I'm guessing that the majority of Toronto Humane Society members who are going to vote have already voted while the remaining keeners will be going to the Special General Meeting to listen to the candidates for the board of directors speak before casting their ballots. By Sunday evening the election will all be over.
These past weeks of politicking have brought out some particularly low blows and only goes to show that the most disreputable animal is a political animal - and we can all become political animals given the right circumstances. The most outrageous deceits were carried out on Facebook - no surprise there - one with independent candidate Margaret Ann Johnson concocting all sorts of ludicrous fantasies tying the OSPCA to Faces of Change, and another with someone impersonating Michelle Wasylyshen of the Save the THS slate and implicating herself with ties to Tim Trow and friends. Even though the judge stated in the court settlement in no uncertain terms that denigrating other candidates would not be allowed, his words didn't carry much weight with the election supervisor who saw the flying accusations as all part of the process.
Even when an obvious abuse of privacy came up when the STHS slate used members' e-mails addresses inappropriately, the election supervisor only sent out some minor verbage. In other words, there were no rules and it was getting to be like the Wild West of campaigning out there. Another week and I wouldn't be surprised if gunfights at noon started occuring.
Save the THS has a strong governance platform, not surprising given the expertise and interests of the candidates on its slate. It even mentions a whistleblower policy which is quite good if not somewhat ironic given how STHS is constantly harping on about how too many members of the Faces of Change slate complained too loudly about the past conditions at the THS under the old board.
While governance was sorely lacking at the old THS and establishing proper governance will be of great importance at the new THS, an animal welfare agency isn't just about governance. While STHS arguably may have a better handle on governance issues (I say "may" because I'm not an expert), the heart and soul of the THS belongs to the Faces of Change slate. They are the ones who will put the animals in highest regard. The currency in animal welfare is not dollars or property or position. The currency in animal welfare is compassion and Faces of Change has got compassion to spare.
Some would accuse them of being too compassionate about animals but I say you can't be compassionate enough and being compassionate doesn't mean you can't think logically at the same time. Those two attributes are not mutually exclusive.
I'm not going to go into all the reasons why I support Faces of Change, as I've already done that in a previous post, and I hope they do well on Sunday. Having said that, I believe that regardless of which slate or combination of individuals wins the elections, the Toronto Humane Society will be a much better place than it was. The question is how much better. A new board of directors can build a decent shelter, decent enough to dress up someone's resume certainly, or they can create an amazing shelter that will be a great and lasting refuge for innumerable animals and a model for shelters all over North America.
This will depend on the dedication and ability to work together of each individual on the new board. I don't envy them their work. It will be a long, hard slog and, courtesy of the old board, we've seen what can happen to them on a personal level if they fail. Ideally, these fifteen individuals will be able to forget about the politics and roll up their sleeves and get to work bettering the situation for animals in Toronto.
Forget about the politics?