National Chairperson of Resolutions
2017 Annual Report
Creativity, insight and wisdom of members who have an avid interest in resolutions was evident in the annual reports. Members were determined to bring to the forefront issues that mattered.
Four resolutions were adopted at the 97th annual national convention in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island:
• 2017.01 Full Implementation of the Supreme Court Decision in R. v. Gladue for Indigenous Offenders
• 2017.02 Mandatory Age Verification Mechanism for Adult Pornographic Websites
• 2017.03 Zero-Rated Status Under the Goods and Services Tax Provisions of the Excise Tax Act for Child Safety Products
• 2017.04 Protection from Coercion of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals
Research and Preparation of Resolutions and Briefs
Responses to the question, “Have you considered and studied issues that might become resolutions?” were varied. Responses showed there is interest to discuss issues that might be considered as a resolution at council meetings. Responses were indicative of the diversity of the council wherein more experienced members and life members who take an avid interest in resolutions are excellent resources for councils. One suggestion was to have an active committee (including council president) to work together on a resolution rather than one member tasked with doing it all.
Study and Implementation of Resolutions Adopted at Other Levels
The most prevalent resolutions which parish councils studied and followed up on were on the topics of physician assisted death/freedom of conscience, medical assistance in death, euthanasia, palliative care, pornography, Indigenous issues, healthy eating (food labeling), needs/abuse of seniors, universal pharmacare and youth mental health.
Parish councils reported studying their provincial resolutions, to which some address social justice, community and provincially based issues. Reasons for not preparing a resolution were no chairperson or lack of interest among council members, to name a few. One parish council reported it began the year planning to focus on euthanasia. When legislation was passed, it shifted focus to advocate on hospice care. The most prevalent forms of communication in bringing awareness to adopted resolutions were making members aware through meetings, e-mail and newsletters, and arranging for a guest speaker.
Letter writing continued to be the most prevalent form of support for resolutions. Areas which councils specifically followed through on were the abortion pill (RU-486), refugees, the environment, resolutions adopted in the past three years, home care and the federal government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. Some parish councils organized a letter writing campaign. Signing petitions was a common approach among some reports.
At Provincial and National Levels, Presentation of Resolutions to Government
The national delegation was unable to secure meetings with the federal government in 2017 to discuss resolutions. Several provincial executive noted they meet regularly with provincial government representatives to discuss issues from a provincial perspective. Some provincial executives that were unable to secure meetings provided information packages to elected representatives in anticipation that a date would be suitably arranged.
As membership declines, recruitment of members to serve as resolutions chairpersons continued to be challenging. Provincial chairpersons cited the inability of parish councils to complete reporting online led to inaccurate and incomplete information.
One provincial chairperson suggested as part of the national resolutions dialogue session, proposed resolutions and supporting documentation be made available earlier in order to make informed decisions. It is noteworthy to share the national resolutions committee works on resolutions two days prior to the annual national convention. Delegates to the national convention must keep in mind that proposed resolutions are brought to the national executive for consideration one day before the resolutions dialogue session and may only be circulated following approval. Another suggestion was to allow more time for discussion, if possible.
Respondents noted the lively discussion at the national convention on resolutions. When provincial and diocesan councils engage in lively discussions regarding resolutions, members become more informed and comfortable with the process. Debates and proceedings offer delegates clearer understanding and speak volumes to the wisdom of members at every level who wish to express an opinion on matters. Reports noted members in attendance were extremely pleased with the dialogue and debates.
Some provincial chairpersons noted leadership development through resolutions workshops was helpful as it assisted members in delineating and tweaking resolutions at various levels. One provincial chairperson held an interactive workshop to reduce the stigma around resolutions. Another provincial chairperson shared ideas on how each level of the League could follow through to make a resolution acceptable at the appropriate level.
Some final thoughts shared by members in the annual reports noted the very long and complicated process, wasted time on debate that turned out to be redundant and more teaching on amendments/more time on discussion, to name a few. When members journeyed through the traditional route of a resolution, opportunity for growth and knowledge demystified and alleviated fears surrounding resolutions.
There are many stages in the lifespan of a resolution from its inception to eventual archival. Throughout its lifespan, members are encouraged to keep informed on its status and action plans. While it is not always necessary to have councils research and develop resolutions, it will remain a priority to keep a valid interest in the outcome of any resolutions. Most annual reports noted this remains important in their work.
It was evident the resolutions dialogue is an integral part of the national convention. There were various suggestions for preparedness and dialogue. There was a common theme prevalent to reports in that members wished to receive topics early in order to be more prepared in discussing resolutions at their annual convention.
Inspired by the Spirit, Women Respond to God’s Call. The hallmark of advocacy of members throughout was inspiring and tremendous efforts were put forth to support and uphold resolutions. Annual reports were very informative and offered some valid suggestions which will be shared with the incoming chairperson. It was encouraging to read input provided by parish councils and how they perceive resolutions and the many suggestions to clarify the process at all levels.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. May the Holy Spirit continue to inspire members to work diligently with renewed vigour and hope.