2012-13 Advocacy Committee Report
Members of the CFUW-KW Advocacy Committee – chair Barbara Spronk and members Margaret Binek, Diana Cherry, Mary Cunningham, Ann Power, Ruth Russell, Karin Manley and Rose Tekel – have been busy with a number of activities on the Club’s behalf during the first half of this Club year.
In September, committee members prepared a list of questions for the all-candidates meetings for the provincial by-election in the Kitchener-Waterloo riding, and at least two of our members attended every public candidates forum to ensure that the questions were asked and to take note of the answers. Having taken on the role of liaison between the Executive and the Kitchener-Waterloo Women’s Network, Barbara along with Network Steering Committee member Liz Simpson spoke to the Ontario Council Standing Committee on the Status of Women about the founding and operation of the Network; Diana also attended the Council meeting, and reported on it in the Newsletter.
In October, Barbara and Margaret attended a meeting in Waterloo on human trafficking and collected and circulated information and materials on the issue to the Executive. Barbara also joined Co-President Alison Watson in meeting with Dr. Tracy Light, Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Waterloo, with a view to cooperating in a number of activities and events. Then, at the end of the month, Barbara and Rose spoke about the Club’s advocacy role and activities to the Women’s Network meeting which our Club hosted.
In November and throughout December, committee members began studying the recommendations contained in the report of the commission charged with reviewing the social assistance system in Ontario; Barbara attended weekly meetings of the committee tasked with organizing a community forum in January aimed at collecting feedback on the commission report, under the auspices of the Social Planning Council and Poverty Free Kitchener-Waterloo. On January 19th Barbara and Margaret participated in the forum; a report on the outcomes of that event will appear in the March Newsletter.
In November, Barbara and Diana attended a rally in support of Bill C-398, aimed at reforming Canada’s patent drug legislation to make Canadian efforts to supply affordable drugs to countries of the South more affordable; Co-President Kathryn McGill signed a letter in support of this bill which was sent to the three Kitchener-Waterloo MPs. Another letter, drafted by Diana, urging action on a national mental health strategy, was signed by both Co-Presidents and sent to local MPs. A third letter, drafted by Barbara, was signed by both Co-Presidents in opposition to MP Stephen Woodworth’s motion to re-introduce legislation regarding abortion; this too was sent to all three MPs. Also in November, on behalf of the committee, Barbara took responsibility for all materials and files to do with the commemoration of the killing of 14 women engineering students at the Montreal Polytechnique on December 6th, 1989, and presented a commemorative address and display at the November general meeting.
Finally, throughout these months committee members have continued to support the work of the Aboriginal Student Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University, attending the weekly lunches (and providing goodies), advertising via the Club’s Facebook group events sponsored by the Centre, and attending these events and reporting on them in the Club Newsletter. This work will continue throughout the winter term, with four committee members scheduled as soup-makers in mid-February and late March. Do come and join us; lunches are held every Tuesday at the Centre, 187 Albert Street, across from the WLU seminary.