Communique #7 – Resolutions
National Chairperson of Resolutions Cathy Bouchard, November 28, 2019
Evaluation of the Resolutions Process at the 2019 National Convention
Approximately 64% of attendees responded with 44% agreeing the new process was effective. Thirty-three per cent did not agree with the new process, while 23% provided comments indicating “neither / maybe / both.” Respondents shared constructive ideas and suggestions.
Desire from the Membership to Receive Resolutions before the National Convention
Resolutions are received by the national resolutions committee in June following provincial conventions, except for Ontario, which has its convention in July. Committee members get a first glance at the resolutions before meeting in late June or early July. The committee follows procedures outlined in the Resolutions Supplement to the Executive Handbook. After reviewing the resolutions, the committee ensures the national executive/board, i.e. all elected officers and provincial presidents, receive the resolutions proposed for deliberation as amended by the committee. The national executive also receives a table outlining all resolutions received with the committee’s recommendations. A second meeting is held immediately before the national executive’s pre-convention meeting, where the resolutions are reviewed a second time and resolutions from Ontario are considered. Additional material requested as a result of deliberations at the first meeting is also examined.
The committee has limited authority to change a resolution submitted from a provincial council. The committee cannot change the intent of the resolution. The committee’s prime focus is to clarify, authenticate and check facts, make the language “correct” and refine the resolution.
The committee presents its recommendations to the national executive for approval at the pre-convention meeting, usually held one day before the convention opens. Following the national executive’s decisions, the resolutions are finally ready for the membership to read and consider. With this timeframe, there is not enough time for members to review the resolutions before the resolutions dialogue. Keep in mind resolutions have been through a parish, diocesan and provincial council before coming to the national resolutions committee. The convention secretariat prints the resolutions as soon as possible following the pre-convention meeting. These are made available at the registration desk, the dialogue and inside the convention room.
Dialogue on the Resolutions
The purpose of the resolutions dialogue is to debate and share ideas—an important function of the convention.
On the convention floor, when a resolution is presented, dialogue from the members is invited. It is part of the process during convention that members can petition the national president to extend the time for dialogue, so there is more time for discussion.
A resolution, like a motion, introduces new business to the assembly. New business is presented in the form of a resolution when the subject is formal, lengthy or complex. The rules around presentation are the same as for motions―moved, seconded, debated and adopted by majority vote. “RESOLVED that the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada in 100th annual national convention assembled urge (the federal government) to …”
When a resolution comes to the convention floor, the topic is ready to be debated and adopted or defeated.
- The provincial council gifting the resolution will be first to speak to the resolution.
- The mover of the resolution, or her designate, may speak to open and close debate.
- Any other member can speak to the resolution. That member shall speak no more than once on the same motion on the same day, or longer than three minutes without permission of the assembly granted by a two-thirds vote without debate.
- Those wishing to speak shall use the floor microphones; take a place in line and, upon being recognized by the chair, state name, status, diocese and province.
- When time is of the essence, voting members shall be given priority to speak over non-voting members.
Meeting with government
Provincial councils meet with provincial government in a different process, such as a large meeting with the premier and other ministers and advisors involved, or meeting purposely with ministers of specific portfolios. When members of the national executive meet with the federal government, we have found they have—for the most part—read the resolutions, briefs and the works cited, are well-prepared to answer concerns and have done their due diligence. Meetings are attempted to be booked regarding current resolutions as well as earlier resolutions. The League delegation leaves these meetings with a question or “ask” to ensure a response outside of the meeting.
Resolutions can be a powerful tool “to infuse a Christian spirit into the temporal order” (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity). The League can serve the church’s mission and be a Christian witness through resolutions.
“For God and Canada,”
National Chairperson of Resolutions