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2015-12-02 General Membership and Volunteer Appreciation Meeting Report

A general membership meeting was held December 2, 2015 at the Royal Canadian Legion, Kingsway Branch.  The doors opened early to allow members time to socialize. When signing in at the door all volunteers were provided with a rose and pin in recognition of their service.  131 members attended including Board Members.
Our guests were: Nicole Goehring – MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs,  John Cabral – Assistant Deputy Minister for the Seniors Services Division, Bonnie  from Saint Elizabeth Home Health Care Services, and Jennifer Duvoid who provided CART services for our deaf and hard of hearing members.
The meeting was call to order at 11:58 pm by President Brian Emdin who welcomed everyone and asked for a moment of silence to honour deceased members. Brian spoke to the new provincial and federal governments which hopefully will make our advocacy more productive. It seems that in some cases, the governments are planning things that were beyond our expectations in advocacy. Our role may be enhanced in that we provide value to the trusted information and advice sought on what the seniors need or want.

Brian then asked Ross Gillespie to speak on the importance of volunteers to our association. Ross thanked all the volunteers who serve our members. He stressed the critical nature of those individuals and encouraged all members to consider volunteering.

Brian then noted that the reports and announcements were provided in written format for this meeting to provide more time for the speakers and the meal.

The agenda and the minutes of the previous meeting were approved as presented.

One of our members, Gerry Shaw, advised of a series of briefings he will be delivering on the issue of climate change, energy issues, radon gas, etc. at the Strathcona senior’s centre.

In his President’s Report Brian spoke to the Strategic Planning Committee that had been formed nationally to look at the direction and objectives of our association. Brian expressed his pleasure at the willingness of the current National Board of Directors to seek input from a wide variety of sources including members and branches. This change in philosophy and approach bodes very well for our association as we move into the future.

Brian asked for grace to be given following which the meal was served.

Guest Speaker: During coffee/dessert, the following presentations were provided.

Bonnie spoke to the role and importance of organizations such as St. Elizabeth in providing home health care services for seniors and others in our communities. She outlined the types of services they can provide and their ability to bill directly to Veterans’ Affairs. She concluded her presentation by stressing the importance of foot care with older individuals especially those with conditions such as diabetes.

Nicole Goehring – MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs spoke to her experiences as a newly elected member of the Legislative Assembly and her tasking as the Government Liaison with the Military. She outlined the current government’s commitment to ensuring retirees are treated fairly. MLA Goehring also recounted her many opportunities to work with serving and retired military members.

She then opened the floor to questions and was joined by John Cabral. There were a number of questions regarding the priorities of the recently elected provincial government and their need to work closely with the even more recently elected federal government. Some questions were asked about specific government polices such as the Alberta Property Tax Deferral Program for Seniors. Finally there were a number of concerns expressed in regard to dental services and the need for government to help ensure these essential services are provided in a cost-effective and cost-consistent manner.

President Brian Emdin thanked all three of the speakers on behalf of the Association Branch members for their remarks and willingness to respond to questions.

Following the presentations to the Door Prize and 50/50 draw winners, the meeting was adjourned at 1:56 p.m.

The next meeting will be the Annual General Meeting and is scheduled for May 4, 2016. Supper will be at 6:00 pm and the meeting start at 7:00 pm. Information on this meeting can be found here.