It’s currently election time for council members of the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) in three districts; these are exciting times. It would be interesting to discover what percentage of the 12,000 odd practicing pharmacists in Ontario actually vote in these elections. I recollect that in BC it was something less than 10%.
This piece is more about observations, as I would like the reader to draw his/her own conclusions
First let’s have a look at some published material. This, from Pharmacy Connection, a publication of the OCP:
“PROTECTING THE INTERESTS, HEALTH AND WELL BEING OF THE PUBLIC”
“Regulating pharmacy in the public interest is a privilege. The College exists to regulate pharmacy so that the public can be confident in the quality and safety of the pharmacy care and services they receive. They must also be able to trust in the College’s ability to make decisions and act in accordance with its public-protection mandate. Council members do not “represent” those who elected them, and those who elected them are not “constituents.” Rather, Council has a fiduciary duty to put their service to the public above all other interests”.
Fine, so Council members have no obligation to represent the interests of those individuals who actually elected them to sit on Council. This fact, and this emphasis may surprise some pharmacist members, though it is a fact and always has been.
Nevertheless, this may surface some questions:
If this absence of representation is as described, why does anyone bother to participate in the election process? What are the qualities a member pharmacist would look for in someone running for council? How does a person differentiate one from the other? If a nominee cannot take any personal position on anything, then how does a prospective voter decide on voting one over the other?
In this same Pharmacy Connection publication, an OCP staff member goes on to emphasize:
“Please note that considerable weight will be given to candidates who have served on statutory committees as a Non-Council Committee Member (NCCM) prior to seeking election”.
This NCCM designation means individuals who have volunteered to sit on statutory committees, and those who were never elected to council in the first instance. So what this OCP staff member is stating is that even if an individual is overwhelmingly endorsed by fellow pharmacists in the district he/she is to represent, that individual would likely be set aside by another individual who was never elected, and who happened to volunteer to sit on a statutory committee. Wow.
If the election process is supposed to be completely in the hands of OCP members to nominate members by the process set out in the ByLaw, meaning being nominated by 3 members in a given district, how can this process be arbitrarily overridden by OCP staff/management? How did they get this power?
If this is the case, how does “new blood” ever get a chance to make an impact?
Notice how many times the same old faces appear for re-election or are “voted in” by acclamation. Check out the latest line up.
Some might describe this as ‘abuse of process’.
Some may describe this as an old boys’ club.
Some may wonder why the voting participation rate for these Council elections is so low.
But as declared at the beginning, draw your own conclusions.