Theresa Gartler, John Belcarz's sister
(left) and his widow, Mary, attended the inaugural awarding
of memorial scholarships in his honour.
26 April 2010
Bursary winners do late union activists
Many eyes were brimming with tears during
an emotional ceremony on Saturday in which memorial scholarships
were awarded for the first time. There were six winners of
the $1,000 bursaries in the names of longtime union activists
John Belcarz and Dan
John's widow, Mary, his sister Theresa Gartler and her husband
Robert, were on hand for the inauguration. Dan's widow, Hortense,
was unable to attend the event, held in conjunction with
CWA Canada's National Representative Council meeting at the
Lord Elgin hotel in Ottawa.
Arnold Amber, director of the union, told the delegates
and guests that more funds than expected had materialized
so the awards committee decided there would be six winners
rather than two in 2010. He said there were 16 candidates
this year and he expects there will be many more in 2011.
John Belcarz served for many years on the executive committee
of the Montreal Newspaper Guild and was its president when
he passed away in 2003. Dan
Zeidler was an officer in the
Guild at the CBC before becoming an international staff representative
in 1991. When the Guild in Canada became an autonomous organization
in 1995, Dan became its western Canadian staff representative.
He passed away in 2007.
Both John and Dan firmly believed that everything should
be done to help people better themselves and enable them
to become what they want to be. Towards that aim, the awards
are to aid in the personal development and enrichment of
those to whom they are granted.
The winners, along with excerpts from their entries:
Noel Chenier, photographer, University of New Brunswick:
"I have been teaching photography
part-time for almost a decade and, over that time, I have
developed and taught a variety of courses and workshops
for the general public, in private, secondary and post-secondary
"When I teach, it never feels like work. Teaching is my
passion, especially teaching photography, and my goal has always
been to share and inspire that passion in my students. Their
enthusiasm and eagerness to learn is like a drug to me."
Stephanie Clement, University of Ottawa:
"When I first heard about the
master's program in audiology ... I felt as if I had finally
found my path. After four years of an undergraduate degree
in psychology and linguistics, I felt as if I had finally
discovered the direction in which I could incorporate my
interests with my appreciation of helping people.
"I have always loved sound and I truly believe that sound,
be it music or speech, is the basis of all communication.
"Even more thrilling is the opportunity in audiology to
help people who are unable to enjoy the sounds of music and
speech due to hearing problems finally experience these day-to-day
privileges which many of us take for granted."
Casey Robin Dheensaw, University of Victoria:
"The labour movement had a huge
impact on my life through those in my family who came before
me. I was raised in a union household and witnessed first-hand
the benefits provided by the labour movement.
"Both of my grandfathers were union members in the International
Woodworkers of America. Because of the decent wages the union
negotiated and assured for them, and through their hard work,
they were able to build and provide good, steady lives in which
both my dad and mom and aunts and uncles grew up."
Emma Ewing-Nagy, Loyalist College:
"Canada is undergoing a period
of profound change. Global economies are in ruins from
a system that went terribly wrong.
"If there is not a strong labour movement that is active
and organized in the workplace and in government, then the
potential exists for Canadians to lose so many benefits and
a standard of living they have worked so hard to achieve over
"Globalization, a loss of traditional jobs and an ever-changing
global economy — all could spell trouble for Canadians
if there is not a strong voice at the table to look out for
their rights. That strong voice is the labour movement and
Canada needs it more than ever."
Lindsay Rutherford, Queen's University:
"There are many rewards in nursing.
I am a compassionate, patient and hardworking person who
would get great satisfaction out of helping people.
"While physicians focus on the cure of an illness, nurses
are required to help patients and their families adapt to illnesses.
Nurses have a greater degree of one-on-one contact with patients
than most other categories of health care, and they are always
there to offer support, care and comfort to their patients.
"I know nursing will be demanding and will take hours
of dedicated work each day; however, it is my ambition to have
a career where I can dedicate myself to helping people in need,
and also try to have an impact and make a difference in people's
Jennifer Tutton, Carleton University:
"The best people in life are
the people who care more about the fortunes of others as
opposed to solely their own fate. I aspire to be one of
those people and believe that, by becoming a science teacher,
I can bring together the beauty of knowledge and the possiblility
of a selfless world into the lives of the children I teach.
"Becoming a teacher is my goal. By achieving that goal,
I also intend to make a positive difference in my society by
teaching the yound minds of the next generation that aspire
to make a positive change is always the right way to go."