About the Site:
 
I started this site to inform NFA members about the challenges currently facing the NFA. For the past few months members and in some cases field officers have become disillusioned with the organization due to the inner turmoil and lack of information available.
 
All information presented here is correct to the best of my knowledge, however if anything inaccurate has been presented please contact me at marklouie.nfa@gmail.com. Corrections will be made on on an as required basis.
 
I would encourage anyone who is interested to review the documemts linked to on the right hand side of the page. These are all of the documents that I have access to at the current time, anyone who thinks I have missed something can forward misssing documents for inclusion.
How We Got Here.
Although the current issues with the NFA have been ongoing for several years, they went unnoticed until December 2014 when 5 new directors were elected to the Board of Directors.
 
 
Ancient History.
 
First, a brief history of the organization.  First founded as FARO (Firearms and ResponsibleOwners) in 1969, the organization became the National Firearms Association in 1978.  The organization folded in 1980 when Bill Jones ran out of personal funds and left the organization.
 
In 1984, David Tomlinson, Ray Laycock and others revived the organization as the National Phoenix 1984 Firearms Information and Communications Association.  In 2007, Dave Tomlinson died, leaving a leadership vacuum.  This led to the first leadership crisis in 2009.
 
That crisis almost bankrupted the NFA.
 
After the 2009 crisis, the current leadership took over.  New bylaws were written
 
Background to Current Issues.
 
In 2013, the NFA hired Shawn Bevins as Executive Vice-President in order to promote and grow the organization and in order to gain influence in Ottawa.  As a result of those efforts, membership has grown considerably (from 9,487 voting, 53,808 total to 17,033 voting, 73,541 total). In 2013, the leadership purported to pass new bylaws which gave sweeping new powers to the President. Although this set of by-laws is posted on the NFA website they were never ratified by the membership so have never come into force. 
 
Until the recent surge in membership, the NFA has been fairly tightly controlled by the current President and a close group of his supporters on the Board and in the Executive.  As a result, they were able to get away with many irregularities.  The President also developed a habit of doing things without going to the Board, so that the Board was kept in the dark.
 
In late 2014, five new directors were elected to the board including Darlene MacKenzie in Ontario, Ericka Clarke in Alberta, Claude Colgan in Quebec, and Kurt Luchia in Saskatchewan.
 
Some of the newly elected directors were shocked to find that:
  • Meeting minutes had not been generated or made available to directors as required by the Canada Not-for-profit Act.
  • Audited financial reports (typically used to ensure against fraud) had not been prepared since 2010 in clear violation of the Canada Not-for-profit Act.
 
These directors, being new blood, demanded transparency and accountability to the Board by the Executive.  This was refused several times between December 2014 and February 2015.
 
About this time Shawn Bevins sent a message to Alberta director Jerrold Lundgard pointing out some of the issues that the NFA was facing because directors, field officers and former allies were becoming increasingly disgruntled with the direction that the President was taking the organization. Apparently this was forwarded to Sheldon Clare as Clare specified that the number one reason for Bevin’s removal was ”Your Continued efforts to have your immediate supervisor removed from office”.   
 
In later February 2015, the Five (Darlene MacKenzie, Ericka Clarke, Claude Colgan, Stephen Buddo, and Kurt Luchia) were planning to seek the removal of Sheldon Clare as president by a 2/3 vote of the Board of Directors. 
 
On 24 February 2015, President Sheldon Clare purported to fire Executive Vice-President Shawn Bevins.  This is problematic since Mr. Bevins, as an Officer of the corporation, was more than a mere employee.  As such, a 2/3 vote of the Board of Directors was required to fire him.  Not only was there never any such vote, Mr. Clare never brought the matter to the Board’s attention. 
 
Bevins was notified of his “firing” publicly, by way of this Facebook post:
 
“Effective immediately Mr. Shawn Bevins no longer works for, nor is he associated with Canada’s National Firearms Association.  Please revise any NFA contact information accordingly.  As this is an internal personnel matter, there will be no public discussion of the reasons for this change.”
 
Within a few hours, Bevins was also notified of his firing and the message was also emailed to NFA members.
 
Mr. Clare also purported to strip Mr. Bevins of his membership, notwithstanding the fact that only the Board of Directors can do this on a 2/3 vote, in accordance with the bylaws.
 
A Board of Directors meeting had already been validly called for 24 February, with the required 48 hours’ notice.  After Mr. Clare learned that the directors were objecting to his actions (which did not yet include the firing of Shawn Bevins), he sent another e-mail purporting to cancel the board meeting.  As there is nothing in the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Regulations, the NFA’s Articles of Continuance, the NFA Bylaws, or Robert’s Rules of Order that permits a validly called meeting to be cancelled, the meeting went ahead without Mr. Clare.  The meeting achieved quorum, with 6 of the 10 directors attending. 
 
The meeting then voted 5-1 to remove Sheldon Clare and the executive and appoint Claude Colgan as interim president. 
 
As a result, Mr. Clare posted messages on social media to the effect that Darlene MacKenzie and Ericka Clarke were terminated as directors because of their actions.  It is interesting to note he singled out the two female directors when the other three male directors were equally against him.  Mr. Clare subsequently retracted these statements.
 
 At the same time, there was a fight for control over the Facebook Group “National Firearms Association (Office Site)” and the Facebook Pages “Canada’s National Firearms Association” and “Association canadienne des armes à feu”.
 
Since the President refused to recognize the legitimacy of the board meeting, and since he was still preventing disclosure of books and records to the directors and members as mandated by the act, and since he was still blocking the request for an audit, the Independent Directors commenced court proceedings against Sheldon Clare and the NFA.
 
After the current legal proceedings started were 2013 and 2014 audited, and these audits found material misstatements in the financials.
 
The situation with the court case currently is this.  Mr. Clare has provided an Affidavit and has been cross-examined on that affidavit.  As part of the cross-examination, Mr. Clare undertook to provide certain materials to the lawyers for the Independent directors.  They are waiting for him to do so, or to fail to do so, before they take next steps in the litigation.
 
The current lawsuit is one for books and records, primarily.  It is to enable the Independant Directors to gather the necessary evidence in order to commence a derivative action (a suit in the name of the NFA) against Mr. Clare and the other directors who were complicit in his alleged malfeasance in office.  The current proceeding would likely be resolved by the fall.  The derivative action would take us into 2016 or even 2017.
 
The AGM.
 
Because of the delays of Court, the Independent Directors planned carefully for the Annual General Meeting.  Prior to the AGM, the directors had requested certain items to be put on the agenda.  This was refused.  They had also requested to have a board meeting, several times, and were refused.  The last meeting of the Board of Directors was on 2 March 2015, and resulted in a 5-5 stalemate on every single vote.
 
The AGM Strategy group expected that since Mr. Clare was so bound and determined to have a “fixed agenda” for the AGM and not allow motions from the floor. A number of the group carefully studied the bylaws, the Act, and Robert’s Rules of Order.
 
During the AGM, Mr. Clare failed to make a motion calling for approval of the agenda.  Pierre Plourde rose on a point of order that such a motion was required, notwithstanding the fixed agenda, and even if all business was ordinary business.  Mr. Clare ruled against the point of order.  Mr. Plourde launched an appeal of that ruling to the assembly under s. 24 of Robert’s Rules of Order.  That was seconded. 
 
When Mr. Clare refused to put the appeal to a debate and vote, Mr. Plourde used the right given to the member under s. 24 of Robert’s Rules to call the vote on the appeal directly.  The assembly, by show of hands, overturned the chair.  The hands were about 2:1 in favour, with a number of abstentions.  Mr. Clare then ignored the result of the vote and persisted in his refusal to call for a motion to approve the agenda. 
 
At this point, it was clear and obvious he was abusing his authority as chair and failing to act in accordance with the assembly’s decision on an appeal.  This triggered the assembly’s right, under s. 62 of Robert’s Rules of Order, to remove him as chair of the meeting.  A motion was duly made and seconded for the suspension of the rules and to remove Mr. Clare as chair of the meeting and appoint Claude Colgan to chair the meeting.  The vote by show of hands passed; the show of hands was about 4:1 in favour with no abstentions.
 
Despite the undisputed legality of the steps taken to this point (since none of these actions depended on any prior notice being given, but rather depended on the actions of everyone in the room), Mr. Clare ignored the assembly and its wishes.
 
At this point, two parallel meetings essentially started taking place, each trying to outshout the other. 
As Mr. Clare was presenting the minutes of the previous meeting, the Rebel side was making motions to add certain items to the agenda. 
 
These items were:
 
  • The election of a director to fill the vacancy in Manitoba (ordinary business not requiring prior notice),
  • The appointment of KPMG as public accountants of the corporation for the 2015 financial year (ordinary business not requiring prior notice).
  • The appointment of a committee (Stephen Buddo, Kurt Luchia, Pierre Plourde) to review the Articles and bylaws and make recommendations for changes at the next AGM (special business, but not requiring prior notice as no binding action to be taken at this AGM).
  • To elect a committee of five to conduct an investigation into Sheldon Clare’s conduct as President and report at the next AGM on whether his removal was warranted, in accordance with s. 63 of Robert’s Rules of Order (special business for which prior notice was ostensibly required, but no one objected on a point of order).
  • To elect a committee of five to conduct an investigation into Shawn Bevins’s conduct as Executive Vice-President and report at the next AGM on whether his removal was warranted, in accordance with s. 63 of Robert’s Rules of Order (special business for which prior notice was ostensibly required, but no one objected on a point of order).
  • To elect a committee of five to conduct an investigation into Sheldon Clare’s conduct as a member and report at the next AGM on whether revocation of his membership was warranted, in accordance with s. 63 of Robert’s Rules of Order (special business for which prior notice was ostensibly required, but no one objected on a point of order).
  • To declare that the purported revocation of Shawn Bevins’s membership in the NFA was null and void. 
Despite being ignored by M. Clare, all these motions to add items to the agenda were passed unanimously (with abstentions, but with no one voting against).
 
By this point, the review of the prior minutes was finished, and Bill Rantz started presenting the financials.  The financials presented to the members were unaudited financials, and had not been approved by the Board of Directors.  They had not been signed by a Director.  These things are required under the Act.  As such, Pierre Plourde rose on a point of order and objected to the financials being presented on that basis.  Mr. Clare ruled Mr. Plourde out of order and ordered his private security henchman to remove him.  At this point, the assembly erupted in protest.  Mr. Colgan rose and commanded the security officer to allow the member to remain.  The assembly then rose, applauding, and came forward to shake Mr. Colgan’s hand.
 
While order was restored, the assembly stayed on its feet in front of the podium.  Field Officer Mark Louie then tried to ask Mr. Rantz why funds collected by the NFA on behalf of Terri and Kyle McCosh had not been forwarded to them.  Director Blair Hagen physically tried to take the microphone away from Mr. Louie, and then shoved him. This was witnessed by several people.
 
At this point, Mr. Clare stated he would have all members out of order removed.  When someone challenged as to whether he would remove all the members present, Mr. Clare’s response was “If I have to”.
 
Mr. Clare called upon Guy Lavergne, a Quebec lawyer, to try and restore order.  Mr. Lavergne spoke about the need for 90 days’ notice for member’s proposals (which is not the same as notice for special business and ignored the fact some of the items were ordinary business). Mr. Plourde rebutted the arguments, and Lavergne admitted that he was not knowledgeable on Robert’s Rules of Order.
 
The approval of the financials was never moved, seconded, or voted on.  However, the motions to appoint the auditor, to appoint the bylaw review committee, and to appoint the committee to investigate Sheldon’s conduct as president were all passed unanimously.  Mr. Clare even voted in favour of the motion to approve the auditor, a motion whose inclusion in the agenda he had opposed, thus implicitly recognizing the validity of the motions added.
 
While the last three motions were never moved, out of respect for the guest speakers who were present and the CBC who were there, when Mr. Plourde pointed out there was no motion to approve the prior minutes, Mr. Clare did make such a motion and the prior minutes were passed.
 
The Special Meeting.
 
The Act gives the power to the membership to force a special meeting of members.  If 5% of the members sign a requisition for a special meeting which sets out the business to be discussed, the Board has 21 days to call a meeting of members.  If the Board fails to do so, any member who has signed the requisition can do so and get reimbursed by the corporation for doing so.  Since we expect the Board, being in a 5-5 logjam, to be unable to call the meeting in the required 21 days, a member has already made tentative arrangements for a meeting on 25 July in Edmonton. 
 
Please note that this is tentative and a formal notice of the date, time, and place of the meeting will be sent by regular mail to all members. The business which is sought to be done at the special meeting is listed on the Requisition.
 
During the first two weeks of June supporters of the Independent Directors hosted a number of “No Compromise” events nationally. Although a large number of attendees signed the requisition for a special meeting to address the failings of the NFA’s Board of Directors, signatures of the required 5% of the voting membership was exceeded by late June with the help of an online campaign. 
 
Current Events.
 
In the first week of June, Sheldon Clare attempted once again to remove democratically elected Directors from the board. This was a surprise to some who had seen this admission related to Clare’s previous “removal” of MacKenzie and Clarke on page 90 of Clare’s examination of March 19th 2015.
 
“I reacted based on what happened with some anger and emotion and I think I was probably mistaken at that point in time as to my interpretation of the by-laws.”
 
Following Clare’s unilateral and illegal removal of Ericka Clarke, Darlene MacKenzie and Claude Colgan, Clare appointed Dwayne Gorniak, Francis Tenta, and Charles Zach as replacements. Notification of a board meeting was sent out by email on June 9th:
 
“There will be an NFA Directors’ teleconference meeting on Thursday, 11 June at 1 pm Mountain Standard time (Alberta time – please adjust for your area) to discuss the follow agenda items:
 
1. Introduction and welcome to new directors, Dwayne Gorniak, Francis Tenta, and Charles Zach.
2. Minutes of previous meeting
3. Brief financial update - Rantz
4. Quebec Report on CFOs and registry - Tenta
5. Responses to Hamilton and Edmonton situations
6. Sponsorship requests – Theo Sanchez – Quebec; Michael Hudec – Sask.; Canadian National Silhouette Championships.
7. Regaining control of social media sites - Jerrold
8. Vetting policy for directors and field officers and volunteer NDA
9. Bylaw changes
10. Expulsion of members acting against interests of NFA
Note: any phone line enabling participation of others besides the person invited will be blocked.
 
Call-in information and documents relating to the meeting such as minutes, policies, and the NDA will be sent out prior to the meeting. Please confirm your attendance.
 
Thanks,
Sheldon Clare
President,”
 
On June 10th this was posted on Facebook:
 
“Under threat of an emergency court order to stop tomorrow's illegal "board" meeting, the meeting has been cancelled by Sheldon Clare.”
 
So that’s where we are. For now, it is expected that the much needed meeting will be ordered by a judge in the next few days. The matter will be heard in Edmonton on July 8th.
 
NFA Timeline:

Feb 22nd:
A move was made by NFA Directors to start proceedings to have Sheldon Clare removed as the NFA’s President.
 
Feb 24th 2015:
Sheldon Clare unilaterally and unlawfully fires NFA Executive Vice President Shawn Bevins without a 2/3 Board majority and without consulting the Board.
 
Feb 22nd 2015:
Sheldon Clare calls meeting of Directors by conference call for Feb 24th and then on Feb 23rd cancels that call without having the authority to do so. Six current and valid NFA Directors show up for the call in which Sheldon Clare was removed as President by the Board. He refused to step down.
 
Feb 24th 2015 to Present:
NFA Executives embark on a campaign of slanderous and libelous activity in attempt to discredit the Directors who are working to restore transparency to the NFA.
 
May 13th:
Sheldon Clare files formal complaint with the Law Society of Upper Canada regarding lawyer and Ontario field officer Pierre Plourde in his capacity as a practicing lawyer and member of the Law Society. Mr. Plourde was notified that the matter had been closed in early July due to Clare's inability to provide any evidence supporting his allegations. Mr. Plourde had previously been removed from the NFA Facebook group for posting a legal opinion that was in conflict with the opinion of lawyer Ken Heintz who was acting for both Clare and also the NFA at the time.
 
May 22nd:
Sheldon Clare is removed as Chair of the AGM by members at the Annual General Meeting held in Quebec City. He refuses to step aside. Fails to provide approved and audited financials.
 
May 25th:
Sheldon Clare and the 3 other members of the executive send a statement to all members on the NFA email distribution list and post on the statement on the NFA website. The statement attacks Shawn Bevin's character and blames Mr. Bevins for all of the problems that the NFA executive are currently facing. In addition, the statement claims that KPMG advised the NFA to ignore the Canada Not-for-profit Act.
 
Feb 24th to Present:
NFA Executive continually approvea the spending of NFA funds without Board approval.
 
June 8th:
Sheldon Clare illegally fires democratically elected NFA Directors Ericka Clark (Alberta) , Darlene MacKenzie (Ontario) and Claude Colgan (Quebec). The Executive has also commenced a widespread purge of valid and lawfully appointed NFA Field Officers.
 
June 9th:
Following publication of Sheldon Clare's statement "any money raised on out efforts is our money for use to allocate" Ian Thomson inquired as to the actual amount of funds that were collected by the NFA on his behalf. Ian asked that the email thread be shared with the membership and board. Recently Sheldon Clare has claimed that no funds were collected by the NFA on behalf of Ian Thomson despite having a drop down box on the website that encouraged donors to specify which case donations were to be allocated to.
 
July 8th:
Independent Directors and NFA will be appearing in court in Edmonton, this has been postponed until July 15th.
 
July 15th:
There were several applications concerning our case that were before the court in Edmonton yesterday. Although they have been adjourned to September 30 for a full day hearing, the judge directed us to outline the urgency of the situation that may justify an earlier court date. Our law firm has followed up on that, and in the meantime we will continue to work on our case.
A lot of progress has been made in the last 2 weeks. We appreciate your trust and your patience as we get closer to a resolution.
 
Shawn Bevins Timeline:
 
Although the timeline of Shawn Bevin's issues with the Executive of the NFA runs parallel with that of the Independent DIrectors, Mr. Bevins' issues are substantially different to the issues that the Independent Directors face.
 
Although there has been much erroneous and unsupported speculation that Bevins is somehow leading the Independent Directors, when I spoke to Mr. Bevins during mid-May he was somewhat upset that none of the Independent Directors had spoken with him since his dismissal in February on the advice of counsel.
 
Early February:
Bevins sends a message to Jerrold Lundgard rergarding the damage that Sheldon Clare is doing to the NFA.
 
February 22:
Shawn Bevins is fired by Sheldon Clare by way of a Facebook post, within a few hours Bevins is also notified via email.
 
February 25:
Sheldon Clare claims publicly over Facebook, that Bevins stole money and patronized prostitutes among other defamatory allegations.
 
May 23:
Shawn Bevins is refused entrance to The NFA's Annual General Meeting, despite being the owner of a company (Spatha Tactical) which was a corporate member in good standing at the time.
 
June 1:
Bevins' lawyer sends letter to  Sheldon Clare notifying him of impending litigation regarding Bevin's wrongful dismissal and the subsequent ongoing defamatory statements made by Clare and his followers.
 
Field Officer Henry Atkinson is also sent letter due to the defamatory statements made by Atkinson at the at the Woodstock Gun Show.
 
June 2:
Bevin's lawyer sends a letter to Robert Bracken regarding false and defamatory remarks that Bevins had withheld funds from the McCosh family that had been collected by the NFA on their behalf. In reality, the funds had not been forwarded because of Clare's policy that funds donated for specific legal causes could be diverted at the whim of the president. It was only because a field officer posted publicly on Facebook and on CGN that Clare had diverted funds donated on behalf of the McCosh family, that the funds donated to them were forwarded.
 
Bevins' lawyer sends a letter to the NFA, making several requests under the Personal Information Privacy Act.
 
June 11:
Shawn Bevins files Statement of Claim against The NFA. Sheldon Clare, Bill Rantz, Blair Hagan, Jerrold Lundgard, Robert Bracken, Dwayne Gorniak, Francis Tenta, and Charles Zach claiming:
 
  • Wrongful dismissal without cause.
  • Circumvention of NFA bylaws.
  • Numerous instances of Defamation.
  • Wrongful Interference with Economic Interests: Employment Insurance.
  • Wrongful Interference with Economic Interests: Members of Parliament
  • Deception Regarding Removal of Directors of the NFA
  • Failure to Create and Deliver Audited Financial Disclosure
  • The Clare Directors are not entitled to Indemnification from the NFA (they are personally responsible for their actions and should be barred from using NFA resources to defend themselves)
 
 
Feb 24 Meeting
Minutes
Originating Application
March 6
Clarke Affidavit
March 6
Amended
Application
April 1
Clarke
Affidavit
April 1
Application
Regarding
Questioning
April 15
Clarke
Affidavit
April 15
Clare Affidavit
April 23
Clare Questioning
May 7
Independent
Directors
Application
June 29
Clarke
Affidavit
June 29
NFA
Statement
May 25, 2015
Ian Thomson
Email Thread
June 9, 2015
Shawn Bevins  Statement of Claim