Who is the CPAA?
Many different people are involved in the CPAA.
- We have around a dozen active volunteers, and no paid staff. Our lawyers are volunteers. Volunteers do all of our research, legal strategy, document drafting, position development, public relations, and administration. Major decisions are made by consensus of the active volunteers, or of the volunteers concerned with a specific area of interest. Involvement leads to influence.
- We have several families of witnesses, who gave the court evidence about their polyamorous conjugal lifestyles, and the value those lifestyles provide. Some of our witnesses are also volunteers in other areas. All the witnesses we’ve identified so far provided sworn statements with their names on them, and are thus either “out of the closet” or will be soon. However, not all of them are “out” quite yet.
- Our five directors are elected by the members, are officially responsible for running the organization, and have legal authority over everything it does. In practice, the directors have never used their authority to do anything but implement volunteer consensus. All five directors are also active volunteers.Because we are a British Columbia society, the names of all directors are legally required to be registered with the BC Government. All directors must therefore be “out of the closet” and willing to publicly associate themselves with the CPAA.
- Hundreds of supporters and community members provide suggestions, information, donations, and a pool of potential volunteers and witnesses.
- Many of our volunteers and witnesses are also legal “members”of the CPAA.
All legal members are committed supporters of polyamory who work with the CPAA. We know our members support polyamory because we’ve checked them out; they are personally known to us, or we’ve been able to verify their reputations with the poly community. We know they support the CPAA because they’re volunteers, witnesses, or have otherwise demonstrated commitment to the organization and its goals.
We have about a dozen official members, most of whom are also active volunteers.
There are no membership dues. Most of our donations have come from members, but some members have given only their time and help.
Why don’t we make a member of every donor, or even of just anybody who wants to be one? Several reasons:
- We’re a small organization working on a controversial issue. If we added new members promiscuously, we could suffer a “hostile takeover”. Large numbers of people who didn’t support our goals could join the organization, take voting control of it, and sabotage its purpose.We didn’t make up this idea. At least two of us have seen takeovers happen to other organizations.We don’t have the time or energy to draft complicated bylaws to defend against this. Our existing bylaws are a minimally modified version of the example given in the BC Societies Act, precisely because of the difficulty of drafting “custom” ones. At the moment, we wouldn’t even have the time to set up a general meeting (of people scattered across Canada) to amend our bylaws.
- We’re legally required to keep a register of the names and addresses of our members. We don’t have the capacity to keep that list secret under all foreseeable circumstances. That means that every official member is at risk of being “outed” as polyamorous, or at least poly-friendly.We don’t want our strategy to come only from people who can afford to be “out”. That means we have to have ways for people who aren’t officially members to participate, and to have real input into decisions. Having that sort of structure means that “official” membership is less important.
- There’s real administrative work involved in having lots of members. We’d have to set up a system for handling that effort, and we’d have to at least begin doing so using our existing volunteers. We don’t want to break focus on preparing material for the court.
Our directors are:
- Zoe Duff, Director, Victoria, British Columbia,
- Robert B., Director, Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Anlina Sheng, Director, Winipeg,Manitoba
- Tom G., Director, Victoria, British Columbia
- Trey Capnerhurst, Director, Edmonton, Alberta