Calgary RWC Mtg Minutes – 26 Jan 2015

In Attendance:

Deb Kosteniuk, UTE 30024
Siobhan Hutchinson, UTE 30024
Tabassom Javadi, UNE
Hazel Buchanan
Sonya Raiyarella, UTE 30024
Victoria Norris, UTE 30024

Staff Support:

Dolly Ablitt, Regional Representative

  1. The Meeting called to order at 6:15 p.m.
  2. The Agenda was adopted without any amendments.
  3. The Minutes from the meeting of November 17, 2014 were reviewed and approved.
  4. The Chair, Secretary and Treasurer presented their reports for the 2014 year to those present.
  5. Old Business – December 6, 2014 The PSAC Calgary Women’s Committee Held its Kitchen Table Conversations on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Our Presenters were:

Heidi Barrett – police officer, Calgary Police Service and a member of the Domestic Conflict Response Team  (DCRT) in the Domestic Conflict Unit.

Lindsay Senger –  social worker, Home Front, and a member of the Domestic Conflict Response Team  (DCRT) in the Domestic Conflict Unit.

Brenda Crompton – is a Courage Speaker with The Brenda Strafford Society for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. As a Courage Speaker, Brenda is taking a public stance against domestic violence. 

  • Heidi and Lindsay led the way with a joint presentation that outlined their roles in the DRCT. This started as a pilot project in District 5, and is now available in all Calgary Police Service Districts, and may be the first integrated service of its kind in Canada. During their presentation, both Heidi and Lindsay stated that the number one reason women with children stay in abusive situations is that they cannot afford childcare once they leave their abuser. In many cases, they haven’t worked in a while or are in low paying jobs that make it difficult to pay shelter, food and clothing costs for them, let alone childcare costs that would enable them to be able to work.  At the kitchen table conversations after the presentation, this was discussed in great detail and the consensus was that not only would an affordable national childcare program would be of enormous benefit to all women, but for those seeking to leave a domestic abuse situation with their children and establish a new life, it could be essential.
  • Brenda Crompton is a business woman, a Certified Management Consultant, who started her first business at 23. By age 30 she had a six-figure consulting business leading multi-million dollar technology projects. She has won awards, been nominated for Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, and is a published author. Brenda talked about the poverty, abuse, bullying and the eventual homelessness she experienced as a child and teenager. Brenda experienced abuse both in her home and in the foster care system. Brenda’s mother was mentally ill and Brenda was removed from her care; because her father could not afford child care, he was not granted custody of his children. This was a revelation to a lot of us listening to her. To know that a loving parent was denied his children because he couldn’t afford childcare opened quite a conversation on why a national childcare program is needed for so many reasons.  

We had a mix of PSAC members, non union women and members/past members from AUPE and CUPE in attendance at this event. We even had two male individuals wanting to attend but we turned them away so that we had a safe environment for our female attendees. The AUPE/CUPE ladies had come from a Rally and it was an honour to have some of these female activists attend. Their support for a national childcare program is as strong now as it was when they called for it in the 80’s. Now we need to move it forward and get it done.

We discussed whether we would like to do something like this again and the consensus was that it was a good event and we could do something similar, with slightly different topics for the 2015 year. 

  6. Vicky Norris gave a presentation about attending the CUAI “Racism and its Effects on Aboriginal Health” conference
      on December 10, 2014, in Calgary, Alberta. Vicky’s speech was moving, inspirational and full of information, and she
      advised us that she learned a lot about her own situation as a Métis woman from this conference. She made the
      conference come to life for those of us who did not attend. 

      As Vicky’s presentation was an hour and the meeting was well past our usual adjournment time, it was decided that 
      we would not proceed with elections and that the AGM would be held at the next meeting of the RWC, which was 
      set for February 9, 2015. Sister Buchanan advised she would not be running again for Treasurer.  

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.  

Next meeting to be held February 9, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.

Recorder:  Deb Kosteniuk, RWC Chair, UTE 30024