By Nathan Ross
Editor’s Note: Nathan Ross is the Simon Fraser University representative on the Council. All genders assumed in this article are from the public identifications from Facebook.
For all the complaints that Quidditch Canada (QC) is not transparent enough of an organization, the first steps to fix that are underway. This comes after the backlash Quidditch Canada received last season regarding border restrictions; in particular, the open letter by McGill Quidditch that was published on the Quidditch Post on Sept. 20, 2015 offered several proposals to improve QC.
The newly formed Teams Council, a representative body of both Quidditch Canada’s league and developmental member teams, officially held its first meeting on Oct. 16. While a good portion of the meeting was spent asking for speakers with spotty mics to repeat themselves, the 24 representatives consulted on two issues that QC could have easily just made a decision on without any input from the teams (discussed in more detail below).
“Each member team has one seat on the Council, which allows them to participate in consultations with Quidditch Canada as well as discussion among the Council members,” said Nina Patti, QC’s Volunteer Director. “The goal of the Council is to give member teams a platform to represent their concerns and ideas, provide greater transparency into Quidditch Canada’s operations, and create an easier process for meaningful consultation of teams.”
While the Council has no official say in making decisions, they do get to provide suggestions and recommendations for QC to take into consideration. Issues from the first meeting included whether or not tournament directors should receive an honorarium and the logistics of livestreaming at the upcoming Eastern and Western Regional Championships. As of publication date, a suggestion has been put forward to limit honorariums to $200, as well as the agreement that as much of the upcoming regionals should be livestreamed as possible.
“When the chance came to be a representative and give the teams a voice within QC, I jumped at it,” said Eric Melanson, chair of the Council and also the representative from the Carleton University Ravens.
Melanson was the only candidate for chair and was voted in by the the other team representatives before the first meeting. He took the position in part because of his past experience chairing on the Model United Nations Circuit.
“I think my relationship and that of the Teams Council as a whole with QC is going to be very positive and productive,” he said. “To have them putting stuff to us already is, I think, a great sign of their commitment to listening to the feedback of teams and of their view of us as a serious and committed body to which they can put substantive questions and receive valuable feedback from.”
That relationship with QC is something that Patti also feels is important. She acknowledged that there has often been a disconnect in terms of communication between QC and Canadian teams, which leads to bad or insufficient information on the decisions QC makes that affect all the teams.
“QC is short-staffed and almost always running on a tight deadline, and that makes it difficult to consult teams on every issue,” said Patti. “But with a structure in place that facilitates good two-way communication directly between the directors and teams, I guarantee that members will have their voices heard more clearly and more often when decisions are made.”
Both Patti and Melanson see this as a way to bridge the gap between the East and the West, with Canada being notably divided over the past couple of years. The West has accused QC of Eastern bias, as most of the teams in QC are Eastern, and the geographical gaps between the regions have led to some players in the West feeling they would be better off seceding and joining USQ or a different organization. Melanson says that he sees this as a chance for one integrated group of QC teams rather than regional blocks.
With no set schedule yet for Teams Council meetings, it will be interesting to see the group grow in its first year and the potential impact it could have for the 2016-17 quidditch season and beyond.