Response to CAP President Resigns:
Date: Monday, March 19 2007
A little Bird sent this to me. -DrC
Response to CAP President Resigns:
by Jeff K. Swanson
From the sidelines I have been watching this story of Catherine Whelan Costen's resignation from her position as President of CAP. It does not exactly fill me with hope.
You see, in large measure, I am responsible for initiating the events that lead to Catherine's resignation.
I had offered my services to CAP via Connie Fogal and had done a fair amount of work to upgrade and solidify CAP's presentation to the public. The work was well received and very satisfying, because the message offered was (and is) important. I have known and worked with Connie on various occasions for several years, but only met Catherine on the phone, during a project to update CAP's logo.
After working on several more projects, we realized that with the limited resources of a small, underfunded party, organization, planning and optimization of resources were prerequisites to any future success. After working on campaign literature for 2 recent by-
elections, it became obvious that treating each district as a unique circumstance would simply never work. Also it seemed obvious that a general election was looming, and we'd better get our ducks in a row to prepare.
CAP's greatest asset had to be its members. If we could get a list of members in each riding, we could get them to harvest information for us about the resources available in their area. What newspapers to advertise in, where to get billboard advertising, where to get printing done, etc., etc. We would build a database dedicated to all the information needed to run a full election campaign now rather than wait until it was an emergency and everyone was too busy to help.
In my capacity as media consultant, I made three simple requests of Catherine: a list of members that she could contact as potential volunteers, job descriptions of those on the Executive, and some notion of what was available for a budget.
Since only Connie Fogal had access to membership information, had a copy of the Constitution, or knew anything at all about CAP financial matters, Catherine sent a rather straightforward request to Connie for information, so that we could at least enter into a planning stage.
That's when it hit the fan.
Catherine, out of the blue, was accused of being disloyal. What was she implying by asking for this information? The accusations tumbled out one after another, astonishing and then dismaying both of us. I watched as Catherine tried time and again to calm Connie's anxieties, only to be rebuffed and for new accusations to appear.
It went from surprising to ridiculous as newly appointed Executives (by Connie) lined up to take shots at Catherine who by now really had to be wondering what it was about the books that needed to be hidden away.
You must understand that Catherine freely gave her time to promoting CAP principles - and it was a considerable amount of time. She purchased a computer and software to manage the database with her own money, she travelled and called long distance--all on her own dime.
She never asked to be reimbursed.
Connie Fogal has indeed been betrayed. But not by Catherine Whelan Costen. Connie has been betrayed by the membership that did not force her to stand for election as required for party leader at the last general meeting (she would have won). She has been betrayed by those in the Executive who cannot distinguish between personalities and principle. "Loyalty to our leader" is something we expect to hear in a dictatorship, not a properly functioning democratic institution.
When rules are made by the electorate, the Executive - and leader must comply.
The North American Union can come about only because the soil is fertile for dictatorship - corporate or otherwise. To the degree that we expect others to step forward and bear the load of democracy, while we do no more than vote or make the occasional donation, is to
take on the role of sheep. Sheep attract a few shepherds and a lot of wolves.
I have watched over the years as Connie has single-handedly fought to bring a difficult and dangerous message to a disinterested public. She had to do it all - if she didn't so it, it probably didn't get done. She worked alone and was scared a lot of the time. Somehow, over time, as people started listening to her message, there was no
room for people to help, this had become her own private show. She was the only one who could do it.
Connie was eventually betrayed by Connie. Like King Lear, she lashed out at those who urged her to a better way. Criticism = disloyalty.
CAP has lost a true patriot in Catherine and it is therefore a loss to all of us.
[Editor's note: Vive Le Canada is not affilliated with the Canadian Action Party, Boy Scouts of America, or The Edward R. Murrow Foundation.]
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on March 21, 2007]