people like myself were inside the shelter doing whatever we could to help ease the stress and bring about proper standards of care for the animals.

I hope that wrongful attacks like the one you posted on the STTHS website do not cause people who witness animal neglect in the future to hesitate reporting it to the proper authorities for fear of repercussions. I did what was right and for you or anyone else to throw it in my face is shameful.

I hope that in the future you use due diligence before you sign your name to a press release on a topic that you clearly know nothing about.


Marcie Laking

These letters speak volumes as to what this election has come down to: professional political strategists who can't be bothered to discuss the real issues vs. concerned and outraged animal welfare volunteers who can.


Heather B said...

The more I hear of Marcie, the more I know that her slate of officers is the correct vote for THS board. I am praying for her . She has stood up to the media and others who lie and bully . Go Marcie!

TDL said...

I find it fascinating that the STTHS is quoting Kate Hammer using a partial sentence from a much longer article. Have they and their supporters not claimed the Kate is prejudiced in favour of FOC and ART? Some of their supporters have slandered Kate on Facebook numerous times. Now she is being held up as a great source.

And, they keep claiming that the OSPCA is funding the FOC slate in the election. My question is who is supporting their candidates? They are the group that have hired professional telemarketers to call the membership; have the Sussex Group sending out press releases; have received endorsements from politicians ... Who is paying for this? STTHS candidates have never had anything to do with the THS or animal welfare before. Do they think we are all naive enough to think they are putting their hands in their own pockets to pay for this campaign?

Thε Countεss said...

Marcie and her sister Melanie amongst many of us participated in the THS Protests because we cared and still care about the welfare and treatment of all the animals inside and outside the shelter. To try and tarnish such passion and good deeds with mud-slinging lies is just a shame.

Anonymous said...

Should I feel sorry for the 13 members of the STTHS that were co-opted into that piece of nonsense, not to mention the rest of the nonsense that has been their campaign? Which has had nothing to do with the THS. You could change the name to OSPCA or Bank of X and use the same boilerplate. The shenanigans, though, including the flouting of privacy laws, might be better suited to politics in some faraway tinpot nation.

Fred, I hope you were at the meeting and will share your impressions, if not on your blog.

It was a fine sunny day at Queen's Park today with a huge group up from Windsor to work for passage of Bill C229, updated animal cruelty legislation, which hopefully we can help Mark Holland push through this time. It's well over a hundred years overdue!

Heather B said...

Fred , please let us know how the election goes this afternoon.

Social Mange said...

Very nice letter, Marcie. The FoC focus has always been on the welfare of the animals, not their resumes or their egos.

STTHS makes me think of an old adage:
Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

Anonymous said...

Election results are in! Thank you Faces of Change! The animals are the winners.

Biscuit said...

look at the results!!