Have you heard the not-so-breaking news about Paul Côté resigning as CEO of Bromont 2018? Probably not, as the announcement wasn’t exactly sung from the rooftops. I considered adding the word ‘out’ to the title of today’s post, but the suggestion that something is being rescued would give very much the wrong signal. Côté has washed his hands of Bromont and returned to the world of mass transit. If I were a palm reading type, what I would read  between the lines here is that he saw an opportunity to get out while the getting’s good – and took it.

It would not be at all accurate to say that Côté jumped off a sinking ship, either, since that cliché suggests the ship was not only floating but had moved somewhere under its own power from the dock. If there is anything remarkable about the year since Bromont ‘won’ its bid for WEG 2018 (kind of like I once ‘won’ first place in a dressage class with only one entry and I exceeded the 59% minimum score to get the first place ribbon and coffee mug), it’s that so very little has happened. Three years out from D-day, two years out from when test events would be run, and we’ve heard next to zilch about the enormous infrastructure improvements that were promised in Bromont’s bid book. And now the one man who might have been able to make the show go on has walked off the set.

You may recall that I allowed myself to be cautiously optimistic last year after being impressed by Mr. Côté in the interview I conducted for Horse Sport magazine. His departure bodes nothing but ill. The whispered announcement that barely saw the light of day (except for those of us who actively troll for such things) doesn’t even mention the recruitment of a replacement; in fact, it looks like it was issued by Côté himself, rather than from the Bromont OC. A visit to the Parc Equestre de Bromont website (which contains not one iota of WEG evidence on its home page) and Facebook page indicate that if there was any pulse in this project before Côté left, it’s nearly time to call the priest.

Actually, I do have a maritime tragedy metaphor for this latest wart on Canada’s international equestrian reputation. Last year, while waiting for a small ferry between Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island, I noticed a small fishing boat tied to a buoy close to shore. The boat was clearly sinking, with the water only a couple of inches from flowing over the boards onto the deck. As I contemplated this sad little scene, I noticed a big orange Zodiac speeding toward it. On board were two RCMP officers  who quickly got a pump going in the bowels of the drowning vessel. Once they had enough water pumped out to make the little boat float again, they tied it to their Zodiac and towed it slowly away.

They weren’t saving the doomed fishing boat.  They were making sure that it didn’t become a shoreline hazard, leaking fuel and disappointment all over the beach. And I predict that is what the FEI is going to do with WEG 2018 at this year’s General Assembly.

Before I head out to suffer through some more French food and wine and take Chorizo to another beach, I do want to respond to a comment left by my friend Jean Duckering two weeks ago at the bottom of my latest bylaw post. My criticism of the bylaw saga has never been aimed toward the hard-working volunteers who worked on this latest iteration of the bylaws, nor toward the other hard-working  groups who worked on the two preceding versions that failed to get voted in by the membership. I can’t imagine what depths of commitment (or masochism) people like Jean have when they volunteer to such an onerous task as drafting bylaws. My hat goes off to all of them.

My criticism is the same one I’ve been harping on about with EC for what seems like forever and a day: communication. Jean pointed out a very useful bit of information in her comment: a link to a set of FAQs that certainly go far in answering questions about the bylaws and what they really mean. I didn’t even notice that link in any of the EC press releases before and during the voting period, even though it was there.

The main problem may be in the use of ‘FAQ’ to describe the document, since FAQ suggests that many people are frequently asking questions – and that just simply has not been the case with these bylaws. Perhaps I would have noticed the link, and in time to read the valuable information before I voted, if the press releases, instead of using ‘FAQ’, contained a sentence such as, ‘here is a link to a brief, straightforward  explanation of the meaning of the bylaws as they pertain to you, just in case you’re going to do the right thing as a member of EC and vote’.