For the past two weeks we have been emailing the 14 candidates running for the Mountain Equipment Co-op board of directors (deadline for online voting is April 9 at noon PST) to ask about their position on ending MEC sourcing from Israeli companies, in line with the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). We believe that having progressive candidates who are willing to consider ending MEC’s “partnerships” on the board is one important element in the Canada-wide campaign to get MEC to stop supporting occupation and apartheid.
Based on the responses we have received, we suggest voting for the following candidates, who seem most open to addressing the issue of MEC continuing to support Israeli apartheid by sourcing products from Israel.
All MEC members can vote for up to three candidates to fill vacancies on the board, but you can vote for less than three. All MEC members can also vote for a series of special resolutions, which require a 75% majority to pass. We believe many of these resolutions are in response to a regular resolution brought forward at the last AGM to call on MEC to stop sourcing from Israel, and limit the democratic participation of MEC members in the ethical policies of the co-op.
To vote you must be 16 or older and a MEC member as of January 7, 2010. You can vote online until noon PST on April 9 at the MEC election page. If you don’t have your voting PIN, click on the link “Get your PIN.”
Vote by phone at 1.877.561.8888. Wait for the prompt and select up to three candidates, then press star (*). Your selections will be played back to you for confirmation and this is the only point you can change your vote. Then you can vote on Special Resolutions.
SUMMARY OF SUGGESTED VOTING
CONSIDER VOTING FOR Margie Parikh, George Pinho and Geoffrey White (details on all candidate responses are below).
Special Resolution 1: Vote NO
Special Resolution 2: Vote NO
Special Resolution 3: Vote NO
Special Resolution 4: We have no position on this resolution
Special Resolution 5: Vote NO
CONSIDER VOTING FOR:
Margie Parikh (“My view is that we have many, many options available to us for sourcing. Although clearly not everyone agrees where we should source and if we should boycott Israeli products for their continued oppression of the Palestinian people, surely we do not need to be supporting questionable regimes or practices. I see no reason for us to continue to offer these products. There are so many other options! I support local sourcing and when sourcing overseas (and in Canada) we should be making a stand and offering more fairly-traded and environmentally-friendly products.”)
George Pinho (“I think this is something we should look into but not just for Israel, for any country where human rights issues are a problem. The issue is where does one draw the line? Certainly, many people think Israel is an area of concern as do I, but what about the US invading Iraq and Japan illegally hunting whales and dolphins. Once MEC starts down this path, it will be difficult to know where to stop. My approach would be to assess the concern of the MEC membership on this topic. If enough concern exists, I think it is our duty to adopt a position on this matter.”)
Geoffrey White (“My intent is to take a reasoned, judicious approach to this issue, and all other policy and business issues facing the Co-operative. I also say this: I don’t want MEC to act one way regarding one country and a different way regarding another, and I don’t want MEC standing by when law (or common decency) is being violated. These two principles are not isolated from one another, as I’m sure you already appreciate.”)