The good doctor walks the talk: endorsing Dr. Ryan Meili

With this post, the regina mom publicly declares her support for Dr. Ryan Meili in his bid for Leader of the New Democratic Party in Saskatchewan.  Learning about his community-based perspective, commitment to progressive ideals and dedication to building a better world pretty much cinched the deal.

Dr. Meili truly cares about people. His practice sees him working as a family physician at the West Side Community Clinic in Saskatoon or spelling off doctors in rural Saskatchewan communities or working with University of Saskatchewan medical students in the Making the Links  Training for Health Renewal program at the Massinga Training Centre in Massinga, Mozambique, communities in northern Saskatchewan and in the heart of Saskatoon at SWITCH, the Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health, a student-run, interdisciplinary, inner-city clinic.

the regina mom really likes that the good doctor walks the talk.

And the talk Ryan Meili walks appears in his book, A Healthy Society: How a focus on health can revive Canadian democracy (Purich 2012).

Healthy Society is an eloquent cry from the heart and a rational appeal to the mind. With meticulous research, dramatic personal histories and precise analysis Dr. Meili shows why our wealthy society is far from a healthy one. He illustrates how social status affects physical well-being and suggests steps necessary to create a culture that’s democratic not only in the electoral sense but also in its provision for the health of its members.Gabor Maté M.D., Author, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

Needless to say, A Healthy Society is now on trm‘s reading list.  Oh yes, dear Reader, you know the regina mom has a soft spot for politics and also for writers.  Her experience marketing this hot place taught her that spending time visiting libraries and bookstores, town halls and community centres throughout the province and the country, sharing a book to which you’ve given your creative energies, takes a lot of courage and confidence, flexibility and commitment.  the regina mom wants those characteristics in the Leader of the NDP, the party that most closely represents her politics.

It’s clear Ryan has those skills and that he will use them to rebuild the NDP in the province and in so doing, build a healthier society in Saskatchewan an Canada.  How can she — or you — not sign on for that?

let's take it to the GRASSROOTS - Ryan Meili


The time is right for positive politics!

For a number of reasons, the regina mom has had an almost 20-year love/hate relationship with the Saskatchewan NDP.  Today, it seems, she is making her way to the love side.  Check it out!

"I believe the time is right for positive politics. There is an appetite for a different approach, for candidates who are thoughtful and principled, who speak to people with sincerity, with genuine humour." -Ryan Meili, A Healthy Society.

Donate your Facebook cover image to Ryan’s campaign for the day or the whole campaign!

Dr. Meili has scheduled an announcement regarding the Sask NDP’s Leadership race for 12 noon today. It looks like he’s in! He surprised a lot of folks last time around by taking 45% of the final vote. Here’s hoping he takes it this time, because it’s true, we are BETTER TOGETHER!

Women have always been workers

The following piece appeared in the May/June 2007 issue of Canadian Dimension magazine. Sadly, the situation for women and unpaid work has become worse, not better. Right wing governments in Saskatchewan and Canada continue to dump unpaid work on communities and families and women in an attempt to rationalize cuts on social spending.


Women’s” Work: Unnoticed, Unrecognized, Unpaid

A discussion about labour is incomplete without some acknowledgment of the unpaid work performed by women. The traditional work women do, the three Cs – cooking, cleaning, caring – continue to be largely ignored thanks to long-standing sexist definitions of work. It’s almost as though the work women do to keep families healthy and functional, to move the economy through its cycles, and to make the world a somewhat caring and nurturing place really doesn’t matter. Capital, after more than three centuries of greed continues to pressure governments to create conditions for increased profitmaking, conditions which do not benefit women and which increase women’s unpaid work. Even the small gains of recent years are under constant attack by both capital and governments. Women’s groups know that if women are to reach a point of equality with men in this country, or anywhere in the world for that matter, then women’s unpaid work must be honoured in very real ways. Women carry on.

Defining Work

Societal definitions of paid work are based on sexist definitions established centuries ago. When our monetary system developed women were chattel; the work women performed preparing meals, cleaning homes, and raising children was not remunerated. As a result, it was excluded from economic records and, as the economic system developed, their work continued — and continues — to be excluded.

The economic value of the unpaid work women do is huge and must be acknowledged. According to Manitoba’s United Nations Platform for Action Committee (UNPAC) Canadian women’s unpaid work is an amount equivalent to as much as 41% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. The time women spend doing voluntary/community labour and household labour in Canada, according to a pilot study in Nova Scotia, is the equivalent of 571,000 full-year, full-time jobs. Even Statistics Canada (StatsCan) suggests a number anywhere from $234 to $374 billion worth of unpaid work is performed by women each year. Globally, the amount skyrockets to 11 trillion dollars, just a fraction more than what we know the US has spent on its illegal invasion of Iraq.

Decades of research and lobbying by women’s equality-seeking groups and others has had minimal impact. Governments are loathe to address the issue. Only recently did StatsCan begin gathering information about women’s unpaid work and that gathering is not thorough. The research documents only three areas of unpaid work: housework, childcare, and senior care. The time women spend building their communities — serving meals at a fowl supper, serving as a board member at the childcare centre, or volunteering at the women’s shelter — is not included in the numbers. Still, all is not lost. Researchers have developed ways to use the data that is gathered to make points about what is not. The gaps and absenses have proven useful in critiquing policy and for envisioning new policies.

Global Capital at Work

It is global capital that benefits from women’s unpaid work. As capital seeks increased profits, governments increasingly bend to the corporate lobby, adhering to neo-liberal and neo-conservative economic policies, downsizing or privatizing programs that seek to re-dress imbalances. Women bear the brunt of this greed.

Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government, when it took power in BC, almost immediately dismantled one of the most progressive elements of the its provincial government, the Women’s Department. What little remained of it was rolled into the Community Services Department. In effect, all funding to all of B.C.’s women’s shelters ceased and the amount unpaid work by women as well as the incidents of poverty among women increased.

In Saskatchewan, Calvert’s NDP government almost annihilated the Women’s Secretariat in its purge of policy analysts a few years ago. An immediate public outcry from Saskatchewan women forced the creation of a Status of Women Office (SWO). It was placed within the Department of Labour which, according to the Assistant Deputy Minister at the time, was “completely unable to absorb” it. The strategy moved many feminist researchers and analysts out of policy areas and, in some cases, out of government completely which could be part of a ploy to remove the last of Keynesian analysis from the bureaucracy. Indeed, in January 2007 the Saskatchewan government received great praise and front page headlines courtesy the Fraser Institute for completely reversing 50 years of economic policy. Apparently, it doesn’t matter that programs to enhance the lives of women in Saskatchewan ended or that the province’s child poverty rate is among the highest in the country.

Similarly, Status of Women Canada (SWC), recently attacked by the New Conservative Government of Canada impacts women’s unpaid work. The job cuts, funding restrictions, and removal of the word equality from funding guidelines will mean that research work formerly conducted by paid staff within SWC and within SWC-funded organizations will either not be conducted or will be done by volunteers. Without the research and lobbying the door is open for global capital to gain more ground.

It’s as though governments of the day believe that cutting funding and support makes the need for the service nonexistent. But smaller communities of people – women – fill the gaps..

A Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) report about the privatization of public services urges that women “not be made to bear the greatest costs of declining labour market conditions — less unionization, lower wages, fewer benefits, weaker workplace rights, more precarious employment, uncertain work hours.” Women should not be forced to take on more unpaid work when public services erode and men must “take more responsibility in the home.” This would have the effect of allowing women to “become more engaged in community organizing and political action in order to lobby for more and better public services.” Trade unions could play an important role alongside women’s and social justice groups in “building broad community-based coalitions” in opposition to privatization and in actively promoting “the improvement of public services in order to promote greater social and economic equality.”

The obvious economic impact on women – the continued cycle of poverty – is compounded by psycho-social implications on women and their children which result in chronic illness, early death, poor children, poor school performance. That means higher societal costs for healthcare. The National Crime Prevention Council of Canada suggests that poor school performance is the “best and most stable predictor of adult involvement in criminal activity.” And that means higher educational and criminal justice costs.

Women’s Response

All the attacks on women’s lives and the double-duty days haven’t stopped women from organizing for change. Over the past decade or more, women’s response has been building locally and globally. Organizations such as UNPAC, the Feminist Alliance For International Action (FAFIA) and the Global Women’s Strike (GWS) have come into being to demand accountability from the governments on the commitments made to women under international human rights treaties and agreements, including the Beijing Platform for Action (PFA) and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The World Women’s March in 2000 brought forth The Feminist Dozen, 13 items that the federal government must address to reduce women’s poverty in this country.

The World Women’s March Feminist Dozen

Women in Canada Call on the Federal Government to:

  1. Restore federal funding to health care and enforce the rules against the privatization of our health care system, beginning with Alberta.
  2. Spend an additional 1% of the budget on social housing.
  3. Set up the promised national child-care fund, starting with an immediate contribution of $2 billion.
  4. Increase Old Age Security payments to provide older women with a decent standard of living.
  5. Use the surplus from the Employment Insurance Fund to increase benefits, provide longer payment periods and improve access, as well as improve maternity and family benefits.
  6. Support women’s organizing for equality and democracy by:
    • allocating $50 million to front-line, independent, feminist, women-controlled groups committed to ending violence against women, such as women’s centres, rape crisis centres and women’s shelters;
    • recognizing and funding the three autonomous national Aboriginal women’s organisations to ensure full participation in all significant public policy decisions as well as providing adequate funding to Aboriginal women’s services, including shelters, in all rural, remote and urban Aboriginal communities;
    • funding a national meeting of lesbians to discuss and prioritise areas for legislative and public policy reform;
    • providing $30 million in core funding for equality-seeking women’s organizations, which represents only $2.00 for every woman and girl child in Canada – our Fair Share
  7. Fund consultations with a wide range of women’s equality-seeking organizations prior to all legislative reform of relevance to women’s security and equality rights, beginning with the Criminal Code and ensure access for women from marginalized communities.
  8. Implement a progressive immigration reform to provide domestic workers with full immigration status on arrival, abolish the “head tax” on all immigrants and include persecution on the basis of gender and sexual orientation as grounds for claiming refugee status.
  9. Contribute to the elimination of poverty around the world by supporting the cancellation of the debts of the 53 poorest countries and increasing Canada’s international development aid to 0.7% of the Gross National Product
  10. Adopt national standards which guarantee the right to welfare for everyone in need and ban workfare.
  11. Recognize the ongoing exclusion of women with disabilities from economic, political and social life and take the essential first step of ensuring and funding full access for women with disabilities to all consultations on issues of relevance to women.
  12. Establish a national system of grants based on need, not merit, to enable access to post-secondary education and reduce student debt.
  13. Adopt proactive pay equity legislation.


To date, not one of the recommendations has been fully implemented.

GWS is an organization of women from more than 60 countries, working to improve conditions for women, worldwide. Their first stated demand is “Payment for all caring work – in wages, pensions, land & other resources. What is more valuable than raising children & caring for others? Invest in life & welfare, not military budgets or prisons.”

Nearly 1.2 billion hours of women’s time each year is spent on fundamental work that goes unnoticed, unrecognized, and undervalued, thanks to archaic definitions of paid work. Public programs and services that seek to redress imbalances are under constant attack by global capital. Programs that support necessary public services for women and children are dismantled, never to appear again, or reappear as watered-down versions of what they once were. Women work harder and suffer greater hardships as a result. Still, women carry on with their work and with resisting oppression. Only constant and continued pressure from all sectors of society will ensure equity is reached.

Japan and Saskatchewan

Well, Saskatchewan, if there is nuclear fallout from that earthquake in Japan it looks like we can accept some responsibility for it. My preliminary research indicates that some Saskatchewan uranium goes to Japan via partnerships among AREVA, Cameco, and Japan’s Overseas Uranium Resources Development as well as Japan-Canada Uranium (JCU Canada).

Here’s hoping nothing melts down and that the worst is over.

Happy Birthday, Prairie Lilies!

A version of this article was published in Canadian Dimension Volume 43, Number 2.  Feel free to leave your greetings in the comments section, below.

Happy Birthday, Prairie Lilies!

by Bernadette L. Wagner

Last year, in celebration of International Women’s Day, the Canadian Labour Congress and a collection of Saskatchewan’s labour organizations hosted an Equality Dinner in Regina. It provided opportunity for feminists old and new to come together with supportive brothers in a social setting. Those kinds of opportunities have been few in recent years. Feminism in Saskatchewan had taken a serious blow. The pseudo-progressive New Democratic Party of Saskatchewan targeted feminists working within the party. Feminist organizations struggled to keep doors open with incrementally less money. The once-thriving, Saskatchewan Action Committee on the Status of Women withered and died. The women’s movement in Saskatchewan seemed to stop moving.

Until last year, that is. At the dinner, after the food and speeches, an informal discussion began among those gathered. Sheila Roberts, a long-time activist, stood to raise a question. “Is there interest in starting a new women’s organization along the lines of Saskatchewan Working Women (SWW)?” she asked. SWW helped to put women’s issues on bargaining tables and made them known in the public sphere. My personal longing for organized feminist activity in the province made me stand up, speak in support, and call for a provincial women’s conference which would bring women together to share and network and speak to our issues.

Most women gathered liked the idea. Cara Banks, a feminist active in the Labour movement came up to me afterwards, saying we had to talk. Within six weeks we gathered a dozen women into my living room and brought to life the Prairie Lily Feminist Society. With an interim board of directors we decided to incorporate as a member-based non-profit corporation which would work to “promote an explicitly feminist analysis of issues, to educate and act in ways that are progressive and feminist and to interconnect with other individuals, groups and organizations who share our vision for change.” We also decided we wanted to be “a place where women could develop leadership skills, including public speaking, organizing, educating, agitating, and critically analyzing issues.” And, we felt it important that we “provide a place where we are free to debate issues from feminist perspectives and to develop policy responses as a collective.”

As if that wasn’t enough, we decided to plan a women’s symposium for Saskatoon in December 2008. To accomplish that would mean fundraising and organizing. Our connections to brothers in the trade union movement helped. Thanks to the support of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and other unions in the province, we had a manifesto and a bank account of more than five thousand dollars. By the middle of May, less than two months after the idea of a new women’s organization had been put forward, we had part-time paid staff to begin organizing and mobilizing for the symposium. Because of a personal injury, I had to completely remove myself from involvement in all organizations but that didn’t stop the “Lilies.” I passed my files along to Ann McCrorie and she carried our dreams forward into being.

On December 6 and 7, 2008 the Prairie Lily Feminist Society held its first provincial symposium for women in Saskatoon. Almost a hundred women from many Saskatchewan communities attended. A cursory glance at the evaluation forms suggest it was a great success and certainly something long overdue in the province. Keynote speaker, Morningstar Mercredi, opened the symposium. The storyteller, actress, social activist, researcher and author of “Morningstar: A Warrior’s Spirit” delivered a powerful message: “Lilies, step into your power.” It’s precisely the message Saskatchewan women needed to hear. In many ways, we had allowed our power to be usurped by male privilege. And so, we not only gathered but we also learned, connected, and got excited!

In workshop sessions we learned about the work that’s gone on around women who are missing, about peace activism, and working women. We connected around our spiritual work, our right to be assertive, our planet and our children. And, thanks to an activist roundtable, where represen­tatives from women’s organizations shared with one another about their campaigns, we got excited! Stories from Oxfam, the Rebelles, la Fédération provincial des Fransaskoises, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Saskatoon Women’s Community Coalition, Real, the Sask Eco-Network, Amnesty International, the Canadian Childcare Advocacy Association, the Prairie Women’s Health Centre for Excellence, and Nancy Allan who sold Fair Trade goods during our event moved us.

The symposium was deliberately planned for the weekend of December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. To mark the day the Prairie Lilies hosted a commemorative dinner, catered by Two Women from Burr. Those two women, Laurel and Marie, put on a fantastic spread wherever they cater with delicious locally-grown and organic foods. Following the dinner, the Saskatoon Women’s Community Coalition hosted a formal ceremony to honour the women killed in the Montreal Massacre and all women who face violence in their lives.

As with all good events, they seem to end too soon. The symposium’s closing sessions saw agreement in many areas. Among other things participants agreed to walk in support with women in Saskatchewan who are organizing around the issue of missing and murdered women and raised money for workers walking the picket line. We recognized that our power together is strong and so we will organize, fundraise, and lobby for women and their families. Participants identified areas they’d like to focus: balancing work and family; women’s sexuality; media training; lobbying; writing and debating resolutions; chairing meetings; fundraising; and online organizing were but a few.

At present, the Prairie Lily Feminist Society is looking forward to its first Annual General Meeting scheduled for Regina on March 7th. It will be our contribution to the 2009 International Women’s Day celebrations with a dinner, a silent auction, entertainment and a social. And we’re donating a portion of our proceeds to the Sisters in Spirit Saskatchewan campaign.

Though feminist activism in our province had suffered a blow, it did not die. Feminism is a-happening here! And of course, it would be. The personal is political.

Isn’t it amazing what can transpire in a year?

ACTION: Save Crown land that is native grassland!

Trevor Herriot, a writer, birder, naturalist and friend, has asked us to take action in order to save Saskatchewan’s native grasslands, especially the millions of acres protected by the Wildlife Habitat Protection Act.  Here’s why:

Last fall the Government of Saskatchewan announced a program to sell 1.6 million acres of Crown land (an area equal in size to PEI) to current leasees at a price of up to 10% below market value.

While lessees are not required to purchase their leases they have been told in writing from the Government that they should know that it is the government’s intention to see saleable land in the hands of private ownership.

Saskatchewan residents recognize and appreciate the important role many landowners play in maintaining habitat on their privately owned and leased lands. However, Crown land that currently has an ecological value on it should not be sold. These lands should remain protected and cherished as a “Crown Jewel” for the future benefit of all Saskatchewan residents.

A significant amount of Crown Ag land in Saskatchewan contains habitat that is critical in preserving our native flora and fauna.

The lack of concern being expressed by Saskatchewan residents to date regarding the sale of Crown owned land is being interpreted as support for the sales program.

You can read more about it over at Trevor’s place.  And download these documents to help you write your letter to Premier Wall. There’s more about Trevor’s latest book, Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds, here.

And hey, just because you don’t live here doesn’t mean you can’t write to Premier Wall.  The more the merrier, I always say!

Support SUN!

I’ve seen nurses in action and I know their issues are real.  A friend, who shall remain nameless, is a nurse and she has confirmed the issues to be real for her, too.  She also told me that she is unable to take her vacation leave because of the heavy workload she faces.  Still, she wants to stay in SK because she loves this part of the world.

The nursing profession has been sold short for much too long.  I am happy to see the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses standing up not only for their rights, but also for patients’ rights in the province.

The body they’re negotiating with, however, leaves a lot to be desired.  The President and CEO Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO), Susan Antosh, is playing aggressive and dirty politics through the media, suggesting that SUN’s requests at the bargaining table are all about money.  From SAHO’s latest news release:

The total wage increase from the 2007 rates is the equivalent of a 34.9% increase for general duty nurses or 37.6% increase for nurses with 20 years or more experience.

The complete proposal package by SAHO continues to support the spirit of the Government/SUN Partnership Agreement and SAHO’s participation at the Partnershp meetings.  SAHO has addressed key recruitment and retention initiatives raised by SUN and has removed many of the initial management proposals.  The remaining management proposals are directly related to the employers’ ability to provide quality patient care and to respond to the health needs of Saskatchewan residents.

SUN’s response?

SUNBurst sent to members May 26, p.m.
Update from the Negotiations Committee at 1715 May 26, 2008.

SUN’s Negotiations Committee sent the following message to SAHO through the conciliation officer:
SUN’s last position, tabled on May 26, 2008 at 0300 is SUN’s firm position for a new collective agreement that supports the SUN/Government Partnership, retention and recruitment of RNs/RPNs and a workplace environment that SUN members desperately need repaired.
SAHO’s proposals would permit Regional Health Authorities to abolish vacancies – in violation of the SUN/Government Partnership.
SAHO’s proposals would permit Regional Health Authorities to replace RNs/RPNs with other providers – in violation of the SUN/Government Partnership.
SAHO’s proposal on professional standards does not protect patient safety or provide professional practice environments essential for retention and recruitment.
SAHO’s proposals on monetary items is far short of the mandate and will not make Saskatchewan competitive with Alberta.
Our committee will not accept a four year agreement under these terms and we will not recommend acceptance of an agreement that does not meet our urgent priorities.

So, someone’s not telling the entire truth here.  Seems to me that since it’s SAHO that has taken this to the public sphere, they’d be the culprits.  And, given that SUN ends their news release with

Remember – do not believe anything unless you hear it from the Union.

it appears that SUN believes Antosh is playing dirty politics, too.

All I know is that I would trust a nurse with my life long, long before I’d trust the CEO of an organization who tries to portray nurses as money-grabbers!

UPDATED: SK Nurses have strike mandate

Update: SUN AND SAHO to continue bargaining

<> Today, through the conciliator, SUN received a message from SAHO indicating they have a revised mandate and are asking SUN to return to the bargaining table. It is our understanding that SAHO will also remove most of their proposals when we return to the table. SUN will not undertake strike action as we permit negotiations to occur.

The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) have voted “decisively in favour of a strike.” The vote found 77 percent of iSUN’s members in support of strike action in the union’s current negotiations with the Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (SAHO).

“Nurses are tired of seeing patient safety compromised,” said Rosalee Longmoore, SUN President. “They’re tired of working the long hours with no relief in sight. They want their voices heard. And with their votes, they’re sending a message loud and clear – it’s time to get serious about retaining the nursing workforce and recruiting for the future if we are to be able to keep our health care system – and the safety of patients – from deteriorating any further.”

This is an interesting development in organized labour’s struggle against the SaskParty government’s Bills 5 and 6 which have been deemed anti-worker, ant-union and anti-woman. Stay tuned for more!

SaskParty MLA calls NDP MLA a “dumb bitch”

Well, it is not surprising to this SK citizen that the SaskParty’s MLA for Cut Knife-Turtleford, Mike Chisholm, called the NDP MLA for Moose Jaw Wakamow and the former Minister of Labour, Deb Higgins, a “dumb bitch” in a legislative committee meeting this week. It didn’t surprise me at all. I wish it had.

But no, Chisholm is from rural Saskatchewan where that is just the way women are often treated. Many women, even those who consider themselves feminist, are afraid to speak their minds lest they be ostracized — or worse — by the men in their communities. It’s appalling, to say the least!

And yes, Premier Wall can accept some of the blame for this. His less than convincing response to a videotape featuring racist comments, sexist slurs and homophobic hatred in which he and some of his current colleagues were featured players did little to quell the rampant sexism in the province. And the premier had no choice, given what he did say in response to the video, to accept Chisholm’s resignation as legislative secretary.

But the NDP can assume some of the responsibility for this, too. Had the initiatives set forth by the Saskatchewan Women’s Agenda of the early 90’s been adopted by the government of the day, the very culture of the province would have become a lot less sexist. However, that was not the case. Sexists and misogynists within the NDP were able to get away with writing off the Women’s Agenda as that of “feminazis”, of radical feminists. And today, one of their own, one of the women who withstood all the sexist shit thrown at her, still has to be subjected to it.

Will this be a lesson for the NDP? One can hope, but I doubt it.

Here’s the CBC’s story on the issue.
MLA apologizes after making offensive comment against Opposition member
Last Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2008 | 10:41 AM CT
CBC News

A Saskatchewan Party MLA has apologized and resigned as a legislative secretary after referring to an NDP member as a “dumb bitch.”

Mike Chisholm, the MLA for Cut Knife-Turtleford, made the comment Wednesday in a legislative committee in reference to New Democrat Deb Higgins, who represents Moose Jaw Wakamow.

The comment came just after Chisholm had been complaining about language used by an NDP MLA.

On Thursday, Chisholm told the legislature he had submitted his resignation as legislative secretary to Premier Brad Wall, and Wall accepted it.

“I have no excuse,” he said. “I was wrong and it shouldn’t have been thought or said.” Chisholm will retain his seat and remain in the government caucus.

Chisholm made a reference to Wall’s recent call to MLAs to be more careful about using insulting language.

That followed after a 17-year-old videotape of Wall surfaced showing him at a social gathering making jokes in a Ukrainian accent.

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