Annual Update from the President - 2016

As President of the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation, I’m writing to offer my sincere thanks for your support of the Foundation in 2015. Whether it be through a contribution, being a member or helping volunteer by talking to your friends and family about the work of the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation, it is greatly appreciated.

Clarie Gillis, a Cape Breton coal miner and a CCF Member of Parliament from 1940-1957, remembered the winter of 1909-10 as being a turning point in his life. It was that winter that his father along with other coal miners went on strike, in an attempt to gain recognition for their fledgling union, as well as drawing attention to the hazardous and unsafe working conditions under which they laboured. The company responded by evicting the workers from their company owned houses, leaving Clarie and his 4 siblings and their parents, to seek shelter in tents and on really cold nights, in the Church basement. After the strike, Clarie’s father was blacklisted and forced to leave his family behind and seek work in New England. Three years later, Clarie, having finished Elementary School, and seeing no other future, went off to work in the mines, in effect, beginning a long and dynamic career as a union activist, cooperative supporter and Member of Parliament. 

Clarie Gillis entered the House of Commons in 1940. His seat-mate from 1940-1944 was Tommy Douglas, and the two children of the mines would provide a tireless voice for the poor and working class as they sought to build a fairer, more equitable and healthy community.

Your contributions help to keep alive the memory of such powerful and transformative moments, as well as helping to support the development of new movements and initiatives that seek to strengthen and build a healthier society.

In 2015 the DCF was able to support the fine work of the folks at Upstream, through our grant process. Upstream, based in Saskatoon, is a movement that seeks to reframe public discourse around addressing the social determinants of health, in order to build a healthier society.

Our scholarships and bursaries continue to help university students working in the fields of progressive politics, social policy and history.

I want to thank our Board of Directors for their support and work on behalf of the Foundation, with a particular thank you to the officers, David Mackenzie, Anne Scotton, Dianne O’Reggio, and Doug Massey. We have an excellent team assembled to continue the fine legacy and work of the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation.

A special thank you is due our Administrator Erin Kelly for her work with us. Congratulations are in order for Erin as she experiences the joys and sleepless nights of parenthood! Thanks also to Chris Markevich for his work as Administrator during Erin’s time away. You have been a real life saver.

Once again, thank you for your generous support of the Foundation and I hope for your continued support in the vital work that we do.

In solidarity,

David White

President, Douglas-Coldwell Foundation

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