Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.
October 8, 2012, by

Who to vote for in the CAEA elections: UPDATED

by Aislinn Rose

*Updated Tuesday, October 9th: Kristina Nicoll has been added to the indie slate, rounding off the number of candidates to 7, the same number of seats available in the Ontario region.*

Last Monday, CAEA Ontario held an all-candidates night to introduce the 20 local candidates running to fill 7 Ontario seats. Each candidate was given an opportunity to read their prepared statement and then take questions from the audience.

From those statements, 6 candidates have emerged as a clear slate of member/creators with three main priorities should they be elected:

  1. A new Indie Agreement that reflects the will of the membership
  2. Drastically improved communication between staff, council and the membership
  3. A Re-examination of the role Equity plays within the performing arts ecology

We would like to introduce you to the slate of candidates whose collective platform we are endorsing:

Hume Baugh
Mark Brownell
Brenley Charkow
Kate Fenton
Kristina Nicoll – added October 9th
Vinetta Strombergs
Aaron Willis

You can read their entire collective statement at the bottom of this post.

As Co-Chair of the TAPA Indie Caucus, and Artistic Producer of Praxis Theatre, I’m sure it will come as no surprise to our regular readers that I am weighing on this election, and endorsing an indie slate with these collective intentions. We have written extensively about Equity’s long and drawn-out process to create a new Indie Agreement, and my Praxis colleague Michael Wheeler has endorsed Equity Councillor and CPAG candidates in previous years.

As with all elections, it’s important to make an informed decision. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be writing more about the Indie Agreement and what I think it means to “reflect the will of the membership”. We’ll also tackle Equity’s perceived mission & mandate in comparison to the very first clause of CAEA’s constitution demanding that the Association:

“support the general welfare and advancement of the performing arts not limited to but focusing more particularly on the theatrical performing arts and those engaged in theatrical production”

As always, we welcome debate from all sides in our comments section. If there is a particular issue that you would like to see addressed, let us know, and if we can’t address it ourselves we’ll do our best to find someone who can. If you’re a member, you should also check out the already lively debates on the Ontario & National CAEA Facebook pages.

Voting started on Friday, and continues until Wednesday, October 31st. Members should have received their voter instruction kits by now, and I encourage everyone to read the statements of all Ontario candidates here. If you are voting outside of Ontario, you can find your candidates by region here. If you haven’t received your voter kit by October 10th, Equity is encouraging members to contact the national office for assistance.

You can vote online or by phone, and you have the rest of the month to do it. So if you haven’t already voted, check out the indie slate’s platform below, and then join the discussion.

Follow Aislinn on twitter for updates: @AislinnTO

Indie CAEA Nominees Collective Platform

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  1. Thank you very much for your endorsement, Praxis. I believe the three points in this platform are the key to Equity surviving in a radically new theatrical ecology. It’s very simple. If these three points are not addressed then Equity is finished. I could write reams and reams of points on each topic but I will keep things brief here to start off the conversation.

    1. The New Indie Agreement – this has been 5 years in the making. Everyone is holding their breath because after much kicking, screaming, and flip-flopping, Equity is finally releasing these agreements in November. Only one question remains: Will these new agreements accurately reflect the will of the membership? We shall see very soon.

    2. Improved Communication – sounds benign, doesn’t it? Bad communication thanks to a dysfunctional corporate governance model is currently the biggest threat to the association’s existence. Equity has gone out of its way to alienate so many different parts of its membership over the last five years that the association is coming apart at the seams. The solution? Way more transparency and the free flow of ideas between the members, council, and staff.

    3. A re-examination of Equity’s role in the artistic ecology. This is the most fundamental point of all because it speaks to Equity’s drifting away from its core principle – supporting the GENERAL WELFARE of the performing arts. Some of you will probably blink when you read that one. That’s Equity’s core principle? Yes, it is. Equity is currently shrinking in size and influence. There are many reasons that compound this problem. When a bureaucracy shrinks it tends to circle the wagons to protect itself as an institution. As the situation worsens that institutional protection comes at the expense of its membership. That is what we are experiencing right now.

  2. Vinetta Strombergs says:

    Thank you once again Praxis. You are such a vital part of the dialogue in our Toronto Theatre community and you help us shine a light that guides the rest of the theatre community across this country into engaging conversations. That’s what we need. Only through discussion about the topics that matter will we make the changes that will help us continue to create theatre in a meaningful way. Thank you for endorsing this fantastic list of candidates (I’m so proud to be associated with these colleagues). I truly hope we all get elected because I know we will work together to create those changes that Aaron Willis has articulated so well and that those of us who served on CPAG (Ont. Advisory) last term want desperately to see come to completion. We have to be part of the solution, not the problem. Forward ho!

  3. Kristina Nicoll says:

    Dear Aislinn , I understand and agree that endorsing a collective platform that leads with the Independent agreement as its foundation is a perfect match when it comes to Praxis . I believe that Equity has to adjust and change policy with the sole intent to foster the growth of theatre overall , and that a new Indie agreement must be reflective of the change necessary in the practices and philosophies ( and attitudes) of the association overall. I think that to campaign as a collective in order to tackle the bureaucracy of Equity is an astute decision on the part of the candidates who decided to run as a group . No matter the result of the elections , I believe that in the near future Equity will be serving it’s membership and the theatre community with greater insight and passion for the very art it serves. I believe that this progress will arrive as a direct result of the very public discourse between artists on what theatre needs , who theatre serves and why theatre must continue to exist , dialogue that has begun here and on Facebook . In the past two years starting with Summerworks losing its funding , Michael Healy and ‘Proud’, Ken Gass and The Factory Theatre , we have become more of a community than ever before by speaking out through social media . Bravo to all those who are digging in and envisioning the very real possibilities for the future of theatre in this country by speaking out of love, out of fear and disappointment , and from sheer outrage . Bravo to all who are willing to shepherd and encourage change to current policy by putting their names forward for election here and across the country . 20 people stepped forward to fill 7 places on Ontario Council, and that is a mighty fine reflection of passion and commitment that can only be good for all . We live in exciting times and social media is a beautiful place to watch the spirit of true democracy in action. Bravo to Praxis for being there first . Respectfully Yours , Kristina

  4. Tip-o-the-hat to colleague Rose for a killer and concise rundown on exactly what is going down here.

    Like Vinetta I am also proud to be associated with these artists who are going way out of their way with no discernable benefit to themselves to help bring CAEA into a positive relationship within the theatre ecology.

    I also agree with Mark’s first point that the new indie agreement will be a huge moment that will have a major impact on the continued relevance of the association. After five years of votes (96-1& 43-3!) and surveys to create something that reflects the will of membership, a sub-par document could lead to a lot of indie artists opting out of acknowledging CAEA even exists.

    I don’t want that to happen. I think we are stronger as an industry and a community working together, but I think it’s important we acknowledge directly what is going on here. Time to recognize that indie theatre is the future and artistic engine of Canadian theatre and it should be fostered and supported instead of persecuted. Part of making that happen will be electing a council that recognizes that.

  5. Kerry Ann Doherty says:

    I was one of the Councilors that sat on the Indie Theatre Review Committee. And as Mark said, the new agreements will be announced soon. The reason I don’t have the Indie as one of my top three issues on my platform, is because I think a majority of the membership is going to be excited and happy with the new agreements. I absolutely think having an Indie Advisory Committee is a “must have” committee. The way we work is always changing. And the input we got from our committee, indie representatives from all over the country that were as diverse in their regions, disciplines and heritage, as they were in the way they worked, was priceless. That type of diversity on the new committee should continue. Council and staff will need feed back, and a committee like that is one of the best ways to link to all indie communities. And any one of the above candidates would be a great choice to lead that committee.

    For those who don’t know what my platform is: Communication between Council/Staff and the membership is my number 1 priority. Government Lobbying for more arts funding and for changes in the application process for productions coming into our country is number 2. And number 3 is that I want to bring back the Women’s Committee (how do we ensure women (of all ages) have the same work weeks as men?).

    Thank you, Praxis, for encouraging everyone to be apart of this process.

  6. Ron Kennell says:

    I am all for the women’s committee… Especially since I believe that it will be women, the elderly and minorities who will suffer under the two tier pay scale (that I believe Kerry Ann also endorsed.) Correct me if I am wrong on that. The fact remains that discussing wage parity while creating a system that allows producers to pay some Equity members less seems like talking from both sides of ones mouth.

  7. […] the end of this month.  Here’s the full slate of candidates in Ontario as well as a recent Praxis blog regarding candidates who are specifically seeking change for indie creators. Share on Facebook […]

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