Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 11, 2001
McBride takes over as Alberta CWL head
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
SEXSMITH — The weekend of June 1-2 was a big weekend for Connie McBride. That's when the Alberta-Northwest Territories Council of the Catholic Women's League held its provincial convention here and when McBride took over the reins of the huge organization.
She has the experience. After all, she has been involved in the league for 28 years and has served in a number of executive positions, including as president of the Edmonton Archdiocesan CWL in the mid-1990s.
However, McBride is aware this bird is different and will approach it with caution.
"I'm looking forward (to serving as president) but with trepidation because this is new," she said June 6.
"I'm treading into new territory and dealing with a wider scope of women, many of whom I don't know well. It's a learning experience but learning experiences aren't always the most comfortable at first whenever you tread into new territory."
Trepidation aside, McBride, who replaced Lucille Partington in the position, is ready to tackle her new responsibilities, which include presiding over a 15-member executive, communicating regularly with five diocesan presidents, attending inter-provincial and national meetings and conventions and, above all, providing leadership to 9,700 CWL members in 188 councils.
McBride was installed at the convention before 113 delegates from throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Elected president-elect at the convention was Mary Heinzlmeir of Rockford. She will take over from McBride in mid-2003.
With McBride, the provincial CWL is getting a leader who likes to share the pie. "I hope that I'll be a team player and I hope that I'll be able to bring issues together from all over and that we will work on them as a team."
Asked for her goals and priorities, McBride said, "I don't go with my own priorities but with the priorities of my women."
But she said one issue of concern among Catholic women these days is poverty among women and children. "Our goal is to try to eradicate it some day."
At the convention, delegates approved a resolution calling on the Alberta government to increase standard allowances and shelter allowances under the Supports for Independence Program to a level equal with the cost of living.
McBride and the league contend that in many cases the allowances provided by the government through SIP "are not enough to cover the costs of food and shelter alone."
The resolution notes single parent families receive SFI allowances between 43 and 58 per cent of the cost of living and two parent families receive allowances between 44 and 56 per cent of their actual living costs.
In addition to fighting poverty, the CWL under McBride will continue its long struggle against euthanasia and abortion and may become involved in helping farmers in crisis.
A CWL member since she was 22 and living in Calgary, the 49-year-old McBride is a stay-at-home mother of three who lives out her faith in the community.
As well as being active in St. Charles Parish, she serves on the board of WINGS, an organization that provides second-stage housing for women and children fleeing abusive home situations, and on the board of Newman Theological College and St. Joseph's Seminary.
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