A community can only thrive when its members accept and respect the diversity of all of its members. Currently in our Toronto Estonian Community a very alarming and potentially volatile environment has developed. A small number of people belonging to the boards of the Estonian Credit Union, Tartu College, The Estonian Foundation of Canada and the Estonian House have banded together and have designated themselves as the future architects of the Estonian Toronto community. In their “NEW WORLD ORDER” scheme they have decided that the only path to follow is the sale of the Estonian House, (which has been the heart and soul of the Estonian community for over half a century)in favour of a yet- to- be- built new multi-million dollar facility in downtown Toronto, adjacent to the Tartu College (student residence building).
Utilitarianism- the doctrine that an action is right insofar as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct. It is interesting to note that the 4 Orgs have not recognized the disharmony they have created in our small Estonian diaspora in Toronto.
I will share some quotes from John Ralston Saul from his book “A Fair Country”.
“Consideration is the most often shared characteristic of a successful civilization.
The arrival of more conscious voices at public tables, voices less likely to be swayed by fashion, is a step toward the ethic of fairness.
If you examine the way the state organizes itself, you find that utilitarianism has reduced creative economics down to instrumental economics and even further down to classic bookkeeping. In this mindset, every action is a cost. The concept of investment is merely another cost. It is a non-conceptual approach that would have made every historic Canadian breakthrough in public policy appear to be an impossible extravagance.
It is this corner-store approach to cost that prevents us from dealing with poverty or health care or education. This is what shapes our narrow and short-term view of the environment. What is presented as being careful with the public’s money is more often than not a simple failure of imagination. That means those in charge are frightened to act because real action can only be presented as a cost. This is not really an economic theory. It is well below theory. But if it were theory, it could be described as a linear approach to cost based on the assumption that society is driven by self-interest.
We built our society in quite a different way. Our ideas of fairness and inclusion have been based on an economic theory of investment, in which you create new possibilities of wealth by changing the conditions in which our society operates. To do this takes courage, consciousness, imagination, a taste for risk and an ethical sense of purpose. It is about conduct not contract. It is a way of thinking and acting.”
I no longer have trust in the current Estonian House board and would support whole-heartedly a non-confidence vote by the Estonian House shareholders. The reasons are many, but the following are my main key points.
1) No recount of votes was permitted, by the Estonian House Board. (The block voting didn’t help support the popular sentiment. Some voting irregularities were reported but not acted upon.)
2) Both the Estonian Foundation of Canada and the Estonian Credit Union have made real estate investments outside of the Estonian House. It has always been a question of mine, why didn’t The Estonian Foundation of Canada take up rental space in the Estonian House?
3) The Estonian House Board has become a paper tiger, in the sense that they no longer are able to manage their own affairs. Since they are cash poor, they are managed by the other 3 orgs, who have their own sustainability agendas. The roof is in disrepair, the café is closed, the E-store is closed during normal business hours. It appears that the Estonian Board is very complacent about their current state of affairs and cannot wait until either they go bankrupt or they get sold to a developer.
4) Tartu College has no business to interfere with any of Estonian House affairs. It is a separate entity whose lease expires in 2020.
5) As a shareholder, just tired of hearing everything of importance is protected by a veil of confidentiality.
6) I have never liked consultants, because they are like castrated bulls. They know what to do, but won’t do it themselves.