Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
November 14, 2005
WCR Letters to the Editor
Deputy minister underlines issues
I write concerning the article published on the front page of the Oct. 24 WCR. The article was entitled "Catholic groups demand response from McLellan."
The following statements can be found in the above-noted article: "The 41 Catholic religious communities and dioceses from across Canada say they hammered out a proposal last March with McLellan's deputy minister to resolve the issues surrounding thousands of lawsuits related to the residential schools. But they say the proposal is lying unattended on McLellan's desk. . . . Our proposal resulted from 14 months of very serious discussions, which we entered into in good faith upon a written request from Ms. McLellan's deputy minister (Mario Dion)."
I was indeed in frequent contact with representatives of the Catholic entities during the discussions that led to the development of their proposal because of a desire on my part to explore all possible ways to ensure full compensation for former students who experienced abuse while in Indian residential schools (IRS).
I made it clear initially, as well as at every subsequent meeting, that any proposal put forward by entities would have to be first reviewed and accepted by the minister responsible for Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada and would then be subject to approval by full cabinet.
It was also made clear throughout the discussions that any proposal providing for investments of less than $126 million would fall short of what other churches were contributing, and would adversely affect agreements already in effect between the government and the Anglican and Presbyterian churches.
In spite of the difficulties surrounding the crafting of an acceptable proposal, the group worked with determination to articulate the best possible offer to the government. I know how much energy and good will were invested in putting the proposal together.
The article also states that: "We are at a loss to understand why Ms. McLellan has decided to ignore the fruit of discussions that were initiated by her deputy minister. . . . . A spokesman for McLellan said the deputy minister has not responded to the Catholic groups because Iacobucci is to make recommendations to her regarding settlement of the issue. He has until the end of March to submit a final report. . . . Keylor said the religious groups talked with Iacobucci but he told them he does not have authority to come to a binding agreement with them."
As soon as I was authorized to do so, I notified the 41 Catholic entities' legal representative, Dan Konkin, of the government's decision to appoint a federal representative to conduct comprehensive discussions on an overall strategy toward a fair and lasting resolution of IRS legacy.
I also informed Mr. Konkin that consideration of the group's proposal would be subsumed into the discussions to ensure that matters related to compensation and healing were addressed with all of the parties at the same time.
I did this several hours prior to the press conference announcing the appointment of the Hon. Frank Iacobucci as well as the signing of the political agreement with the Assembly of First Nations on May 30, 2005. As well, on the following day, I wrote to encourage the Catholic entities to participate in the discussions led by Mr. Iacobucci.
While it is accurate to say that Iacobucci does not have a binding say in any final agreement, and that the decision rests with the government, he has been given a full and specific mandate to lead discussions towards a fair, timely, and lasting resolution of all IRS claims.
It is fair to assume that government will base their decisions in most part on the recommendations he makes to them. This is the venue in which my minister has strongly encouraged any Catholic representative to participate in order to achieve the best solution possible.
Our representative is currently holding discussions with representatives of Catholic entities as part of his mandate.
Witness faith in action
Recently, I was very moved by the power of the Holy Spirit within some people here in my home parish. I felt compelled to share with you a refreshing story of compassion and covenant.
Those involved will not be named to protect their privacy and facilitate the praise being given to the work of the Spirit within.
It was made apparent that there was a need within our parish family. One member with terminal cancer and her family are courageously attempting to manage some challenging circumstances.
They are a strong and faith-filled family and their strength through prayer and family is very apparent. The seven children help their father with the loving care bestowed on their mother.
They were in need of a wheelchair ramp in order to keep their mother home with them as long as possible. With it they would be able to gently and frequently add to her quality of life by taking her out into the community, as the need or desire arose.
The cost of having one built was formidable, and renting one was costly as well.
Mom is in need of almost constant companionship, so dad could not be away for the time required to build one himself. As well, his plate was full enough already.
The need was related to the grand knight of the local K of C by cell phone while he was en route to a meeting. The request was added to their agenda and approval of the cost was given immediately and communicated back that same evening. The Spirit isn't only powerful but also prompt when hearts are open to receive.
Another parishioner, an extremely busy, construction engineer, was contacted that evening about the possibility of drawing up a plan of specs for the ramp.
The next afternoon he constructed a beautiful ramp off the couple's back deck and returned the following day to complete it with railings and weather stripping.
Now that is community covenant at its finest! "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2).
The couple were "slain" by the generosity, love and compassion shown them by their parish family.
Tears of joy and thanksgiving were shared by all those involved.
Hurricane hits Change for Children
A newspaper article posed the question: "Have world crises left charitable givers tapped out?" It is unfortunate that the Central American crisis caused by Hurricane Stan has been virtually forgotten in the wake of a bigger disaster in South Asia.
Prime Minister Martin promised to double contributions to the large NGOs for South Asian earthquake relief. UNICEF, World Vision, Oxfam, Care, Save the Children took out large ads in the Globe and Mail to publicize this and ask for donations.
Central America and Hurricane Stan have been completely forgotten. And yet, for the 1.5 million or more affected, the Central American crisis is just as great. Both in Guatemala and El Salvador, food crops have been destroyed and many have lost not only their homes but the land they owned and farmed.
Within days of the disaster the Edmonton Guatemalan and El Salvadoran communities and Change For Children, a local grassroots NGO with a 29-year history of working with Central American NGOs, had contacted partner organizations to send funds for immediate needs.
I was in Central America during the devastating Hurricane Mitch in November 1998. Five and a half years later I was saddened to see that many, after so much time, had still not been able to obtain housing or land. To ensure that this does not occur again, Change for Children together with the Guatemalan and Salvadoran communities wants to raise funds for rebuilding projects as soon as possible.
While the Canadian government may not match funds collected by Change for Children for Hurricane Stan emergency relief, help is needed. Donations may be made at any Edmonton branch of Scotia Bank or atwww.changeforchildren.org, or #221, 9624-108 Ave., Edmonton, T5H 1A4 (780-448-1505).
Perfume, incense triggers allergies
Have you noticed that there are a large number of people who are coughing near you? Maybe in the theatre or at Mass?
Have you ever wondered why the children near you are crying and fussing?
Why did that couple or person move just after you sat near them?
Could it be that they have an allergy to the fragrance that you or someone near you is wearing?
Did you know that your favourite fragrance (though very lovely) could be making people around you uncomfortable or, as with me, very sick.
I have asthma and fragrances such as perfume, after shave, cologne, hair sprays, body sprays etc. make me very ill.
I can't attend the Easter Vigil or Christmas Mass if they are using incense.
I take two medications a day to keep my asthma under control, but if I should sit next to you or even a short distance from you, and you are wearing a fragrance, I will have an attack and have to leave and take the other medication that allows me to breath.
If one puff doesn't help then I must take another and if I have to take three then I have to go to the hospital and have oxygen and another medication.
These medications make my heart race and I feel sick and dizzy and I am not well for days, but I must use them in order to breathe.
It is frightening not to be able to breathe and I am an adult.
Can you just imagine a child having to go through this and what about the parents? They are no doubt very frightened.
Right now you are saying, "I have worn a fragrance all my life and no one is going to tell me that I can't" or, "This is not my problem."
You are correct in saying that no one can tell you not to wear it and it may not be your problem.
But is it?
What if it were your wife or child or grandchild?
Would you not want others to help keep them healthy and allow them to attend Mass in comfort?
The bishop's office has stated that I am the only one to complain about this.
I can't believe that I am the only one with this problem. If you suffer as I do, please speak up. Even if you don't, please help us who have this difficulty to attend Mass in comfort and safety.
Call your church office and ask for a notice to be put in your bulletin asking that people not wear fragrances to church.
It works, as some just have not realized that there is a problem.
Letter to the Editor - 11/28/05
Letter to the Editor - 12/05/05
Letters to the Editor
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