By Ron Foyer, President of CALL
It was rather easy for the CALL Board to decide to close all our programs. The restrictions on the size of groups that could meet face to face made it that way. But it was a sad one, as our Interest Groups and Speaker Series events mean so much to many of us. Not only the focus of the groups and lectures, but the opportunity to meet with other CALL members, many of whom have become our friends.
We want to see CALL thrive when we can’t meet face to face. It has been inspiring to see the number of groups that have decided to meet virtually. It is the way CALL has grown to where it is today – from the bottom up. Almost every Interest Group has started because of the interest and initiative of CALL members.
We aren’t sure how many groups have started to meet again. We are collecting that information and will put it on to the website, which has had a bit of a redesign.
Work with your own Group Facilitators to see how the group can function in ‘the new normal’
‘The new normal’ is new and is different. New programs? New ways to deliver? If you have any, please pass them on to either the Program Committee at email@example.com or the Board executive at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the spirit of the CALL Cares program to help CALL members who may be struggling a bit.
The hard working CALL webteam has made some design updates on the website to highlight the activities that are continuing to run online within CALL. They have also provided some help for using Zoom. The website is your source of up-to-date information about what is happening in CALL so check regularly to keep in touch.
Relaxing, rewarding and fun! This group welcomes CALL members interested in being creative with needles and in pursuing their craft in the company of others. Members knit, crochet, bead and do embroidery of different sorts. Some have even started needle felting little creatures.
Members bring their own needlecraft project to work on. They help, inspire and guide each other and, it goes without saying, through their conversations they solve the problems of the world! — Maryvonne Farrand, Needlecraft Interest Group facilitator
Knitted by Linda Jackson, member of the Needlecraft Interest Group
The newsletter would like to showcase our Interest Groups.
Please send photos to email@example.com
The CALL Newsletter is our way to communicate what is going on in our community. Usually we communicate to members about upcoming events, however, since all CALL gatherings are postponed for an undetermined period of time, we decided to use the newsletters as a way to ‘peek behind the curtain of CALL’, to give some general information about CALL groups and members. In this edition you will find:
You are invited to send your ideas and suggestions for future issues to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know what your Interest Groups are doing and your strategies for coping with this situation in which the whole world finds itself. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity; not every submission will necessarily be published.
Although the Café is closed during the health emergency, all CALL members can view a special video presentation online, featuring:
Guest Speaker: U of C virologist and coronavirus specialist Frank van der Meer, DVM PhD
Topic: The Anatomy and Evolution of COVID-19
It’s a full-length Café guest presentation, so grab a coffee, a comfortable chair and click to view. And there’s no time limit or restriction on when or how often you can view it.
By Mary Ndlovu
Fortunately, the first of a three-part series of lectures on Canadian Federalism in the Public Policy series was able to take place on March 11. Before the second one could be held, though, CALL’s cancellation of lecture series took effect. But Dr. Audrey Doerr had already given us a comprehensive summary of the factors that have shaped our federation during that first session. Speaking from her academic background in political science, and her wide experience at various levels of government as well as university teaching, she discussed four key influences on the development of our governing practices.
First, not surprisingly, was the constitution put in place by the British North America Act of 1867. At the time the American looser federation of states was deemed to have been a failure. Thus, when delineating the relationship between the member provinces and the federal government the “fathers” of Canadian nationhood provided for far greater control from the centre.
Secondly Dr. Doerr identified the developments during the great depression and the Second World War, when the federal government gradually assumed greater powers, eventually using sole responsibility for personal income tax, to create Canada-wide institutions such as Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan. Equalisation and transfer payments became contentious, and push-back from the provinces grew.
The third determining factor has been our cultural duality. From the 1960s, Quebec led the push for a constitutional change that would give them a separate status, while some Quebecois called for secession from Canada. Indigenous governance also became an issue, starting from the early 1980s, a matter still to be resolved.
The fourth influence on our federal system has come from the shifting agendas of various governments in power in Ottawa. While Liberals have traditionally made use of federal power to push their programmes, conservatives in recent years especially Stephen Harper, have leaned toward provincial powers. The conclusion was that there needs to be greater balance and co-operation between the centre and the provinces in order to build an effective nation.
The second lecture was to focus on Alberta’s current resentments towards Ottawa and where they might take us, and the third would then examine the issue of Indigenous governance within Canada. We look forward to these two lectures being presented when CALL is in a position to revive the Speakers’ Series. Dr. Doerr is not only a CALL member, she is also the co-ordinator of the Public Policy Series, and we thank her for sharing her vast knowledge and understanding with us.
Isolation in these COVID times does not necessarily mean no interactions with others. Our CALL members continue to demonstrate flexibility and openness as some carry on their group activities through various ‘channels’. Here are some examples:
The Calgary Public Library has an extensive collection of online resources, from ebooks and audio books to courses. This is a good opportunity to check what's available.
CALL is home to many reading groups with wide-ranging genres. Here are some of the books the CALL Mystery Book Club has read this year:
The following are the books chosen by the Reading Nonfiction Interest Group for 2019-2020. The first five are available from the Calgary Public Library as e-books and downloadable audio books. A Good Wife is available only as an e-book.
We also read two other books, which aren’t available in digital form from the library:
By Pat Hogan
As I contemplate setting up the first virtual meeting for Hags and Crones, I can’t help but reflect on how our group came together in the first place and then on how three other similar groups have been formed in less than a year.
Our group started the way most interest groups in CALL begin – with an idea or an interest on the part of one member. In this case the notion was mine. I’d been part of women’s groups in the past and mentally toyed with the idea of initiating one in CALL. I mentioned my interest to another CALL member at an event and she told me I had to meet a friend of hers – also a CALL member. I contacted her and we had tea, cookies and a rich conversation in her living room. We both liked the idea of bringing women together to share our stories, to discuss public issues and personal challenges, and to explore our power and possibilities as elders.
After we talked, I was motivated to speak with someone on the Program Committee. She was also drawn to the concept. The three of us met for coffee and decided to put something up on the website under Are You Interested? Before we knew it 10 others had said they were.
We had our first meeting last June, in the living room where the notion had originated, and soon after there was a waiting list to join the group. It quickly became obvious that a second group was warranted and the Program Committee member set up Hags and Crones 2 the next month. Since then two further groups have been formed from the waiting lists that have accumulated. In each case, those on the lists have been invited to come together and, out of that gathering, one person has volunteered to send out reminders and other information to the members. It was that easy!
So now there are four groups each with a unique agenda that arises from conversation and interests within their membership. What started as my personal need and interest has been taken up by about 60 women. But my story is not an unusual one. It’s how any CALL interest groups can begin, with an idea, an interest, a conversation.
It looks like we are going to have plenty of time in the coming months to generate new ideas. And when we get through this, and we are able to meet in person again, we can talk about our ideas with other CALL members and people on the Program Committee.
Meanwhile, be well, stay well in every sense of the word.