Political Suicide


By Pierre Filion

When I was working with the Québec Lacrosse Federation, we had a perspective on the relationships between the provincial lacrosse associations and the Canadian Lacrosse Association, now known as Lacrosse Canada.

It went something like this.

‘’The weaker the provinces are the stronger the CLA is paradoxically, the stronger the provinces are the better the CLA will be”.

This was obvious to us.

Facing weak and disorganized provinces, the CLA could walk out of any debate and carry on, never really threatened, or even challenged.

Facing strong and organized provinces, the CLA would need to dig deeper, appreciate the challenge and find new resources to maintain itself in a position of leadership or of control.

Now, whether the provinces are weak or well organized is not the issue; the reality of Lacrosse Canada is that it was created by the provinces and REPORTS to the provinces on the areas of jurisdiction that the provinces have decided to be Lacrosse Canada’s areas of involvement: operating a national office, representing Canada internationally (meetings and competitions), sanctioning national championships and administering a democratic process. That’s what Lacrosse Canada is expected to do and that what it reports on to the provincial associations who are the members of Lacrosse Canada.

In the final analysis, if we understand the democratic process correctly, the members (the provinces) are the ones who are responsible for Lacrosse Canada; they give mandates, elect officers, approve budgets and financial statements, select auditors, and modify bylaws. Lacrosse Canada does what the provinces expect to be done. Lacrosse Canada’s board members are the officers who report to the provinces.

Lacrosse Canada is an area of governance not a level of government. It is a corporation created to do what the provinces wishes it to do. In that perspective being a member of Lacrosse Canada and being reported to is a great privilege but also a great responsibility; a political responsibility because, again in the final analysis if Lacrosse Canada does not perform as expected the members bear the responsibility to correct the situation. To make the needed changes and to select officers who will deliver a better performance. To change the budget and relate it to goals and needs. Just like the shareholders do in any corporation; because they are shareholders just as Lacrosse Canada’s members are members.

And the provinces are not just political members; they are paying members; in 2024-25 if registrations remain as they were in 2023, they will inject 469,590$ in membership fees and will pay for Lacrosse Canada’s goods and services. Each member of every provincial association will pay 10$ to its province that will go directly to Lacrosse Canada; and in 2025-26 that amount will move up to 15$ per player thus raising the membership revenues to 704,385$ if registrations remain as they were in 2023. But we’re growing the game so…we’ll increase the number of registered players, will we not!!!!

The provinces are paying members and political members to whom Lacrosse Canada reports. One would get the impression that the provinces would be the leaders of Lacrosse Canada, the brains, and the muscle. But that is not the case because the provinces are weak.

They are weak because they act much more as Canadians than as provinces. Lacrosse Canada does not report to Canada; it reports to the provinces but if at meetings the provinces put on a Canadian hat they fail to act as provincial bodies to whom Lacrosse Canada must report. Provincial delegates seem to forget that they ‘’are provinces’’ and fail to act as provinces when they are reported to; they are much more Canadians that they are Manitobans or Albertans or Québecois. That is their main weakness; they forget who they are in the political reporting process and see not what’s in it for them.

And they are gullible. So gullible! In November 2023 they all fell for an idealistic proposal to have every province have one vote at meetings. Gone would be the weighted voting system; we would all be equal. Not only was it against Lacrosse Canada’s rules bhut it was based on very shady arguments. Imagine, for just one second, if at Bell Canada annual meeting, the VP in charge of administration would move that Bell would change its voting structure so that every shareholder would have one vote; ‘’we would all be equal, and it would be much fairer, and votes would not always favor the big boys’’!!!

The provinces fell for that; they voted along with the VP administration only to find out that it was against the rules. ‘’Oops, we lose; sorry’. How gullible can one be? How weak can we all be?

With such obvious provincial weaknesses Lacrosse Canada has clear sailing; it can endeavor to decrease the number of delegates at meetings, change traditional meetings to ZOOM meetings, tip toe through its own rules, isolate delegates, snow them under with last minute documents and have them believe that the main culprit for lack of development is Ontario; big bad and arrogant Ontario; and the provinces will fall for that. Organize a good conflict with Ontario and that will rock the membership. Divide and conquer…Gullible and weak members should fall for this…And they do.

I wonder what would happen if the members (the provinces), together, would call Lacrosse Canada’s bluff and start acting as members; start demanding that Lacrosse Canada has established corporate goals and budgets that translate those goals into actions. Would the big bad bullies in Ontario be against that?

What would happen if the members, together, would start demanding that Lacrosse Canada comes out with an efficient plan to increase the number of register players (male and female) across the country. Would big bad arrogant Ontario be against that?

What would happen if the provinces, instead of believing that Ontario is the bad guy, would create an efficient member council and got together to establish a narrative with provincial goals that would take them out of their weaknesses and progressively increase the number of their registered players…Any increase in the number of registered players is an increase in revenues for Lacrosse Canada. Who would be against that?

Call the bluff; get together and establish a provincial narrative for the betterment of the game across the country; make provincial development a national concern and elect officers who would carry on forward with that goal in mind. And who would strike a budget to reach that goal. Who would be against that? Anything else is provincial political suicide.