RWC’s were active across our region this fall and winter, focusing on Phoenix issues, childcare, domestic violence in the workplace, murdered and missing indigenous women and children, as well as community projects.
The Winnipeg RWC is very active. They have participated in Phoenix rallies throughout the summer, fall and winter. They participated in the Labour Day Barbecue. September 10, 2017, they, along with other PSAC activists such as Brothers Frank Janz and Gus Mardli visited the Shoal Lake 40 First Nations Reserve. Shoal Lake 40 has been on a boil-water advisory since 1997. There were no Sisters in Spirit Vigil planned for Winnipeg, but the RWC participated in the Take Back the Night March in October. They have planned various charitable drives throughout 2017 into 2018: school supplies, feminine hygiene products, and an underwear drive for Centre Flavie Laurent for example. They were involved in coordinating donations of beds from the Summer Games to two centres that they support. They planned events for the 16 days of Activism against Gender-based violence and the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. They participated in the A Women’s Place is in Her Union PSAC training course. They are involved in a Ju Jitsu course at the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre offered on Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m. Their AGM was held January 9, 2018. They participated in PSAC committee training January 17, 2018. They had a large presence at the Winnipeg Women’s March held January 20, 2018 and the event received very good media coverage. Reports state 300 to 500 people marched and rallied in Winnipeg.
The Northern Alberta RWC is also very active. For 2017 spring, summer and fall, they did a community garden project that saw the harvests from the garden going to Seniors in need through the SAGE (Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton) program. September 16, 2017 they held a Childcare Seminar and Rally. They had 15 participants for the seminar and they called locals prior to the event to promote it and gain attendees. Morna Ballantyne was one of the key speakers. For the Rally, they reached out to allies such as Public Interest Alberta, Edmonton District Labour Council, the CLC, and other unions. Kirsten Strachey of Calgary RWC was in Edmonton and participated in the Rally with the women of the NA RWC. They planned a campaign called Food for Women – with the idea money raised would be used to purchase grocery store gift cards that would be donated to women in need sometime before Christmas. They had raised $1000 for that project by mid October and were personally calling locals for donations. They presented a Wreath for Remembrance Day. They joined affiliates for the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women at the AFL They are planning a 2018 childcare campaign “What’s Your Story” with the idea that a FB page or website be developed to start personal conversations around childcare. They participated in the January 20, 2018 Women’s March – Edmonton had around 1,000 participants for the March. The March was well covered by media.
We participated on a “Burned by Phoenix” boycott NPSW event at the Harry Hays Building June 14. We participated in the Aboriginal Day Family event June 21, manning the PSAC booth and talking about MMIW, potable water issues, Jordan’s Principle. We did an email campaign asking all locals and components to wear orange shirts for September 30, 2017. We were a presence at the October 4 Sisters in Spirit Vigil, and made a financial contribution to Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society, the Vigil organizers, for the bagged lunches given to Vigil participants. We organized and held a Grand Opening event for the new Calgary Regional Office October 12; we were pleased to have Sister Robyn Benson in attendance for that. We organized A Women’s Place is in Her Union Retreat Nov 24 to 26/17 together with Dolly Ablitt, our Regional Rep. It incorporated the PSAC course “A Women’s Place is in Her Union” along with two workshops; one on domestic violence and the other on MMIW. We had 20 register for the event, with four dropping out due to illness. We started with Friday night registration and welcome event featuring a Raclette Supper, the course on Saturday and the workshops and lunch on Sunday. The course utilized three of our members who are AFI facilitators which was wonderful to see. The RWC “catered” the Friday night supper and Sunday workshop lunch ourselves. Starting November 25 and ending December 6, we did a Facebook campaign for the 16 Days of Activism on Gender Based Violence, utilizing our Calgary RWC page. We did not hold a December 6 event but let members know about events being held by our allies in Calgary. We did an email campaign to components and locals asking for participants for the Women’s March and several members of our committee participated in the Women’s March on Jan 20/18. 3500 marched in Calgary and there was very good media coverage.
Lethbridge RWC put on a strong show for the 2017 Women’s March and have remained involved with March On Canada, posting March On Canada items of interest on the PSAC Prairie Regional Women’s Committees page throughout 2017 and into 2018. Like many other women across the Prairies, our Lethbridge RWC women are involved with, or part of Area Council. In Lethbridge the LDAC sponsors PSAC members in the Rotary Dragon Boat Festival in June. If there were not committee members rowing a dragon boat, they were there to support and cheer on their fellow PSAC members. Lethbridge RWC again supplied a bouncy castle for the Lethbridge Labour Day Picnic, which always is a huge crowd pleaser. Committee members made a financial contribution and attended the Lethbridge Sisters in Spirit Vigil on October 4. They participated in the University of Lethbridge Women’s Centre Menstruation Drive, donating tampons and pads to the cause. They donated funds to the Persons Day Breakfast to cover the cost of a speaker at the event. They attended the YWCA Take Back the Night event. Lethbridge did not plan an event for December 6 but were planning to join a Vigil offered by an ally. They did a holiday giving project, with the women of the committee knitting caps and scarves for sisters in need. Lethbridge RWC Secretary-Treasurer Krysty Munns organized the Lethbridge Women’s March On Solidarity Rally on January 20. After the Rally, a Living Library Event was held. It was a forum for attendees to learn more about programs, organizations and people that work with women in the community, plus a workshop about bystander intervention; a multimedia installation art project on Lived Experiences of Syrian Refugees and the Kairos Blanket Exercise. While the participation in the Rally was smaller than in 2017, the Living Library was well attended and both the parts of the day received a lot of media coverage.
The Regina RWC led their third MMIW Mother’s Day Walk in Regina and is planning for the fourth and final Mother’s Day Walk and a possible feast for MMIW in 2018. They have had very good success with holding self defence courses for women, and they continued that success with their Women’s Self Defence Course in September, 2017. From that they donated $400 to Sophia House, made up of the trainer and participant fees. RWC members attended two Sisters in Spirit Vigil activities: the Feast at the First Nations University of Canada and the MMIW Candle Light Vigil at the RCMP Depot. December 9, 2017 the RWC participated in an All Committee Meet and Greet for locals and affiliates like Regina District Labour Council and Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. They had a spoken word poet at the event and those attending were asked to bring a non perishable food item for donation to the Food Bank. Michelle Lang, Chair of Regina RWC, organizes and participates in rallies and events as much as possible. She has organized and help lead Phoenix Rallies, SFL campaigns and rallies against her Provincial government’s actions, helped to organize the CBSA rally in Regina on December 19/17 and I know committee members participate in these rallies and events RWC members volunteered for the Unions of Regina Christmas Dinner on December 20, 2017, and the RWC made a financial donation to help cover costs of the meal. Regina RWC has held discussions about the resolutions passed at the EO Conference and the Prairie Region Triennial recognizing the need to lobby delegates at National to see these resolutions come into being. Michelle Lang, Chair of Regina RWC is one of the two women’s delegates to National Triennial. I am looking forward to her lobbying efforts on behalf of Prairie RWC’s.
October 28 RWC held a Women’s Social with the objective of recruiting membership for the RWC and possibly resurrecting an RWC in Prince Albert. This was an opportunity to invite participants in the “A Women’s Place is in Her Union “ course (held Oct 29) to attend the social and learn about the RWC. Leila White, Chair of the Saskatoon RWC did a presentation about the mandate of the RWC and their plans for 2018. After that she co-facilitated a wellness exercise, “Laughter Yoga.” Leila also participated in part of the workshop the next day and answered more questions about the RWC. They held a December 6 event discussing the murder by misogyny that occurred in Montreal in 1989. The murdered women were remembered by reading of their names and there was a discussion on the importance of remembering them annually as well as how important it is to continue working to protect sisters from violence against women. They are supporting Moon Time Sisters and their drive to collect feminine hygiene products to women and girls in need – the RWC will promote by doing a poster and mail out to the locals. Saskatoon RWC intends to broadcast meetings live on Facebook to allow women who would like to participate who cannot come to the office for a meeting. The broadcast could also be reviewed by any committee member post meeting for feedback and input prior to the next meeting. They have also set dates for their 2018 meetings – they will meet on the third Tuesday every other month, starting January 16, 2018. This RWC is rebuilding after a short period of inactivity; many of the events they planned for 2017 were not implemented. They are working on building the RWC into an active and dynamic entity in 2018.
June 14/17 – participated in “Burn Phoenix” activity
June 21/17 – participated in Aboriginal Family Day event
July 7, 8/17- participated in PRC meeting
Sept 11/17 – chaired Calgary RWC meeting
Sept 19/17 – issued PRC Women’s Committee Newsletter to Prairie Region RWC’s
Sept 28/17 – participated in Edmonton RWC meeting by teleconference
Oct 2/17 – participated in PRC teleconference call
Oct 12/17 – participated in Calgary Regional Office Grand Opening
Oct 17/17 – participated in Lethbridge RWC meeting by teleconference
Oct 18/17 – attended CCAAC Annual General Meeting by teleconference (3:00 to 5:00 p.m.)
Oct 18/17 – attended Calgary Human Rights Committee meeting
Oct 25/17 – attended Calgary and District Area Council meeting
Oct 26/17 – attended Winnipeg Tri-Committee meeting by teleconference
Oct 30/17 – chaired Calgary RWC meeting
Nov 16/17 – attended Calgary tri-committee meeting
Nov 24 to 26/17 – attend A Women’s Place is in Her Union Retreat
Nov 29 – Dec 2/17 – attended PSAC National Leadership Training
Dec 3, 4/17 – attended PSAC National Human Rights Committee meeting
Dec 18/17 – attended IWD panning committee meeting by teleconference
Jan 11/17 – attended IWD planning committee meeting by teleconference