Report of the Lethbridge Area Council Representative to the Prairie Region Council submitted for the June 2014 meeting. This report covers the period from the last PRC meeting.
Lethbridge Area Council Representative
It has been quite a ride for the last eight years on the Prairie Regional Council, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The first two years I was one of the Southern Alberta Regional Representative on the Council and the last six as the Lethbridge Area Council Representative, and it time to pass the torch on. I have to congratulate Greg Krokosh as the new Lethbridge Area Council Representative on the PRC.
Over the past three years, I and with other fellow Unionist have lobby our local Conservative MP on many issues. He would listen, ask questions but allows follow the party line. From this meeting, I found out that, we have to educate the public on our issues, no one else will.
The Lethbridge Area Council has been busy over the past three years. One weekend in September of 2012, the Area Council organized a ‘We are All Affected’ campaign, where members would record their spending. An ad was purchase in the local paper showing the public that PSAC members injected over $140,000 to the local economy with a fact sheet given to the local politicians and the Chamber of Commerce. Members of the Area Council were involved in the celebration of the Alberta Federation of Labour 100 anniversary on a cold snow day in May of 2012. Last year, the Area Council with sponsorship from the Lethbridge Labour Council hosted a film night – Scared Spirit of Water and we were involved the first Annual Labour Film Festival in Lethbridge. Local musicians asked PSAC to help organized a benefit concert in Lethbridge, for the flood of 2013. The music was great; the work was light as there were many PSAC members helping out. Over the past three years the Area Council is putting their name out there and engaging the public through film and being seen.
Local PSAC members, with funding from the Area Council and the Agriculture Union, run a garden that grows food for the local Interfaith Food Bank. This would be its fifth season, and we have donated over 12,000 lbs of food with a value of over $24,000. We have also donated over 300 pots of tomatoes for the Food Bank clients and their young chef program. The Area Council supplies the pot, seeds and soil; PSAC members plant the tomatoes in the pots in April/May and then are delivered to Food Bank in June. This allows the Food Bank clients realize that they can grow food in small areas. From these projects, in 2013, the Interfaith Food Bank started a learning garden incentive where they will show clients food growing techniques, where I and fellow PSAC member designed the garden and we also built the raised beds with follow volunteers ( many where retired Union members). This will be their first growing season.
I have not attended that many local Labour Council meetings, but since that first meeting I have ever attended (2 PSAC members in attendance) to the last Annual General Meeting where majority of Unionists in attendance were PSAC members and some were elected to the Executive. This is a direct result of having an Area Council, I believe.
I attended several Idle No More events in Lethbridge; the two which stood out was the teach-in the University of Lethbridge and the Day of Action. The teach-in the organizers had speakers who spoke about their experiences and history of the relationship between the First Nation and the Crown. What I was impressed was the passion of the youth and the resolve of the Elders. The Day of Action, for a cold day, the turnout was impressive- as were the entertainment and the speakers. We as Canadians need to listen to the concerns of the First Nation as their concern resonates with the concerns of all Canadian – clean air, clean water and a healthy Earth. I also attended several
I have been in the No Drill Lethbridge campaign in Lethbridge to stop drilling and fracking within the City Limits. Both Local 30048 and the Lethbridge Labour Council donated funds to the organization as drilling and fracking will affect our members, as the oil is sour. I am glad to say the community involvement stopped the proposed drill in the City. This shows that a community standing up for their rights, never backing down, and never stopping can win, they outlasted the company.
*This report was submitted late and was not included in convention delegate kits.