Mailing #5

September 22, 2014

To the Members of La Guilde des Musiciens et Musiciennes du Québec, Local 406, AFM:

As you are aware, after years of dialogue and debate, La Guilde and the AFM were very close to entering into a “Service Agreement”, which would have provided $170,000 from the AFM in additional funding to help fulfill Local 406 obligations under Provincial Status of the Artist legislation. At the last moment, La Guilde’s administration added an additional demand – for total autonomy, thus torpedoing the discussions and revealing the administration’s actual agenda – disaffiliation.

As posted on La Guilde’s website, on or about September 16, 2014, Local 406 filed a request in Quebec Superior Court to obtain a declaratory judgement. The essence of what La Guilde’s administration has asked for is a ruling that would permit La Guilde’s administration to ignore its own bylaws and the AFM’s in order to convert the recent disaffiliation survey into an actual vote for secession from the AFM. In other words, after having failed to provide proper notice of motion to the membership last December and then having failed to achieve the 2/3 majority required by La Guilde’s bylaws to amend the bylaws to effect dissolution, La Guilde’s administration now wants the court to say that those rules don’t matter. Indeed, the administration wants the court to say that a razor-thin majority (53.3%) is good enough to impose a drastic change on the local and that the other nearly half of the membership who voted the other way do not count.

Once the Canadian Office was served with the court documents and it became clear that La Guilde’s administration was prepared and determined to completely disregard its own bylaws, the AFM International Executive Board (IEB) had no choice but to place La Guilde under trusteeship, as per Article 5, Section 70 of the AFM Bylaws.

Mr. Emile Subirana was carefully selected as Trustee because of his fifteen (15) years of experience managing La Guilde’s affairs, knowledge of Quebec laws and obligations and his ability to communicate in multiple languages. To be clear, his position is not a candidate for president, but an AFM guardian to direct Guilde staff and affairs until such time as an election could be held.

On September 18th, a court bailiff, Mr. Subirana and I arrived at La Guilde offices to serve the Trusteeship letter from International President Ray Hair, and gain access to and control of the Local. We were denied entry, and the letter from the President was ignored.

That afternoon, we attended a court hearing whereby the AFM made a motion for an interlocutory and provisional injunction to compel La Guilde to comply with the President’s order in accord with La Guilde and AFM bylaws. Mr. Justice Hamilton ruled, in essence, that since the parties would be back in court for La Guilde’s motion very shortly, he saw no emergency situation which would warrant an injunction at this time. However, he reserved the right for the AFM to apply again if La Guilde violated additional Bylaws or failed to meet its obligations as an AFM Local. The situation therefore, is at this time, status quo, in that the Local and the AFM will maintain their relationship and service to the members. Our office will endeavour to keep you updated as events unfold. In addition, please visit

Sincerely and fraternally,


Alan Willaert, AFM Vice-President from Canada

Original PDF document link below

To the Members of La Guilde des Musiciens et Musiciennes du Québec, Local 406, AFM

8 thoughts on “Mailing #5

  1. 53% of 70% of members = @ 30% of all members. It is not enough !!!

    The referendum was just a consultation !!! The Guild said it well!

    So ?? What’s up with that, The Guild?

  2. To be accurate, the Court never stated that the Guild did violated any Bylaws, au contraire …

    (…) This Court cannot accept that the institution of legal proceedings to put forward a position contrary to the AFM’s position constitutes “a course of conduct detrimental to the welfare or interests of the AFM or the Local.” The Guilde has not taken any steps to act on the disaffiliation pending the judgment of the Superior Court. If the Guilde breaches its obligations under the Bylaws, then the AFM will have the right to come back to Court and ask for an injunction.

    DISMISSES the AFM’s motion for a provisional injunction;
    RESERVES the AFM’s rights if the Guilde breaches its obligations under the AFM’s Bylaws;
    Stephen W. Hamilton, j.s.c

    1. Dear Mr. Fortin,
      Mr. Justice Hamilton denied an injunction primarily because La Guilde and the AFM would be in court over the matter of disaffiliation in a short time.
      What is more important, is how your members will react when they start to understand the cavalier approach your administration has taken towards the AFM Bylaws, La Guilde’s Bylaws and your oath of office.
      In 1994, La Guilde held a general, mail-in referendum on the subject of disaffiliation. They could not declare independence at that time because only a 62% approval was achieved. At least that administration adhered to the Local 406 Bylaws and recognized that a two-thirds majority is required to either dissolve the Local (Section 111), or that a change to Section 3 (affiliation to the AFM) requires a two-thirds majority, as prescribed in Section 52.
      It also amazes me how easy it is to ignore Section 41, which requires a general meeting within four (4) months of La Guilde’s fiscal year, and stretch it to ten (10) months.
      More serious is the refusal of a direct order of the International President and the International Executive Board, a violation of Article 5, Section 70 of the AFM Bylaws.
      Please don’t continue to pretend that La Guilde has done nothing wrong.

  3. Mr. Willaert,

    I am flabbergasted to read your letter! I simply cannot comment on every aspect of it, but here are a few thoughts.

    First of all, SINCE WHEN do we have a Canadian Federation of Musicians?! Since when?!!!!! We don’t !!!!  And we never will. Certainly not as long as you remain the servant of Mr. Hair, apostle of the political ‘Right’, a man criticized every week by one organization or another (you want a list?!). Isn’t it a large group of Los Angeles musicians that requested his resignation? Isn’t Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Music Marketing for Electronic Arts, who recently has described the American Federation of Musicians as “pathetic” for threatening video game composer Austin Wintory with a huge fine (of $50,000.). Schnur believes that orchestral scores are absolutely essential to video games. “By shaving off the money and thinking that a synthesised score will suffice, they’re actually cutting off the emotions connection at its knees. To me, nothing will ever replace the emotional engagement that a live musician can deliver.”

    Where is the good faith of Mr. Hair and his servants?


    Having a true Canadian Union would be beneficial; instead you have missed the opportunity… and, over a year ago, you personally contributed to the unfortunate situation that has created major concerns for all Vancouver musicians. Over two years ago, you voted against your ‘canadian brothers’ at the Las Vegas Convention. How is that? What kind of judgment, what kind of discernment is that? Of course, you will tell us that our Vancouver colleagues acted illegally (according the the AFM) and now you tell us that the Guilde torpedoed the discussions and you lament on the desire for a full autonomy.  What a nice word: Autonomy. Tell us, when will Canada be autonomous?!  Because it is not. Tragically not.

    The ‘dialogue’ you mention is an illusion you seem satisfied to spread, just not to take any responsibility… And what a gift: $170,000… No need to investigate your claim…  La Guilde’s administration has been extremely patient, and you perfectly know it. Extremely patient. What a waste of time and energy the AFM is responsible for…  The ‘Boys from New York City’ kept postponing the genuine dialogue, while the Guilde waited and waited for answers, reasonable offers, and for a sincere and honest dialogue. Instead, the administration of the Guilde and all its members were shown an iron fist. It is the AFM which has torpedoed the discussions continually for several years, and you know it. Consequently,the administration of La Guilde, honoring the desire of its members, should I remind you, has recommended that a vote be held. It was, and the result is unequivocal.

    It is not only about money, it is essentially about respecting Quebec laws.

    Emile Subirana was carefully selected??? How can you possibly put this name on your lips?!  Subirana is still a hated man by the majority of the members who still have a memory. He managed to get into fatal conflicts with major festivals in the province, one of them being the International Jazz Festival, with all the consequences on the hiring and fees of musicians. We all lost. And we pay the heavy price still. And Subirana is responsible for the abrupt departure of Maestro Charles Dutoit (…). Do I need to remind you?! So, please, spare us the insult of even dreaming of bringing Subirana into the ‘picture’!

    Subirana, the AFM guardian? To direct the Guilde’s staff and affairs until such time as an election could be held?! And what election?!  Under which claim could you possibly want to gain access to and control of the Local?? The letter from Mr. Hair was ignored. How sorry we are…

    Finally, La Guilde has not and will not violate anything (…); and, contrarily to what you erroneously imply, La Guilde has not failed to meet its obligations, first and foremost to its MEMBERS.

    The AFM cannot make that claim at all. Not at all.

    How many accounts of such failures would you like to hear?

    1. Dear Mr. Comeau,
      We have a Canadian Federation of Musicians. Read your Bylaws, Article 1, Section 1. You are a member.
      The criticisms you speak of – from various organizations – are from employers. It’s in their DNA to take shots at the unions they despise. As for the rest of it – don’t believe everything you see on YouTube.
      Having a “true” Canadian Federation of Musicians would quadruple your annual dues (at least), eliminate access to the US through the P-2 process, eliminate access to the US agreements and therefore deprive members of the Special Payments Fund, the Film Musicians’ Secondary Markets Fund and every other benefit that emanates from being part of a large international. The Canadian Office would have to set up an independent accounting/financial department, organizing department and so forth, plus try to re-negotiate every international agreement. Please do the cost/benefit analysis.
      As for the situation in Vancouver, those issues are not yet resolved, but your information is flawed, and one-sided. Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook.
      The service agreement that was referred to, which failed, is only a recent example of the assistance that the AFM has provided to Local 406 over the years. The past no longer counts? Or is it “What have you done for me lately”?
      “La Guilde has not and will not violate anything (…);” I suppose the decision to place the Local in Trusteeship was based on a whim then? Respectfully, I believe it’s time to face the facts and not let emotions dictate unreasonable and uninformed responses.

  4. Dear F.C

    I have never read a post with so many factual errors and falsehoods!

    Hey. How’s it going these days in Toronto F.C.?


  5. Hmmm,

    Bald Elvis’ math is a bit off? I make that portion of GMMQ members who actually voted for disaffiliation as 36.4% ?

    So why is this enough for disaffiliation, Mr. Fortin?


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