The weather isn't planning to be the friend of four West Hill members on their way to Ottawa with our End the Disparity petition. Still, the excitement continues to grow and Matthew Behrens has helped the Caravan get some attention in Ottawa Valley. Here is an article in this week's edition of Inside Ottawa Valley.
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Sunday December 1st will mark four years since we first celebrated becoming an Affirming Ministry with the United Church. This year, we will be joined by guest speaker Irene Miller, the president of Toronto PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). It's our chance to recommit to the work of solidarity and celebrate the gifts of having a diversity of sexual orientations and gender expressions in our community, so please attend if you can! It will be followed by a Visitors and Travelers Lunch.
What's this about?
The petition created by our First Nations Study Circle has gathered over 2000 signatures since it was launched in the summer and will reported on in the House of Commons on November 28th by Mr. Corneliu Chisu, MP for Pickering Scarborough East.
The crux of the petition is simple: inequities in government services that negatively affect First Nations communities, families, and children aren’t fair. But the early success of the FNSC petition has been because of the way it has been presented to groups like Unifor, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Kairos, and local congregations; the study group has sought to remind everyone it has spoken with that “when it comes to First Nations’ treaties, we’re all treaty people.”
While it may be that your forebears didn’t actually sign on the dotted line, the treaties that were signed are upheld by the government on behalf of all Canadians, those whose families were settlers at the time of signing and those who have more recently taken the Canadian flag as their own. Mr. Chisu, a member of the Conservative Party, is helping the FNSC remind his government of the obligation they have to uphold First Nations’ treaties as the representative of the Canadian people.
The disparities between government services provided First Nations’ people and those provided other Canadians are many. James Anaya, a United Nations’ Special Rapporteur who recently traveled the country to examine First Nations’ circumstances, noted that although Canada ranks among the top countries for quality of life, conditions in First Nations’ communities would place them at sixty-seven. West Hill’s FNSC has highlighted three areas of disparity it believes are crucial to improving First Nations’ communities in its petition: education, access to clean water, and health and social programming funding.
- A child in an Ontario Elementary school receives an average of $11,000 toward her or his education; a child in a federally funded school on a reserve receives an average of $6,000.
- First Nations communities continue to struggle with contaminated water: In the course of one year, 2011, there were 168 water advisories reported in 127 First Nations communities.
- Transfers to the provinces from the federal government for health and social programs grew by 40% between 1996 and 2011; in the same period, payments for reserve infrastructure dropped by the same percentage.
The FNSC is leaving from the church on Tuesday morning at 10:00 to make their way to Ottawa, stopping in towns along the way to gather more signatures before handing the petition to Mr. Chisu. Signatures will continue to be collected at the church or online until further notice “or the disparity is ended,” says Ruth Gill, coordinator of the study circle. Feel free to join the group at the church to see them off.
Two ways to sign the petition:
- The easiest, best, and fastest way to sign the petition is online through the Avaaz interface by clicking here. Be sure to share the link with friends and family.
- If you wish to print out the petition and obtain written signatures, click here. Paper copies of the petition can be returned to West Hill United Church, 62 Orchard Park Drive, Toronto, ON M1E 3T7. Attn: First Nations Study Group.
Please join us on October 26th for the annual progressive dinner. Contact the office (email@example.com or 416-282-8566) to join in or to get more information.
How it works:
- Four to six of you will enjoy the main course at a host home
- Hosts will personally call you prior to October 26th to invite you to their home
- You contribute your choice of an appetizer, a vegetable, salad or dessert
5:45 - 6:45 Appetizers and punch at the church
6:45 - 7:00 Travel to host home for main course
7:00 - 8:45 Dine at host home
9:00 Dessert back at the church
Cost is $15 per person and a contribution Community Red Food basket, collected at the church prior to the appetizer course.
Our 5th annual West Hill United Bazaar is being held on Saturday November 16th. This event is always well attended so come early and often to get that special something: a gift for Christmas or another special occasion.
Saturday November 16 from 9am to 2pm.
What can I find there?
- Attic treasures
- Gift baskets
- Craft supplies
- Sewn & quilted items
- White elephant table
- Baking and preserves
- Frozen foods
- Nearly New Family Fashion Boutique
- Coffee bar and lunch cafe
Wednesday September 11, 2013
The Salvation of Religion: Evidence as Modern Day Scripture
With Michael Dowd, author of the bestselling book Thank God for Evolution. Check out "Interview with Michael Dowd" in this month's Observer.
Michael and his wife, Connie Barlow, an acclaimed science writer, have spoken to more than 1,800 religious and secular groups -- from atheists to evangelicals -- since launching their itinerant ministry in 2002.
Come and hear how a meaningful, science-based view of big history, human nature, and death can offer a realistically hopeful and inspiring vision of the future and help people live happier, healthier, more on-purpose lives.
7:00 pm at West Hill United - 62 Orchard Park Drive, Scarborough. 416-282-8566.
Refreshments and conversation to follow.
Pay what you can (suggested donation $15).
Ruth Gill, a member of West Hill who had the opportunity to spend a week in KitchenuhmaykoosibInninuwug , a reserve in Northern Ontario, as a guest of the community's youth, spoke on her experience in July. (If you wish to hear only about the petition, Ruth's presentation of it begins at 36:09.)
We believe that Ottawa will not take any serious action on these issues until it begins to see that in fact Aboriginal issues are a concern with non-Aboriginal people in Canada. Treaties were signed between First Nations and the Government of Canada. People of First Nations should not bear this struggle alone. We too have a responsibility to ensure that our obligations and duties under the Treaties are upheld by our Government Representatives.
A petition which shows that non-Aboriginal Canadians consider these issues to be important enough to them that it could influence voting will in turn put pressure on our Government to do the right thing and provide basic needs equitably to all peoples living in Canada.
Two ways to sign the petition and distribute:
- The easiest way to sign the petition and generate interest is online, through Avaaz. The petition can be found here through the Avaaz interface. Please share the link with friends and family. Then it's done.
- Alternately, if you wish a hard copy of the petition, you can find it here. Print off the paper petition and distribute it widely. Copies with original signatures must be returned to: West Hill United Church, 62 Orchard Pk. Drive, Toronto, ON M1E 3T7 Attn: First Nations Study Group. The Petition will be read aloud in the House of Commons and will become a part of the Public Record.
Don't miss next Sunday's service (July 29, 2013) where our own Ruth Gill will talk about her experience spending time at Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), a reserve in northern Ontario. Check out this article from the Toronto Star about the invitation KI's youth extended to Canadians to experience their way of life for a week. And mark your calendars to be at West Hill on Sunday July 28th to learn more about Ruth's experience.
We had a great turnout for our Visitors' and Travellers' Lunch on Sunday, July 7th when we had the opportunity to officially welcome Kelly Colwell to our staffing team. Gretta and Scott hosted the meal (Gretta cooking, Scott cleaning!) and set out a repast that included a wide variety of salads all of which were vegan with vegetarian options provided. Only one of the salads has gluten in it and nuts in the recipes were eliminated.
Here are the recipes Gretta uses - all of them but one from online sources. Cook away and enjoy!
Zesty Adzuki Bean Salad (omitted the arame and added some finely chopped red pepper)
Sweet Potato Salada (Slatit Batata Helwa) (left out the capers and olives in Gretta's version)
Marinated Vegetable Salad (feta served on the side)
Quinoa and Mango Salad (no cranberries in Sunday's version)
Fiesta Salad (made with brown rice, not white)
Sweet Romaine Salad (the dressing was made with Vegannaise and Rice Dream rather than mayonnaise and milk; blueberries replaced the strawberries, a handful of craisins added more colour; becase we are a nutfree facility, roasted pumpkin seeds replaced the cashews)
Four Bean (or more) Salad: Gretta's been making this for years and can't recall the source:
Dissolve 1/2 c. sugar in 1/2 c. white vinegar over heat.
1/2 c. salad oil
1 tsp salt (Gretta is always light on this)
1/2 tsp. each dry mustad, tarragon, basil
2 tbsp parsley
Add one can each kidney, green, wax, lima beans (mini corn, chick peas, whatever)
1 red or spanish onion sliced thinly
1 green pepper sliced thinly (omitted)
Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Enjoy! And may your gatherings always be as delightful as those at West Hill's Visitors' and Travellers' lunches!