REMonline.com

Melanie Aitken to quit during TREB tribunal hearing

Melanie Aitken

Competition Commissioner Melanie Aitken announced today that she will resign on Sept. 21. She will be leaving in the middle of the evidentiary portion of the long-awaited Competition Tribunal hearing between the Competition Bureau and the Toronto Real Estate Board, which begins Sept. 10.

Aitken was appointed in 2009 for a five-year term. No reason was given for her resignation.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to work at the bureau for the past seven years, with over half of that time as commissioner,” says Aitken in a statement. “At the outset, I identified clear goals to reinvigorate enforcement at the bureau and, with the help of the bureau’s dedicated staff, I believe we have accomplished what we set out to do and positioned the bureau to continue its valuable work well into the future.”

A news release from the Competition Bureau calls Aitken a “tough enforcer and a vigorous proponent of protecting and promoting the forces of competition.”

It says her tenure as commissioner includes a long list of accomplishments.

“Canadians today have access to more competitive markets, such as real estate services, and are better protected against misleading representations, including those resulting from fine-print disclaimers,” says the release.

Aitken joined the bureau in 2005 as assistant deputy commissioner of competition, mergers, and was appointed senior deputy commissioner, mergers in May 2007. She served as interim commissioner from Jan.12, 2009 to Aug. 4, 2009, when she was appointed as commissioner for a five-year term.

Prior to joining the bureau, Aitken was a commercial litigation partner at Bennett Jones LLP. From 2001 and 2003, she worked as senior counsel at the Department of Justice (Federal), on secondment from her partnership at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto.

Photo: Couvrette Photography, Ottawa

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  • Tom Barter

    This lady ruined my real estate career before it could even take off. It's been such an uphill battle trying to defuse the stigma M A created on Realtors and the industry in general. I feel I'm doing more damage control than being an actual agent. Damage done….. time to try something else.

  • Merv Burgard

    and they are still busy…
    The Competition Bureau announced today that the Corporate Research Group Ltd. (CRG) has pleaded guilty today to a criminal charge of bid-rigging for federal government contracts for real estate advisory services in Canada, and was fined $125,000. CRG is also subject to a court order. On February 15, 2007, PWGSC issued a Request for Standing Offers (RFSO) for real estate advisory services. CRG admitted that its company representatives and Louis Facchini, carrying on business as First Porter Consultancy, submitted bids, in response to the RFSO, that were arrived at by an agreement that was not disclosed to PWGSC.
    from my MERV'S COMMENTS MEMOS and emails.
    Merv.

  • Mike Montague

    Melanie Aitken is a self confessed adrenaline junkie who made many references to media as to "the charge" and "the rush" she attempted to bring to her tenure as Competition Bureau chief. I would add thespian to that, given the vainglorious appetite for media bluster she has demonstrated.
    The position of Competition Bureau chief is one which requires level headedness, circumspect and calm rationale, not to mention dedication and perseverance.
    A summer of zip lining and paint ball competition may be better suited to her than a position where the well being of hundreds of thousands of Canadians can rest with the personal impulses of a single individual.

  • Shane

    another VICTIM of Bullying by organized Real Estate. The Mob would be proud.

    • Chad McBain

      A Victim most likely of indiscretions of her own doing since the CB has proven that organized RE does not scare them in the least. As for bullying….the only people geting pushed around here is CREA. Hence the need for them to be changed… or quite frankly dismantled!

    • Brian Martindale

      Shane:

      VICTIM: 1. Someone or something killed, destroyed, sacrificed, etc. 2. One who suffers some loss, especially by being swindled. (Websters New World Dictionary)

      Ms Aitken definitely is a someone. However, she was not killed, destroyed or sacrificed. She may have been fired though by her political masters due to her less-than-fair-minded attitude toward Realtors, organized or not.

      VICTOR: A winner or conqueror. (Websters)

      Ms Aitken saw herself as a winner/conqueror VICTOR. She may have been the only 'someone' who saw that.

      From VICTOR to "VICTIM", as you complain; how the mighty can fall, when they take themselves too seriously.

      Never underestimate the will and resolve of a self-proclaimed VICTOR's targeted VICTIMS to fight back Shane, whether you like the initial target or not.

      Brian

    • John M

      Brian M. I too do not believe that Ms Aitken was a "victim". I do believe however, that her superiors at the CB felt that she was taking this TREB matter a bit too far and as such got the boot.

      Cjanging the landscape of the real estate industry to the extent the she wanted to, most felt was taking the matter too far.

      My question now is: With Ms Aitkens out of the picture now, how will all this fare with the Realtysellers legal actions?

    • PED

      Shane I bet if we search through this forum we would likely find you were eager to see the real estate world get dumped on by Ms. Aitken, and no doubt espousing its demise.

      But now, you cry victim.

      To be very frank about it Shane, I would much rather win this fight than watch freeloaders like you along with those who become REALTORS with no intent to serve your best interests as is required, bastardize the system we've paid a fortune in money, time and effort to build.

  • Brian Martindale

    Re: Follow up re plans for anti-CREA 'round table discussion/meeting:

    To those concerned and motivated Realtors who have thus far responded to the call with requests to attend, the date is set per:

    This coming Thursday July 12th at noon in north central Toronto.

    I will attend at the chosen venue tomorrow (Saturday the 7th) to discuss with management and confirm.

    I will email all who have requested attendance Saturday later in the P.M. to confirm location and their attendance.

    You all will form the foundation of things to come.

    Best Regards,

    Brian Martindale

    brianfmartindale@hotmail.com

  • John M

    It sounds to me that Melanie was subject to a lot of all around pressure regarding her stance against TREB, that undoubtedly that contributed to her untimely departure from the CB.. As such, I think the end result will be very much in favour of TREB. Goodbye Melanie, and if it happens that we meet one day in some fancy dance bar in Ottawa, I would love to sweat it out on the dance floor with you, followed by some interesting conversation at some upscale hotel over a glass or two (or maybe 3 or 4) of our favourite drink.. If it all leads to some kissing, like Elvis says in his song: "A team of wild horses won't keep us apart."

    • Alan M.

      John M's letter crosses an unacceptable line. It's one thing to write a hard hitting letter, but it's another thing to bring any kind of sexual inuendo into a discussion or debate involving a lady. If John M., is in fact a real estate professional his comments with this post aren't helpful towards projecting the kind of image I see for our industry.

      If REM is really a publication that wants to seen as being the key resource medium for real estate professionals, REM needs to have better editiorial standards. Rude is acceptable, sexual inuendo isn't. REM needs to refuse to publish some letters – mine included, if that's what it takes so that we don't have to see garbage like this.

    • Brian Martindale

      Hi Alan M:

      Your points re John M's remarks vis a vis Ms Aitken with a suggestive undertone are well taken. However, I must come to John's and REM's defence on this one particular instance.

      I must confess that John was simply rehashing a tete-a-tete online conversation that 'I' initiated a couple of years ago with John regarding Ms Aitken. I qualified the vision of Ms Aitken et al
      at a pick up bar with a lawyer-looking guy shadowing her via a dream I supposedly had experienced the previous night. So it was my idea, and not John's. Those were the days when I wrote commentaries more for fun than for the serious nature of recent times. Sometimes fun can extend over the line.

      You are quite correct with your opinion though; some of my posted commentaries may have been questionable, but not nearly as questionable as about ten or more over the last couple of years that Jim Adair, REM's editor, has thrown into his garbage can. I can be quite outrageous, but always from a truth-based foundation. Nevertheless, potentially libelous and decidedly scandalous language in print should be, and has been, in my and REM's case, kept behind closed editorial doors.

      Thanks Jim!

      Are you within driving range of Toronto? The 'round table' meeting-of-the-minds brainstorming get-together re CREA has almost been set up for next Thursday July 12th in Toronto. We have established the how, why and when; we are just today establishing the where. A number of motivated Realtors from Toronto, Peterborough, Guelph and elsewhere have responded to the call.

      I would like to have you on board as well.

      brianfmartindale@hotmail.com

      Brian

    • John M

      Alan M, after giving careful consideration to your responding post, I find it to be without merit.

      According to you, perhaps we should ban all love songs.

      Love and love making is what life is all about. Had it not been for that, non of us whould be around. Have you ever thought about that?

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with the wording of my post. Nor would there be anything wrong with my ever dating Ms Aitken if her and I met and found to be attracted to each other. Although the latter NEVER crossed my mind..

  • Jackie S.

    Here's my take on a number of related issues:
    Melanie Aiken came across as a person who had had a bad real estate experience and was getting her own back.
    This industry is totally over-governed – OREA, CREA, RECO, the Competion Bureau, FINTRAC, our own Board rules and regs, those of our individual companies. Come on, all we're trying to do is find a willing buyer for a motivated seller!
    Start by getting rid of CREA and then forcing RECO and OREA to work together to help us rather than throwing more obstacles in the way of our rather simple business model! And in the process, whittle down OREA to a few useful souls so it doesn't cost us so much money.
    Jackie S.

  • Lazy

    This is an article about Ms. Aikens, not your own limited beliefs on boards and committees within organized real estate.

    Why do people complain all the time but never actually volunteer in a leadership role?

    Because complaining is easy and volunteering takes work.

    Stop blaming people that actually work and just be contrnt in your own laziness, sloth and blatant shortcomings.

    • Brian Martindale

      Hi Lazy:

      I just gave you a another 'thumbs up' to boost your ego…seriously!

      Your writing style seems to me to mirror 'Candace', 'Alberta Legal', 'Shane' and a couple of other pseudonym jockeys with seemingly nasty personalities who have 'contributed' herein over the years with opinions without back-up rationale.

      For the record, I have volunteered to step up to the plate… why don't you step up to your plate in opposition to our direction with your true identity and reason-for-being?

      We need a really good debate…online…with identifiable participants no less!

      Let's go!

      Brian

    • Alan M.

      This is an article about a bureaucrat that has had undoubtably the most profound effect on a Canadian industry in recent memory, and how the timing of her leaving her position calls into question the mandate that she pursued. Consequently the aforesaid calls into question those who bowed down before her.

      The act of volunteering in and of itself doesn't entitle one to admiration, or adulation – as some who volunteer do so for the purpose of self promotion and consequently are simply frauds. These such volunteers are easilly identifiable as they are given to pompus elevations of themselves – perhaps by comparing others to one of Mother Nature's most charming and innocent creatures.

      On the other hand, a real estate Association that would delete a Bylaw that had previously required that a nominated candidate – who might be nominated by their Nominations Committee for a Regional Directors position – must have volunteered on a Standing Committee or Special Task Force for said Association within the previous five years, would have deleted said Bylaw because they: 1/ want to have the option of now being able to nominate a Regional Director who may be as quick as a sloth, or 2/ because they were caught nominating someone who didn't qualify? I've cited the aforesaid two options so as not to limit my beliefs.

    • Carolyne L

      Brian,
      Their jollies come from remaining anonymous and throwing stones to see if they bounce, off the candidates selected. Wonder if the names you mention understand the boomerang effect.

      Whenever we "point" with a finger in a disparaging way, not in a learning curve method, all four remaining fingers on the natural hand, are pointing back at us.

      Truly, operating behind the veil serves little purpose, except to be seen as a bully.

      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

  • Bob Welling

    I suspect she was pushed out by her political masters because she was too contraversial. She did not work with industry but dictated. She did not try to understand the issues but came to the party with a pre-determined view. A bull in a china shop. Good news for CREA as they had no plan to deal with her but roll over and play dead.

  • David Lowe

    With our luck, she's probably been appointed to oversee Fintrac for the Ministry of Finance.

  • TF

    reminds me of the movie The Wizard of Oz when all the little people started dancing and singing "the wicked witch is dead"

  • Alan M.

    Under Melanie Aiken – particularly as it related to professional real estate – the Competition Bureau of Canada took on a Gestapo like image. CREA's handling of matters leading up to the signing of the Consent Agreement seemed dominated by a defeatist mentality, that was driven by the fear of coming up against a large federal goverment department, but not just any department – it was that one department that was supposed to have consumers best interests as its highest priority.

    I have some friends who moved to Canada from South Africa a number of years ago. They told me how terrified they were to be at a private home in Toronto just after they had arrived and be in the company of people who were openly bad mouthing our Prime Minister of the day, as where they came from one took considerable risk to do so, even in a private home.

    In Canada we should never have any fear about doing what we believe is right – especially if it involves a federal government department. The circumstances under which professional real eatate capitulated to the Competiton Bureau of Canada was fundamentally wrong and shouldn't have happened. Free speech was even curtailed within our industry and it included limiting speech time in an election I ran in – which was absolutely disgraceful.

    The Competition Consent Agreement that was signed in St Johns Nfld in 2010 was done as part of a process that simply didn't reflect how things are supposed to be done in Canada, and consequently the validity of the document should be taken under review to the the extent it can be, in law.

    • Carolyne L

      Most interesting and enlightening post, Alan M. How fortunate we are to have you in the industry and to shed an open line light on "that darkness." We DO live in fear now. Our political arena has always seemed to function differently than most. Certainly we should never be afraid to speak our minds openly. You are absolutely correct.

      But, I for one, believe you are ABSOLUTELY correct, and have hit the nail on the head. The signing off re the documents curtailing our rights and freedoms within the confines our industry happened under threats, veiled threats, and forbidden (isms) in that we were told blatantly not to discuss it out in the open, to stay away from the press, and not to answer outright to any questions put to us by the public, but rather forward all such conversations to our various Boards, our "representatives."

      Of course once such directives went there, there was no response back to the people asking questions (us). Our leaders had no "government-skillsets," and therefore were at a disadvantage from the get-go.

      Many people are easily threatened by the smallest issues, never mind huge ones such as this. Afterall, it's the WILL of the "government" official, in this case Ms. A. driven to squash the industry by her own power, that must be adhered to. She so much as said so, herself. She would succeed at all costs, regardless of the costs. It's as though we live in Cuba – regarding the CB topic.

      What to do, what to do. Pesonally, as I have stated, I am apolitical, but I can tell you I prayed much, personally before typing each post – OUT OF FEAR. I can see the stats on my site, who in general visits it, from what city, etc. Thousands of hits came from each post to REM, showing a re-direct to my pages.

      Depends on the servers being used by the one surfing. Doesn't give me personal names of course. I haven't been well in recent times, as well as dealing with an on-going horrific personal family situation that became more than time-consuming, in moments of trying to find relaxation, you found me here on REM.

      Ottawa visited my site so many times I lost count. It's interesting because a few years ago there was what I call a "dishwasher" dispute in a property I sold, and the buyer got reco involved, and then the buyer's insurance company said the sq.ft quoted by the builder was wrong, yet he never measured the house.

      Normally I try not to talk about sq.ft but I had the builder's plans and used the drawings as part of the presentation because of its unusual floorplan, stating unequivocally that this information came from the builder, not me, meaning if it mattered to the public, they should research further.

      The investigator spent countless hours on my site, and I could see the pages he visited. One day alone he spent FOURTEEN hours of company paid time on my site. No it wasn't because he forgot and left his computer on as I was later told. Because the timeline and change of pages told me exactly how long he spent on each page, intermittently. It happened a few times. He researched every word I wrote apparently, looking for something that didn't exist. THAT was beginnning to make me paranoid. They are FEAR-driven with the hope we will hang ourselves.

      At the time more than twenty-five years with no complaints. I fought long and hard. Apparently they had nothing more important to do. Of course their job, too, like CB is to protect the public from us evil REALTORS. It is getting beyond silly.

      We rely on strong people such as you, to come to the aid of the weak. Come to the meeting Brian has organized, if for no other reason than to help coagulate the flowing blood, from the wounds Ms. A has inflicted upon those of us whose only intent is to earn a decent living and try as hard as we might to do things the right way, not just for the public, but for ourselves.

      Thank you again for exposing to the industry readers, the information in your current post.

      With respect,
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

  • PED

    Interesting interview she had with the Globe on the topic.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business

    Two statements and their somewhat contradictory comments later caught my eye – paraphrasing:

    1) She may not follow with a legal career – likely to be a legal career

    2) decided to move on – agonized over the decision, loves the job, hard to beat position.

    When asked if she was fired she answered no. Of course she wasn't fired. The government doesn't fire people in such high profile positions unless something big has found its way into the public sphere or is about to(?). instead they just suggest they call it a resignation.

    Someone googling from Manitoba landed on my site today – their search for her "child" led them there, didn't know she had one. Maybe she's soon to be a mother, maybe not.

    But if she doesn't end up in another governmental position say within the ministry of justice/attorney general's office or on the bench or in some world organization and isn't pregnant then…

    she was fired.

    • Brian Martindale

      Hi PED:

      Reading Steve Laturantaye's GLOBE article, and zeroing in on a key statement that Melanie made about getting 'rushes' in the courtroom, as well as in the board room, leads me to deduce what her problem was/is…she is an adrenalin junky.

      I too love those adrenlin rushes, when driving my speedboat on the ragged edge, when driving my snowmobile on the ragged edge, when doing something physical that demands much from an eye-hand coordination perspective to personally succeed, and come away unscathed… and not crash. Silly of me, I know, but that is what adrenalin rushes are about…better than drugs for sure.

      Ms Aitken's statement about same reveals a personality glitch that requires that she win, at whatever she does, at all costs, in order to satisfy her craving for that high.

      In my case I 'choose' to engage in risky business, on my own time, to get that feeling of aliveness. I do not weave it into my job description, because to do so would be to confuse a personal psychological drive to achieve a 'natural' high, dangerous as that process might be, with a rationality based job description that calls for measured thinking based upon evidentiary reality, and not upon emotion based irrational tendencies to go off in a direction designed to gratify one's personal need to win…that is the lawyer's creed…win at any cost.

      The Commissioner's position is not suited to lawyers…it is more suited to statesmen/women with well-rounded experiences within the workings of everyday business.

      Brian

    • Carolyne L

      Ped, et al

      If the story in this link weren't so sad it would be comical. In one of my posts here at REM, I noted that a topic dies when interest wanes. Apparently readers at the Globe have no particular interest in the lack-lustre report.

      The article you generously provided only netted THREE responses from the public, one of which perhaps came from within the industry (and it wouldn't be hard to take a guess at from whence it came – lol), noting her work on the MLS, but only giving her a sort of back-handed compliment. A curious post.

      I chuckled when I saw the lack of responses. Seems the public at large has more important agendas to deal with than her demise, in the critical genre portrayed previously in the public eye. Either that, or they don't read the Globe, of course a business-paper.

      The interviewer's questions were non-descript at best, as though interviewing someone about their pet puppy, perhaps. And her responses, rather housewife-ish, hardly what one would expect from someone of her proclaimed political "stature." A little parochial, not sounding at all the confident stiff-backed businesswoman one would think.

      Perhaps she is a grand litigator, but a conversationalist she is not, apparently. She seemed almost embarrassed, surprisingly so. My best guess is that PED nailed it. That always comes with the territory when one is in the public eye, being recognized even at the grocery store – lol.

      It will be interesting to see if the upcoming choice is another woman, or if a man will be sought to "take control." Either way, the forthcoming industry mess will be a huge undertaking now that the "natives are restless," having whetted their appetites, throughout the scandalous situation now reaching the upper echelons of power, on the entrails of our industry.

      Respectfully,
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Brian Martindale

      Footnote to my reply to PED:

      If Melanie Aitken is anything at all, she is not a quiter.

      No one in her/his right mind would quit such a plum of a high profile position (mid way through the contract period) that continually feeds one's over-inflated ego that was further developed as the direct result of said Order-In-Council appoinment, which, by the way, was enancted by Melanie's boss's (Christian Paradis, Minister Of Trade) predecessor, 'before' the cabinet shuffle after the 2010 federal election.

      It is much easier for for a current boss (who has no loyalty to existing employees) to fire an existing employee who was hired by a former, long gone boss. There is no original emotional connection or expectation of performance standards (in what area?) to be met according to the direction of the current Minister Of Trade vis a vis the former Minister's preferences. Melanie was the former's choice…not the latter's choice

      Again, psychology rules supreme amongst the best laid plans of mice and men/women…within government or not.

      Brian

  • Alan M.

    One of the things that's most ironic about professional real estate, is that those who lead our industry most eloquently are found here within this venue writing letters that put things in a proper perspective – such as those contributed here by Carolyn L.. Those who are supposed to be leading us – particularly CREA – seldom ever seem to have the wherewithal to be able to put into words what the majority would be prepared to accept as representing the reasonable truth.

    We should stop and ask ourselves, why it is that the best voices of this industry seem to be contributing from the sidelines – instead of from somewhere where they would be heard better, and would be harder to ignore!

    • Carolyne L

      Alan M.

      First let me say thank you, so very much for your generous words. For years I sat on committees. PED is another "giver" who came to our industry from another arena of the (real) business world. Too bad we are so many miles apart.

      I found it fruitless, time consuming and although appreciated in a bizarre sense, it was like talking to the wall in most cases. I root out the base issues, ask pertinent questions, and as I have often stated, the resultant glares and stares got tiresome.

      My brain works in "hundred percent business mode." I have trouble turning it off. I am an "idea-person." But there is no point in putting forward ideas that get scoffed at. I recall in the 80's being told, at the then office I worked at: who do you think you are? you behave like you own the business; the questions you ask at meetings are intimidating, and your contributions, the same – to the manager. He thinks you want his job. HAha!

      I thought that was funny, but it turned out that he really did think that. I truly didn't know. He told me that new agents often came to me to ask questions, and that I should refer them back to him. Afterall he was the manager. I was not. I was forbidden to communicate with new agents.

      So I had to leave and open my own boutique business where I only had to discuss things with me, myself and I (and my clients). But I continued to sit on committees. Recently I have not even tried to keep up with the goings-on, for a multitude of reasons.No committee work for a couple of years. Mostly I saw it had become hopeless.

      Promises of: – the BOR would look into it, whatever the it of the day was, all to no avail. Often at our particular Board, the EO, although apparently respected in the outside arena as she travelled the country, would never return phone calls or follow up on issues brought to her attention.

      To complain was totally useless; she was well-liked in the party circuit. (I am a boring person and only talk business – lol – and often that is not a good thing, among peers). I have never been a social butterfly or a party animal. Haha, although of course I do enjoy lighter moments as much as the next person.

      I grew up in a rather staid English environment where it was necessary to put one's best foot forward at ALL times. Whether or not one was having a grand day. And so it continued throughout my life. We were taught if you were having a bad day, too bad. Go to school. Go to work. Leave your troubles at home.

      It was apparent to me, and I said so, to those that I thought it mattered, that the EO simply refused to delegate. Some agreed with me. Just my personal opinion. One of the strategic players left on maturnity leave and never returned.

      The prior pres was/is a good woman and a hard worker, but very busy in her own business. She does return calls and cannot speak for anyone but herself, of course.There is a substantial outlay of hours, unpaid, in that position, and an abundance of travel as well.

      But we were schooled well at our BOR. Questions were annoying and intimidating. Especially from a woman. It really was the old boy's club. No question about it. I am not a feminist by any definition of the term. But what is, is.

      The EO is now gone and we have a good operator in place. He is knowledgeable and a hard worker, both as president and was also acting EO. I offered to be there as a sounding board, any time. Sadly I had to miss the last GM due to health reasons and a conflicting med appt I had booked months earlier. Prior to recent times I was never sick a day in my life. For this, I have no patience at all. Curbs my style…lol.

      Committee example: you may recall I said I had mentioned en group, in an old post that BBA contracts, and buyer registry operatives belong to the brokerage and a copy should be kept at the office (because I knew in most cases this was not so), and the head of the committee of the day tore my head off with a rude remark, saying why should he (owner of the co).

      He had more than enough paperwork already. WHATEVER makes ya happy! It's your company not mine. I would think that volume amount would appear on a balance sheet, as a percentage of some sort (corp. assets like listings). Those contracts are worth money.

      But overall, working the committee circuit is a thankless task, and unless you have a group that understands business (outside of real estate), nothing much is to be achieved in the real sense. Many who sit on real estate Boards do not have business acumen, although they are dedicated and good people. Bear in mind there are people who would vehemently disagree with my above statements. That's perfectly fine.

      You are absolutely correct, that many of us sit on the sidelines now. But there is often good reason for that. When you discover that no one takes what you say seriously, eventually you just toss in the towel, do your own business, such that it is, keep your nose to the grindstone, and live one day at a time. I truly do fear for the future of the directors involved in the TREB hassle. Some gave so much.

      Hope this reply speaks to and addresses your post properly. Sorry for the long storybook again and again. I have difficulty expressing myself succinctly. Guys are much better usually, in so doing. (They often think in "point" form) LOL. Maybe it's a "female-thing."

      Thanks, again, Alan M.

      Cordially,
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Brian Martindale

      Hi Alan M:

      You hit the proverbial nail right smack dab on the head.

      Folks like Carolyne, PED, Ross K, John M, yourself, as well as numerous others who weigh in from time to time, seem to care more about this business than the nine-to-five'r bureaucrats at CREA (the CEO types and the everyday administrators of in-house 'CREA's' business, not Realtors' business etc.). The reason? They all have nothing to lose as the result of their shenanigans/ephemeral theoretical/US wild-west style copycat implementations at the expense of their paying supporters. It's just business as usual for these folks…how many days 'till the weekend/payday?

      I've said it before; folks like yourselves would make for a great foundation re the formation of an organization superseding CREA's undemocratic rolling Oligarchical (same person, different face) grip on your wallets and futures.

      Some of us plan to meet soon for a 'round-table brainstorming session in Toronto. You are invited, as are others not named herein who have similar views as the aforementioned persons.

      My email address is:

      brianfmartindale@hotmail.com

      The more like-minded souls the merrier!

      Brian

      P.S.:

      In-house, there-forever CREA types are not interested in truths; they are interested in self-perpetuation via cozying up to government bureaucrat types…on your tick. The yearly comings and goings of CREA 'leaders' in turn being led by the full-timers is nothing more than a revolving door for up-and-coming favourites of the 'crats.

      Ridiculous!

    • Carolyne L

      I shared Alan's comment with a colleague and received an uplifting response, for which I thank her; she wrote:

      "WTG, Carolyne!! Yes, yes, yes! You do us all proud!
      … and how very astute of Alan M., to recognize those "voices from the sidelines". Most of us know: you can't "teach" ethics, you can't "teach "caring, you can't "teach" people not to do half-XXX jobs, and finding people that can be level-headed during stressful situations is golden."

      Carolyne says: We learn a lot by taking in the goings-on around us. How not to do things. Sometimes all we can do is "listen," rather than participate directly, and work quietly from those sidelines, contributing where we can by staying in the background, anonymously.

      Once again, I thank Alan for his kind words. Our industry needs encouragement to survive the onslaught coming in Sept. that, as Ross K has said, could cost us all real dollars in fees increases to offset all the legal situation that, in the end, might benefit no one, but might further destroy what was once a wonderful industry. All we can do at this point is pray that sanity prevails among those on the front-line.

      There's a lot to be said, unsaid, in those famous words: divide and conquer. That, I believe is what has already been instituted in our industry. It's not all about rules and regulations; it's much about "attitude." We will survive, even if in fragmented form – and rise again like the phoenix, perhaps. Better and stronger and hopefully more cohesive.

      Cordially – from the sidelines,
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

  • Carolyne L

    At posting November 16, 2011, I wrote (in part) in response to Brian Martindale's post:
    ==========
    "One could wonder if a man in her position would handle the situation differently. Public embarassment to the female gender sometimes, wearing a business hat?

    Have your read: “How we Lead Matters?” Women in the business world don’t have to prove how smart they are (or aren’t) by trying to be a man.

    The more honourable thing to do might be to just step aside gratiously, since there is no “expertise” at play, in the real “real-estate” world perhaps, according to (her) friends – but rather a vendetta of sorts.

    Makes no sense at all to most of us, what the exact argument is defined as. Just as the prohibition order disappeared quietly – perhaps this would be the route to take to save face? All topics die a natural death if interest wanes…"

    (REPEAT)
    Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Brian Martindale

      Carolyne:

      How prophetic.

      Brian

    • Carolyne L

      The only thing, John M, that upsets me from time to time, is the topic of "choice." The pubic has ALWAYS had choice. NO ONE ever denied choice to the public, in the world of real estate.

      REALTORS "do not" FORCE people to do anything, contrary to what was "broadcast" repeatedly during Ms. Aiken's tenure. I am truly not throwing stones at her, but just relating as others have done, the procedures she put in place that truly do jeopardize the public.

      That would not have been her goal, it is almost certain, but through her lack of knowledge as to how business (when done properly) is consummated, she has nearly been the undoing of an industry.

      The BOR's, TREB in particular has stood on its head to accommodate "her" definitions of how we should do things. But some of her advice is just plain "bad news." SHE has put the public in danger, not us.

      SHE has, solely and alone, (well, not quite alone – there is the RS situation at play) destroyed the confidence the public has in the real estate industry. And, thanks to "her" efforts, truly the public is being taken to the cleaners by all the wanna-be's who want to sell real estate, unlicenced or licenced with no fortitude.

      It's nothing to do with discounters and commission structures, btw. That is purely free enterprise at work. Each to his own. That interaction among colleagues and professionals in the industry should be just that, and outside the realm of CB altogether.

      Yes, Ross K has the right idea about fear-filled privacy regarding information-taking, information-keeping, and information-sharing. He is not trying to instill FEAR, but rather AWARENESS, that's all. Part of our job is to keep the public and their information SAFE. We are "duty-bound" in this regard. Apparently the new world order in real estate is not.

      It sort of reminds me of how parents bring up their children. Some are never told 'no' and just let run loose "to experiment" and find out the hard way that the stove is "hot." Some parents say: well, the only way they will learn not to touch it again is to let them learn by touching it, or playing in the street, or eating inappropriate foodstuffs. Maybe a bad example, but you get my point, surely.

      Business will continue as usual for those of us who believe so, but nothing will ever be the same since Ms. A has been on the throne, instilling in the minds of the public that REALTORS(r) are nothing short of evil, stupid thieves in the marketplace, preventing the public from having choices, even if those choices will burn them badly. Of course many homeowners have the whatevers to help themselves. NO ONE ever prevented them from selling privately. ONLY SHE put that idea in their heads.

      How will we ever turn this around? Certainly not by the silly CREA ads that just worsen the situation almost daily. And they cost a small fortune (that we pay for) to achieve what in the end?

      We need to make a choice and take a stand. We are either governed solely provincially or not. If not, then all "licences/registrations" need to be changed to a federal system perhaps, so then at least we all play by the same rules and requirements. Perhaps if our industry had been "standardized" in recent times, none of this mess would prevail upon us today.

      It's almost laughable, to refer to the Russians. They should learn from us? What exactly would that be? How to implode an industry?

      My first guess is that perhaps, sadly, she personally had a bad real estate experience (according to her friends that went to the press) that left her so disgruntled her only mechanism to retaliate was what we have seen for the last couple of years.

      Her lack of experience regarding the real estate world screams… loud and clear. Why? because we are governed provincially, each within the guidelines of a specific provincial domicile. Yet the C.B. is federal, as is the Privacy Act and Fintrac.

      Yes, we want to play by the rules, and yes, rightfully so, we must. But the overlapping of the rules and regs are so confusing and sometimes contradictory, and difficult to work with, even for us in the industry. We are the bylaw enforcement officers all all governments. Try to put yourself in her position, and understand where and how the overlapping directives interact (not) – and then it's no small wonder she upset the whole applecart. She only saw it all from HER perspective, rather than educating herself on the industry-specific.

      Here we sit, trying to protect the public, no different than we always did. The dollar and commission topic has nothing to do with what she has done. It is ALL about that old expression: the meeting of the minds.

      She, singularly and solely has destroyed whatever public confidence was built over decades, in our industry. Her position has cost us all millions of dollars, unrecoverable costs that our industry will be digging out from under for all the years we can see ahead. It is all just so sad.

      I know you believe in her, John M. You have been the only one to express such, on this form, I think. I respect your opinion(s), and agree that for many of us it is just "forward, march."

      But think of all the lives that she has destroyed (the public I refer to mostly), by creating this "make work project" for the lawyers left to clean up the mess made by colleagues who have taken the public to the cleaners. We don't know what we don't know – until we find out we don't know it. Sadly, it has come to this.

      Like Brian said, I too wish her well. Textbook smarts are just that. People who are not on the front line, daily, simply put, cannot know what we do for a living. I sincerely hope she will go take the courses and "get licenced/registered." Only then will she understand and perhaps be able to fill the "holes" in the system as we know it, and try to work within it.

      Please recall, I am totally apolitical. I don't much care WHO is in power, but it would be useful if they understood our industry better from their positions on high before they start slaughter campaigns.

      Regards,
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Rob

      Carolyne,

      You are so right when you say nobody was ever "denied choice".

      We have always had a wide range of choice, from discount brokers to full service and everything in between, some offered more service, some less but all worked within the laws.

      Thanks to the CB our industry has been hijacked by companies and individuals who care little about the public they serve and don't have to work within the tight rules, guidelines and laws that were so carfeully built to protect the public.

      I care about my reputation, I care about my clients and I care about my industrty.

      I feel the CB will have to start changing tack now, hopefully they get a new leader who is interested in protecting the public more than they want to wage a vendetta aganinst an industry that was already well regulated.

  • Brian Martindale

    To all Realtors Canada wide:

    Some of you may recall that I have regularly asserted that Ms Aitken's tenure as Commissioner of the Federal Competiton Bureau was very limited; it was only a matter of time before she was to be pushed aside, and you may rest assured that a resignation at this untimely juncture, as far as Ms Aitken is concerned personally, is tantamount to a "suggestion" that she resign of her own volition, in order to preserve the political correctness of the whole procedure, as well as her pride.

    I wish Ms Aitken well in her new venture. She would make an excellent overseer of the organized real estate licensing bodies, on a single national level, vs the current fractured provincial/territories levels.

    Ms Aitken, unfortunately, was mis cast in her role as C.B. Commissioner; her personality and skills did not fit the requirements of that role

    We shall see how her replacement deals with organized real estate's concerns.

    Brian

    • Carolyne L

      How many Boards are members of CREA? Is there a list some place? along with the names of the directors at each board? and legal counsel who represents them? Under all guidelines we are to seek out expert advice, when we ourselves are not the expert on a given topic. Do those rules apply to the Boards themselves? or to CREA?

      There perhaps needs to be a "grouping of all those legal counsel representatives" across the country to help with the reversals if possible of all the damage done at each Board level (on behalf of their "clients.") WE are their clients. We have no one to represent US.

      Did the directors at each board seek legal counsel before voting to destroy our industry? (Perhaps they each should have sought "independent" counsel, before voting? Who knew such responsibility would surface to those folks as directors?

      Did NO ONE see the writing on the wall? as to what Ms. A's ulterior motives really were (to help her colleague, maybe-friend?) We need to know – can she be sued for "alienation of affection" (haha). What other term might describe it better?

      Brian, do you have the means to solicit a lawyer who would take on the task of bringing suit against the Competition Bureau? Can that be done? or is the gov't constitutionally protected against such? (Just askin'). I am certainly no expert and even if it were doable, it would take a gutsy lawyer to take it on. Is there anything out there to support a reversal of a vote? Has that scenario ever been attempted in law?

      HEY JOHN M … if you're out there, run this by your legal connections in high places when you go out to lunch?

      He/she certainly would get plenty of press coverage. He/she might have to work gratis until your efforts, Brian, get off the ground. Many who would like to participate feel they cannot for fear of being asked for more money (fees already paid and going up, and will continue to go up even further to offset the legal mess created by Ms.A).

      The directors at TREB who are being sued personally must be having plenty of sleepless nights. Is TREB responsible for costs re those personal lawsuits, also, or just TREB-specific suits? I don't follow all the whatnot's and wherefor's in TREB's mandate to it's members.

      I'm not sure and someone reading may know… but I think years ago I read someplace that you don't have to be a paying member of a (non-profit) board, in order to be a director … is that true? and if so, are there any on Boards across Canada?

      Of course legal services to Ms. A would come with her "territorial rights along with her pension that we all also contribute to." So in more than one sense, she is protected. WE are not.

      Again, I say: I am apolitical and certainly was never a civics student. But has anyone ever sued the government? Likely would fall under the category: Government "of the people, for the people, by the people… thus protected most likely, having been voted in; but "she" was "appointed" not voted into power. Even an election could not undo this current mess brought to our sleeping giant industry. Someone was certainly asleep at the swtich in "our camp."

      Just sayin' (wish I were younger, some days)
      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Don

      What is the sound of one hand clapping?
      As a Realtor following the progress of Miss Aitken I came to my own conclusion that she was on a power trip with an unlimited public bank account at her disposal. It is intimidating for any industry to undertake a defense knowing that winning the battle leads to never ending appeals that would eventually bankrupt the victor. Right does not make right when right can no longer fight the war.

  • Carolyne L

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Where will this “stepping-down” lead, regarding the current legalities going on?

    Will she be called to testify? or represent any of the parties involved, as legal counsel? Will this "move" at such an awkward moment, free her up to do so?

    Could that have anything to do with the timing? Could she be accused of colluding regarding the RS situation, since first and foremost she is/was in the same brotherhood? Would she have the right to recuse herself from the process?

    Should she have elected not to accept the job as Commissioner, knowing her (who said that?) "association" with the owner of RS? I'm not saying there was one, just referring to items previously stated here and elsewhere? No one ever talked about that in detail, out in the open.

    Just askin' – not throwing stones.

    Respectfully,
    Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Brian Martindale

      Hi Carolyne:

      I recently (about five or six weeks ago) asked a very influential Member of the Federal Parliament to have one of his researchers look into the possibilty of a behind-the-scenes collaboration vis a vis Lawrence Dale and Ms Aitken.

      Who knows what was or was not found.

      The end result is what counts, whether there was fire where there was smoke, or not.

      A fire 'ing' of a different sort is a certainty in my opinion.

      Brian

    • Carolyne L

      Brian, right now we need a centrifuge, to spin and whirr, and separate – the milk from the cream. We need to make "butter."

      Could be that the CB decision as regards the demise of Ms. A, with her departure ahead of schedule, is an effort at placating the existing hell-bent uproar, but September will be the telling of the tale.

      We will watch from the bleachers to see if there is an unravelling of the industry as we know it. It's difficult to imagine a scenario in which she could save face, or how our industry could possibly get the train back on the tracks.

      In particular the greatest uproar is regarding "mere" listings, (in and out of province) calls on them not returned, sellers being inconvenienced, buyer reps having to negotiate directly with the owner (before showing) and having to get signatures in place as to how or if pay is possible… it about doubles the work, but as stated in another post we are REQUIRED to show them. I don't know any agents who do. Largely because of the work involved. I don't know how they are explaining it all away to clients. I can't even imagine how an offer would get presented, much less multiple offers. How is the public handling it all? Does the public know WHY their properties are not being shown in many instances? Have buyer agents had good luck with this system, and we just haven't heard about it?

      It would be interesting to hear, if readers can share how they are handling this dilemma, other than by sheer avoidance. What's the penalty for "avoiding?"

      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

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