Mother-In in Saskatoon

Each of my children went everywhere with me during their first year, including to Cabinet and Opposition lobby sessions, meetings, conferences, you name it! And I breastfed on-demand, leaving the room only when I needed to, not when someone else believed I should!

My children are now 17 and 14 so I am appalled that an attitude such as that displayed by a Saskatchewan Rawlco Radio producer is begin voiced today! What was said is, in some ways, not that big a step away from that voiced by Tom Lukiwski, Brad Wall, Kathy Young and unnamed others in an infamous video recorded 17 years ago! It is an attitude that conveys the idea that women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, as opposed to in boardrooms, on TV news and in the political eye. What a disgrace for the station! And what a disgrace for our province! Here’s how the producer referenced Amber Jones’, Green Party of SK Leader’s, decision to hold her child during a media scrum:

Here’s an idea for Jones – how about she gets her own priorities in order before she starts worrying about what the government’s should be.

Breastfeeding moms respond:

About 35 breast feeding mothers brought their babies with them to protest a News Talk Radio blog site at the Saskatoon station.

Note the different story in the newspaper coverage:

SASKATOON — Mothering and public life can and should coexist, say moms who held a “mother-in” outside Rawlco Radio’s Saskatoon headquarters Monday.

About 70 mothers and children attended the event, prompted by a blog post in which NewsTalk 650 producer Tammy Robert commented on a politician’s choice to breastfeed during a press conference. Her entry, entitled Children and the Places They Don’t Belong, created lots of debate after it was posted last week. In it, she criticized Saskatchewan Green party Leader Amber Jones’s decision to include her six-month-old daughter in a media event.

The StarPhoenix used ‘Mother-In’ in the headline’! And the story is more in depth. I love it!

I think the Leader-Post may be publishing the letter I wrote immediately after I read their story.  Watch for it.  It is neither so kind, nor so pretty as this blogpost!


Saskatoon Woman Missing for Almost 2 Months

Written by The family of Jolene Cook

Monday, 24 March 2008


Jolene was last seen on Sunday March 9th, 2008 leaving her apartment with a man by the name of Russel Knife…..also know as ‘Diamond Jewel.” It is not like her to go off for days without her wallet, keys, overnight bag, or notifying her family as to where she is going.

If you have any information please contact:
Brad Cook 306 768 3629
Dorren Cook 306 981 4059
or you may contact the Carrot River RCMP 306-768-1200

If you have seen her or know of where she is please let us know…..we want to know where she is………and that she is ok……

Please forward to all your contacts…….That would be greatly appreciated=
…and would also help us alot…….Thank you

YWCA Fundraiser: Women of Distinction

It disturbs me that critical services for women are underfunded and that our governments make little effort to provide support to those agencies who have shown, repeatedly, their worth.

Several years ago now, the YWCA came up with a unique way to honour women and raise much-needed funds at the same time. Ever since, an event dubbed Women of Distinction Awards Gala is held and many thousands of dollars are raised to fund vital programs such as that provided by the Isabel Johnson Shelter and the YWCA residence for women.

This year’s event takes place on May 1 and you will find the details here. The list of nominees includes several women I have worked with over the years and I wish them the best for simply being noticed for the work they do, but more importantly, for doing the work they do within our community. Without their commitment, we would notice a signifant gap in our community.

So, get your tickets and let’s hear your applause for this year’s nominees:

wod logo

The Arts

Martha Cole

Jeannie Mah

Community Leadership & Enhancement

Ingrid Alesich

Holly Nagel

Robyn Betker

Jeanette Gelowitz

Angelica Barth

Barb Dedi

Contribution to a Rural Community

Jo Mader

Cultural Heritage

Camille Bell

Katherine Chang

Tracey Dunnigan


Heather Salloum

Lynn Carr

Keitha Adams

Norma Wildeman

Deb Ash


Donna Bially

January Kardash

Elaine F Burnett

Leslie Charlton

Leadership & Management

Patricia Warsaba

Gail Rosseker

Lifetime Achievement

Elaine Yeomans

Jeanne Perry

Wanda Prettyshield

Science, Technology & Environment

Paule Hjertaas

Kim Dohms


Osteoporosis Canada Regina Chapter

Regina Ecoliving

Friends for Life

Daughter’s of Africa International Inc

Forever Friends of Hope Foundation Inc.

Wellness,Recreation & Healthy Living

Lisa Brownstone

Heather Stevenson

Carla Nicholls

Peggy Martin-McGuire

Young Woman of Distinction

Janet Moleski

Sheenah Ko

Rachel Mielke

Nicole Olszewski

C-537: another attack on women

Erasing Women\'s RightsWhat is it with the Conservatives in Ottawa? They can’t seem to leave women alone, have to keep at it, have continue to attack women’s hard-won rights! Are they afraid of our power or something?

First, they nailed Status of Women Canada which forced the doors of many women’s organizations across the country to close. Then they (with the support of the Liberals) allowed Ken Epp’s wedge issue Bill C-484 to pass Second Reading in the House of Commons. And now the right-wing extremist, Maurice Vellacott, the MP for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin has introduced, for what I think is the 3rd time, his ridiculous Bill-537!

Fortunately, the folks in Quebec have it together! Their National Assembly unanimously condemned C-484 after one of their doctors’ associations condemned it as a backdoor attempt to restrict women’s right to abortion. I fight it incredibly interesting that a province, whose traditions are based in Roman Catholicism, can be so progressive!

Here’s hoping Vellacott’s Bill will not make it beyond First Reading in the House of Commons. The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada / Coaltion pour le droit a l’avortement au Canada,outlines reasons for opposing C-537:

– It’s discriminatory against women (mostly).
– It would decrease access to abortion and contraception, and stigmatize both.
– It’s an abortion restriction that can be used as a wedge to re-criminalize abortion.
– It confuses the definition of “human being” under the CC by defining the term “human life” as including fertilized eggs and embryos.
– The patient’s conscience and rights must be paramount.
– Medical professionals have an obligation to help patients.
– It is broadly worded to the point of absurdity, basically exempting medical personnel from the duty to practice medicine.
– It would force medical institutions to hire personnel who refuse to perform services the institution specializes in – for example, it would force abortion clinics to hire anti-choice staff who refuse to do abortions.
– It would impair the ability of professional medical organizations to regulate health professionals (e.g., if an individual complains to the College about sub-standard care, the physician can say it’s related to his/her religious beliefs).
– It conflicts directly with Harper’s promise not to legislate on abortion.
– It’s a matter for civil law, not criminal law, so cannot be included in the Criminal Code.
Take a moment to tell your MP that you oppose this backwards Bill and demand that s/he will also oppose it.

A Project to Raise Awareness of Sexual Violence

Several years ago I served on the Board of Directors of the Regina Women’s Community Centre and Sexual Assault Line. It was an important way for me to give back to the Centre which had helped me come to some kind of peace with my experience of a date rape that had occurred in my late teens. For too long, I had blamed myself, even though I had loudly and clearly said, NO!

It disturbed me when I saw the video featuring Premier Wall, MP Tom Lukiwski, and those anonymous Conservative men denigrating women in the way they did. It bothers me that they have not yet apologized to the women of the province, for the role they have played in promoting sexism and sexist behaviour. And it disturbed me even more, then, when I learned this:

Regina has the third highest rate of sexual assault per capita in Canada (Statistics Canada 2006).

Now, many of you know that I’m not a major fan of Mayor Pat Fiacco, but I’ll give him credit for this:

Mayor Pat Fiacco has proclaimed the week of April 13 to 19 Sexual Assault Awareness Week. It is time to Draw The Line against sexual violence in our city.

The Regina Women’s Community Centre and Sexual Assault Line have organized this event:

A Project to Raise Awareness of Sexual Violence

Bring a t-shirt to decorate to honour yourself or someone you know who has experienced sexual assault

Regina City Hall Courtyard
April 19, 2008
12:00 p.m. — 2:00 p.m.

Sexual Assault affects us all; young and old.

Please come support this event because survivors of sexual assault are someone’s mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, daughter, niece, friend, or even someone’s father, brother, uncle, or son.

Thank you in advance from all of us at The Regina Women’s Community Centre & Sexual Assault Line for sharing this message with those you know and love.

I can be at this event for only a short while as my daughter arrives home from her immersion experience that afternoon (YAY!!!). I’ll hope that this awareness campaign can prevent all of our daughters from experiencing what I experienced when I was just a wee bit older than my daughter is now.

WANTED! Young musicians: NessGeneration

The Ness Creek Music Festival is one of the most family-friendly events in the province. Located in the boreal forest where the air is still clear and on a site that is spectacular, it is a festival to take in! And, the folks organizing it are providing excellent opportunity for young Saskatchewan musicians, aged 13 to 18, to showcase their musical and/or spoken word abilities.

NessGeneration Poster

NessGeneration Auditions

WANTED! Young musicians to play the youth stage at the Ness Creek Music Festival

Apr 18 Regina (UofR campus, Riddell Centre)

Apr 19 Saskatoon (Cosmo Senior Centre)

Apr 25 La Ronge (Churchill High)

Apr 26 Prince Albert (Union Centre)

Email to sign up. All ages welcome!! Doors open at 7pm – $3 cover

I’m wishing I was more than just a few years younger! Have fun, kids!

Brad Wall, meet Saskatoon!

Just over five months in office and Premier Brad Wall has more than a video scandal on his hands. He and his SaskParty have managed to rile up a significant portion of the citizens in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It appears that he’s getting a bit more than he bargained for by pulling the plug on the Station 20 West Community Enterprise Centre, a broad and innovative community-based project that transforms contaminated wasteland into an environmental showcase and will bring much-needed attention to a core neighbourhood:

The Station 20 West Community Enterprise Centre

An innovative three-storey state-of-the-art structure, located at 20th Street West between Avenues L and K on Saskatoon’s West Side, will be a home to:

  • non-profit community organizations
  • public institutions
  • for-profit businesses and cooperatives

Working Together Works.

The Station 20 West CEC will integrate the delivery of needed community services and programs such as:

  • medical and dental
  • access to healthy food
  • jobs, training, housing

This initiative is a model one and it is one which has garnered broad-based support from not only the community of Saskatoon but also from people across the province. It’s not surprising then that more than 2,500 folks showed up for a Community Walk in support of Station 20 West. From the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:

Thousands gather to protest Station 20 West cuts

Danielle Mario,

SASKATOON – The sidewalks around the block designated for Station 20 West were filled with a throng of people taking part in the largest demonstration in recent Saskatoon history.Between 2,000 and 2,500 people gathered on the lot at the corner of 20th Street West and Avenue L on Saturday morning to protest the provincial government’s recent decision to take back $8 million in funding for the development, which was to feature dental and medical clinics, public health and nutrition programs, and a co-op grocery store.

Demonstrators started trickling onto the empty lot at 9 a.m., and within the hour, the area was filled with people of all ages.

“It’s not about politics. It’s about the community,” said Sheila Pocha, co-chair of the project’s board of directors.

“I think that’s the real problem. (The government) never met with us, and never saw our financial plan. It’s sustainable, it’s viable, and it makes a lot of sense. The government is telling us to go find an old church, or an old school, or an old Barry Hotel now.”

It seems to me that the real problem now is Premier Brad Wall’s narrow, ideological bent, nothing more, nothing less.

Shame on you, Premier Wall! And shame on former Premier Lorne Calvert and his NDP administration for not providing secure funding for this project when it was first requested!

h/t to Sean in Saskatchewan

Racism, Sexism, Homophobia Alive & Thriving in SK

Sixteen years ago, I was a new mom volunteering for local women’s organizations. Before my first-born was six weeks old, she had attended her first lobby sessions, one with the Devine Conservative Cabinet and one with the NDP Official Opposition. Undoubtedly, I made mistakes during that time of my life but giving birth to my daughter and volunteering in the women’s community in the province of Saskatchewan were not mistakes. My daughter is one of my greatest teachers. And my volunteer work was important to ensuring the electoral defeat of Grant Devine and his scandalous Conservatives.

It does not surprise me that the political hack and devout Mennonite who is now the Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, was party to racist, sexist and homophobic antics during the Devine years. We’ve recently tasted the flavour of bloggers who supported him in his climb to power. Along the way, he has had to appease many moderate voters, to be sure. However, the piece of Saskatchewan’s culture captured on that video has changed very little over the past two decades.

So, I am also not surprised that the homophobic commentary of another political hack, the Member of Parliament for Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre, Tom Lukiwski, is also on the video. In fact, it would not surprise me if the entire video had been recorded last week — well, except for the hairdoos and the outfits.  In Saskatchewan, we all know someone who is just like that, someone who is right now applauding the comments made in that old recording. This is a province of extreme homophobia, such that in 2005, when same sex marriage became legal, then Minister of Justice and MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin, Frank Quennell, had to insist that the province’s Commissioners of Oath conduct same sex marriage ceremonies.  We live in a part of the world where that is what is, politically and weather-wise.

I remember admiring Lynda Haverstock, despite the fact she led the Liberal Party of Saskatchewan in the 1990’s. She was making great gains for women within the province and, given half a chance, would have done much to ensure a better situation for women here. Unfortunately, the Old Boys in the Liberal Party felt threatened and had her ousted. Clearly, they shared at least some of the attitude displayed by Lukiwski, Wall and others in the early 90’s. Although she did not view the video, the always diplomatic Haverstock issued a statement, saying,

If it denigrates and marginalizes individuals based on their ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, I hope that the parties involved will take full responsibility for their actions.

No one has yet apologized to Haverstock, who went on to become one of the finest Lieutenant Governors in the Province’s history.

And no one has apologized to Barb Byers, former President of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU) and the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) and current Executive Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) who was also denigrated in the video. Nor has George Roseneau, another former president of SGEU, received an apology.

The statements the Conservative party-goers made about the union leaders could also have been made today. The governing Sask Party recently introduced Bills 5 and 6, two pieces of legislation which have been soundly condemned as being attacks on workers’ rights by Larry Hubich, current President of the SFL. Hubich and labour lawyers across the country have also spoken out about the Wall government’s attack on the Labour Relations Board. Again, none of this should be surprising to anyone who pays any attention to the goings-on in Saskatchewan, particularly given the extreme right-wing’s hold in the province.

Some have condemned the NDP for releasing the video; I am not one of them. Had it not been carelessly left behind in the offices of the Official Opposition, it may well have not come to light. I would hope that no matter who found it, a politician or otherwise, they would add it to the public record, a record already besmirched by scandalous politics. Wall’s people, many of whom are holdover’s from the Devine and Mulroney eras, including Wall’s Executive Director of Communications, Kathy Young, who also features in the historic piece, must now face the music, so to speak.

Nurses livid! Proposal “most regressive in SUN’s history”!

There’s so much going on in this province right now, most of it quite frightening. I’m going to start with the most recent and work my way back as time permits over the course of the weekend. This media advisory, from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses outlines the attack on nurses in SK. This, at a time when SK is experiencing unprecedented economic growth!

Friday, April 4, 2008
<<<Regina>>>The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses says that the province’s regional health authorities have tabled the most regressive contract proposals in SUN’s history, and has predicted that hundreds of nurses will either resign or retire early in response.
The union is calling for the Minister of Health to replace the department officials and regional health authority leadership that is responsible for what SUN President Rosalee Longmoore describes as “a destructive and malicious attack on nurses and safe patient care and a crude attempt to tear up the SUN/Government Partnership.”
Longmoore says, “They are refusing to commit to fill current vacancies, because they are using the vacancies to balance their budgets. Instead, they have submitted proposals that would require nurses to work unlimited overtime. That’s not a retention strategy – that’s a detention strategy that will backfire -nurses cannot work more and more overtime. They have a professional obligation to refuse more overtime if they are too tired to provide safe patient care. They will refuse, or they will just quit.”
SUN says that regional health authorities want to muzzle nurses who report instances where safe patient care is being jeopardized. According to Longmoore, “Nurses went on strike in 1988 and 1999 to get the right to report in writing to supervisors when patient care is jeopardized. Nurses are obligated by legislation and professional standards to protect patient safety – we will never give that up.”
“The Minister of Health is going to have to decide – how long is he going to continue to let his own Ministry officials and regional health authorities try to tear up the SUN/Government Partnership and avoid implementing it? How would the worst contract in SUN’s history help the government achieve its retention and recruitment targets? The retention and recruitment proposals from the Partnership must be binding in the collective agreement, or regional health authorities will continue to defy the Minister,” said Longmoore.
The union has advised Conciliator Doug Forseth that they are adjourning contract talks until after their annual meeting on April 23-25.
To speak to a SUN representative, please call:
Rosalee Longmoore, SUN President (306) 539-6162 (cell)