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Legislation Communiqué #3 - February 2016

Legislation Communiqué #4 - June 2016


Legislation Communiqué #4 - June 2016  

Rita Hengen, Provincial Legislation Chairperson


Dear Sisters-in-the League


The Spring 2016 issue of The Canadian League includes an article by Janet McLean, National Legislation Chairperson, entitled "Monitoring the Federal Government."  (p.13) The article directs us to the website, letters that are issued by the Prime Minister to each of the cabinet ministers. Listed are the issues that each cabinet minister is to focus on in his/her ministry. Check it out. Your council can monitor how well the government is responding to your concerns. I was particularly interested in the content of the letter for the Minister of Health, the Hon. Jane Philpott. Home care services, in-home caregivers, financial help, palliative care, prescription drugs, mental health services and legalization of marijuana are some of the topics mentioned. 


The legalization and regulation of marijuana is noted in the Ministers of Justice, Health and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness mandate letters. On April 20, 2016, National Weed Day, the federal government announced plans to introduce legislation legalizing marijuana in spring, 2017. Talk to your members and find out how they feel about this. Is it a gateway drug? How will it affect drivers? How will impairment be measured? As an organization, we have had resolutions in 1998, 2003 and 2004 opposing decriminalizing marijuana. May I suggest that councils educate themselves on this upcoming legislation.


Very recently Ontario’s legislature adopted Rowan’s Law, a law “aimed at not only preventing and diagnosing head injuries in youth sport, but managing return to play.” (Hall Vicki. "Rowan’s Law First Step To Help Young Athletes", Leader Post, June 8/16, p. B3) This is the first Canadian province to follow the example shown by all 50 US States that have laws centred around youth concussions. Federal money has been made available to provinces and territories for this issue. Stay tuned to see how Saskatchewan responds.


Municipal elections are slated for October 26/16. Know your candidates and what they stand for. Let them know your council’s concerns. Be an informed voter!    


Blessings! Have a great summer!

Rita Hengen  




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Legislation Communiqué #3 - February 2016  

Rita Hengen, Resolutions & Legislation




Headlines in both Catholic and secular papers are screaming at the reader:


Prairie Messenger:

  • Euthanasia here and it’s not going away (Michael Swan, The Catholic Register, p.1)
  • February 3/16 Physician-assisted death could include children (Deborah Gyapong, p. 4)

Leader Post:

  • December 16/15 Ethicists decry granting euthanasia to children (Sharon Kirkey, p.NP3)
  • February 16/16 Doctor-Assisted Death (p. A7)

Like it or not, the Supreme Court ruling that allows assisted-suicide is now the law. The federal government has until June 6/16 to come up with a law that will be voted on by elected members of parliament.


What can we do? Educate ourselves. There are several articles on the COLF (Catholic Organization for Life and Family) website. One of them is highlighted in the Winter issue of The Canadian League, (p.8). Push hard for palliative and hospice care. Speak positively about the dignity of life from conception to natural death. Write letters to government officials. Pray.


Saskatchewan Election day is April 4, 2016.


One hundred years ago, March 14, 1916, Saskatchewan women gained the right to vote. Aboriginal women had to wait until 1960 when John Diefenbaker granted the vote to all Aboriginal people. Nellie McClung was the driving force behind the Canadian suffragist’s movement.


Information compiled by Tristin Hopper, National Post, in the article Navigator, Leader Post, January 28/16, p.NP 2, outlines the case against and case in favor of women having the vote back in the early 1900’s.


The case against lists:

  1. They’ll get hurt – public voting until the 1800’s made for unsafe voting conditions.
  2. It’s taunting God – the notion that apparently “If God had wanted women to vote, he would have made them men.”
  3. They’ll take our booze away – actually … “newly enfranchised women in both the U.S. and Canada would turn out to be instrumental in having the measure [temperance] repealed.”
  4. It’s pointless – women would just cancel each other’s votes, so why bother?
  5. Everyone will turn into men – a Quebec politician … “wrote in 1918 that allowing women to vote would turn them into ‘veritable women-men.’”


The case in favor lists:

  1. Nobody’s getting killed over it – Canadian suffragists were not violent as were their counterparts in the U.K.
  2. Better now that later – John A Macdonald suggested women’s suffrage decades before women could vote. He wrote “It is merely a matter of time.”
  3. It’s not all that radical -  Unlike the American suffragists promising …  “a wave of social reform,” Canada’s suffragists …“simply advanced the argument that it was sort of weird that Canada didn’t already let its women vote.”
  4. There’s a bloody war going on - Women assumed male roles while: “Fifteen hundred Canadians were dying in European trenches every month” during the First World War, the years …“almost all of Canada’s women’s suffrage laws passed.”


Fast forward to 2016. Not only is it a privilege to vote, it is a duty. Before the Federal Election in October, 2015, the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, suggested five issues to consider when choosing a political party and candidate. They are:

  1. "Respect of life and human dignity: from conception to natural death.
  2. Building a more just society.
  3. The person and the family.
  4. Canada [Saskatchewan] in the world: providing leadership for justice and peace.
  5. A healthy country [province] in a healthy environment.”

(Canadian bishops issue Federal Election Guide on voting responsibly. Prairie Messenger, August 16, 2015, p. 18. 


Let us take seriously these recommendations and be informed voters


Kudos to the federal government for reinstating the long-form census. A note of acknowledgment to MP Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development is in order.


Stay tuned for Sen. James Cowan’s third attempt at sponsoring Bill S-201, a Senate bill banning genetic discrimination. In the February 18/16 article: Insurers argue for value of genetic tests (Ian MacLeod. Leader Post, p.NP3), Sen. Cowan states “Fear of genetic discrimination is stopping many Canadians from having genetic testing that their doctors believe would benefit them.” “In Canada, unlike most other western countries, there is not protection for this.”  The concern is that a genetic test may indicate a future disability and be used by employers and insurance and mortgage companies when doing business.



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