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Election 2011

Canada votes; our political curling notes

Subscribe now! I command thee! Oh, and go vote.

Good day curling fans. We have something intensely Canadian today.

We have talked politics before – Canadian, American and international – and always with some degree of a curling angle.

The most notorious was our Curling Politics post from September of 2008, which essentially endorsed Prime Minister and curling-mad Conservative leader Stephen Harper (photo). This garnered a few critical comments, including a scolding from one reader who declared “There’s no place for politics in the the curling magazines of the nation.”

Oh, please.

Another reader hoped that our “choice of the Conservatives (had) a little more depth to it than the quality of curling-related press releases.”

Okay, fair point.

Within a month, our Curling Politics II posting attempted to quantify our support for, quite simply, all things curling. When we compared two different government curling grants, for example, we suggested that:

The question now seems to centre around identifying ‘good’ pork from ‘bad’ pork. When it comes to curling, says us, it’s all good.

We shall not spend much time on the issue of today’s Canadian federal election, which is the third in the last six years and fourth since 2004 (sigh). But in the spirit of the above, we decided to see if there were any recent and substantive “curling” reasons to support one party over another… with that word – substantive – not including personal appearances at curling championships (sorry, PMH).

Indeed, we might have found something. According to the website for Canada’s Economic Action Plan, often referred to as the stimulus spending spree that followed the recent U.S.-driven economic recession, the search term “curling” returns a whopping 11 pages of results. Apparently the ruling Conservatives haven’t ignored The Roaring Game, as this results sample indicates:

Upgrades to Capital Winter Club (NB)… Replace the roofing at the North Grenville Curling Club (ON)… St. Benedict (SK) curling rink upgrades… Rehabilitation of the Rideau Curling Club (ON)… Construction of a three-rink curling arena connected to the recreational centre in Chapais (PQ)… Modernization of the twin arenas and curling rink in Whitecourt (AB)… Upgrade to the Victoria Curling Club (BC)… London Curling Club (ON) – Replacement of windows and lighting… Upgrades to Granite and Fort Rouge Curling Clubs (MB)… Start of construction on Maniwaki multipurpose curling centre (PQ)… Upgrades to the Cornwall and Montague Curling Clubs (PEI)…

The list goes on and on, and this might be food for thought, Canadian curling fans… but that’s all. This year The Curling News will not endorse any political party, although we will urge all Canadian citizens to do their civic duty and go vote.

In the words of one of the country’s better political writers, “it is better to risk buyer’s remorse than to let others do the shopping in your place.”

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WCF dumps Canadian president; bails on rule changes

Caithness (left) and Harrison

In a stunning political curling drama, Canada’s Les Harrison, a former board member of the Canadian Curling Association who has been president of the World Curling Federation since 2006, was voted out of office today at the WCF Annual General Assembly held during the Capital One World Men’s Curling Championship in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Scotland has once again returned to the president’s chair, as former vice-president Kate Caithness becomes the first-ever female WCF president.

As TCN correspondent Rodger Schmidt noted yesterday, this marks a rare occasion in which a sitting president has been ousted by a sitting vice-president.

Board member “At Large” Patrick Huerlimann, the 1998 Olympic champion from Switzerland who heads the WCF’s powerful Marketing and Communications Committee, moves into Caithness’ former VP role.

Yet another American, Andy Anderson, becomes Director of Finance – the third in a row, in fact.

In addition, the much-ballyhooed rules changes speeding like a freight train toward the sport – such as the adopting of eight-end games and the removal of round-robin tiebreakers and extra-ends – failed to materialize, and all remains as it was.

The official WCF news release follows.

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CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, ITALY

7 April 2010

The World Curling Federation has elected Kate Caithness from Scotland as president. Caithness, who has been serving as Vice-President since 2006, was elected to the post, gathering more votes than Les Harrison who was seeking re-election, at the annual general meeting of the Federation in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Kate Caithness becomes the first female president of the Olympic winter sport Federation of curling. She has been involved with curling since the early 1980s. From being President of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club Ladies Branch (1997-1998), she moved on to get involved with the World Curling Federation.

Since 2000 she has been the driving force behind the World Curling Federation’s development of Wheelchair Curling and was instrumental in obtaining the admission of the sport into the Paralympic Winter Games programme in Turin in 2006.

Switzerland’s Patrick Hürlimann was appointed Vice-President, taking the role that Caithness has vacated. Canadian, Les Harrison, steps down as president.

Executive Board:

President: Kate Caithness (Scotland)
Vice-President: Patrick Hürlimann (Switzerland)
Director of Finance: Andy Anderson (USA)

Members at Large:
Graham Prouse (Canada)
Young C. Kim (Korea)
Leif Öhman (Sweden)
Niels Larsen (Denmark)

Among the other decisions made at the annual general meeting held during the Capital One World Men’s Curling Championship WCF Member Associations also voted to:
–    Not reduce the game from 10 ends to 8 ends
–    Maintain tiebreaker games to determine playoff teams
–    Keep extra ends
–    Reduce time outs to one 60 second coach interaction with the time clock running
–    Allow electric wheelchairs at WCF wheelchair curling events
–    Prohibit communications between the coach bench and anyone who is not sitting in that designated area.
–    Move the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship and World Senior Curling Championships from April to the month of November, starting from November 2012

These decisions will be reflected in the new WCF rule book which will be issued on the 1st of June 2010.

In other business, Slovenia was accepted as the 46th member association of the World Curling Federation.

A presentation of a silver salver was made to former European Curling Federation President Malcolm Richardson – winner of the 2010 Elmer Freytag Award.

The next WCF General Assembly will take place on Thursday 9th December 2010 in Champery Switzerland.

[CCA photos by Michael Burns]