Date: August 18-22, 2014
Location: Château Laurier, Québec City
Monday August 18 - Day One
UNDE Triennial Convention – Quebec City – Opening Day
Weekend Arrival to Convention in Quebec City…
Dedicated Unionists from all across Canada descended upon Quebec City on Saturday for the 16th Triennial Convention of the Union of National Defence Employees. The skies threatened, but were easily offset by the warm and sunny reception by the good folks of Quebec. Kudos to the Host Committee for a fabulous choice of venues. The Hotel Chateau Laurier borders the Plains of Abraham and nestles up against no end of fabulous choices in restaurants. The Citadel is no more than a stone’s throw away, and the historic Old City a picturesque stroll down a gentle slope.
Those hardy souls that stayed up until ten in the evening were mesmerized by a fabulous fireworks display over the Saint Lawrence River close by the Chateau Frontenac. Ooh AH! Fear not if you missed it though. It will repeat on Wednesday evening.
Sunday dawned grey and overcast but soon turned bright and sunny. Delegates assembled for their various Caucus Meetings to review logistics for the week ahead and plot their course of action. Candidates for election availed themselves of the opportunity to address the attendees and solicit their support. Some spare time was had by all to settle in, do a spot of sightseeing and seek out old friends.
That evening everyone gathered in the “Room Des Plaines” for the President’s reception. Delicious appetizers were served up in abundance, a drink or two was quaffed and a good time had by all.
Day one of convention: Monday, August 18, 2014
The sun burst over the horizon promising a beautiful day in the city. Delegates, however, had but a brief moment to enjoy it before embarking upon the tasks at hand. First order of business was a hearty welcome to all delegates, observers and guests by the Host Committee, who in turn were given an exuberant round of applause for their outstanding organizing of the Convention.
Grand Chief Konrad Sioui welcomed everyone to the land of the Huron. He thanked Unionists for working together with Aboriginals to protect and advance the rights of all Canadians. In closing he wished delegates a good stay – a good time – good health, and invited everyone to visit the nearby Wendake Reserve.
PSAC REVP Quebec Magali Picard was introduced as Chairperson of the Elections Committee. She outlined the procedures for the upcoming elections and gave a rousing speech that inspired the floor. Even more inspiration came from an UNDE film outlining current issues and the way ahead in the coming months.
The remaining administrative details were run through. The staff of UNDE was introduced and then it was time for business to commence. The General Resolutions Committee led off. The opening Resolution was to bring back the annual Local Presidents’ Conference. The proposal was popular and passed with flying colours.
Debate was much livelier for the rest of the morning and throughout the afternoon with Bylaws Resolutions on the floor. Members rose on points of order and privilege. Amendments were frequently friendly but sometimes not so much so. A standing vote was even requested. By end of day, delegates dispersed to a much deserved rest.
Tuesday August 19 - Day Two
UNDE Triennial Convention – Quebec City – Day Two
DAY TWO OF CONVENTION – TUESDAY AUGUST 19, 2014
The morning was oh so sunny, but the UNDE Delegates were oh so blue. Not in spirits though. They were mostly bedecked in their blue 2014 Convention shirts in anticipation of a noon hour protest. It was, after all, the 19th of the month and therefore an advance anniversary of the anticipated 2015 Federal Election.
But first to the work at hand. Bylaws led off the day but were finished their resolutions by nine thirty. Then Finance took the floor. The projected budget was ”Good News, Bad News.” No dues increases were forecast but a moderate deficit was. It was hoped it could be eliminated by the next Convention. Crystal balling is such an inexact science though – especially when dealing with finances. Many questions were asked and much discussion took place. By end of day, the Budget was yet to be passed.
As the sun closed in on high noon, delegates equipped themselves with bright red “Stop Harper” signs and very noisy whistles. More supporters were waiting outside. The protesters marched back and forth across the street and up and down Grande Allee. Three policemen arrived to restore order but soon decided to stand around and chat with the Unionists. Speeches were made. TV cameras arrived. A very successful outing indeed.
Right after lunch, Brigette De Pape enthralled the Delegates with a most inspirational presentation. Everyone knows her as the Canadian activist from Manitoba, who held up the “Stop Harper” sign during the throne speech and thus served as the motivational force for today’s march. She thanked Unionists for all their dedicated efforts and encouraged them to be even more active in the future.
Eventually the work on the floor drew to a close but not the activities of the Delegates. After a short turnaround, they’d be off to what promised to be a scintillating dinner cruise on the Saint Lawrence River.
Wednesday August 20 - Day Three
UNDE Triennial Convention – Quebec City – Day Three
DAY THREE OF CONVENTION – WEDNESDAY AUGUST 20, 2014
The city dazzled Wednesday morning, as usual, but the delegates’ memories dazzled even more from last evening’s starlit cruise on the Saint Lawrence River. The M/V Louis Jolliet had it all: fine dining, music and dance, and no end of picturesque scenery along the shores.
Guest Speaker for the day was Robyn Benson, National President of PSAC. She hearkened back to her pledge, upon being elected, to build unity and strength. She considered UNDE to be a pillar in the process for protecting Canadians and holding the government to account. The Union, however, needed to get stronger and more militant in months to come. Her three goals were to protect hard earned collective agreement rights, defend public services for all Canadians and get rid of the Federal Conservative Government in 2015. Unions needed to shake it up with their members by getting out there and talking to them face to face. Victory would come by fighting together.
Finance Committee commenced the day. They reported that as of start of business the “moderate” deficit had grown to almost three quarters of a million dollars. Several increases had been voted in for variable expenditures, in particular annual Local Presidents’ Conferences, Education and the Contingency Fund for Union Action. A well-intentioned Resolution for UNDE to pay a $75 per diem for Union business on days of rest threw the proverbial “monkey wrench into the works.” Much debate ensued. The Committee recommended “non-concurrence” because numerous Locals already reimburse their members. The delegates did agree that some Locals such as NPF were fully deserving of remuneration. They voted to change it to “concurrence.” The Resolution then needed clarifying so the submitting Locals were permitted to withdraw it and resubmit.
The day was rounded off by a rousing All-Candidates Forum for the National President, Executive Vice-President and Human Rights Advisor positions. It was moderated by Jerome Turcq. The candidates were each allowed three minutes to amplify their qualifications then faced four questions previously submitted by the Delegates – What are your plans for the next three years? How would you enhance participation by members? How important is secession planning and how should UNDE carry it out? How would you improve the UNDE website? The Delegates then departed to sample the delights of a Regional Pot Luck.
Thursday August 21 - Day Four
UNDE Triennial Convention – Quebec City – Day Four
DAY FOUR OF CONVENTION – THURSDAY AUGUST 21, 2014
Despite three days of hard work on the floor, Delegates were positively buzzing with energy at start of business. Guests were introduced, Lifetime Members welcomed and Presentations made – upcoming retirements, 30 year memberships and new lifetime members. So much Union history stood before the Delegates, inspiring them for the rest of week ahead.
The General Committee led off the day and dealt with numerous Resolutions. One to establish a “PRO” and “CON” microphone at Convention sparked great comment. Delegates, sometimes rather humorously, outlined no end of potential logistical problems switching back and forth between microphones. The Resolution was eventually defeated. Another Resolution to hold a Separate Employer Conference seemed like a good idea at first but was eventually defeated because of the vast differences between CSE, NPF and Private Sector. An Emergency Resolution requested UNDE take measures to have Federal Firefighters included in the Presumptive Cancer Coverage. It passed unanimously.
As in previous days, talk about youth was quite prominent. It was sort of a “Bad News – Good News” situation. On the one hand, Delegates worried that not enough youth were active in the Union. On the other, the youth that were present infused great energy into the Convention and boded well for the future. A Resolution to change the age limit for being a youth from 30 to 35 was moved up in the order. It carried but only after extensive discussion.
Finance came back with an Emergency Resolution for a per diem of $75 for UNDE Members earning less than $30,000 per annum when participating in UNDE activities on days of rest. It passed readily. That allowed for a much anticipated vote on the Budget. It passed with flying colours.
Challenges had been issued throughout the week. Mark Miller was the first up and had his head and beard shaved to raise money for a Brother in need of a wheel chair. Next up was John MacLennan who accepted the ice bucket challenge. Ouch. Did he ever look cold. He, in turn, challenged Philippe Turcq and Colleen Hodder. They accepted immediately. Ooh-la-la!
Friday August 22 - Day Five
UNDE Triennial Convention – Quebec City – Day Five
DAY FIVE OF CONVENTION – FRIDAY AUGUST 22, 2014
The final day in the fabulous city! The week was chock-a-block full of valuable Union work but also full of the joy of Union camaraderie. Last evening the Delegates were treated to a sumptuous banquet, a live band and opportunity to dance their cares away. Morning’s light found them a bit tired of body but surging in spirit to advance the cause of Solidarity.
The morning started with special presentations, important announcements and “Good Byes” from the two Vice-Presidents not seeking re-election – Clay Joyce for Communications Security Establishment and Randy Walker for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The General Committee then took over to continue discussion on a Resolution from yesterday that had been moved up in order. It requested UNDE hold a National Convention for young workers to come up with ideas to protect their rights and future. A great deal of discussion followed as to whether the idea was divisive (separating them from the Union as a whole) or inclusive (benefitting the entire Union heading into the future). In the end, the Committee’s recommendation of “non-concurrence” was upheld.
Magali Picard, PSAC REVP-Quebec, then took the floor to run the much-anticipated and ever-exciting elections. John MacLennan was acclaimed as National President. June Winger was elected as the new Executive Vice-President. Monty Montgomery was elected the new Vice-President for Communications Security Establishment, Mona Simcoe for Manitoba and Saskatchewan and Blair Winger for Alberta and the North. The rest remained the same.
Following lunch the room was cleared so that the Equity Group could elect the Human Rights Advisor.
FINANCE / FINANCES
- Michel Allard – QC
- Robert Spinney – NCR
- Michael Carlos – CSEC
- Lance Jesson – BC
- Evelyn Jackson – Man/Sask
- Louise Courbron – NPF
- Kim Haynes – AB/North
- Dennis Sheppard – NL/NB
- Colleen Hodder – NS
- Barry Turner – ON
- Staff Resource – Brian Loshuk
GENERAL / GÉNÉRALE
- Daniel Rodgers – QC
- Sandra Griffith-Bonaparte – NCR
- Susan Danforth – CSEC
- Paul Jones – BC
- Kevin Roh – Man/Sask
- Charley Paul – NPF
- Rick Parenteau – AB/North
- Robert Saunders – NL/NB
- Don Martin – NS
- Carolyn Handley – ON
- Staff Resource – Daniel Verreault
BYLAWS / STATUTS
- Daniel Robitaille – QC
- Enza Ricci – NCR
- Monty Montgomery – CSEC
- Kevin Hunt – BC
- Glen Johnston – Man/Sask
- Sharon Chernow – NPF
- Brenda Ebear – AB/North
- Dave Meade – NL/NB
- Anne Little – NS
- Sharon Wilkinson – ON
- Staff Resource – Bev Gallagher
- Staff Resource – Kim Brackhahn