Dates and Data: April 2003From the CFUW Ontario Council President
Status of Women and Human Rights
Ontario Council Clubs Write
Events Past & Future
From the CFUW Ontario Council PresidentWinter may have come back with a vengeance but all signs in our club life say Spring . New club executives are being nominated, CFUW resolutions are being discussed, the Regions will be getting together at their Spring Gatherings. Another active club year will have ended. Thank you to all clubs that picked up our Ontario Council advocacy challenge and made their MPPs and MPs aware of our policies. Ontario Council is looking forward to learning about all the other activities your club has engaged in to qualify for our Advocacy Award.
At the time of writing this, the Coalition Forces are about to enter Baghdad, the end of the war in Iraq is being pronounced by the media in their wall to wall war coverage where the war in Iraq looks like a harmless controlled sterile precision TV game. Flashing red and green lights, and quivering talking heads. But we all know it is a devastating , scarring experience for those directly involved - on both warring sides. The destruction of lives and property with the thousands of bombs will be enormous. The harmful after effects on the bodies, minds and spirits of the survivors, - men, women and children -, will be permanent for many, - for the victors and for the vanquished alike. We mourn for the victims of this war with the mothers and their families and communities in Great Britain, the United States and Iraq. Some of those being mourned and some of those mourning their loved ones may be members of our sister federations in these countries.
It has been difficult to find one's way through the maze the spin doctors from the various camps are laying out for us. We are all learning that we and our friends are very much attached to our own particular preconceived notions of patriotism and of what a justified war is. And in some instances we do not like what has surfaced. War and peace are not the black and white issues they are made out to be. I admit, I have never been quite able to embrace the pacifist stance in all instances. In my heart of hearts I know that on this earth the school yard bully is often only convinced into peaceful non violent action because the teacher is bigger. Hitler's empire could be brought to its knees only by a very bloody struggle and by superior military might. I also know that it was only because the NATO Forces were in my country armed to their teeth that I was allowed to grow up in a free democratic country.
The events these days trigger personal glimpses of the past that impressed on me the devastation of war. Film documentaries always seemed quite unreal. In the sixties, my daily way to university led from the train station past some of last remainders of ruins from bombed out buildings from the Second World War. I remember the same street some years earlier from shopping trips with my mother when ruins still lined most of the street, with half rooms and odd personal things still hanging in mid-air on ragged walls. From the fifties I remember large Red Cross posters at my hometown post office that seemed to be there forever with hundreds of postage stamp size pictures of children of all ages. Each of these children had gone missing in the bombing raids or during evacuation or during the flight to the West. Someone was still looking for these children a decade later, hoping to find them alive. We all remember the Holocaust and horrendous stories of human suffering and a young generation that vowed to do better than their elders, even "to make love not war" , to stand up for human rights no matter where in the world. Well…….. Marching and writing letters and petitions for peace did not stop this war. Diplomatic efforts at the UN could not prevent a war either. Raw power realpolitik won the day.
Does this war mean the end of more than 50 years of progress in building institutions to facilitate the global effort of finding alternative processes for solving conflicts between nations? The end of the UN? The end of the European Union? Are we all ready to endorse the might- is- right principle? Does this mean a return to past centuries of unrestricted conflict ? Should we care?
As CFUW Ontario Council members we do care. Many of our resolutions, which have been accepted by IFUW support specific UN declarations, resolutions, protocols, conventions etc. We have CFUW and IFUW policy in many areas of peace and security, from landmines to child soldiers, on peacemaking, on third world development, agricultural training, on foreign aid, on women refugees and most important on human rights and equality rights. For the peace making and peacebuilding process our resolution on co-management of men and women in all areas applies.
Peace making and peace building may be just as controversial and internationally divisive a process as making war has been. Yet peace building will have to take place. Will the women of Iraq be part of this process? Will women be represented as a critical mass in decision making positions be it with the administration by the occupying coalition forces, or be it with international bodies when a new constitution is drafted, when systems are set up for policing, schools and training and hospitals and health care and pensions? Will equality rights be respected in that new constitution? Women and their children will be most vulnerable to be pressured into quietly accepting violence in all its forms to ensure food and shelter for themselves and their children. Will the women of Iraq be guaranteed personal safety under the support of the military occupation force or any international peace keeping force or aid agency? *
How can we as CFUW Ontario Council members promote the role of women in the process of peace building? Bad peacemaking and inadequate peacebuilding do not make for a lasting peace. Military men, diplomats and politicians do not have all the answers. Canada has been a leading force internationally in pushing for civil society as a partner in peace building and development. We at CFUW Ontario Council aim to find out more about women and peacebuilding at our AGM on October 17/18 in Ottawa.
The proposed national resolution "No Women, No Peace", which supports the UN resolution 1325, if passed at the CFUW AGM this summer, will give us an additional tool to encourage our MPs and our government to negotiate more strongly on behalf of women who have to live with the consequences of armed conflict.
Let us hope that the Iraq war will indeed be over quickly and let us
observe the peacemaking and peace building process. A failed peace will
affect us all very much in every town of Ontario.
* Read the May 2002 assessment of the UNHCR Policy on Refugee Women and Guidelines on Their Protection by the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children firstname.lastname@example.org or www.womenscommission.org
Chair: Teri Shaw
Our guest in January was Doris Grinspun, executive director of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, who gave an impassioned presentation of the Romanow Report on health care and enlisted our support to pressure the Premiers and the Prime Minister to both sign the Health Accord and to agree to funding the health services with sufficient money to protect it.
As one of the attendees wrote in her report, "The Romanow Report was under negotiation by the federal and provincial governments while the Ontario Council was discussing how to influence those decisions. I felt in the presence of history! Decisions were being made even as we met. The potential for advocacy was everywhere: Write a letter! Sign the online petition! Visit your member of parliament! Contact the Liberal and NDP health critics!"
Ms. Grinspun spoke of both the health system and the advocacy required to bring our concerns to the attention of the political leaders. One of the RNAO's major thrusts at the time was an online petition calling for the full implementation of the Romanow Report. She naturally encouraged us to sign, and to encourage others to do so as well. At that point there were about 28,000 signatures, within a few weeks there were 42,000. Her other point was impress upon MPs and MPPs that we know what is happening and that we are watching. "Let them know you have influence over family and friends." She felt that this will be an essential tactic in the upcoming election.
One of Ms. Grinspun's greatest concerns is the growth of for-profit health services - the MRI clinics, approximately 80% of Home Care is private, the Cancer Clinic (now closed). "What is the acceptable benchmark for private involvement?", she asked. One of the members of the Ontario Council attended the RNAO Day at Queen's Park on Jan. 24th where Tony Clement spoke about health care in this province and when answering questions, struggled to explain why he was proceeding with for-profit clinics for MRIs and CTs, ignoring all of the research that disputes how cost effective and efficacious these private services are.
The Health Accord was ultimately signed on February 5th. While there is a discrepancy between the federal and provincial amounts, approximately $30 billion dollars will be reinvested in the health care system. This was in part thanks to the pressure put on by organizations like the RNAO.
In the afternoon we started discussions concerning letter-writing, the National Resolutions and the upcoming election.
At our May 10th meeting we will continue with the election discussion, finalizing an election package that we hope to be able to use.
Chair: Marilyn Letts, Chair
May 10th meeting 10 AM
At the Spring Standing Committee Meeting we will learn from the Council of Elizabeth Fry Societies of Ontario about two research projects. One report, Waiting for Mommy: Giving a Voice to the Hidden Victims of Imprisonment.
The second report highlights potential mis-use of youth custody for adolescent women. There is a great deal of discretion in processing administrative offences (no criminal charge). It has been determined that females spent 50% longer in sentenced custody compared with the males, solely for administrative offences.
In my first column in Dates and Data I wrote about being motivated by the slogan - Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport. I hope that you share my feeling that this is a legacy entrusted to us by the Famous Five, the women who fought so hard so we may vote. The presentation by a representative of Elizabeth Fry Society, is gender-based analysis, like the report we learned about at the September meeting (On Her Own: Homelessness Among Young Women in Canada.) This research approach is a direct result of the long-ago work of the Famous Five to make women and women's experience count.
Follow-up: A draft letter on body image and eating disorders was provided to all clubs in Ontario. Have you made use of this resource as part of your club's advocacy?
Websites are a 21st century library at your fingertips. Share your favourite sources. Please email me information about websites that your club or committee has used for research during the year. I will put together a list and share it with other clubs at the May meeting.
Farewell: My first year as Chair of Status of Women and Human Rights has been rewarding. I have learned a lot and, I hope, assisted clubs and members to participate in advocacy. I will not be finishing my term because my husband and I are moving to Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. It is a pre-retirement adventure that is quite exciting. I am glad that email will allow me to keep in touch with CFUW friends and activities. Note: Change of email to email@example.com
Chair: Elizabeth Haynes
At the May Standing Committee, in the morning, we will hear from Mary Cunningham of the Ontario Coalition For Compulsory Parenting Education (OCMPE). Parenting education has been shown to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy and child abuse and neglect, yet it is not part of the Ontario Curriculum. Ms. Cunningham will speak about the work of the coalition and the importance of Parenting Education in schools.
Our afternoon session will provide an opportunity to share information, and to plan a course of action for the coming year. We will also look at how we can take action to help support the work of the OCMPE.ONTARIO WEST: Regional Director, Ardith Toogood
As CFUW members, we are fortunate to have a voice in making changes in a world where the challenges of peace amongst nations, global good health and even clean air to breathe are on-going topics in newspapers and on TV. I have been very proud of the many excellent Presidents' Messages in the Ontario West Club newsletters, informing members of the work of our organization and encouraging everyone to participate fully in making the Clubs as effective as possible.
After studying this year's resolutions the CFUW Guelph members were inspired to begin writing one of their own. They have also been keeping an active eye on local affairs and encouraging participation in the community since forming their Civic Affairs group way back in 1961. Besides monitoring council meetings, elections and issues, they hear political speakers and write letters to the newspaper editor, and have had members elected to city council and to various boards and commissions.
In February Liberal MP Karen Redman asked CFUW Kitchener-Waterloo for input on the unique challenges facing women entrepreneurs. Debbie Cook, VP of the Club and acting President for that month, was keen to respond but had never written or presented a Brief before - and the Task Force which had been collecting comments and data on a cross-country tour that had began last fall, would be arriving in just ten days! Debbie pulled together information from various people in and out of our organization and did a splendid job of preparing and presenting a Brief to the Prime Minister's Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs. She was also the one who was quoted in a follow-up article by a newspaper reporter.
Many Clubs look forward to their special events for fund-raising. CFUW Cambridge featured a Past President as the guest speaker at their annual dinner fund-raiser. Karen Maidment, CFO of the Bank of Montreal, spoke about the changing face of financial services in Canada. CFUW St. Thomas members are busy selling tickets to the townspeople for their popular annual dessert-bridge/euchre fund-raiser. The proceeds of the evening provide scholarships for the six high schools in Elgin County.
CFUW Kincardine sponsored a community outreach event by inviting a local doctor who is one of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons "preventative measures" speakers. In his address on "The Healthy Home" he outlined practical ways that people can keep themselves healthy.
CFUW Saugeen is planning a memorial service to celebrate the remarkable life of their late Treasurer and Membership Chair, Sandra Abernethy, who passed away from cancer in December. They have invited other groups of people from various organizations in which Sandy served such as the New Millennium Quilters Guild, the Grey Bruce Home Economics Association, Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Congratulations to Sheila Clarke from CFUW Stratford who has taken on the position of Director of Legislation on the national board. You may recall that Sheila was a writer of the resolution on Cosmetic Pesticides, and wrote and presented CFUW's brief to the Senate Committee on Bill C-8.
Everyone is invited to attend the Ontario West Spring Gathering, hosted by CFUW Chatham-Kent at the Wheels Inn in Chatham on May 3rd.
Club newsletters are filled with reports of projects, plans and events. Several clubs report increasing their involvement in the community. This has increased CFUW visibility and made a difference for local people. Club members in CFUW Mississauga facilitate a book discussion group for seniors. On a monthly basis, members canvass the local library for up to 10 copies of current books. Discussion meetings are held in two senior's residences and are very popular. CFUW Niagara Falls works with partners in their community to deliver a Teen Esteem Lunch Program for girls in grades 6, 7 and 8 in five local schools. The program strives to increase young women's self-esteem and to help them visualize rewarding and self-reliant futures. CFUW Brantford worked with partners to present a workshop to encourage women's participation in politics. CFUW Milton has connected with The Vanier Centre for Women and is assisting to build their library. CFUW St. Catharines and CFUW Norfolk and District provide a Gift of Reading program, which gives books to school children. Finally, CFUW Georgetown continues to send delegations to their town council meetings to influence Smoke-free By-laws to protect their citizens!!
All Ontario South Clubs have scholarship programs, which support young people in their quest for post-secondary education. This year, all clubs who give university entrance scholarships are addressing the ‘double cohort' by increasing the number of awards. To this end, our successful fundraising projects continue: CFUW Grimsby is repeating its popular winemaker's gourmet dinner; CFUW Brampton, its spring fashion show; CFUW St. Catharines, its house tour; and CFUW Georgetown, Milton, and Welland, their community used book sales. Most of our clubs have charitable status and scholarship trust funds to manage the money raised and provide revenue. CFUW Brampton is hosting our Spring Gathering. We will have seminars on Increasing Membership, Community Advocacy, and The New President's Workshop. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Michael Rachlis, a private consultant in health policy analysis, with experience as a consultant to the federal government, nine provincial governments, and two royal commissions. We expect to have a great day!
See you at the Standing Committee Meetings in May.
ONTARIO NORTH: Joan Gentle, Regional Director
Clubs in Ontario North have had a busy and successful year with appealing speakers for monthly meetings, active interest groups and special projects to further the goals of CFUW.
CFUW Thunder Bay, Sudbury, North Bay and Muskoka devoted special evenings to the resolution process. All clubs saw the results of their innovative fund raising with annual awards and bursaries to local students.
CFUW Muskoka's Tenth Anniversary celebration includes The Honourable James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, who has kindly accepted the club's invitation to speak about his book, Out Of Muskoka, at CFUW Muskoka's Fifth Annual Author's Night on Friday, May 30, 2003. While ticket proceeds will go to the club's Charitable Trust, Mr. Bartleman's royalties in Canada are assigned to The Aboriginal Achievement Foundation for Scholarships for Native Students.
The Club's 2003 Spring Lecture Series featuring Dr. David Logan speaking on The Brave New World of Biology and Genetic Engineering was held March 31 and on April 7. As a topic of study in the grade 11 science curriculum is genetic engineering, the series attracted the interest of the high school community. The club was pleased to support the request to include students and staff in the audience.
As part of a partnership building initiative, letters outlining the club's purpose and inviting opportunities to collaborate have been sent to other not-for-profit organizations with shared or similar goals.
Letters were sent to Muskoka's MP and MPP regarding the Romanow Report and 2002 Resolutions. Club representatives meeting with MP Norm Miller focused on health care and the 2002 resolutions. Letters were also sent to the Public and Separate School Boards on the Community Outreach Program for Eating Disorders.
Planning is underway for the annual Hot Dog Days, Garage Sale and Adopt-A-Highway projects.
CFUW Sudbury enjoyed another successful year with their Celebrate Women event featuring Laura Robinson, noted athlete, sports journalist, and author of Black Tights - Women Sports and Sexuality. Members of the Sudbury YWCA and LEAF assisted in organizing the event, and the committee arranged for Laura Robinson to speak to high school students.
Sudbury participated in a Chapters Bookstore fundraising. The Chapters store was closed to the public from 6.30 to 9 and club members and their friends shopped for books with 10% of the gross receipts going to the club.
Street Children and Child Poverty was discussed by CFUW
International Studies Group who recommends the following web sites for
Congratulations to CFUW Sudbury member, Margaret Kechnie, whose book Organizing Rural Women: The Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario, 1897-1919 was launched at Laurentian University on March 14, 2003.
CFUW Thunder Bay continues to support its theme of Health Issues. Based on one of the resolutions passed at the AGM in Richmond, the club held a successful a public meeting on April 14, 2003, on the topic of Organ and Tissue Donation.
Congratulations to our clubs' executives for a job well done, and many thanks for contributing their time. We give a warm welcome to the incoming executive.
ONTARIO CENTRAL: Regional Director, Linda MacGregor
At this time of the year, Central Region Club Presidents anticipate completing the few remaining duties of their position and the finale of a very busy year. However, they still have national deadlines to meet, their own annual general meeting to convene, the announcement of a full slate (they hope) of executive members, a Spring Gathering to attend where they can share their successes/concerns/problems with other Clubs, and an annual banquet celebration that will mark the end of their year as a leader of a Club in The Canadian Federation of University Women. And that is no small feat !! I wish that I could describe every activity of all 16 Central Clubs ... but a look at a few highlights will have to suffice for now:
In Fundraising: For their scholarship fund, CFUW Oshawa will be participating next November as one of two pre-selected NGOs, in CBC's Dickens: A Christmas Carol .....
CFUW Etobicoke members in their 50th Club Anniversary year are raising funds to award an Etobicoke Philharmonic Music Scholarship .... In a unique method of raising scholarship funds, CFUW North Toronto rented the entire Fairview Library Theatre and presented J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls, "a remarkably clear and effective drama with an air of mystic unreality"....
The CFUW Orillia Club boosted their scholarship program last June by an amazing $7,000 from ticket sales of their Annual Homes Tour ....
"Calling all Degree Divas" - it's CFUW Peterborough's annual "cry" for rowers to paddle in their local Dragon Boat Race. An entry fee and participants' pledges will see a sizeable contribution from this CFUW Club go to the Peterborough and District "Survivors Abreast" and the Breast Assessment Center at the Peterborough Regional Health Center.
Great Visibility: CFUW Orillia, at the first Annual Rotary Club Festival of Trees, financially sponsored a FOUR FOOT TREE and then decorated it in royal blue, white and "a little silver" .... CFUW colours!!
Advocacy in Many FormsPromoting Peace Margaret MacMillan, Provost of Trinity College and author of Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempts to End War engaged and challenged the members and guests of UWC North York at what must have been a fascinating look at how the author "challenged the conventional view of the Versailles conference, whilst bringing vividly to life an extraordinary event which shaped the 20th century and still resonates today." ....
To celebrate Black History Month, many of us would have welcomed the opportunity to attend the February General Meeting of CFUW Leaside-East York where Catherine Slaney related her journey of discovery through her formerly unknown interracial family history. Slides of her black ancestors and newly found relatives captivated the audience as her unique personal experience unfolded ....
Supporting Equal Access and Human Rights How would you like to feed 100 people in one sitting? CFUW Scarborough, with a total of 60 members, will do just that when they "advocate" for the working poor by supplying, preparing and serving food to the workers at a Habitat For Humanity Build on May 8th. Feel like helping? ....
Promoting the Wise Management of Resources, CFUW Oshawa & District extended an invitation to Dr Murray Stewart to speak about the ITER project (International Thermo-nuclear Reactor project). Canada is one of four countries interested in establishing a research and development project in nearby Clarington, a municipality east of Oshawa, that will investigate how to develop and harness fusion energy as a clean and sustainable energy source for the near future. ....
Promoting Education "Rising From Our Ashes" the story of the 10 year war in Sierra Leone was organized and presented to an audience of 160 guests by CFUW Etobicoke's ConneXions project group. This performance by the Freetong Players of Sierra Leone followed an earlier presentation the previous month by member Karen Henderson, on her experiences as a teacher of ESL in Costa Rica for World Vision ....
"The Battle of The Books", a co-ordinated effort by CFUW Markham-Unionville, the Markham Public Library and teacher-librarians of the local Public and Catholic schools, challenges the students in grades 4 to 6 to read, and read, and read even more. In teams of 6 students, the rules of the game involve each team reading 50 books, remembering each storyline, and finally facing a quiz on their knowledge of these books. A grand prize winning team is then determined based on the greatest number of points. This "All Canadian 10th Anniversary" year involves 50 books by Canadian authors only. Markham-Unionville supplies the prizes, ribbons, books, refreshments and the encouragement to participate. ....
Our Peterborough Club, a founding member of their Art Gallery back in 1967, provides the funds needed to bus all grade 5 students in their county to the gallery where instruction given by the its teaching staff supplements the art curriculum of each school.
Some Special Events: CFUW Barrie & District and CFUW Vaughan are co-hosting the Ontario Central Spring Gathering at the Kortright Centre on April 12th. The theme is "Energy! Let's Make It Renewable".
Special Anniversaries: UWC Toronto is celebrating its 100th birthday this April 23rd with their "Birthday Celebration Series". The Club will welcome, among others, Mary Keenan, the author of Molly - The Search for My Birth Mother, Frances Lankin speaking on building a better Toronto and Mary Lou McPhedran addressing members and guests on International Women's Day, March 8th, 2004 .... CFUW Etobicoke has been celebrating its 50th anniversary since last June with a pot luck dinner, recitations of the past 5 decades from Past Presidents and, in May, the committee in charge will bring the year to a close with the annual banquet and its guest speaker, Linwood Barclay.
Some Special Members: Lynn Dobson from CFUW Vaughan will be retiring from teaching this June. In lieu of the traditional retirement celebration, Lynn asked her colleagues if they would organize a pot luck dinner for the "breaking bread for woman" project. Donations from her guests will go towards the hiring of one teacher for one year in Afghanistan. Congratulations, Lynn!! .....
The following CFUW Central Region members have been awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal, an award that recognizes citizens for an outstanding and exemplary achievement or service to the community or to Canada as a whole. All CFUW members will join with me in congratulating Betsy Carr and Karen Edson from UWC North York and Kathy Rippey from CFUW Orillia! We hope to see your medal sometime, ladies? .........
Until May 10th, take care Central!
ONTARIO EAST: Regional Director, Marylea Burtt
The 10 clubs of Ontario East are busy with many interesting projects and activities. CFUW Belleville and District will be having their 4th annual garden tour and tea Saturday July 3rd 2003 to raise funds for scholarships (for more information call 613-392-6044).
CFUW Kingston will be hosting the Spring Gathering at Old Fort Henry on May 3rd with their theme CFUW and the Community. CFUW Cornwall had a wine and cheese party to celebrate International Women's Day in March.
CFUW Cornwall also held a Charity Auction to raise funds for the dialysis unit at the Cornwall General Hospital. CFUW Kanata CFUW Nepean CFUW Orleans CFUW Ottawa under the chairmanship of Joanne Dovey have been busy with plans for the Ontario Council AGM in Ottawa in October 2003.
All of the clubs have been studying the resolutions for the National AGM in Wolfville in August and I hope to see many of you there.
EVENTS PAST & FUTURE
CFUW- FCFDU AGM 2003The theme of this year's conference is Tides of Change and it will be held at the Old Orchard Inn, Wolfville, Nova Scotia from August 14th to August 17th. Watch national website for details www.cfuw.org.
DECEMBER 6th LUNCHEONS!December 6th Luncheons are very special events. Attendees enjoy a splendid speaker and an excellent meal. Remembering those fourteen women who were murdered thirteen years ago is the compelling reason that so many CFUW members from Ontario Clubs come together to contribute to our Ecole Polytechnique Award. The three December 6th Luncheons hosted by the Toronto Caucus have donated well-over $4000 to the Award.
Next year, the Toronto Caucus December 6th Luncheon will be held on a Saturday. This creates an opportunity for women whose jobs have prevented them from attending the Luncheon in the past to be part of this very satisfying event.
Since these events have proven so popular and last year the caucus was
unable to accommodate
everyone who wished to attend, perhaps similar luncheons in various areas
of the province could be arranged by clubs or groups of clubs with similar
success. Why not consider this project in your area?
ONTARIO COUNCIL AGM 2003The four clubs in the Ottawa area (Orleans, Ottawa, Nepean & Kanata) will be hosting the 2003 Ontario Council AGM at the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa on October 17th and 18th. The theme of the event is Women and PeaceBuilding. More information will be provided as plans proceed.
Joanne Dovey, Chair of the LAC
BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS!Downsizing? Creating Order? Moving? Donate your books now for our 12th annual Victoria College Book Sale -- September 25-29 2003. Volunteers welcome! Proceeds to Victoria University Library. Call 416-585-4585 for Toronto area pick-up and information.