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Greek Organizations v. Hellenic Canadian Congress

Despite the objections of Greek organizations and most of its former presidents, the Hellenic Canadian Congress (HCC) held its Conference and Annual General Meeting on November 27, 28 and 29, 2020 in Montreal. The notice did not call for elections and no elections were held.

On November 30, twelve leaders of the Greek community of Canada addressed a letter to the HCC urging it to call elections. The letter is signed by George Diamantopoulos, the president of the Hellenic Canadian Congress of British Columbia, Dennis Marinos, President of the Hellenic Congress of Quebec, Andreas Crilis, President of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, Andonis Artemakis, President of the Greek Community of Toronto, Theophilos Sanidas, President of the Hellenic Community of Vancouver, Konstantinos Nikolaou, President of the Hellenic Community of East Vancouver, Nick (Nikitas) Papadopoulos, the President of the  Greek Canadian Community of New Brunswick, and five former presidents of the HCC: Dr. George Tsoukas, Nikos Panos, Dimitrios Manolakos, George Pitsicoulis and George Manolakakis.

This is the letter:



We, the founders and presidents of the Canadian Hellenic Congress as well as all the institutionally organized Hellenism, i.e., the Greek Congress of Quebec and the Hellenic-Canada Congress of British Columbia as well as the Greek Communities of Toronto, Greater Montreal, Vancouver and East Vancouver, sadly witnessed another fiasco conference, in which all democratic processes and bylaws of the charter of the Canadian Hellenic Congress (CHC) were violated.

As members of this irregular and illegal conference, friends and relatives of the members of the illegal and overdue administration of the CHC, came to vote on the changes to the bylaws using their own procedures, ostentatiously ignoring the entire organized community and mocking Canadian Hellenism.

We demand here and now that the resolutions and the bylaw changes made during the illegal conference, held between 27-29 November, be annulled as they serve only to strengthen the position of the illegal president and his board of directors whose term has ended.

We demand that a new legitimate convention be called, that includes elections for a new legally elected board, and to approve changes to the bylaws, as defined by the Superior Court of Ontario Judgement.

The elections held in November 2019, pending the judgment, are completely irregular and lack legitimacy, firstly because they were held with the participation of the Quebec Regional Council, an organization which, according to the 'judge's statement, “the QRC was created incorrectly and without power” (para 153), and secondly, because they were “conducted in absence of significant constituencies of the organization” (HCQ, CHCBC, etc.), according to the judge's observations (para. 157).

The coherence of Canada's Hellenism requires the existence of a tertiary organization that enjoys the trust and participation of the major regional organizations, just as the founders of the CHC envisioned it and just as the CHC had operated for many years.

It is a pity that a few individuals are holding hostage the Canadian Hellenic Congress, Hellenism’s tertiary organization, for which we gave our souls. It is tragic to witness the breaking of the unity of Canadian Hellenism, by some individuals who want to hold on to power by violating all notions of law and legality.

I wrote to Dr. Theodore Halatsis, President of the Canadian Hellenic Congress and Mr. Costas Pappas, VP Administration and Secretary asking for information and clarifications.

Mr. Pappas replied mostly in Greek that the letter writers are members and non-members mobilized for a cause and all of them are ignorant.

My questions were answered as follows:

Q.        Why did you not hold elections?

A.        “It seems Mr. Karas that yοu have not read the judgment but [sic] ‘you are taking sides.’ We are law-abiding citizens and do not want to abide the judgment {155 & 158] which states ‘first we have a Conference to change the 8 paragraphs of the Constitution and then elections.’ Not like some lawyers who disregard judgments and lose their license. That is not what the judgment says and, more importantly perhaps Mr. Pappas can tell what lawyers he has in mind who disregard judgments and lose their license. Or is he content with throwing slurs at random and who cares about the truth?

Q.        How many delegates registered and attended, albeit virtually, the AGM?

A.         “We do not reply to non-members. …. [sic] ‘then you were taking sides as you do now’”.

Q.        Can I have the names and breakdown of the attendees. How was quorum reached?

A.         “Same as above. …. we do not disclose names because the Group of 5 continues to threaten by telephone and email the members of the Congress by [sic] BULLING ……”

Q.        Why did you not comply with Justice Nishikawa’s judgment?

A.         “This question confirms my position in my answer to your first question THAT it seems Mr. Karas that you have not read the judgment.”

Q.        The judge clearly found that the Quebec Regional Council was improperly constituted yet they took part in the 2019 elections. Does that not invalidate those election under which you still hold office?

A.        He repeats that I have not read the judgment and denies that the QRC took part in the 2019 elections. He continues with some information and insults against me and “my little friends.” He states that I am not honourable. He refers to me as a “former lawyer” (I am retired), insults the Group of 5 [who are they?] and suggests that I become honorable with the truth

Q.        Have you paid the costs order and if not, why not.

A.        ‘You should ask your little friends about that and not us …. they owe us $30,000.00 …... Refers to me as a former lawyer again.

Q.        Can you provide me with the minutes of the AGM?

A.        “No …... you are a nobody……and personally I don’t trust you.”

This is an edited version of his lengthier replies, translated from the Greek.

The CHC replied to the letter of the leaders of Greek communities across Canada, in part, as follows.

On April 14, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court rendered its decision and set a different path from what you had asked for or expected. If you were not satisfied with the Court’s outcome, you had the opportunity to go to the Court of Appeal to obtain a more favourable ruling.

You chose not to do so and therefore, must now live with the court ruling’s outcome. This is the rule of law and justice, yet you continue to be in denial of this reality. Through disinformation and manipulation of the facts you make demands that are contrary to the NFPCA and the Court decision. The CHC will not be a party to this twisted view of the law, as well as, of judicial rulings.

Mr. Pappas’s comments and the paragraph quoted above, quite aside from insults, vicious lies, innuendos and non-replies, seems to be coming from an alternate reality. The court decision did not “set a different path from what you had asked for or expected.”  The Hellenic Congress of Quebec WON. They got what they asked for and people who win in court do not go to the court of appeal.

The letter states that the CHC will not be party to a twisted view of the law as well as of judicial rulings. This could come directly from the world of Donald Trump or Alice in Wonderland. They For them reality is whatever you want it to be and facts do not matter. They may want that desperately and try to convince people, but it is not so. Reality is not what you imagine, and facts do matter.

Here are a few facts from the judgment that seem to have simply escaped the attention of the CHC board and have allowed them to imagine a Trumpian victory in the face of clear defeat.

On page 30, the judge states that [158] “Accordingly, the CHQ’s Application is granted and the following relief is ordered.”  The Canadian Hellenic Congress may still be misled by the judges judicious and judicial language but in simple English they got a thrashing. There are numerous references to egregious conduct by the officers of CHC: no financial accountability [50 & 52]. “failure to fulfill even the most basic requirements of its governing documents while maintaining that the CHQ lost its status for failing to pay fees, when this was not required under the Constitution, is incongruous and lacks fairness” [54].

Mr. Pappas is still asking for $30,000.00 from the Quebec Congress despite what the judge said about dues!

Unauthorized constitutional amendments [85]. Prospective approval of constitutional changes [86]. [122] The defective process impacted on the substantive rights of the CHQ in a significant and far-reaching manner. A substantial change to the 1999 Constitution, that is, a provision that deprived the CHQ of its status as a provincial organization, was approved.

The judge declined to declare the 2016 election invalid for practical reasons not because they deserved to stay. Writing in April 2020, that its term ended in 2019 [146], I decline to declare the results of the 2016 Election null and void. In any event, the councilors’ terms came to an end in 2018 (under the 1999 Constitution) and in 2019 under the 2016 Constitution, she wrote. She had not heard of a 2019 election in April 2020.

The message of the judge and community leaders from across Canada to the current board of directors of the Canadian Hellenic Congress is very simple: You made a dog’s breakfast of the Canadian Hellenic Congress for years. You trampled on everything in order to stay in power. Do the decent thing – call elections and move on.

December 18, 2020

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