By Tim Utton, Dir of Communications
Earlier today, a post on another Facebook page was brought to my attention. No names, no pack drill, but a retired member wrote an open letter to the CMPA executive committee in which he cited a laundry list of all the reasons why people aren't interested in joining the CMPA. The member claimed that the CMPA didn't respect the service of retired members, claimed it wasn't responsive to the needs of retired members, yet he didn't offer any concrete solutions for positive change, just an ultimatum to "do better" or else see membership plummet.
My initial reaction was one of anger: I spend untold hours every week updating and maintaining the website, creating fresh content, updating the Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitter feed. I do this on top of working an 10-hr a day staff job while still trying to find time for my family. I'm not looking for applause...I do this because I love this Branch and have nothing but the utmost respect for every member of the MP family...serving AND retired. Everyone on our executive committee is composed of serving and retired members, as well as spouses of serving members, and they all feel the same way I do. But the anger was a personal reaction...and honestly, maybe the person making the complaint had a point.
My my second reaction was one of frustration: you may recall several blog posts I put up earlier this year, advertising numerous vacancies in the CMPA. We are desperately seeking new blood and fresh ideas to re-energize the CMPA. To date, we have received only one query, despite the blog entries and corresponding Facebook posts having been viewed thousands of times. I can't speak for other members of the executive, but I'm not a member of the closed Facebook page where the post was made. If someone hadn't shown it to me this morning, I would never have known there was some dissatisfaction out there.
So, here's the sales pitch. If what we're doing isn't working, you need to tell us directly...preferably with some suggestions on how we can improve. Nobody on the committee is here to dictate to you what the CMPA will provide; after all, this is YOUR association. I guarantee that I will listen and if your suggestion or complaint makes sense, it will be considered, and may even be implemented. Even better...get involved!
When I was a Pte many years ago, my first Shift IC gave me a piece of advice I've never forgotten: "instead of just bitching, come up with a solution". It was good advice then, and it still is. So so my challenge to you is this: tell us what you want the CMPA to be. Tell us what works. Tells us what doesn't work. Let's work together towards a common goal rather than just complaining without offering solutions.
I hope you'll take up my challenge, and that you'll share this post to as many people as possible. Let's open up a positive dialogue for the sole purpose of making the CMPA the best possible association we can for serving and retired MPs. We are the only official MP association in Canada...we owe it to ourselves to make it the best one we can.