Report of the Director of Francophone Members, Shanny Doucet, June – January 2012

I would like to begin by thanking everyone who gave me their support at the convention last June in St. John’s.  Without your support, I would not be in this position today.

With the current government, I have not had any time to waste.  Back in July, the Pension Centre in Shediac announced a major cutback involving 150 term employees.   They were hoping to hang onto their jobs at least until late March 2012, but the employer decided to lay them off in August 2011 with one month’s notice.  As soon as these cuts were announced, I had to do something.  By advising the Office of the REVP, Jeannie received funding from the National Office, and preparations for a demonstration were organized.  On August 17, a huge demonstration took place and was attended by Pension Centre employees, citizens from Shediac and several PSAC members from Moncton, Kouchibouguac and Miramichi came out to lend their support.  Several guests were on hand, such as the Mayor of Shediac, federal MP Dominic LeBlanc and the REVP of the NCR, Larry Rousseau.  The event received extensive media coverage, even nationally.  I gave several interviews to the media, the radio, TV and the newspapers that day and in the days that followed.

On August 21, I took part in the Moncton gay pride parade and in the activities that ensued in the park that afternoon.  Our Stephen Harper puppet had been prepared for the occasion.  During our activities in the park, PSAC had an information table set up and was able to get signatures on Tony Clement’s petition.  We handed out small bandage kits courtesy of Parks Canada along with “Think Public” campaign frisbees.

On August 25, it was Service Canada’s turn to hold a demonstration in Bathurst to protest the cuts by the Harper Government.  Members of the CEIU planned a march followed by a demonstration.  Jeannie Baldwin delivered a speech in English and I gave one in French to tell the public and the Harper Government that the cuts must stop and that we will not remain silent in the wake of such injustice.  Once again, the event was very well attended and received solid media coverage.

On October 18, I took part in the reading of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ Annual Report via webcast.  The COL mentioned several times as he read his report that Francophones must mobilize.  He also mentioned that with a government bent on following through with major cuts in all departments, bilingualism is sure to suffer.  He issued a challenge to the department to create bilingualism committees in the workplace and to consult with employees.  He said that only two federal departments had implemented a bilingualism committee.  Following that meeting, the person responsible for this issue in my workplace decided to establish a committee such as this, and I was invited to attend as Director of Francophone Members for the union.  The committee is just getting started, but I do hope it will remain active.

Last October 24 to 28, I attended the National Convention of my Component, the Government Services Union, which took place in Toronto.  A brand new National Executive was elected.  At this convention, I ran for the position of Regional Vice-President but was not elected.

On October 28, the Greater Moncton Regional Council held its AGM.  A new executive was elected, and I was elected Vice-President.  At this meeting, a delegate was elected to represent the Regional Council at the PSAC National Convention next May in Ottawa.  I was elected as a delegate.

From November 2 to 6, the Atlantic Area Council met for learning workshops in Oak Island, N.S.  The Directors of the Council ere appointed to various committees for the next three years.  I sit on both the Education and the Women’s Committees.

On November 16, a meeting was held at the PSAC Regional Office in Moncton to gauge the women’s interest in relaunching the Regional Women’s Committee.  There seemed to be some interest, and the steps to be taken were clearly explained.  In January, I was saddened to hear that none of the Components made any requests to the REVP.  Until such time as three Components indicate their interest, there will not be any active Regional Committee in the Greater Moncton region.

On November 22, stewards met in Moncton, and I was in attendance.  The event was well attended, and the information provided was quite relevant.

On November 30, I visited along with some colleagues a few Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) member companies in Moncton and Dieppe to denounce the President’s comments to the effect that federal Public Servants have pensions that are too generous and that they receive too many benefits.  The companies responded quite well, and CFIB followers posted many interesting comments on Twitter.

On November 30, a conference call involved (?) the National Social Media Team and PSAC.  The launch of the campaign was discussed along with a strategic plan and planning of what was to come.

December marked the start of the Third Choice campaign, which is largely conducted through the social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  It is a national campaign launched by PSAC, and you have certainly heard about it either on line or (in discussion) with your work colleagues.  Other strategies will be in place quite soon.

On January 25, the Greater Moncton Area Council met.  No delegates were present, except for the Executive.  We must do more promotion to get members to participate.

If you have any questions and/or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Respectfully submitted.

Shanny Doucet
Director of Francophone Members
PSAC Atlantic