This report is being presented in response to several requests fielded from our members over the last few months. By presenting this report we hope to not only educate and enlighten our members, but the public at large as well.
What is the Ontario Confederation of Clubs, and what should it mean to me? Simply put, the Confederation is a coming together of many diverse individuals and groups, uniting in one voice to support the interests of motorcyclists in the Province of Ontario. It sounds simple but yet it is unprecedented. For too long a number of very capable groups have pursued the goals we all share with mixed results. Because these groups often did not communicate or even know of each others existence, there was no real coordination of movement in dealing with issues. The Confederation was born three years ago from this necessity. A united voice representing, to date, over 3000 riders in 24 different clubs.
These riders come from all walks of life, age groups, social and economic background and experiences. There is no discrimination, as we do not favor or endorse any brand of motorcycle, lifestyle or code of dress. We are not a club ourselves, but individuals from a wide range of occupations and interests that have come together to better the pursuit that we love most. Motorcycles. We are a democratic self-governing group, as each member club carries one vote. The actual number of members that constitute an individual club does not matter. One club, one vote. We are a not for profit organization and rely on the annual membership dues and various fundraising activities for financial support. We carry very close ties to the Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) program, the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (N.C.O.M.) and experienced lawyers generously helping us, (Jeffery Chapnick and Associates) of Toronto and are gaining friends in the political arena. We are however not singularly a political action group.
What should this mean to the rider who is a non-member, or to the general public? Government and big business has been eroding the rights of the average Canadian for a number of years, and the trend is becoming more intensified. All Canadians must remember that the government is elected by the voter, to serve the voter. Big business, vehicles must realize that the consumer has a voice also. The right to freedom of movement in our country without repression or fear is not only enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but also is a belief that many Canadians have fought and died for on a worldwide stage. Motorcycle riders are a visible minority, and easily targeted by law enforcement agencies. We believe that we should be afforded the same liberties and rights as any other Canadian citizen. We should not have to surrender or revoke these rights because of our preferred method of transportation.
The Ontario Confederation of Clubs will take a stand on these issues and more. We are also determined to change the public perception of motorcyclists through our Annual Awareness Rally and through prescribed and acceptable legal avenues if necessary. Because the Confederation contains no real leaders, all internal politics and egos are left at the door. This is unprecedented and the key to our growing numbers. As we learn to accept and recognize each other and our diverse points of view, we only become stronger as a group. We, and the society in which we all live, benefits.
How successful have we been to date? In barely three years since our birth we have created a constitutional amendment which bars police from interrupting your mobility rights, i.e., roadblocks, and restricting undue and arbitrary harassment. Write for a copy of our Judicial committees update titled " Roadblocks ". We will be sitting in with the new MegaCity council to ensure that motorcyclists are permitted to use HOV or Diamond lanes. Talks are ongoing with the Ministry of Transportation to revise the Highway Traffic Act to obtain a more easily recognized and acceptable method of measuring handlebar height. Our Queens Park Rally last year collected two cargo vans of food for the flood victims in Manitoba, a pretty mean feat considering most attendees were on motorcycles. There are current talks ongoing with the Ontario Insurance Commission to reclassify motorcycles from their current recreational vehicle status and put them in the same category as other motor vehicles that use our thoroughfares.
This is a brief list of some of our accomplishments, but our biggest success cannot be found in amendments and legislation. It is the coming together and joining of not only motorcyclists, but of concerned citizens from all walks of life who have taken an interest in our mandate in the Province of Ontario.
People like yourself, who have taken the time to read this and hopefully gained a greater understanding of who we are and what we strive to achieve.
Thank you for your interest.