AT OUR CLUB-June 2, 2020

Chair President Rod Morrison led the meeting assisted by Zoom Team: Host: John Stephenson and Co-hosts Brian Walmark and Kevin Holloway.  32 members attended.

Kevin Holloway again projected a fine version of O Canada and a solemn reflection was delivered by President Morrison on the grim topic of systemic racism around the world as emanating from tragic events in the U.S.

Today's guest speaker was the eminent Member of Parliament the Honourable Niki Ashton MP for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski. 
Ms Ashton joined us from her home in Thompson Manitoba.  Her distinguished background and credentials were offered up by her friend, Rotarian Brain Walmark. Brian's association with our guest (along with his daughter Meia) goes back years. Brian also thanked Ms Ashton for her fine presentation. She was characterized as a human rights champion.

Ms Ashton has extensive experience in the north, (including studies at Lakehead University) and is veteran advocate for First Nations peoples throughout the area and her riding. There are many correlates between her constituency in Manitoba and  our own northwestern Ontario FN issues. There is "a fight to save lives in the region." Indigenous peoples are at high risk for infection.  The reasons are numerous and were reviewed. Systemic inequality is at the heart of the matter. She posits that the gap is even greater now than before the pandemic arose.

People are finally becoming more aware and better educated as to the problems faced and must advocate at all levels of government for change. We learned that FN communities in her riding instituted a full lockdown policy and in fact only three positive cases and no deaths have arisen to this point: very encouraging to hear.

The Q&A session yielded some good suggestions on how Rotary can assist.

The club is much indebted to Ms Ashton for her strong advocacy and commitment and thanks for Brian for having her join us today.


Announcement Highlights:

1. Dew Drop Inn:  Rotarians helped make over 300 bagged lunches last week (Bill Green)
2. Arpad Zolyomi did make it out finally. A lovely note from his (Rotarian) mother in Romania was received (Mat Diegel)
3. A District Grant was received for US$10,000 that will pay for C$14,000 for new windows in  2 cabins at Wilderness Discovery (Brenda Winter and Roly Turner)
4. Allocations Committee is ramping up for a new round: significant awards to Dew Drop Inn, Shelter House and Salvation Army were dispensed earlier (Kevin Holloway)
5. The Rotary International Convention originally to be in Hawaii will go virtual: June 20-26 on the District website (Rod Morrison)
6. Visioning Process for the Club: attendees encouraged (Krysta Logozzo Danielle)
7. Indigenous Planning and Rotary Radio Day planning imminent.