The Manitoba Canola Growers Association (MCGA) doesn’t need to run an election for directors this fall so the association’s first optional online voting won’t be held.
However, the association made history in a different way — acclaiming its first woman director.
Four directors’ positions were open and only four people had thrown their hats in the ring when nominations closed Oct. 31, MCGA president Chuck Fossay said on the sidelines of the Keystone Agricultural Producers’ advisory council meeting here Nov. 2.
Two incumbents, Fossay who farms at Starbuck and St. Andrews farmer Curtis McRae, as well as two newcomers, John Sandborn, who farms at Benito, and Dacotah farmer Pam Bailey, have been acclaimed.
“Pam Bailey’s addition to the board marks a milestone for MCGA as the first female board member, bringing a passion for farm safety, strong technical knowledge of plants and the environment, as well as experience in organizational effectiveness, strategic planning and policy development,” the MCPA said in a Nov. 6 news release.
“John Sandborn is a welcome addition representing the strong production area in the North West Parkland region of the province. John brings a wealth of board experience having been an elected director for Manitoba Pool Elevators/Agricore co-operative, and Federated Co-operatives, among several others.”
Two other incumbent directors — Brian Chorney of East Selkirk and Ed Rempel of Starbuck —couldn’t seek re-election because they served the maximum three terms, totalling 12 years.
MCGA approved a bylaw change allowing for online voting at its annual meeting Feb. 16.
“We are just trying to make it easier for farmers to participate in the (MCGA directors’) election process,” Fossay told members before voting on the proposed bylaw.
Had an election been necessary MCGA members would’ve been able to cast a preferential mail-in or online ballot.
The MCGA hopes online voting proves popular because it’s cheaper, executive director Delaney Ross Burtnack said in an earlier interview.
The MCGA has around 8,500 members and postage and paper costs add up, she added
“It’s members’ dollars and we would much prefer to take advantage of current technology and save members’ dollars for better things,” Ross Burtnack said.