VANCOUVER — It’s unlikely Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) will see another resolution aimed at eliminating its business relationships in Israel, thanks to a series of five special resolutions tabled by the co-op’s board of directors and unanimously passed in recent MEC elections that ran between February and April.
The resolutions were a response to events last May, when a few MEC members tried to convince the company to stop sourcing products made in Israel. Their motion was defeated by majority vote at MECs annual general meeting. Seventy per cent of the 256 members who attended the AGM voted against the resolution.
Among the five resolutions passed this year, the first and third prevent single-issue political activists from using the co-op’s constitution to bring forward motions to be considered by the membership at an AGM.
The first resolution requires a 60-day written notice of an ordinary resolution prior to the AGM, which means members can no longer simply stand up at the meeting and propose an ordinary resolution. The third resolution empowers the board to disallow ordinary resolutions that MECs directors deem to be against the co-op’s best interests.
“Before this rule came into effect, any ordinary resolution proposed would have to be heard,” said MEC spokesperson Tim Southam. “That’s why last year, when we were called on to stop sourcing from Israel, that resolution had to come forward. This special resolution means that the board could decide, were this to happen again, to disallow it.”
The third resolution wasn’t proposed specifically in response to last year’s boycott, although it did play a role in its proposal.
“In the past we’ve had resolutions composed by competitors of the co-op who also happened to be MEC members calling on MEC to change its business practices in untoward ways,” Southam said. “Last year, the board recognized they needed to address this shortcoming in our rules to enable them to assess ordinary resolutions.”
More than 30,000 votes were cast in the election on the special resolutions, and the first and third resolutions, which required 75 per cent approval from voting members, passed by 91 per cent and 89 per cent, respectively.
“That’s an endorsement of the board’s governance, and it shows that members view our board as being very responsible, trustworthy and of representing their interests,” Southam said.
Michael Elterman, chair of the Canada-Israel Committee, Pacific region, commended MEC members on taking “a step in the right direction towards preserving MEC the way it should be – a co-operative that unites its members and puts politics aside. These measures will prevent groups that seek to misuse MEC’s organizational structure to make controversial and divisive political statements from doing so.”