There have been some questions about the speakers we invite to speak at our meeting or conventions. For example, “What is the League Policy if my council considers inviting a candidate from our constituency to speak.”?
The first thing to consider is what our Constitution and Bylaws says. It simply states:
Constitution & Bylaws, Part V: Policy
“The policy of the League shall be: 7. To remain politically non-partisan.”
This is interpreted to mean the CWL at all levels will not endorse a political party or candidate or be perceived to endorse a political party or candidate.
Councils are strongly advised to remain neutral and choose apolitical speakers. If the candidate of one party is asked to speak as that person is the best choice for a topic, so too should the candidates of the other parties be given the same opportunity.
Archbishop Pettipas says that he would definitely shy away from having political candidates speak at most Church meetings. There can be perceived endorsement, which can be highly problematic. I would be open, however, to hearing from an elected member who is speaking about a concern of global and non-partisan issues, such as poverty, tragedy, justice, peace, development, etc.
From the Edmonton Archdiocese: Currently, the Archdiocese has a protocol for Catholic School Board Trustee Election in parishes which states: “the parish priest and parishioners may hold an all-candidates forum on parish property to allow voters to meet and discuss issues with potential trustees.” This principle would also apply for general election campaign where a candidate would not have the opportunity to address the parishioners on his or her own.
The Catholic Women’s League of Canada is a nonpartisan organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. After careful study and member consensus, the League influences public policy through education and advocacy.
The CWL does not support or oppose any political party or any candidate. It does encourage its members, as individuals, to participate actively in all aspects of the partisan political process.
Every League member must take the responsibility for clearly differentiating between her personal opinion and the League position.
May God bless you as you continue your work, supporting your council and your President.
For God and Canada,
Cathy Bouchard, Provincial Past President
Alberta Mackenzie Provincial Council
The Catholic Women's League of Canada
May 2018 Communique # 3