faith | service | social justice

2019 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Resolutions

Jun 22, 2020 | Annual Reports, National

Cathy Bouchard
National Chairperson of Resolutions

“Through our resolutions process, the League addresses injustices and advocates for change. Key issues are addressed at top levels of government; to be the hands, face, feet; this is the key. As a human race we need to stand in solidarity, to try and comprehend what is truly, humanly speaking, incomprehensible. Many examples may be found in the list of current resolutions.” (S’mores Development Days, pg 47).

From the annual reports returned for the resolutions standing committees, “it [was] easy to note the dedication of the women in [T]he Catholic Women’s League across Canada. Despite some issues with forming resolutions committees, and finding members to sit as the chairs of the committees, members endeavour[ed] to follow the action plans of resolutions [adopted] at the various levels of the League.”

The provincial chairpersons shared information, suggestions, ideas and presentations. Networking between parish councils and provincial councils was an excellent tool for aiding the resolutions process. This process needs to continue at all levels.

Five hundred and thirteen responses to the annual reports were received. Sixty per cent of those who responded were the chairperson of the committee, and 80% of the respondents managed both the resolutions and legislation standing committees. Eighty-eight per cent of respondents referred to communiques and annual reports from other levels.

It was impressive to learn that members and parish councils were active writing letters, e-mailing, phoning, signing petitions, sending postcards and visiting politicians. Members were made aware of resolutions through guest speakers, newsletters and general meetings. Working with resolutions mobilized members to address issues locally through outreach. The municipal level of government received the most in-person contact, followed by provincial and federal government contacts. Members and parish councils wrote about provincial issues in the areas of health or education. To assist members in letter-writing campaigns, sample letters had been drafted and were distributed to parish councils and attached to communiques. Parish presidents were encouraged to copy these documents for members as a guide for personal letter-writing at home or to have a letter-writing evening for their parish council.

Research and Preparation of Resolutions and Briefs
Two resolutions were adopted at the national convention:

  • 2019.01 Canada to Honour its Commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child gifted by the B.C. & Yukon Provincial Council under the Christian family life standing committee.
  • 2019.02 Canadian Support for the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons gifted by the Ontario Provincial Council under the legislation standing committee.

Provincial and National Levels, Presentation of Resolutions to Government
Several provincial councils met with provincial government representatives to present the year’s resolutions. Some continued to work toward securing a full delegation meeting date with provincial cabinet members to present outstanding and unresolved resolutions. Due to the federal election in the fall, delegates from the national resolutions committee were not able to meet with federal government representatives.

Issues for consideration for resolutions and letter writing
Members were most passionate about medical assistance in dying and conscience rights, hospice and palliative care, home care, mental health (especially in youth), human trafficking, pornography and aboriginal communities. Additional common themes reported included child poverty, the plight of refugees, pro-life, medication labelling, and gender identity and expression.

A philosophical challenge in the area of resolutions was to increase members’ understanding of how much the League’s advocacy, through resolutions, had the power to effect change. There were a number of challenges to creating and working on a resolution. Trying to identify the issue being spoken to and then focussing on the desired outcome in preparing a resolution was a concern. An attitude of ownership could lead to frustration when a resolution moved on to another level. If a resolution was returned for more work, parish councils needed direction on what more was needed. There was a need for parish councils to access the assistance that was available each step of the way from provincial and diocesan chairpersons as well as the manuals and procedures of the process.

Parish councils recorded several positive ideas about their work with resolutions. They encouraged members to choose resolution issues that were important to them and work on those issues. The details of resolutions and action plans helped members communicate the League’s concerns. Making members aware of the various resolutions proposed or adopted created an awareness of the global or far-reaching thinking that was happening at the provincial and national levels. The chance to be involved in standing up for church values at the various levels of government, inspired women to join parish councils. Members received responses to many of their letters, and some councils at each level met with members of parliament every year. It would have been wonderful to see some resolutions enacted into law. Members who attended the national resolutions dialogue and business sessions benefitted greatly in thought process and understanding.

The League’s role in Canada and the world was promoted through the work of resolutions. The creation and study of resolutions encouraged increased interest and skills in initiating, researching and writing resolutions. The courageous efforts of members to persevere were the core of what resolutions were about. As members embraced changes within the League’s structure and changes to the resolutions process, they were encouraged to take a leap of faith and worked collectively to address issues that impacted society.