Kitchener Rotary


February 28, 2022

Meeting Recording

A recording of Today’s Meeting can be found here.

President's Comments

President Adrian welcomed members and guests to this our 34th week of our 100th year.  Given the current state of events in the Ukraine, he read the following comments from Rotary International.
It is a tragic and sad time for the people of Ukraine and the world.
At Rotary, we are deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the escalating loss of life and humanitarian hardship there. Continued military action against Ukraine will not only devastate the region, but also risk spreading tragic consequences across Europe and the world.
As one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, we have made peace the cornerstone of our global mission. We join the international community in calling for an immediate cease fire, withdrawal of Russian forces, and a restoration of diplomatic efforts to resolve this conflict through dialogue.
In the past decade, Rotary clubs in Ukraine, Russia and nearby countries have transcended national differences and have actively engaged in peace-building projects to promote goodwill and to marshal assistance for the victims of war and violence. Today, our thoughts are with our fellow Rotary members and others in Ukraine coping with these tragic events. Rotary International will do everything in its power to bring aid, support and peace to the region.
Rotary International

Visiting Rotarians

Elena Shpinel, Rotary Club of Moscow International


Eric Story, our guest speaker form the University of Waterloo
Robert Shipley, guest of Ross Newkirk
Deborah Barton, guest of Betty Bax
Vic Folliott, guest of Adrian DeCoo
Kirstan Howells, guest of Louise Gardiner

Bell Ringer(s)

President Adrian was pleased to make Kelly Miller the Bell Ringer this week for her work and leadership in organizing our team for the Coldest Night of the Year event.  Appreciation was also extended to the other committee members and all who contributed to the fundraiser.

Club Announcements

Coldest Night of the Year
This year the Kitchener Rotary Road Scholars raised $2,640 for Ray of Hope
a special thank you to Kelly Miller for leading us to victory!  Thank you to all who donated and walked on our behalf! If you have any photos for the archives, please email them to me at,  Past President Louise Gardiner.
Click to see the results for our team and for all the groups in Kitchener who participated in CNOY 2022.
Catch The Ace
Paul H., a regular supporter of the Kitchener Conestoga Turkey Drive was our lucky winner in week 15.  He picked card #37, revealing the Nine of Diamonds and won the weekly prize of $262.
Rotary members from each of the clubs in KW have been playing Catch the Ace and several have been winners.  Waterloo Rotary has issued a challenge to their members and the other clubs in KW to be the next Rotarian to win.  You have to buy a ticket for the weekly draw to have a chance to win the weekly prize and if your card turns out to be the Ace of Spades you will also win the Progressive Prize of $9,999.
Tell your friends so they can also have a chance to play and win Catch the Ace KW.  The next weekly draw is on Thursday March 3rd.

Special Recognitions / Presentations

We were pleased today to induct two new members, Deborah Barton as an alternate corporate member with Grand River Hospital Foundation and Robert Shipley as a regular member.
Deborah was introduced by her sponsor, Betty Bax.
Deborah’s passion for humanity began at an early age during a time when her family sponsored children from the inner city to experience life in rural New England. Today she shares her talents in philanthropy at Grand River Hospital Foundation for its innovation and commitment to world class healthcare. She believes every person deserves optimal health and wellness along their life’s journey.
In a fundraising career spanning three decades, Deborah has worked for leading nonprofits devoted to healthcare philanthropy. She specializes in community connections, inspiring donor confidence and celebrating impact. A professional fundraiser with a track record of results, Deborah builds relationships with stakeholders and change makers, and supports donors with strategic investment opportunities. Raising friends and funds for causes that have changed our world, and helping donors find their philanthropic spark is her true passion. Most notably, Deborah was an advisor in the US Senate, devoted time to both Diabetes and Alzheimer Disease education and worked tirelessly on legislation for smoke free public spaces to curb cancer. More recently, she has concentrated her efforts to support children’s health and well-being, at KidsAbility Waterloo and Children's Hospital, London. Deborah earned her Certified Fundraising Executive designation in 2006 and is a long-standing member of professional associations dedicated to philanthropy. She met her hockey-loving spouse 35 years ago at the University of New Hampshire and together they have raised their family in southwestern Ontario. A champion for community causes, youth and volunteerism, Deborah promotes integrity and good will for a better world. She has been a proud supporter of the arts dedicating 15 years as a leadership volunteer for the Stratford Festival of Canada.  She believes in the value of storytelling, loves racket sports and is an avid reader.
Robert was introduced by his sponsor Ross Newkirk.
Robert Shipley is a recently retired UW School of Planning Professor and Director of its Heritage Resource Centre.  He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in History and Philosophy in 1971 at UWO.
He served in the Canadian Military (PPCLI and Navy.).  After discharge, he worked for a number of years as a free-lance heritage planning consultant.  He was Planning Director and Executive Administrator, Welland Canals Society and Welland Canals Preservation Association (1984-1990.)
He is a gifted artist of sketches and watercolours and used this in his professional work.  Notably he did an on-site sketch series recording the Canadian Military’s 1970’s Cyprus Peace Keeping mission.  A number of these sketches are at the National War Museum.  Among a number of books that he has written is one on Canadian War Memorials.
He completed his M.A. in 1992 “Exploring the Value of Heritage Properties” where he used field work in several communities to establish that a property on being designated a Heritage Property did not reduce in value.  This is viewed as a seminal work that has been cited in OMB cases and has involved Robert appearing as an expert witness.
Robert completed his PhD in 1997 “Visioning in Strategic Planning: Theory, Practice and Evaluation.”  His Heritage and Visioning work led him to be appointed a Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University in the Oxford UK for a long term research program in the UK.  He was appointed to the School of Planning faculty on 2001.  In 2018 he received the Governor’s Award for Heritage Planning from the National Trust for Canada.

Program Highlights

As part of our Speaker Series on Indigenous Relations, Eric Story was back with us again to speak on the topic of Lessons from the Indigenous Political Activism in the 20th Century
Eric was introduced by Josh Bedard.
Eric Story is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Outreach Manager at the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. He is a historian of the First World War and the author of many blog posts, magazine and journal articles.  His most recent publication, "The Indigenous Casualties of War," looked at the struggle of Indigenous veterans and their families after the First World War to secure pensions from the federal government. It appeared in the Canadian Historical Review.
To begin Eric explained that the term Political Activism, in his title, speaks more to the efforts of individuals than to large group demonstrations, boycotts or similar actions.  He spoke to us about a case study he is researching dealing with pensions for WWI soldiers and provided his own summary notes.
  • The pension system that was created after the First World War was one that largely revolved around the concept of attributability
  • And by attributability I mean that in order for veterans to qualify for a pension in Canada, they had to prove, without any reasonable doubt, that their post-war disability was directly connected to an injury sustained on the battlefield
  • The size of the pension corresponded to the extent in which that disability impeded a veteran’s ability to participate in the labour market
  • In some cases, establishing attributability was quite simple
  • A veteran whose leg was amputated due to a gunshot wound, for example, was a clear-cut case of disability
  • But what about a soldier who started to experience arthritis pain in 1922? Or neurosis many years after the conflict? How could attributability be established in those cases?
  • In addition to the difficulty of establishing attributability, applying for a pension was often a shameful experience for veterans because it at once represented an admission of one’s inability to work at full capacity and support one’s family without assistance
  • But unlike their non-Indigenous counterparts, Indigenous veterans had to endure what I call a dual system of surveillance
  • In addition to establishing attributability to qualify for a pension, Indigenous veterans also had to prove they were financially responsible and respectable individuals before receiving their pensions directly
  • Otherwise, their pensions administered by a third party
  • Now this was in direct opposition to what non-Indigenous pensioners experienced in that they had to demonstrate irresponsible behavior before having their pensions administered by a third party
  • The answer as to why there was such a clear discrepancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous pensioners was because of the rampant anti-Indigenous racism that existed in Canada at the time
  • But how could this be justified? I’d argue that the use of stereotypes among settlers in the post-war period can help us understand those justifications
  • In many of the pension records I’ve read, there was a pattern amongst state agents and non-state settlers in describing Indigenous pensioners
  • The first way Indigenous pensioners were labelled were as quote “typical” or “average”
  • These “average” Indigenous pensioners were described as “lazy”, “indolent” or “drunken”
  • The second way they were labelled were as “exceptional” or “better class”
  • Those with more positive labels were described as “honest”, “hard working” or “ambitious”
  • Here’s where the insidious nature of the Canadian brand of anti-Indigenous racism lies
  • “Typical” Indigenous pensioners were irresponsible and therefore required additional surveillance by the state to ensure they were spending their pensions properly, while “exceptional” Indigenous pensioners had to demonstrate responsible behaviour because they were, according to this twisted racist logic, anomalous and difficult to identify
  • As a result, most Indigenous pensioners had their pensions automatically administered by a third party, and had to demonstrate responsible behavior and financial competence before receiving their pensions directly
  • Indigenous veterans recognized this profoundly discriminatory system that reduced them to the sum of their “Indian” identity and protested
  • This is how they became politically active
  • In 1933, a Mohawk veteran from the Kahnawa:ke Mohawk Territory wrote to the Department of Indian Affairs: “We have the same rights as any other soldiers regardless of our creed. I didn’t go overseas to fight under the supervision of the Department of Indian Affairs. I maintain that I am under the care of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and request a transfer from the Department of Indian Affairs back to the Department of Veterans Affairs where I originally belong”
  • This veteran’s name is Angus Goodleaf and he believed he was, like all of the other Canadian soldiers who served in the war, a veteran first and deserved to be treated as such
  • In 1919, George Blaker, a middle-aged Ojibwa man living at the Alderville First Nation in Ontario, wrote a letter directly to the governor general, requesting a pension
  • He had lost both of his sons in the span of six months in 1917 to the war and was hoping he could receive a pension
  • He wrote, “I willingly gave up my two sons, also I would have gone willingly myself if only for my age and infirmity to help our noble cause of honor, liberty and Right. But now I am in sorely need of help and very humbly beg of your kindly aid”
  • Remember that language of patriotism I discussed earlier? Here is a great example of how Indigenous peoples in the post-war period made use of the language the state and the media propagated to previously coerce young men into uniform to demand compensation for their war-related suffering
  • They didn’t refer to themselves as exceptional or typical Indians as settlers did when justifying the oversight of their pensions, but instead as victims of war deserving of compensation for their sacrifices
  • It’s in these small instances of political activism that we can see how Indigenous peoples viewed themselves in the post-war world
  • Why this is important in today’s context?
  • I think it’s important for two reasons
  • First of all, these ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ stereotypes remain ingrained in the ways settlers talk about Indigenous Peoples
  • Take the example of Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak, who made headlines in 2017 for her racist comments about the “good” residential schools did for Indigenous Peoples
  • Throughout 2017 and 2018, Beyak uploaded letters of support to her Senate webpage––one of which stating: “These people need to join the commerce world and work for money. The handouts have taken their people nowhere, and their constant backward-looking mentality serves no useful purpose”
  • And, from a man named Paul: “I’m no anthropologist, but it seems every opportunistic culture, subsistence hunter/gatherers seek to get what they can for no effort”
  • How different do these letters sound from the words of government officials tasked with reporting on the circumstances of Indigenous applicants for pensions?
  • Well let’s take a look: One Ontario official wrote in 1919 of a fallen Indigenous soldier: “He supported his father as much as the average Indian does support his parents, which is never, as a rule, very much”
  • Or a New Brunswick social worker who said of the father whose son had died: “He was just as the other Indians in the district, and worked whenever he felt inclined to do so”
  • The sentiments expressed in the 1920s and 2010s sadly haven’t changed all that much
  • So how might we, as both settlers and Indigenous Peoples, move beyond the shackles of the past?
  • Well, I think we need to look to the voices of men like George Blaker and Angus Goodleaf for guidance
  • For too long, settlers believed––and continue to believe––they know what’s best for Indigenous Peoples
  • But if we are to embark on the path of reconciliation, settlers need to cede space to Indigenous Peoples to define who they are and articulate what they want
  • What I’ve discussed with you today are the twin legacies of the First World War in Canada for Indigenous communities
  • One was the organization of the first pan-Canadian Indigenous political body that sought to improve the condition of First Nations peoples across the country
  • And the second was a refusal amongst Indigenous peoples to be identified solely by the identity that settlers had imposed on them—as “Indians” and all of the negative stereotypes attached to it—and instead by the sacrifices they made for the war effort, which, in their minds, should’ve been compensated by the Canadian state
  • When talking about political activism, we cannot forget that it includes both the work done by official political bodies and the actions of individual people to effect change in their lives and communities
Suggestions for further reading:
  • The 2015 Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Report and the ninety-four Calls to Action in particular
  • The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
  • Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel
  • From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

Closing Remarks & Reminders

President Adrian reminded members that our next meeting will be an evening zoom event on Monday March 7 at 7 pm. The featured speaker will be The Right Honourable Paul Martin speaking on Indigenous Education and the Martin Family Initiative. This will be a 5 Club Event.
Feb 28, 2022 12:00 PM
ZOOM NOON - Speaker Series - Lessons from Indigenous political activism in the 20th century
Mar 07, 2022 7:00 PM
ZOOM EVENING - Indigenous Education and the Martin Family Initiative
Mar 14, 2022 4:30 PM
IN PERSON - Canada’s first Zero Carbon Building
Mar 21, 2022
Committee Meetings to be Scheduled by Committee Chairs
View entire list
Birthdays & Membership Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Karim Sallaudin Karim
March 1
Tasreen Charania
March 1
Dave Smith
March 6
Kingsley Madu
March 24
Join Date
John Tibbits
March 15, 2003
19 years