33rd Convention of the Canadian Slovak League began on Saturday, April 23rd in St. Catharines, Ontario. Delegates representing the members of the 83-years old organization with Branches in different cities across Canada reviewed the management reports on activities and results in the last three years.
Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Canada, H.E. Andrej Droba greeted the Convention and stressed the importance this oldest and most active expatriate organization in Canada represents for the development of good relations between Canada and the Slovak Republic as well as for maintaing Slovak culture and heritage in this country. He presented the outgoing President, Mary Ann Doucette with a commemorative medal from the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs. JUDr. Jan Varšo, President of the Office for Slovaks Living Abroad, also greeted the Convention by a letter.
After reports of the executive members, Convention delegates discussed in detail the necessary reorganization and changes in the By-Laws needed that the organization can more effectively carry out its mission as a nonprofit organization for the enhancement of the Slovak community in Canada.
In the evening of the first day the delegates were invited to a basketball game of the Canadian Professional National Basketball League (NBL) between Niagara River Lions and London Ligtning. The owner of the Niagara River Lions is a Slovak entrepreneur and CSL member Richard Petko, who invited Mary Ann Doucette to do the ceremonial first throw of the game. After an exciting match in modern Meridian Centre arena in downtown St. Cathariners the Lions lost 125:124, but now we all know that in Canada there is 'our own' basketball team that all Canadian Slovaks can be proud of.
On Sunday, the second day of the Convention, the delegates completed discussions and commenced election of a new Board of Directors for the next three years. Since none of the delegates present could accept the position of the President because of work, personal or medical reasons, Mary Ann Doucette remains an Interim President, until the new Board is able to select a suitable candidate from all the members of the League. (At the Convention one can be elected only from those delegates present in person). The remaining Board responsibilities, until the next convention in 2019 in Toronto, will be carried out by: Vice-President Barbora Dej from Branch 63 in Ottawa, Secretary Mary Dinga from Branch 23 in Welleand, treasurer Klara Hrdlicka from Branch 7 in Toronto, Recording Secretary Paul Carnogursky from Branch 65 in Calgary, Audit Committee Chair is Helen von Friedl from Branch 7 in Toronto, and members of the Audit Committee are Kristine Atamanyk from Branch 23 in Welland and Viera Furmanova from Branch 2 in Montreal.
After the election members of the new Board of Directors have taken the oath read out to them by the former CSL President Prof. Mark Stolarik. After taking a photo of all delegates and guests, all thanked the local organizers from Branch 31 in St. Catharines for a great Convention, and everyone is looking forward to meet again in three years in Toronto.
Photo: Stephen Reistetter and Paul Carnogursky