Thank you to everyone who voted in the Estonian Central Council elections this past December and thanks to the diverse and talented group of candidates who had the courage to stand for election. All of us care deeply about the Estonian community in Canada and it’s now time to work together to strengthen the transparency and accessibility of the Estonian Central Council in Canada.
There has been considerable confusion about the results and outcome of the election. In official election materials that were advertised, it was clearly stated in both Estonian and English that “The EKN elections are held to elect 25 council members, who choose an executive committee amongst their members every 4 years.” This has led the community, including candidates, to believe that 25 council members would be elected and that an executive is elected every four years.
Unfortunately, this communication was inaccurate, as the EKN constitution states: “voters will vote for the total number of candidates minus 5, with a minimum of 25 and a maximum of 40 members.” This was not advertised to the community or voters.
The newly elected members of EKN have been working extremely hard to find an equitable resolution to this issue that will respect the voters and allow EKN to move on to the important work that lies ahead.
A compromise resolution, below, has been sent to the outgoing EKN executive, to be tabled at the tentatively scheduled, January 31, first meeting of EKN. The resolution offers a proposal to restore voter confidence and public expectations in the election by acknowledging the problems encountered during the election process and committing to correct those in the next election. The resolution - to be introduced after the election of a new executive - provides a clear and equitable compromise, one that seeks to respect voter expectations, while giving effect to the EKN constitution without having to hold a new election.
The proposed resolution is worded as follows:
“Whereas, paragraph 3a of the constitution of the Estonian Central Council in Canada in Paragraph 3a contemplates that voters will be notified of how many candidates will be elected to the council;
Whereas, paragraph 3a of the constitution of the Estonian Central Council in Canada states that voters in an election will be allowed to vote for the total number of candidates minus five, which in the 2015 election was 37;
Whereas, the Estonian Central Council advertised to all eligible voters in Canada that the total number of members will be 25 during the 2015 election and that voters were only allowed to cast 25 votes;
Whereas, paragraph 3a of the constitution of the Estonian Central Council in Canada states that the EKN vote is to be anonymous;
Be it resolved that although the election bylaws, including the constitution and the anonymity of electors were not properly observed by the Election committee and the Estonian Central Council Executive during the 2015 Estonian Central Council elections, the 25 members of the Estonian Central Council, who received the most votes in accordance with the election process advertised by the previous session of the Council, recognize the existing membership formula in the Estonian Central Council’s constitution and agree that the membership of the Council should include the 37 members envisaged by that formula.”
On January 31st, the newly elected EKN council will have its first meeting. We look forward to resolving this issue and working together to build a stronger and accessible EKN.
Elagu Kanada Eesti Kogukond ja EKN!
Reet Marten Sehr
Kairi Taul Hemingway
Dear Fellow Member of the Estonian Community in Canada, (31)