Glenda Carson, National Chairperson of Social Justice, October 11, 2023
FOR: Chairpersons of Social Justice at All Levels (new structure) and Chairpersons of Resolutions at All Levels (old structure)
Dear sisters in the League,
Resolutions are among the most important documents in this organization. They can guide League positions, policies and actions and are informative for members, government representatives and the public. Supportive messages regarding the importance of adopted resolutions are consistently received from bishops and clergy. Most importantly, resolutions reflect the voices of the grassroots of the League about important concerns and topics for action. As such, all members are encouraged to consider developing a resolution.
Because of their public nature, adopted resolutions must be consistent with the League’s mission, core purpose, values, objects and policies. They require a consistent format and must present logical and factual arguments. Members often express concern about meeting these criteria. In response, national standing committee chairpersons developed and revised resources available on the national website. The resolutions dialogue at conventions/annual meetings of members (AMM) also offers learning opportunities. At the national AMM in August, a workshop, “Tips and Tactics: What Has Been Learned During This Term,” highlighted areas that present challenges to those developing resolutions. The following are key points from the workshop:
Resolved and Bridging Clauses:
- Resolved and bridging clauses direct the action and final destination for the resolution. If not worded correctly, the desired action may not be fulfilled. Resolutions subcommittees reviewing a resolution cannot change the resolved clause’s intent. Examples of the wording required can be found in the Resolutions Handbook, the Resolutions Guide and the Resolutions Workshop.
- The requested action must be directed to the correct level of the League concerning government jurisdiction (national, provincial or municipal), as the national level can only address topics that align with the federal government’s responsibilities. For organizations, it is also necessary to determine whether they have a national, provincial or local mandate or focus.
- The requested action of the resolution must be possible. For example, if urging the federal government to change an aspect of the Criminal Codeor the Canada Health Act,the request must comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because changes to the Charter require the agreement of parliament and seven provincial legislatures, representing at least 50% of Canadians.
- If more than one action is desired, more than one level of the League needs to act, or action is urged at two levels of government, more than one resolved clause can be used. If there are topics of interest within the province that are important for all provincial councils and members to consider, the national level can be asked to forward the resolution to the other provincial councils or provide information through a national standing committee chairperson.
Constructing the Brief and References:
- The national resolutions subcommittee may revise briefs and references. However, the resolution may be returned to the provincial council if major revisions are required.
- The brief presents the argument for the resolution’s importance. The first paragraph must indicate why the resolution is necessary. The following paragraphs support the first paragraph using facts from credible references, and the last paragraph summarizes the argument. Having a strong finish to the brief helps to urge the adoption of the resolution.
- It is important to determine if there is enough factual information to support the resolution’s intent. Unsupported theories, assumptions and personal opinions often found in media sources or blogs are not considered credible references. An evaluation tool like the RADAR Tool in Appendix 1 of the Resolutions Handbook may help determine references.
- The most recent version of the MLA (Modern Language Association) citation and reference style guide for citing references should be used. While quoting directly from source documents is important, paraphrasing and summarizing the reference information is encouraged.Ensure the text’s spelling, grammar and format are correct according to League standards found in the “Style Guide for Publications” in the National Manual of Policy and Procedure.
Checklist for Reviewing Resolutions:
- The checklist is the best tool to ensure the resolution meets all the criteria for submission. Resolutions subcommittees at each level are responsible for ensuring a resolution meets the elements of the checklist and completing a new checklist before forwarding it to the next level. A form is available on the national website.
I sincerely hope some key messages from the most recent national resolutions dialogue workshop and the online resources help develop a resolution. Please do not hesitate to reach out to resource persons such as myself, as chairperson for the national resolutions subcommittee, the social justice and resolutions standing committee chairpersons at other levels, honorary life and life members, other experienced members and your spiritual advisor. You are not alone in this work, and your success at being an active voice of advocacy for action for the many concerns of the world and church is of the utmost importance.
National Chairperson of Social Justice