The Manitoba Council of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada held its 71st annual convention in Thompson last weekend. Thompson St. Lawrence Parish, including convention chair Maureen Benny, Fathers Gunna and Kumar and the Catholic Women’s League of Thompson, did an excellent job hosting the event. It was nice to see the convention well-attended with clergy, executives and guests from across the province, including Keewatin–Le Pas Archbishop Murray Chatlain and Winnipeg Archbishop Richard Gagnon. The convention was a great opportunity for participants to reflect on their accomplishments over the past year. Some members of the Manitoba Provincial Council were recognized for establishing Alpha House Project, a long-term housing facility for survivors of domestic violence and their children. Projects like this change lives, and I sincerely thank council members for their efforts and vision.
I also want to thank Hilda Anderson-Pyrz and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak for hosting a public forum in Thompson this week to share the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This was an opportunity for affected family members and survivors to engage with inquiry commissioner Michelle Audette to determine how to implement the recommendations to ensure the safety of our society’s most vulnerable. I hope forums like this bring some comfort to families as we all work together to break the cycle of disconnectedness passed from one generation to another.
This week, as well, Manitoba Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton approved a $75,000 grant to assist the Thompson YWCA with renovations to make its facilities more accessible. The funding is the maximum available under the new Building Sustainable Communities Program for 2019-20. The proposed building upgrades include washrooms on the first floor and one on the basement floor to make them accessible to wheelchairs, an installation of door-opening buttons and a retrofit of two hallway doors to remain open so common areas such as laundry facilities, the Women’s Resource Centre, an assessment centre and a counselling room are more accessible. Many YWCA clients are medical patients who use wheelchairs and walkers, and these upgrades will remove some of their physical barriers.