I am a passionate woman who believes in democracy and I always wonder how we can make democracy real and tangible for those who feel they cannot participate in the democratic process.
I have great concern for marginalized communities: immigrants, people who seek refuge in Canada, and women and men who do not have a voice in their environment, in their homes, in their workplaces or in the communities in which they live. I care deeply about the young people who do not have opportunities to become healthy productive citizens and turn to lives of substance abuse and crime in order to survive. I believe that education is a right and that every child should have access to post secondary education to ensure that all students can reach their potential. I know that working families need properly regulated and affordable day care so that they can earn decent livings to raise their children.
I grew up in poverty and at a very early age knew that living in poverty took more work to survive, more work than was experienced by my peers who had more. I believed then – and still believe – that this is wrong. I recognized that women were not treated equally, that men seemed to have an advantage or more say in what affected women than women did. I still remember the day I thought I could break the cycle of poverty. It was the day I was chosen by the government of the day to be educated in a nursing program in which the government had purchased six nursing seats to allow young women like myself, women who had no hope of ever being educated, to get ahead.
All my life I have worked toward making improvements that are meaningful for people. I have sat on the Saskatchewan Multi Cultural Association and The Saskatchewan Human Rights Association. While being active within my union I helped create The Human Rights Committee, The Committee against Racism and Discrimination and assisted in setting up the ad hoc Aboriginal Council for CUPE Saskatchewan. I am proud to say that I sat as chair for all of the aforementioned committees at one time or another. I was also elected to the Gabriel Springs Health Care district and sat as chair of the Inter Governmental Affairs. This committee which dealt with how employers can encourage positive relationships with Aboriginal Communities and how we could encourage Aboriginal participation in the health care environment, and, in particular, determining what could be done to keep Aboriginal children in school and ensure they had opportunities to enter the Health Care Professions. During this timeframe I also participated in the Community Conflict Resolving Committee, which fostered relationships between all the surrounding towns with respect to resolving community-based issues.
I hold a certificate in Labour Studies and have taught at the Saskatchewan College of Commerce, Current Issues – Affirmative Action to Employment Equity. I have run as a candidate in a provincial election which was exciting and an eye opener at the same time.
My nursing career spanned 32 years and my strength was geriatrics. Working in a small town hospital I had the opportunity to work in all departments from Emergency and out patients to pediatrics, maternity, acute care, Intensive Care Unit, long term care, and geriatrics. I participated in my working environment and over saw the implementation of a Family Assistance Program for employees, and I have helped develop adult education programs for my union to sensitize members on human rights, racism and discrimination and occupational health and safety.
Currently, I am a lead spokes person on the Living Wage Campaign in Ottawa and have presented deputations to city council. I have also delivered countless presentations on the Disability Tax Credit in Ottawa. I am an active member of Ottawa Poverty Reduction Network, City for all Women’s Initiatives and ACORN.