I would like to respond to Len Doucette’s letter from the 108 Mile Ranch.
I have been a member of the Williams Lake, B.C. Council of Canadians for more than eight years.
Every year our members pay a membership fee like any other organization one belongs to.
At every meeting we give a donation of $5, $10 or $20 from our pockets and purses.
We send one member to a conference each year.
They usually stay in lodgings that are free, provided by a friend. Their meals are covered by friends.
Most, if not all, of the Council of Canadians are retired people.
Our young members are still working.
We pay for all of the gas for the meetings out of our own pockets.
We pay for our own computers, ink, paper, stamps, xeroxing, photos, DVDs, photo sticks ourselves.
When we go to Fish Lake, Nemiah, Alkali, we pay for that ourselves.
We buy gas and food.
We pay for that ourselves.
Our hours of volunteerism is not paid work.
We have cared for people since we were 15 years old.
Just because we are retired, we are not going to stop now.
Many of the local Council of Canadians were teachers, principals, doctors, engineers, nurses, farmers, activists, students, philosophers councillors, secretaries, cooks, Ministry of Environment workers, foresters, writers, authors, pre-school teachers, day care workers, union members, activity workers, ambulance people, hospital workers.
They all paid into a pension plan for close to 140 years and now they are retired.
They work on volunteer issues now.
They believe in human-rights issues, water security, the land, environment, justice for all.
We aren’t paid, we are volunteers.
We paid ourselves for our six or seven years of university and we are still using that training at age 66 plus.
Please don’t run down the local Council of Canadians.
These people have built this beautiful community into what it is today.
Please respect your elders.
The Council of Canadians worked here, they retired here.
They play here.
They love the land and the people.