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Evidence of meeting #27 for Status of Women in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was girls.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Tracy Redies  President and Chief Executive Officer, Coast Capital Savings Credit Union
Ellen Moore  Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chubb Insurance Company of Canada
Jocelyne Michelle Coulibaly  Representative for the Ottawa Region, Board of Representatives, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne
Geneviève Latour  Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

5 p.m.

Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Geneviève Latour

Yes, but I think results are achieved by talking and finding solutions. All of the FESFO's workshops are premised on action. A small group of women meets, and at the end, the young people are given positions of responsibility. They are the ones who decide, but at the same time, they have to engage in actions in their community to create change. I think...

5 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

I want to follow up on a question my colleague, Madam Boutin-Sweet, gave you when she asked how it is different for you as Franco-Ontarians. How is it different? What is the reality that is different in your world?

Then I want to ask you a question about networking, because you did speak in your presentation about networking. You were basically telling my colleague that it's different for you. I want to ask you about a group in Manitoba, the Parlement jeunesse franco-manitobain group. Do you work with them? I ask because I think it's different for them too, which means it's probably the same for you and them.

It is the same thing.

I'm particularly struck by that question. Do you work with them? Do you network with them? Do you find efficiencies in what they're doing? They've done some incredible and extraordinary work. Do you, in your work, reach out to other organizations who are like-minded?

5:05 p.m.

Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Geneviève Latour

Yes. In fact, there is a national network of francophone youth associations in minority communities in Canada, to exchange winning practices and see what has been done and how it can be adapted in Ontario, for example. Certainly living in a particular minority community means you need different projections.

Harassment and violence were mentioned as creating barriers. When we go into the classrooms—

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Are those resources? Do you use similar work? Do you actually get on the phone and say, we're doing this and can we share it with you, and I understand you're doing that, can you share that with us?

5:05 p.m.

Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Geneviève Latour

Yes, certainly. We sit down at tables where—

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Have you got an example of when you did that recently?

5:05 p.m.

Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Geneviève Latour

For example, we have just participated in a convention with the other youth associations in minority communities in Canada, where we talked about organizing events and exchanged winning practices, as I was saying. People explained approaches that are specific to the provinces and what works well, to make sure we take advantage of what already exists and do not start over at zero. We do this kind of thing several times a year.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

You made a number of comments on networking in your presentation to us today. It's interesting, because the two ladies who came before you also made very critical comments on the importance of networking.

In different ways, both Ellen Moore and Tracy Redies indicated that networking is probably one of the single most important things you will do, no matter what career you undertake. One of them alluded to the fact that you have to be a self-starter on networking. There isn't a magic formula for a networking amount for the day.

How do you go about networking? Based on you comments, you're looking for the messiah of networking. Clearly these chief executive officers were telling us that there is no recipe for success, other than doing it yourself. Can you give us some examples of what you have done, in a very concrete, hands-on, practical way, to make yourselves more effective in the world?

5:05 p.m.

Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Geneviève Latour

Do you want to talk about your networking with your friends?

5:05 p.m.

Representative for the Ottawa Region, Board of Representatives, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Jocelyne Michelle Coulibaly

When I get up in the morning, I always tell myself that I am not going to wait for my parents to do things for me. I have to get up myself and do my things.

The same is true of networking. I am not going to wait for someone to approach me and give me their contact info. I am going to approach the person and try to find the points we have in common and share things with them, so that in the years to come, or tomorrow, if I need that person, it will not be because they approached me. I am the one who got up and went over to the person.

The same is true for the FESFO. I went to those people, and now look where I am.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Conservative Winnipeg South Centre, MB

I think my speaking time is up.

5:05 p.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP Irene Mathyssen

Merci. Thank you.

Madame Sgro, you have seven minutes, please.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Thanks very much, and thank you to both of you for being here.

Could I get just a bit of background on the organization itself? How long has it been in existence, and how long have you both have been participating in the organization?

5:05 p.m.

Representative for the Ottawa Region, Board of Representatives, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Jocelyne Michelle Coulibaly

The FESFO has existed since 1975. I have been involved in the FESFO since the first time I took part in the Franco-Ontarian youth parliament, last year in Toronto. After that, I decided this was a good organization and I wanted to get involved. Since then, I have been thoroughly involved in the activities.

5:05 p.m.

Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Geneviève Latour

Myself, I also had a memorable positive experience that made me want to continue. Like Jocelyne, I joined our youth representation council. I became one of the facilitators at the workshops I was talking about, and now I have been an employee of the federation for about 10 years.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

How big a budget does the federation have?

5:10 p.m.

Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Geneviève Latour

The federation's budget is diversified. Essentially, it comes from grants. It will vary from one year to the next. Part of the budget is self-managed: we sell our services to the schools. Another part consists of finding grants so we can offer them free of charge. So it is difficult for us to give you an answer, since we are really at the mercy of the funders and clients.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

As two young women who are future leaders for Canada appearing before this standing committee, what would you say are the two most important things we as parliamentarians can do, or what you can also do?

You talked about sexual harassment. You talked about identifying the issues of violence affecting boys as well as girls. Clearly you are doing outreach to both males and females. Since you represent an organization that covers both male and female, what are the two biggest obstacles facing young people like yourselves in terms of achieving and encouraging you to aspire to the goals you must have?

5:10 p.m.

Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Geneviève Latour

I think that for many of us, it is not having the chance to hold positions of responsibility when we are young, not being able to be part of the decision-making and not being active in addressing your own situation.

We have to recognize that we are agents of change, here and now. As young people, we have something to say. Essentially, we are experts on our own situation. I think that situation has to be recognized and the work that is done on the ground has to be recognized.

As well, we have to recognize that women are not just passive recipients, they are active in shaping their destiny.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Jocelyne, would you comment?

5:10 p.m.

Representative for the Ottawa Region, Board of Representatives, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Jocelyne Michelle Coulibaly

I think we must not wait until young people grow up; we have to try to instil in young people the importance of every individual, from the beginning of their lives.

The sociology course I have just completed taught me that we also have to avoid gendering roles, and that means not saying that women are just made for this area and men are made for that kind of work.

March has just ended, and we should not just wait for a special day to celebrate the work women do. We have to be able to recognize the work women do everyday, not just on March 8.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

I think we should celebrate women every day. I know that our only male colleague in this group celebrates women every day and says, “Hallelujah”.

In your comments you mentioned about girls feeling inadequate. Several of our presenters have mentioned that girls can do really well until about age 15, and then for some reason, hormonal or whatever, girls start to question themselves. They seem to start losing some of their self-confidence in that 15- to 18-year-old period of time. You also mentioned that in different words, but it's the same thing.

What can we do about that, and how do we help young women overcome that in those important years?

5:10 p.m.

Programming Manager, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

Geneviève Latour

I think that presenting accessible models is part of the answer. These are women who have experienced success, young women, women who represent diversity. We have to provide them with a space, because often, girls think they are the only ones who experience what they experience. When they talk with other girls they realize it is common and it is a systemic problem. Together, they can tackle the problem and take action to change things and achieve the ideal world they have in mind. That is often the vision they have of the world and of reality, at that age. They are starting to understand that it can be different. They think they are the only ones who think that. So by providing a space for them to get together and talk, they can see how they can take action and be part of the solution.

Jocelyne, I don't know whether you had something to add.

5:10 p.m.

Representative for the Ottawa Region, Board of Representatives, Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Very good.

Thank you both very much.