RCEN Chairman and longtime director announces his resignation - inviting new leadership for a new era

Mon 16 Apr 2012

Chairman Kolmel's Letter of Resignation

Dear members of RCEN,
Dear colleagues and friends,

After much reflection, for both personal and professional reasons, it is with sincere regret that I announce to you my resignation as chair of the Board of directors of the Canadian Environmental Network, and francophone representative on the National Council.

Since first elected on the Board of Directors, in 2006, and as Chair in 2009, I came to RCEN with clear goals for strengthening the organization’s reach, networking and dialogue capabilities, while developing a credible and stimulating environment for carrying out that work. My tenure as Chair of the Canadian Environmental Network has been a remarkable experience and journey.

In its 35 years of existence, RCEN has been the means through which community organisations across Canada have had direct access and input into the development of progressive policies, legislations and programs in our country, protecting the environment and health of Canadians, and our nation. Conversely, it is the means through which the Government of Canada is able to genuinely reflect the interests and views of Canadians. 

The unexpected loss of core funding and support from Environment Canada, last fall, has had many serious repercussions, creating an untenable position for RCEN, its staff, directors, and affiliates, but also signalling a major setback for democracy in our country. Today society seems more fragmented than ever, and I believe the need for a Network and true Canadian environmental movement is more pressing than ever.

Understanding some challenges remain for this unique umbrella organization , I am relieved to say, that at the time of my departure, the organisation has addressed its debt, stabilised financial matters by streamlining its operations, and is seeing a growing support of volunteers to organise and maintain core services, and Caucus activities. I will remain available to ensure a smooth transition in leadership, and where possible serve an advisor role in reshaping this most important Canadian institution. Through crisis, lies an opportunity to assess and redefine ourselves - and as a hub for environmental knowledge, and first responders, I see great potential for the Network.

With a new road ahead for the organisation, there is no more fitting time for a new leadership. Until elections are called, I entrust the role of acting chair, as of April 17 2012, to Maggie Paquet - current vice-chair of the Board, B.C. affiliate representative on the National Council, and senior member of RCEN. Maggie may be reached at : ActingChair@rcen.ca.

It has been a privilege to learn and work with such dedicated people these past 6 years. I would like to thank you all for your support and cooperation during my period as chair of the Board of Directors. I wish to thank directors, delegates, staff and member groups for your unparallel work and commitment to the organisation. I wish to thank affiliate networks, partners, government officials and intergovernmental bodies with whom I have had the pleasure to work with in advancing the Canadian Environmental Network’s mission and purpose. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to all those who have offered me support, inspiration, and advice over the course of all these years.

Thank you for the confidence you have shown me and wish you every success for the future.

Olivier Kolmel

RCEN E-Bulletin

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