A Year of Transitions
The year 2019 filled CPJ’s calendar and staff with a number of significant transitions, some expected, others as blessed surprises. As you know, Willard Metzger began working as executive director in late January, after Joe Gunn’s departure. As well, Deb Mebude left CPJ after one year as an intern and 14 months as our communications coordinator while Brad Wassink took his parental leave. We were delighted to hire Stephen Kaduuli as our refugee rights policy analyst. CPJ was sad to see Darlene O’Leary leave, but pleased to re-hire Natalie Appleyard full-time as our socio-economic policy analyst. In October, we said good-bye to Jim McIntyre, our financial development officer.
Our Board said farewell to Mike Bos, our Treasurer, who also serves on the Finance Committee; Naomi Kabugi and Leah Watkiss from the Program Advisory Committee; and Rick Manuel from the Financial Development Committee. To replace these faithful servants, we welcomed Adrienne Castellon, Paul Berry, Nick Van Dyk, and Daniel Cho. Not for the first time, our board members live all across the country, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.
Election 2019 saw the transition to a minority government and changes in cabinet ministers. CPJ staff had developed good working relationships with several ministers who moved to new portfolios. As staff comes to know new ministers, we trust those relationships will develop along similar cordial lines and also continue with the former ministers in their new files.
Well before the election, staff prepared our Election Bulletin outlining issues from public justice perspectives; more than 10,000 copies were distributed in the mail and at the twelve events taking place across the nation. Those meetings attracted participants numbering from a few dozen to over 300 in Waterloo. In several locations candidates for local ridings held panels on poverty, climate justice, and refugee rights. At those meetings several hundred people joined our mailing list, while we also welcomed 65 new members.
Perhaps 2019’s most notable event was the purchase of our own building at 334 MacLaren Street, a few blocks from our former offices on Cooper. After much fundraising, some renovations, and packing, staff moved in early 2020. Without the generous support of many members, that single accomplishment could never have occurred. Thank you very, very much. We remain deeply grateful for your encouragement and loyalty to CPJ and pray for God’s clear direction for CPJ in this and all years.
—Rev. Jim Dekker (chair of the Board)