I am honoured once again to be elected the Women’s Director for the Maritimes. My experience over the past three years has been both rewarding and educational and I am looking forward once again to working with all members and the Atlantic Council over the next three year term. I am committed to representing the best interests of the women I represent and building networks to improve communication.
Listed below are the activities that I participated in since my last report:
· The Atlantic Regional Triennial Convention took place in St. John’s, NL. I participated on the Resolutions Committee and in meetings both before and after the convention.
· Within days of being elected at the Atlantic Triennial Convention in Newfoundland, I attended Women’s Worlds 2011 that took place July 4 – 7 in Ottawa. This was a global conference to advance women’s equality through research, exchange, leadership and action. Many workshops were offered and information shared at the event. Daily plenary took place on the following topics: Breaking Cycles, Breaking Ceilings, Breaking Barriers and Breaking Ground. The inspiring panelists spoke about oppression and the courageous ways that women around the world are breaking the cycles. I posted highlights of the event on Twitter for those that were unable to attend.
· After the Women’s Worlds event finished, the other Women’s Directors from across Canadaand I had the opportunity to meet with Patty Ducharme, National Executive Vice-President and sister responsible for the women’s program. We held a meeting and discussed issues facing women and the path forward for the Women’s Program.
· Walked in the HalifaxPride Parade.
· I attended the “Breakfast with Tony Clement” event that took place in Halifaxalong with four other members of Council, wearing our “Don’t Cut Me” stickers. Tony Clement was invited to speak on his planned cuts to the Federal Public Service and we made a point to show up and ask questions on the issue of cuts to the Search and Rescue Centre, Service Canada, etc. I brought up the issue of contracting out and shared some of the results of the CCPA study which clearly demonstrates the rising cost of outsourcing and the lack of transparency. Tony Clement was not happy to have us there!
· I attended the Union of Environment Workers Convention in Victoria, BC. Resolutions were debated and we welcomed in the new national executive including our new National President, Brother Todd Panas.
· Participated and marched in the Halifax-DartmouthLabour Day March, Rally and BBQ that took place on September 5. We proudly displayed the PSAC banners that were provided.
· The new PSAC Atlantic Council had their first meeting. We also participated in a Teambuilding session and received media training. We received our new committee assignments; I will be a member of the Womens and Human Rights committees for the next three years.
· We showed our support to the folks at Occupy Movement in Halifax. Jeannie Baldwin, REVP, was also on hand to inspire those present with words of support and encouragement.
· The Operation Christmas Child Shoebox campaign took place on November 10 at the PSAC Office in Halifax. This was hosted by the Human Rights Committee and volunteers were on hand to stuff the shoeboxes that will bring joy and hope to children living in desperate situations around the world.
· The planning preparations for next year’s International Women’s Day event that will be held in Halifaxbegan. I will be working closely with Janice Grant, regional representative responsible for women, on the preparations that will need to be done.
· December 6th is the National Day of Action to end Violence against Women. I attended the “Not so Silent” Vigil that took place in Halifax. There were speakers, performers and others in attendance. I was able to network as I handed out “End Violence against Women and Girls” magnets that were produced by the
· I became President of my Local 80820, Union of Environment Workers. In addition to my other roles that I already hold as a member of my local executive. Some of my new roles include participating on the Workforce Adjustment Committee, Regional Labour Management Committee and the Regional OHS Committee.
Other activities that I participate in on a regular basis during this time frame included: RWC meetings, participating on National Women’s Teleconferences that were scheduled for sharing and planning purposes, attending local meetings, handling grievances and participating on my local
One of the campaigns that I have been involved in that I encourage all to take part in is the Third Choice campaign. The purpose is to promote the third choice that Canadians have; to keep federal public service jobs and balance the budget. This is a very active campaign involving social media and all members are encouraged to join in and share the videos, etc. I believe that Facebook and Twitter are great tools to share information; it provides us the opportunity to reach a larger audience and to connect with groups of similar interests at a faster pace. I know that not everyone is online so face-to-face connections are still very important.
In order to improve on communication, I encourage sisters to share your contact information with me so I can build a network for women. I also encourage members to participate in union activities and union education that is being offered. There are many opportunities out there for you to get involved.
Although I feel we have a difficult and busy time ahead of us, I am looking forward to working with you all as I believe that if we all work together; we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.
Rhonda Doyle LeBlanc
PSAC Maritimes Women’s Director