Here is my second letter to CREA in as many months, this time to our new President regarding CREA's handling of the media attention brought on by the Competition Bureau events.
I read a story in MacLean's magazine over the weekend that talked about the current and pending activities between CREA and the Canadian Competition Bureau. There is no shortage of opinion made available by the Competition Bureau or the public on this issue when approached by the media, but in this particular MacClean's article and other articles I am seeing, the input from our side is often "CREA declined to make anyone available to be interviewed, citing its ongoing legal battle." It is worth noting that silence appears as an admission of guilt, defeat or both to the public at large.
I don't pretend to know better than those at CREA but we both know that the perspective of the person watching safely from the shoreline can sometimes be different and even of value to those in the midst of a fast moving current. I would suggest that there has never been another time in the history of our industry where the media at all levels has been more willing to give us exposure to the public we serve. From coast to coast, tv, newspapers, magazines and internet media are wide open, even hungry to giving us a platform from which to share our message. "No comment" is not an option. No comment is not a sound business choice of an industry based on selling, negotiating and informing. Ten thousand billboards and 30 second TV commercials touting our cliche "Realtors Care" message do not compare to the opportunity we have right now to enlighten the public of what it is we do.
When MacLeans or any other media resource asks CREA's opinion we should oblige willingly then use these opportunities to remind the public we serve that it was the Canadian Real Estate Association who lobbied the government and was instrumental in shaping Real Estate related legislation and policies that have greatly helped Canadian. List those accomplishments and explain how we played a role when asked for opinion by media rather than saying we have no comment at this time. The story is going to run with or without our input.
This is not the time to do the turtle, this is our time to shine. CREA should be encouraging programs like 5th Estate, W5, Market Place, The National and so on to do "Expose" pieces showing the "Day in the life" perspective of a present day Realtor in Canada. We should be opening the doors to them, inviting them in for a behind the scenes look at our industry at the federal provincial and Board levels. When in the past has, or in the future will this chance be better?
I am frustrated by the situation between CREA and the Competition Bureau but I am more frustrated at what appears to be a rare and passing opportunity ignored by my industry, again an industry built on selling, and informing the public. At the end of the day it wont be common sense that decides the outcome of the Tribunal, it will be the will of that Canadian people and that will be based on what they hear and see.
Mike Montague sales representative
Sutton Group Incentive Realty Inc.
241 Minets Point Road
Barrie ON L4N4C4
some earlier posts by me on the Competition Bureau issue with the Canadian Real Estate Association and Realtor.ca The first link is to a CBC news piece that was seen right across the country. In it, opinions are made and charges leveled that could and should have easily been refuted and clarified but when they cut to our now former President of CREA to speak on behalf of the 97000 Canadian Realtors and their families, we might have fared better in the eyes of a watching Nation with Forest Gump speaking on our behalf.
I can't stress enough the need for all Canadian Realtors to contact CREA and encourage our National Association to organize and prepare us for the ramifications these events being in the spotlight is bringing to each of us. We need a strong central message, we need a media campaign now more than ever.