PSAC Human Rights Committee Minutes
Thursday, October 29, 2020 6pm
Present: Jennifer Chieh Ho (Chair), Jacqueline Nanali (Vice Chair), Debbie Leaman, Tina Matias Bouchard (PSAC REP), Khalid Ahmad, Yvonne Hein, Lindsey Sparks, Deanna
Guest: Nigel Bart (Artbeat Studio)
1.Call to Order: Jen 6:13pm
2.Land Acknowledgment and PSAC Statement on Harassment: Jackie
3.Round Introductions (group gave work and local)
4.Motion: Adoption of Agenda: Jen/Yvonne Carried.
Motion: Move item 9. New Business: e. Oct Mental Health Presentation – speaker to Item #6.
Add: under New Business: CLC Action Week
Add under New Business: Canadians for Justice and Peace Israel/Palestine Lobby Campaign
5.Motion: Approval of Meeting Minutes of September 30, 2020: Jen/Jackie carried. (Via email)
Correction Tina: Change REVP to Regional Representative
6. Oct Mental Health Presentation – speaker: Nigel Bart – Artbeat Studio
Nigel lives with mental health since early adulthood. He believes in recovery. Artbeat started 16 years ago. Nigel graduated out of Fine Arts at U of M. His mother is a potter. He found pottery was healing. He and his parents started Artbeat and now they develop and refine the process. Each 6 months they take 8 artists at a time – who live with mental health concerns and go through an application process. They are self-directed artists, program has no focus on disability, rather Inspire hope into artists.
Every month to recognize mental health, especially October – Mental Health Month – recognizes this year with the pandemic – stress of daily life – social distancing.
Adjustment to contact cut off causes vulnerable people to get sick. Human rights issues are concern of those with lived experience – they have limited options under scrutiny because of labels and rights taken away,
For Nigel, art is a way of coping, a gift, and a vocation he doesn’t take lightly. He uses his creativity and imagination while isolating doing things like: writing music, making pottery, paintings to describe his experience. Just like exercise and nutrition, balance comes through creativity – helps you deal with stress and grief as a therapeutic way to help understand the world.
At Artbeat there is staggering hours at Artbeat – have 5 people at a time. There are Digital workshops and they follow under covid rules – limits of people, masks, sanitation. Studio facilitator – does experiential learning.
- Nigel Bart Bio: (http://artbeatstudio.ca/nigel-bart-offering-a-creative-outlet-and-renewe…)
- Artbeat Group 36 graduates November 6. Nigel is compressing footage of their work to share end of month. Online event has performances, musician’s performances. Artbeat relies on donations, during the pandemic they dried up and applied for emergency funding. Artbeat Website: (http://artbeatstudio.ca/)
- Studio Central – has physical site – is opened up to not only people with mental health concerns but those who are marginalized attend. Some people are newcomers, Indigenous people, youth, and people with physical disabilities. They also have online events. Studio Central: (http://artbeatstudio.ca/programming/444-kennedy/)
- Upbeat Artwroks – to support local artists the store is in Portage – the store currently has shadow boxes. Upbeat Artworks: (http://artbeatstudio.ca/upbeatartworks/)
- Artbeat and Studio Central Upcoming Events: (http://artbeatstudio.ca/whatsonatartbeat/)
- Artbeat on Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/artbeatstudio1)
7. Finance Report: (in Liu of Treasurer)
- Debbie gave report – No updates – need someone to pick up materials from her. No changes at this point.
- To leave paperwork to new Treasurer – if new Treasurer for signing authority.
- Question: do we pay REVP office cheque? If no funds – ask from office – can have new funds deducted from money flowed.
- Financial report due for January to PRC Finance Committee.
- Tina asked Marianne about receipt. Bill was paid. She sent an email – confirming the Oscar’s bill was paid by Marianne’s office on October 2, 2020.
8.By-Election: HRC Treasurer Tina
Call for Nominations for Treasurer:
Jen nominates Yvonne – who declined.
Jen nominated Khalid, Jackie second.
2nd and 3rd call, no further nominations. Khalid accepted Treasurer Position.
Oath – Treasurer sworn in by Tina
Jen will give Tina Khalid’s email.
b.PSAC HRC Contact Email Update
Jackie’s email to hold onto for future backup.
c.Terms of Reference Discussion – Tina
- Tina emailed the Handbook.
- Committee has no TOR now. To use TOR or stay with Human Rights Committee Handbook?
- TOR is a lot of work in governance and membership and Exec and funding sources and reporting. Possible Budget request need Terms of Reference documents
- Tina sent to Marianne the gaps in the HRC Handbook to confirm about quorum. AREA Council has TOR. Other committees do not.
- PSAC HRC Prairie Handbook: (https://prairies.psac.com/node/10525)
- Group decided unless disagreement of rules then to come back to it. Committee review handbook.
d.Siloam Mission Update – Jen
- Thanks to those who sent in your messages which were forwarded to the Siloam Mission for their “Encouragement wall”.This means a lot to the center and their community partners, to let them know that there are people who care about them.
- On Oct 7th, the committee received an email from the volunteer services with an update that they are asking volunteers to refrain from scheduling at this time.There is only a small number of volunteers they are working with currently during the pandemic. The center has moved from caution phase into the orange which is restricted phase.
a.Acknowledge Women’s History Month – Debbie
- This year is the 28th year of Women’s History Month in Canada.October was designated by the government in 1992, as Women’s History Month.It’s to celebrate the achievements of women and girls throughout Canada’s history.
- This theme for this year is #BecauseOfYou
- There is a gallery called the Women of Impact in Canada on the website which recognizes the contributions and achievements of 100 exceptional Canadian women and girls who have made an impact in politics, the arts and sciences, and countless other fields.
- And one which shows a timeline of important events which is how Canadian women in Canadian history. His journey continues! E.g. 1645: information on the founder of Canada’s first hospital, Jeanne Mance.Jeanne was a French nurse and settler of New France, opened Hôtel-Dieu in Montreal which was one of the first hospitals in Canada.
- To 2019:Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released. “Reclaiming Power and Place,” , the two-volume Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, was released on June 3, 2019. It called for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country.
- Status of Women Canada: (https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/commemoration/whm-mhf/theme-en.html)
b.CLIFF (Canadian Labour International Film Festival) – Nov 4 local) – Jen
- At first the event was only open to Manitoba then fellow PSAC members from outside of Manitoba showed interest but could not register for free tickets. Jen approached CLIFF to request for our Nov 4 event to be opened to all across Canada.
At this time, only a few registered, but now it is across Canada,
- Jen invited Frank Saptel, founder of CLIFF to join our discussion.
- On the CLIFF website, there is an interview on the founder, Frank Saptel, where you can learn more about the background of CLIFF.It’s interesting and informative.
- CLIFF Founder Interview: (https://necsus-ejms.org/nothing-short-of-a-revolution-a-conversation-wit…)
- PSAC CLIFF registration: (https://prairies.psac.com/events/winnipeg-area-human-rights-committee-cl…)
c.CLIFF – Dec 10 Prairie Wide – International Human Rights Day – Jen
- Jen suggested: that the HRC holds a discussion or presentation on Dec 10, to commemorate International Human Rights Day,
- Jen contacted all PRC equity reps on Oct 28, to see if they would be available to join us to celebrate Dec 10 International Human Rights Day; to share updates of the PSAC national human rights Day, what priorities are for each equity group, and /or do a presentation on respective groups they represent.
- Committee to discuss to reach out to allies to join us that day.
d.PSAC Equity Rep – Invitation to PSAC Committees for Reps to join us
e.CLC Action week – Tina
- CLC is calling activists to join their virtual meetings with MPs around the country.PSAC is paying up to 2 hours loss of wages if your meetings are taking place during work hours. CLC disclaimer: “Our demands are clear, we are asking the government to include a plan that replaces lost jobs with better ones, strengthens public health care and improves our social safety net.”
- Nov 2 – 6 is too short notice, perhaps on a later date.
- Jen suggested to plan on lobbying our MPs, with reference or speaking notes provided by the CLC – for a later date.
- Tina suggested HRC to work with Area Council to see what plans are in place.
- Jen represents HRC to Area Council meetings and next meeting will be Nov 17th.
- Canadian Plan action Week: (https://canadianplan.ca/action-week2020/sign-up-for-action-week/)
f.Canadians for Justice and Peace Israel/Palestine Lobby Campaign – Khalid
- The CJPME Team reported:
- Last month, Israeli politicians announced a plan that would illegally annex large portions of the West Bank to Israel. Politicians in France, Germany, the UK and elsewhere have already announced their opposition to Israel’s unlawful plan. In the past, the Trudeau government has said it ONLY supports a “NEGOTIATED” solution between Israel and Palestine – but Canada has so far said NOTHING about Israel’s illegal new plans!
More Info (from CJPME Team):
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, struck a deal earlier this week to annex parts of the West Bank as part of their bid to form a unity government. This plan, in accordance with Trump’s “Deal of the Century” could be implemented as early as July 10. In a despicable move, the new Israeli government has used the distraction of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic to proceed with this unilateral and illegal plan.
- Gantz and Netanyahu, until recently political rivals who faced off in Israel’s March 2 election, agreed that Netanyahu would be able to bring a proposal for annexing parts of the West Bank to a cabinet vote this summer, but supposedly only if the United States backs the move and if it is done in coordination with other international players.
- When Trump released his Plan in January, he gave the green light to Israel to move forward with unilaterally annexing more Palestinian land, a move considered to be illegal by the international community. The Trump Plan also suggested that Israel could move forward unilaterally, whether or not the Palestinians have signed on to the Plan.
- In Canada’s response to Trump’s Plan, the Trudeau government stated, “Canada has long maintained that peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.” (italics added) If Israel moves forward on its annexation plans with the US’ support, Trudeau’s reaction will be very significant.
- With the entire globe focused on fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the political agreement in Israel seems like a strategy by Netanyahu to advance his illegal right-wing agenda, under the guise of addressing the COVID-19 crisis.
- With the COVID-19 outbreak, Israel will face much less resistance to its plans in the form of protests and grassroots activism. Under the COVID-19 emergency measures, Israeli and Palestinian activists are prevented from coming together to protest or protect their communities.
- If the annexation goes ahead, building homes in illegal Israeli settlements will be just as easy as building a new development in a place like Tel Aviv or Haifa. Instead of having to navigate through the military apparatus, and get Knesset and military approval before any new construction, settlements will soon be able to get a simple municipal approval in order to build more homes and take more Palestinian land.
- Canadians for Justice and Peace: (https://www.cjpme.org/)
- Round Table
Jen shared information on Asian Canadian Labour Alliance (ACLA):
In BC celebrating 20 years of the Alliance and presenting “Asians still fighting for Justice” on Nov 14.
“Given the COVID-19 pandemic, rise in white supremacy, and the current political climate where the rich become wealthier while working people continue to suffer, there is an immediate need for Asian workers to come together in a multi-racial struggle towards liberatory justice. What are Asian workers doing to organize their workplaces, unions, and the broader labour movement? How do intersections of class, race, and gender affect Asian workers organizing in settler-colonial Canada? How do we build an intra-Asian coalition as we fight for justice in the landscape we’re currently in? Celebrate twenty years of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance in B.C. and join us in conversation as we explore these questions, featuring union leaders and organizers who are advancing worker justice within their communities and beyond.”
- Nym Calvez is a hotel worker, and an organizer and executive board member with UNITE HERE Local 40. She is also an executive board member at COPE. Nym was one of the lead organizers of the 2019 Vancouver hotel strikes, which resulted in hotel workers gaining historic raises of up to 25% at multiple downtown hotels.
- Rabia Mohamed Is Identified as a Muslim Women Wearing The traditional hijab (head cover). She was born in Uganda, East Africa and immigrated to Canada at the tender age of 7 years old, and raised and educated in a small town west of the City of Toronto. Rabia’s struggle with racism and discrimination has been a lifelong struggle despite being a Canadian national for virtually her entire life. For over 25 years, she has worked within the Logistics/Transport industry, and she currently works for Canadian Blood Services in the role of a Dispatch / Supply Technician supporting Canada’s Lifeline, Blood Supply Chain. She is a member of the HEU as an active Steward advocating for the rights of employees within the framework of Facilities Collective Bargaining Agreement. She is also the Co-Chair on the Joint Health and Safety Committee. Rabia is passionate about volunteering for initiatives that support newcomers and refugees within her local community and is passionate about international human rights, domestic civil rights and speaking out against oppression.
- Vincent Tao is a labour union organizer, housing activist, and educator based in Vancouver. Tao is currently working as a community organizer at the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU). He was previously an organizer at the Teaching Support Staff Union, where he was hired to help coordinate a successful campaign to unionize 1,500 research assistants at Simon Fraser University.
- Yi Chien Jade Ho 何宜謙 is currently an Education Doctoral student at Simon Fraser University and a steering committee member of the Vancouver Tenants Union. Jade has been a housing rights organizer for the past 5 years working primarily in Vancouver’s Chinatown fighting against gentrification and racism. She is also a labour organizer with the Teaching Support Staff Union. In 2019, she was part of a successful unionization drive for research assistants and grant employees at SFU, making RAs at SFU the first unionized research workers in West Coast Canada. Her doctoral work centers on developing a radical pedagogy of place through decolonial lenses focusing on settlers of color and their connection to place, land and identity.
- Moderator: Gayle Nye Is One Of The Proud Founding Members Of The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance in BC.
- As a former BCGEU Equity and Human Rights Officer and member of the CLC Human Rights and Women’s Committees, Gayle and co-workers attended a Convention of the Asian Pacific American Labour Alliance and were inspired to establish a Canadian solidarity counterpart. Numerous labour staff, activists and friends built ACLA during those early and intervening years.Gayle has since been working with Antidote: Multiracial & Indigenous Girls and Women’s Network. Since retiring in 2019 as United Way Greater Victoria Labour Coordinator she has been coordinating a project with the Chinese Community Services Centre “Telling Our Stories – A Victoria Chinatown History”.
- Gayle rejoins the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance to help celebrate its 20th Anniversary, re-energized in the fight for racial and social Justice.
The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance is a national organization that has existed for two decades. In 2020, with the spike in Anti-Asian racist incidents in British Columbia, a small group of Asian Canadian activists began to reach out to get ACLA active again in B.C. to further ACLA’s goals and advance economic and racial justice in our communities and in the labour movement. We welcome all Asian Canadian workers in B.C. (unionized or not, union staff or rank-and-file members) to join our efforts.
This online panel will include artwork and performances from the following artists:
- Marlene Yuen (current show “Cheap! Diligent! Faithful!” from Sep. 25-Dec.12, 2020 at Grunt Exhibitions: (https://grunt.ca/exhibitions/)
- Son of James
12.Next meeting date: TBA
13.Adjournment: Jen: 8:03pm