Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
March 12, 2013

CEIU Ontario Women’s Committee Political Action Training Weekend

The CEIU Women’s Committee spent an energizing training weekend on March 2nd and 3rd in Sudbury learning and building on their skills necessary to advocate for and achieve progressive social and economic change.   The training participants had an opportunity to hear from France Gélinas, MPP from Nickel Belt and PSAC National President Robyn Benson.

Gogi Bhandal, Canadian Labour Congress Regional Representative facilitated a political action workshop designed for women. The course included exploring concerns and fears about lobbying and how to prepare for and conduct a lobby with a local politician.

“Training and giving  women confidence to not roll over and take it when important issues arise is even more necessary now than before given the government has told thousands of our members that they could lose their jobs, “ said Brenda MacKinnon, CEIU’s National Vice President for Women’s Issues (NCR/Ontario) .

France Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt shared her personal experiences as a woman in politics focussing on the important message that more women should get involved. France provided details of what a typical day in the life of France the politician looked like and stressed that “when people get engaged real change happens ……when people take the time and energy to connect with us the politicians – it carries a lot of weight to make changes to Bills and legislation…..get involved. “  She said that although elected politicians have the power to make public policy decisions and to pass legislation the laws that shape and influence our workplaces none of this can be done without our involvement…without our engagement.

Robyn Benson, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada said that “a union improves the lives of every Canadian” and that lobbying is effective.  Politicians do know that they must be responsive and accountable to voters and to think about having regular visits with your MP.  “We need to meet with them to let them know what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong,” said Robyn and she thanked all the activists present for putting their skills into action and making a difference in the communities that they live in.

The training participants committed to taking their new training home and putting it into practice.

The CEIU Women’s Committee is currently working hard on the upcoming Tri-Annual Training Conference which is to be held in Kingston in September.

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