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AthletesCAN asking for transparent action plan from Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton

CALGARY — AthletesCAN is asking Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton to outline a clear election process after the national federation abruptly adjourned a heated annual general meeting last month.

CALGARY — AthletesCAN is asking Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton to outline a clear election process after the national federation abruptly adjourned a heated annual general meeting last month.

"After attending the BCS AGM as an independent observer, AthletesCAN calls for the immediate release of a transparent action plan by BCS, outlining a clear election process, including set dates and deadlines for the next vote, and steps to be taken for compliant member validation," their statement said. 

AthletesCAN is the association of Canada's national team athletes.

Bobsled and skeleton athletes have been actively trying to unseat Sarah Storey, the president of the board and acting CEO of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. Storey abruptly adjourned and walked out of the federation's AGM in Calgary on Sept. 29.

"The events at this year's AGM marked another example where Canada's bobsleigh and skeleton national team athletes felt unheard and unsupported by their own National Sport Organization," AthletesCAN said. "We reiterate the vital importance of proper governance and a prioritization of a safe environment for our members and all national team athletes moving forward. 

"AthletesCAN will continue to advocate for fair processes that include and empower the athlete voice."

A BCS spokesperson said that under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, the continuation of the Sept. 29 meeting must be held by Nov. 7, 2022. BCS's bylaws require notice to be provide 21 to 35 days before the meeting date.

Storey and high performance director Chris Le Bihan have been the target of criticism for months from athletes who've decried what they call a toxic environment of maltreatment within the organization.

Tara McNeil, a 53-year-old sport physiologist from Calgary, has put her name forward for president, after she was approached by a group of athletes to run for the position. Storey hasn't announced whether she would seek a third four-year term.

BCS said in a Sept. 30 statement to The Canadian Press that the organization had received credible information that there may have been irregularities in the verification processes of voters from the provincial sport organizations.

"Although BCS has been working to verify these memberships, as at the date of the AGM, BCS has been unable to determine the BCS members who are eligible to vote, or to be elected as directors at this meeting,'' the statement said. "It is of the utmost importance to the board of directors of BCS that the fairness and integrity of the decisions to be made at the annual general meeting of BCS is preserved.''

BCS called a 90-minute recess during the AGM to meet with legal counsel. The board of directors, according to the statement, recommended that all matters set out in the notice calling the meeting be adjourned.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 11, 2022. 

The Canadian Press

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