COPE on International Women’s Day

COPE representatives from all three municipal boards will be taking the lead on recognizing International Women’s Day (IWD).

Park Commissioner Woodcock will be bringing a motion to the next Park Board meeting asking that for 2010, the Vancouver park board report back on a plan and cost to celebrate an International Women’s Day event in at least one community centre with the future goal of taking the celebration to community centres city-wide.

According to Woodcock, these celebrations could be similar to the ones at the community centres which take place around Diwali. “I think it’s important for the City to recognize and celebrate the contributions women make in our communities.”

School Trustee Jane Bouey will be bringing a motion to School Board asking the board to recognize IWD. “Our track record as a city, province and country in electing representative numbers of women to public office is shameful. I am confident that the school board will recognize this and encourage schools to celebrate female decision makers on International Women’s Day.”

Councillor Woodsworth was instrumental in setting up the new Women’s Committee and has been spearheading the IWD celebration at City Hall, taking place on March 9. The celebration will focus on creating gender-inclusive cities.

School Board update

Your COPE school board has been working hard over the last couple of months!

Trustee Jane Bouey moved that the Vancouver Board of Education recognize Feb 16-22 as National Inclusive Education Week.

The Provincial Ministry of Education states:
“British Columbia promotes an inclusive education system in which students with special needs are fully participating members of a community of learners. Inclusion describes the principle that all students are entitled to equitable access to learning, achievement and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of their educational programs. The practice of inclusion is not necessarily synonymous with full integration in regular classrooms, and goes beyond placement to include meaningful participation and the promotion of interaction with others.”

The COPE-Education committee will be presenting a briefing to the school board for the budget. School Trustee, Al Blakey, noted that while the provincial government can pass a law allowing them to run a deficit budget, the Vancouver School Board doesn’t have the same luxury. “The good news is that the Premier has recognized how important education spending is during a recession. The bad news is that unless we see more funding in Vancouver, it’s still going to mean more cuts. Even the status quo means more cuts for our kids due to inflation.”

With the Premier’s announcement that BC will plunge into deficit, the need for spending to benefit future generations is increasingly important. “If today’s students are paying for tomorrow’s debt, we need to make sure the upcoming budget helps their future,” said Trustee Allan Wong. “A good first step would be putting an end to these annual school board budget cuts.”

Jane Bouey pointed to academics and policy experts who have expressed the need for serious investments in education as way to build strong and healthy communities. “Our government in Victoria keeps talking about keeping BC strong, but cutting education every year just doesn’t make sense.”

Also of note, the school board recently approved in principle, a new early start Mandarin language program.

COPE looking for office space

COPE is looking for a new office! If anyone has any leads on affordable solo or shared office space (we don’t need a lot of squared footage) please contact Rachel at Rachel@cope.bc.ca or 604-255-0400. Any help would be much appreciated!

Talking Politics

Thanks to everyone who came to the packed Talking Politics event at the Wired Monk on Monday! We had a great discussion with Seth Klein, Mable Elmore and Sara Kendall.

Stay tuned – we’ll be holding a debate on STV in March.

COPE welcomes Liz Blackwood to staff

Liz Blackwood has joined the COPE team as our new administrator.

Liz is a part-time Ph.D. student studying political economy at Simon Fraser University.  Liz’s research is in the area of trade and investment with a focus on the regulation of extractive industries and investment law. Last spring she conducted field research in Guatemala, documenting the effects of open-pit mining on rural communities, and participating in a human rights delegation with Rights Action.  In the fall she will travel to Sudan and the DRC to examine mining and oil operations in those countries. She is a member of several groups advocating for the implementation of effective CSR (corporate social responsibility) policy in Canada.  She also provides consultation on the development and implementation of CSR strategies. Liz worked for COPE during the recent municipal election and before that worked for the NDP during the fall federal election.  When not researching or working on campaigns she enjoys traveling off the beaten path, camping, hiking and cycling.  

Liz can be reached at Liz@cope.bc.ca.

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Feb 26, 2009: COPE on IWD, School Board update, Looking for office space and welcome to Liz!

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