Minutes from the May 6, 2013 Saskatoon RWC Meeting
Minutes of May 6th, 2013
Nancy Johnson (UTE), Nicole Wurm (AGR), Elena Beynon (AGR), Rosemary Neufeld (AGR), Louise Mardell (PSAC Rep)
Karen Zoller (AGR)
Nancy and Karen attended the Regional Women’s Conference in Banff this past weekend. The theme was “Telling Our Stories”. As the Women’s Rep on PRC, Nancy chaired the event.
Here is her report:
We had 62 registered delegates and one observer attend the conference. The theme was “Telling Our Stories” and the sisters shared their stories in two workshops: “Political Action” and “Herstory”.
The event kicked off with a meet and greet and Regional Women’s Committees (RWCs) showcased the work of their committees through creative display boards. Delegates were greeted as they arrived after receiving their registration kits.
Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President for the PSAC Prairie Region, kicked off the event on Saturday by welcoming the delegates to The Banff Centre. I introduced the steering committee members from their respective RWC’s and thanked them for their hard work in organizing the event, along with staff members Lisa, Dolly, Carm, Nina and Marija.
Facilitators for the “Political Action” workshop were Mona Simcoe and Carm Chan, Maria Fitzpatrick and Dolly Ablitt, Sandra Ahankew and Diane Allen. Facilitators for “Herstory” workshop were Meraiah Morison and Carm Chan, Vimbai Dune and Dolly Ablitt, Nancy Johnson and Diane Allen.
The workshops were well received by the delegates and the participation levels were filled with high levels of enthusiasm and energy. The stories were very touching and it was evident that we have voices that still want to be heard.
Rachel Notley, NDP MLA for Edmonton-Strathcona, spoke about her involvement in politics at an early age, as her father, Grant Notley, was the leader of the provincial NDP party. She worked for an MLA in her early 20’s, during which time she became passionate about Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) issues and became an advocate. This led her to pursue a law degree to fight injustices with health and safety laws and to make changes.
She believes that we need to be involved in the community and connect with others so that we can make changes. We can make real changes, but we need to have goals in place; a plan that has direction so we know where we are going and how to get there. Sisters appreciated her speech and agreed that community involvement is key to making changes.
Autumn EagleSpeaker talked about why she became involved in the Idle No Moremovement and showed us a slideshow about the flash mobs in and around Calgary that led to her participation in an event at Parliament Hill in December 2012. Delegates listened as she gave us a history lesson about treaty rights in Canada. She ended by having all delegates participate in a round dance.
Shannan Little and Sherry Hunt presented on social media, including the dos and don’ts of Facebook, benefits of Twitter, and how news can go viral.
Saturday’s banquet kicked off by screening the film A Struggle to Remember: Fighting for Our Families. Sister Robyn Benson, PSAC National President, and Sister Nycole Turmel, NDP MP for Hull-Aylmer and former PSAC National President, were both interviewed in the documentary. The DVD is available to borrow from all PSAC regional offices and can be screened at RWC meetings, AGM’s, and/or lunch and learn events.
Throughout the evening, local artists Cori Brewster and Lori Reid provided entertainment and the banquet concluded with the announcement of silent auction winners. The locals were very generous in the donation of silent auction items and the Calgary RWC chair did an amazing job in organizing the table and selling of tickets. In total, the auction raised $1,600. All monies raised will be donated to the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.
Sunday morning kicked off with a video created by Marianne on political action in the Prairies, which lead to Jeannie Baldwin, Atlantic REVP, taking the stage to tell “her” story. She was passionate and let the delegates know that we are in for the fight for our lives with the Harper government and wanted to know that the sisters were behind her and ready to fight. She listed all the cuts and said that she was very proud of the “We Are All Affected” campaign as we are all truly affected by the cuts.
Andree Cote gave us an excellent presentation on the “Rethink Child Care” campaign, which includes “Kitchen Table Conversations”. Facilitators acted as table hosts and began the discussions and delegates reported back. Reoccurring themes were that affordable and quality childcare is very hard to find, and employers are not flexible when it comes to duty to accommodate for childcare issues. Delegates were asked to sign up to be a host/campaigner for the on-going campaign.
To close, Bread & Roses video was played and Marianne asked that all delegates get involved in RWC’s, become active in a political campaign, and make a change so we are prepared for 2015.
Regional Women’s Conference
Nancy provided the receipts for the gift donation for silent auction and static display board. The total costs submitted were $142.58. Committee approved expenses. Elena to reimburse.
National H&SThe conference was held in Montreal from April 12-14 and Nancy was selected to attend as she sits on the PRC’s Health and Safety committee. Mental health awareness speakers were great and very informative, this is an issue that will increase with our members as they are facing job cuts, and more work less employees and an aging workforce with family commitments. A regional caucus was held on the Sunday morning and input was received from the delegates what direction they would like to see the Prairies take on H&S. All ideas were recorded on flip charts, typed and sent to Bruce Campbell, PSAC H&S Rep.
Committee Funding and Reporting Procedures
No update from the REVP’s office about our funding and/or receipt of our reporting for 2013. There were issues with some of the other RWC’s obtaining the information to complete their packages. Stay tuned.
Foodbank Community Garden Project
Exciting news! The organizer contacted me and we have a plot! It looks like the end of May will be when the garden will be ready for planting. More details to come once I received them. So happy we can participate in such a worthy cause in our community.
Meeting expense was $36.15 for food expense.
Our next meeting will be May 30th so that we can discuss any resolutions and our garden plot update.