faith | service | social justice

2018 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Resolutions

May 31, 2019 | Annual Reports, National

Cathy Bouchard
National Chairperson of Resolutions

“Resolutions play a major part in the League’s work. Through them, policy may be established, programs planned, or concerns and views expressed to governments. Resolutions can be a powerful tool ‘to infuse a Christian spirit into the temporal order’ (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity). The League can serve the church’s mission and be a Christian witness through resolutions” (Resolutions Supplement to the Executive Handbook.)

This was a challenging standing committee to fill. Provincial resolutions chairpersons and the national chairperson gave valuable support and shared important resources with each other. Resolutions provided members a means to express concerns about issues impacting women, families and all people in Canada. Research on issues brought greater awareness. Action plans provided a focus for advocacy with municipal, provincial and federal government and other organizations able to assist the League as members pursued change.

Three resolutions adopted at the 98th annual national convention in Winnipeg, Manitoba were:

2018.01 Attestation Requirement on Canada Summer Jobs Program
2018.02 Setting a Standard for Products Marketed as “Flushable”
2018.03 Legislate Designation of Hospice/Palliative Care Services in Facilities to Exclude Medical Assistance in Dying

Members were reminded many voices must be heard at parliamentary level to make a difference. The strongest voices are heard in person by representatives, followed by personal letter writing.

Government Meetings
With assistance from national office, meetings were scheduled to visit parliament in November. National President Anne-Marie Gorman, National President-Elect Fran Lucas and I spent three days in Ottawa, meeting with representatives of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The delegation met with various government ministries and presented current national resolutions. There was additional focus on earlier resolutions dealing with health issues and Indigenous relations. The meetings brought greater awareness of each other’s roles.

Online Annual Reports
Slightly more than one-half of councils across Canada used the online annual report form. From these respondents, less than one-half of positions were filled. For personal development, members attended workshops on resolutions at diocesan and provincial conventions or development days and through Catch the Fire!. Members were educated through reading League materials such as the Resolutions Supplement to the Executive Handbook, communiqués and annual reports.

Councils considered and studied issues that might progress to resolutions. Through resolutions at all levels, members became aware of issues and took action. Members wrote letters or postcards, during meetings or independently, to federal, provincial and municipal governments. Members signed petitions and shared knowledge at meetings, by newsletter, videos and through having speakers. Annual reports reflected members would like more assistance in letter writing and meeting elected representatives.

Members continued to be passionate about issues affecting them and the community. Issues included euthanasia, hospice/palliative care, protection of conscience rights for health care providers, rights of Indigenous peoples, mental health, homelessness and basic income. Members were concerned with the environment—single use plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, industrial wind turbines, food waste and drinking water.

Members appreciated the resolutions dialogue at national convention. A few provincial councils and diocesan councils also had dialogues when resolutions were presented at local conventions. Members continued to request topics of resolutions brought to the national floor be shared before convention so members could prepare and educate themselves.

Provincial and diocesan councils experienced in writing resolutions had quite a few and were building on their strengths. When councils were successful, it built capacity for researching, writing and sharing a resolution.

Changes to the Resolutions Process
The national council began work on reviewing the resolutions process in the fall.

Future Considerations
The opportunity to make a difference in the country, provinces and dioceses, makes this standing committee one of the most exciting in the League. As one provincial chairperson wrote, “We are at a time in our world today when the rights and dignity of human beings are constantly being challenged. As concerned Catholic women we can use our voices, our votes, and our pens in our efforts to affect change. If we respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, even small things can change the world.”