2008 Annual Report – Resolutions

2008 Annual Report of 
National Chairperson of Resolutions
Barb Dowding

Research and Preparation of Resolutions and Briefs
Members continued to persevere with dogged determination, patience and untold hours of dedication to build up the Body of Christ through the resolutions standing committee. One provincial council established a committee of diocesan resolutions chairpersons to brainstorm ideas for resolutions topics resulting in two coming forward. Councils studied various methods of collecting data for back up material, practiced preparing clear briefs and studied the changes in guidelines for resolutions.

Study and Implementation of Resolutions Passed by Other Levels
Hands on activities like writing letters, signing petitions and making phone calls ranked high on the list of actions resulting from adopted resolutions. Members confidently followed in the footsteps of those who had worked so hard to research important issues by developing relevant resolutions and proposing appropriate action plans. Resolutions directed to provincial matters ranked high on the list of action taken with members supporting current and past resolutions one on one with their respective elected representatives. Banning cell phone use while driving was addressed many times and reports indicate that this issue continues to be under review in a several more provinces. Councils encouraged members to become better informed on pertinent issues especially in the lead up to the federal election.

Thirteen resolutions were submitted from provincial councils for consideration at the 88th annual national convention. Six were adopted and one was referred to a standing committee for action and education.

Resolutions Adopted at National Level in 2008
•  2008.01 Preventing Human Trafficking at 2010 Olympics
•  2008.02 Restrictions on the Sale of Products Containing Triclosan
•  2008.03 Toxic Substances in Household Products
•  2008.04 Accurate Food Labelling
•  2008.05 Transportation Tax Credit for Rural Post-Secondary Students
•  2008.06 Revision of the Youth Criminal Justice Act

The action plans that accompanied each resolution were cited as helpful and important in both raising awareness and assisting members to react appropriately. Councils began what is the most important part of a resolution ? the action. While some parish councils focused on one resolution at a time for maximum exposure, understanding and collective support, others reported reviewing old resolutions and strategies for action at monthly meetings.

Some parish councils worked on older resolutions to sensitize members and prompt action: praying for world peace, discussing issues that face refugees, discussion the impact of using scented perfumes and hairspray, and disposal of pest control agents. Our Lady of Guadalupe prayers and novenas were the focus in one province. Fair trade was considered important and environmental concerns were raised often in regard to eliminating the use of plastic bags and using reusable bags and recycled containers. The hot topic issues still needing constant attention included same-sex unions. Members paid special attention to the exemption of Goods and Services Tax from funeral services.

Provinces report taking action on the following resolutions:
– 2008.01 Preventing Human Trafficking at 2010 Olympics: letters, videos, workshops
– 2008.02 Restrictions on the Sale of Products Containing Triclosan: letters, discussion
– 2008.03 Toxic Substances in Household Products: discussion
– 2008.04 Accurate Food Labelling: letters and discussion
– 2008.05 Transportation Tax Credit for Rural Post-Secondary Students: letters, discussion
– 2008.06 Revision of the Youth Criminal Justice Act : letters, discussion
– 2007.01 Government Funding for Police Records Checks: discussion
– 2007.02 Global Accountability for Canadian Registered Mining Companies: discussion, speakers, letters
– 2007.03 Hospice Palliative Care: An Integral Component of the Canadian Health Care System: discussion, letters, speakers, volunteers
– 2006.03 Increase Old Age Security
– 2006.05 GST Exemption on Funeral Services
– 2006.06 Labelling and Disposal of Pest Control Products
– 2005.01 Christmas Postage Stamps: discussion and encouragement to purchase
– 2005.08 Matercare International Funding: discussion
– 2005.11 Assisted Suicide ? A Criminal Offence
– 2004.07 Water Use in Canada : discussion and proposed resolution
– 2002.09 Human Stem Cell Research
– 2000.01 Our Lady of Guadalupe ? Mother and Evangelizer of America

In a moving ceremony at the annual national convention, 53 League resolutions were added to the Index of Archived Resolutions. This prayer service gave recognition to the vision, thought and dedication of League sisters who proposed, researched and approved them.

Presentation of Resolutions to Government
In 2008, resolutions briefs were prepared and forwarded to a number of provincial and territorial governments. Many provincial councils attempt to meet annually but elections and other situations kept the schedules tentative. Similarly, the national delegation was unable to meet in November but a date was secured in 2009. Two provincial councils reported having meetings in 2008 including one with the Territorial government. Issues brought to the provincial governments included abuse of residents in long term care facilities, palliative care, and the link between graphic imagery and aggressive behaviour. The feedback, support and energy that result from government meetings could not be understated. It is a service to those in public office when we bring concerns from our grass roots members; it also serves as a wake up call for those elected officials to remember that it is these same people who cast votes come election time. A good working relationship with a member of a legislative assembly in one diocese resulted in the council being asked to contribute to the process of improving the health strategy in their community while another was invited to participate in a government roundtable meeting on a Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Members report being received enthusiastically by government representatives at annual meetings, treated with great respect and listened to; they are welcomed and appreciated.

Chairpersons at all levels work hard to find unique and innovative ways to raise awareness about the resolutions process and the importance of advocacy through this Standing Committee. Workshops rank high on the list of best practices to ensure ongoing education. One provincial council focused on its own executive, while others took training days and workshops to diocesan conventions and meetings. Beginning with personal experiences and day to day examples, members enjoyed the simple but effective exercise. Other workshops focused on using plain language and working in a group as a way of making the resolution stronger. Hearing different perspectives gives strength of purpose and enables members to know one another better through a shared learning experience. Evaluations bear out gratitude for gaining a clearer understanding and appreciation of the resolutions process and the desire for more.

Other strategies to encourage interest and involvement include short programs at parish council meetings by knowledgeable and enthusiastic members. Learning to understand the rules and following established process will ensure authentic and credible results.

It is clear that Canadian Catholic Women’s League members care deeply about the poor, the vulnerable and those who cannot speak for themselves at home and abroad. They are well-known and admired for being the ‘conscience’ of politicians, the advocate for the rights and dignity of persons and the spokespersons for the voiceless. The resolutions process makes all these things possible.