by SUSAN MANN
The Canadian Honey Council will likely discuss an Ontario Beekeepers’ Association request to replace the national organization’s chair at its next board meeting.
The Ontario Beekeepers’ Association requested in an Aug. 5 letter to the council’s board that it immediately ask Alberta beekeeper Kevin Nixon, the Canadian council’s chair, to step aside and for the national organization to elect a new chair.
Ontario Beekeepers’ wants Nixon to step side because of comments he made in the August issue of HiveLights magazine criticizing the provincial association. HiveLights is the national magazine of the Canadian Honey Council.
Ontario Beekeepers’ board “believes that Mr. Nixon’s unexpected and unwarranted tirade raises serious issues as to his qualifications to lead the CHC (Canadian Honey Council),” Ontario president Tibor Szabo says in the Aug. 5 letter.
Nixon couldn’t be reached for comment.
UPDATE: August 16, 2016 — Canadian Honey Council chair Kevin Nixon says the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association doesn’t fully understand the comments he made in the August issue of HiveLights questioning why the group is still a member of the council.
Nixon says it’s premature for him to say whether he’ll step down or not since “we haven’t met as a (honey council) board. We’ll discuss that as a board and see where that conversation goes.”
Nixon says he hasn’t directly responded to the Ontario beekeepers association about its comments on his HiveLights magazine commentary so “it may not be too fair of me to say anything now.”
However, he says he wrote his comments in HiveLights as an Alberta director and not as the honey council’s chair.
“It was just thoughts and questions that I had in my head,” he explains. “I throw out the questions to both sides. Why would the OBA (Ontario Beekeepers’ Association) continue membership in honey council but at the same, why does honey council continue allowing them as a member when (the two groups’) values don’t align.”
Nixon says there has been almost four years of the two groups having different values and “at what point in time do you say enough is enough and part ways? Maybe that’s not the answer, but I’m throwing it out there” as something for both sides to consider. END OF UPDATE
The Ontario association posted on its website both Nixon’s commentary and its response.
In a telephone interview on Thursday, Szabo said the Ontario organization hasn’t yet received a response from the Honey Council.
Szabo said what Nixon did was totally unprofessional “and not something that a leader should be doing.”
Rod Scarlett, Honey Council executive director, said “we probably won’t address that letter (from the Ontario association) until at least our next board meeting, which hasn’t been scheduled yet. It might be late August or it could be late September. It just depends on the availability of the majority of the board members.”
Furthermore, Scarlett isn’t sure if a provincial association that’s a member of the Honey Council, “has the authority to ask something of the board.”
He explained that the Honey Council rules require the board to act on resolutions from an annual meeting or semi-annual meeting of a provincial organization.
“The only actions we can take are in response to something that is brought forward by a resolution of a (provincial) board,” he said. Requests for the Honey Council to act must come through resolutions passed at provincial annual or semi-annual meetings because that’s the way the national organization knows “the membership is supporting” it.
The Honey Council’s board could respond to the Ontario association’s request to replace Nixon, Scarlett added, but “there’s no official mandate to do anything. This is like a suggestion.”
What’s for sure right now, though, is the Honey Council won’t be doing anything with Ontario’s letter until the board meets to discuss it, he said.
Scarlett said he’s been the executive director at the Canadian council for five years and during that time there hasn’t been another request to replace the chair.
Provinces have, in the past, publicly discussed dropping out of the Honey Council at their provincial meetings, he said.
“It’s not unusual for there to be regional variances and regional opinions on matters,” he said.
About this dispute between Nixon and the Ontario beekeepers’ organization, Scarlett said he’d characterize it as “an airing of opinions in public.” BF