Communique #04 – Community Life

January 25, 2019

National Chairperson of Community Life Marie Rackley, January 25, 2019

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As 2019 begins, the community life standing committee will continue to focus on service to local and international communities. The new national theme Care for our Common Home will help lead members in the direction of care for the environment. Let us work together to make communities stronger and in caring for what we are fortunate to have.

Canada Summer Jobs Program 2019
In December 2018, the federal government announced it was removing the attestation requiring applicants to endorse Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other choices attributed as Charter rights, including abortion. In the application’s articles of agreement, a shorter attestation states, “Any funding under the Canada Summer Job program will not be used to undermine or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada”. The League is a strong organization that expresses its concern for the people of Canada. Members’ voices made a difference. The attestation’s change is no doubt thanks to an effective public outcry. Job well done ladies!

Dignity and Rights of Persons: Human Trafficking
Dorothy Johansen sub-committee chairperson

According to a 2016 Statistics Canada report, Canadian police services reported 340 incidents of human trafficking with the most serious violations involving another offence, usually prostitution.

Sex trafficking occurs when someone uses force, fraud or coercion to cause a commercial sex act such prostitution, pornography or sexual performance in exchange for items of value including money, drugs, shelter, food or clothes with an adult or a minor. Victims are most often young women and children found through social networks, home neighborhoods, clubs or bars, the internet and schools. Due to social stigma or misinformation, victims can be unidentified and may be silenced by fear, control of the trafficker or misidentified by treating only surfaces issues. Sex trafficked children may instead be treated for drug abuse, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, delinquency, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases or provided abortions.

In December 2014, the federal government moved forward in a positive direction by adopting the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, which focuses on the demand side of prostitution by criminalizing the buyers and profiteers, holding them accountable for their actions, while decriminalizing prostituted persons at the same time. The law also encourages prostituted persons to exit prostitution and seek help to live a fulfilling life. To date the law has been minimally enforced across Canada and is being reviewed by the current government with a view to possibly abrogate it.

The upcoming 2019 federal election provides a critical moment for education and advocacy. Canadians need to be made aware that any movement to legalize or decriminalize the buying of prostitution will only further marginalize youth and women (especially Indigenous and refugees), while increasing prostitution and human trafficking in the country.

Pope Francis states, “Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become ever more aggressive, that threatens not just individuals, but the foundational values of society.”

Members can help make a difference:
• Contact local police departments about trafficking issues.
• Contact local members of parliament and express concerns.
• Host or attend an awareness event in your community.
• Get a committee together to review past human trafficking resolutions or compose a new resolution.

Upcoming Events and Special Dates – February & March 2019
• February – Black History Month – Government of Canada
• 7-14: Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week – Canadian Council of Christians and Jews
• 14: St. Valentine’s Day
• 20: World Day of Social Justice – United Nations
• 27: Pink Shirt Day (anti bullying) – CKNW Kids’ Fund
• March 1: World Day of Prayer
• 8: International Women’s Day – United Nations
• 17: St. Patrick’s Day
• 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – United Nations
• 22: World Water Day – United Nations
• 22-23: 30 Hour Famine – World Vision Canada

May Our Lady of Good Counsel bless you as you continue to work for the people of God.