Pennie Young Reports

February 2018

Indigenous issues across Canada were elevated with the election of Justin Trudeau in 2015, the Liberal government promised a better relationship with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.  The inquiry into the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) was promised and the community of Grassy Narrows was promised a new water treatment plant.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the inquiry into MMIWG was cut short despite calls for an extension.  The report from the MMIWG commission was released June 3, 2019 including 231 calls for justice.

The PSAC National Indigenous People’s Circle (NIPC) representatives decided to focus on the issue of MMIWG with The Red Dress Campaign; post cards and information sheets were created to raise the public’s awareness of the facts surrounding the inquiry. People were asked to sign post cards addressed to the Prime Minister.  The NIPC representatives marched to Parliament, Centre Block, for Question Period and presented over 10,000 signed post cards to the Prime Minister in April 2018.

PSAC NIPC met October 9-11, 2019 in Ottawa; The Red Dress Campaign will continue with the focus on calling upon the Government of Canada to fully implement the Calls for Justice as recommended by the MMIWG Commission.

In addition to the Red Dress Campaign NIPC is also supporting the PSAC Thirsty for Justice Campaign. Again we are demanding that the government of Canada fulfill its commitment to build a water treatment plant in Grassy Narrows and deal with the more than 100 First Nations communities across Canada that do have safe drinking water.

In April 2019 I participated in the first ever Indigenous People’s Lobby Day organized by the Canadian Labour Congress; we lobbying MP’s and Senators on Pharmacare, Pensions and Safe Drinking Water for Indigenous Communities.

I participated in the PSAC Leadership Training for Indigenous women in Leadership; this training was inspirational and motivational.  Many of the sisters who attended this training are active in NIPC and within their Locals and communities.  I was honoured to be selected and continue to use the tools provided in my role as the Indigenous Representative for the PRC.

Respectfully Submitted in Solidarity,

Sandra Ahenakew

PSAC PRC Indigenous People’s Representative.

February 2020

As my first term draws to an end, I reflect on what I have done and learned being the area council rep for Prince Albert and look forward to becoming more active in my next term.    During the past 2 years I have become more involved and aware with what is going on in my community and In my province.  I have participated in several rally’s and enjoyed them immensely.   I have attended all the Area council meetings for Prince Albert and have been trying to encourage more people to become part of our area council.  At our last meeting in January I was elected to be the Prince Albert Representative for the next three years.  As my knowledge grows I plan to assist other people to become more active and encourage them to learn what the union is about.  

In our meetings we have started discussing how to get people involved in the Union and our Prince Albert Area Council.  One of the biggest ways we believe will make a difference is taking time and talking to individual people in our workplaces.  I think lack of understanding about the Union is part of the problem and by sharing our knowledge we can and will make a difference in getting people involved.

Some of the highlights during my term was attending the 100 year strike rally to commemorate the general strike in Winnipeg.   I was amazed at all the changes in the union during this time period.  Attending the parade was interesting and a real eye opener for me.  What people sacrificed for the good of others is very touching and makes me more willing to make a stand on issues.  

I attended the last face to face meetings in Regina November 14th to the 17th.  These meetings were productive and allowed the council to have great discussions on the upcoming Convention and put forward some resolutions for convention from the PRC.   

On January 30th I participated in the PRC conference call.

I have been on the communications committee during this term and have enjoyed working with this committee, little things can make a difference and sometimes get people involved.  By giving a colleague swag in the form of a whistle I was able to open a door which led to a discussion about the union.  Giving people swag sometimes allows for conversations to be started.

Issues that continue here in Prince Albert are the lack of people attending both local Union meetings as well as Area council meetings, and the Phoenix Pay system.  At my workplace we are  wearing  black t shirts on pay day since many people are still affected by the Phoenix Pay system.  

In the next year we will have a provincial election and I plan to be involved in my local area to make a difference and help to keep people informed on issues that affect all of us. 

I would like to thank the Regional office representatives who assisted all of us in many ways throughout this term.

Respectfully submitted in Solidarity,
Pennie Young