Communique #5 – Resolutions
National Chairperson of Resolutions Cathy Bouchard, September 11, 2019
Welcome to new provincial chairpersons of resolutions Elizabeth (Betsy) Fletcher (Alberta Mackenzie), Con Marks (Manitoba), Wilma Vanderzwaag (Ontario), Anna Bawer-Di Lallo (Quebec) and Susan Melchiorre (Saskatchewan). I introduce you to those in their second year of this role Sharon Ciebin (B.C. & Yukon), Madonna Howell (Military Ordinariate), Fran Hickmott (New Brunswick), Elizabeth Doyle (Nova Scotia) and Leah Kinch (Prince Edward Island).
This standing committee works as a community to advise each other and share resources and ideas. None of us can know everything and sometimes help to clarify our work is needed. As provincial chairpersons, reach toward diocesan chairpersons to assist them and reach out to me and through me to other provincial chairpersons.
I encourage creating a committee that will continue for a longer term. You may wish to have a League member who is a parliamentarian, someone who is excellent in language use and editorial skills, and a life member with significant League experience. Other committee members should include the spiritual advisor, the council president, the resolutions chairperson (if not selected as the committee chairperson) and one or two other interested members. Additional members to include in your committee depend on possible resolutions you are tasked with.
You may remember from the resolutions dialogue that to be presented at the annual national convention, a resolution must:
- be acceptable as a League position
- be established as policy of the League (or proposed as policy of the League)
- be in accordance with the teachings of the church
- not be previously developed and researched by other groups
- be on a topic the League has not already set a position on
The first three points are easy to understand. To clarify the fourth point, “not be previously developed and researched by other groups,” refer to page three of the Resolutions Supplement to the Executive Handbook:
Policy on Receiving Resolutions from Other Groups
On occasion, resolutions of other kindred groups were presented through the resolutions standing committee and rose through provincial and national levels as League resolutions. Members should exercise great care to ensure that the League does not become a vehicle to express the concerns of other organizations or groups. The League must seek to give expression to the concerns of its own members, by means of resolutions which have been developed and researched by members, as opposed to other groups. Resolutions developed and researched by other groups or organizations will not be accepted as resolutions of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada.
In speaking to government, the League loses the power of the number of women’s voices it represents when bringing forward another group’s resolutions. Working on, researching and presenting resolutions from members rather than relying on another group’s work, ensures resolutions that truly reflect The Catholic Women’s League of Canada.
Whereas Clauses: These clause(s) state the reason(s) for the requested action of a resolution. The first whereas clause defines the issue. Additional clauses “provide, in a logical order, the strongest reasons for requesting action. These clauses should be worded positively, based on documented, accurate facts and be clear and concise” (Resolutions Supplement to the Executive Handbook, page 5). Members asked whether parish, diocesan and provincial councils should continue to craft resolutions using whereas clauses. At the national level whereas clauses are no longer considered as part of the resolution. When presented on the convention floor, these clauses are not included for debate. Continued use of them at other levels is up to your discretion and policies. I suggest using whereas clauses to form the topic sentences for the brief. The national resolutions committee needs to know the reasons (whereas clauses) for the concerns; however, the reasons are not debated. These provide the background for the issue summary published in the fall issue of The Canadian League magazine.
I hope to continue working on the Resolutions Supplement to the Executive Handbook throughout the year to make this clearer for members. We know the work of resolutions is motivating and rewarding for members and want to continue to encourage that.
May God bless your work on the resolutions standing committee.
National Chairperson of Resolutions