Archive for News and Views

Bystanders Can Save Lives

PEI Family Violence Prevention Week, February 12 to 18, 2017, is focusing on what bystanders can do to help prevent and end violence. On December 6, 2016, at the Montreal Massacre Memorial Service in Charlottetown, PEI, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women Chairperson Mari Basiletti told her story of surviving an assault and having her life saved by a bystander’s intervention. Mari’s experience wasn’t family violence, but the bystander did not know this. Taking action as a bystander can save lives. Find out more about PEI’s Family Violence Prevention Week at


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Women in Canada: 50 Years of Change

Please check back for any updates/bi-weekly reminders.

February 15, 2017:

Due to weather warnings, we & Aboriginal Women’s Assoc will postpone the start of our study group on Women in Canada to March 2.

Fifty years ago, on February 16, 1967, the historic Royal Commission on the Status of Women was launched. Using this landmark Royal Commission as a starting point, a study group on women in Canada will meet bi-weekly from February to April to consider women’s equality decade by decade, from 1967-2017.

The study group will ask: What was particularly relevant for women during each 10-year period? How has women’s equality advanced in the last 50 years? Which women were left out of consideration and remain underrepresented in decision-making today?

The group will now launch on Thursday, March 2, 2017 (due to weather warnings for Feb 16) from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. and will focus on the years 1967-1977. The sessions will be held at the Confederation Centre Public Library in Charlottetown. February is Black History Month and February 16 is midway through Family Violence Prevention Week. Lots to talk about!

Mark March 16 and 30; and April 13 and 27 for future study group sessions. Hosted by Aboriginal Women’s Association of PEI, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the PEI Public Library Service. For more information, contact 902-368-4510 or or visit

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PEI Status of Women’s Executive Meets in Summerside

The Executive Committee and staff of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women met last week in Summerside. In addition to discussing Council business, members had a chance to meet with Melissa Smith, recent winner of the Diane Kays Memorial bursary.


In the photo from left to right are Melissa Mullen, Treasurer from Lewes; Mari Basiletti, Chairperson from Canoe Cove; and Yvonne Deagle, Vice-Chairperson from Miminegash.

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PEI Status of Women Announces Recent 2016 Bursary Winners

L-R: Mari Basiletti, Chairperosn presents a cheque to Melissa Smith, winner of the Diane Kays Memorial Bursary.

L-R: Mari Basiletti, Chairperson presents a cheque to Melissa Smith, winner of the Diane Kays Memorial Bursary.

Congratulations to Holland College (Wood Manufacturing-Cabinetmaking) student Melissa Smith, the recipient of the Diane Kays Memorial Bursary. The $500 bursary is for a woman-identified student in a post-secondary program at UPEI, Holland College, or Collége de l’île (formerly called Collège de l’Acadie) who is pursuing a field where women are under-represented or who is an active advocate for women’s equality.

L-R: Mu Wah, winner of the Inge Blackett Memorial Bursary with Mari Basiletti, PEI Status of Women Chairperson.

Congratulations to Mu Wah, winner of the $500 Inge Blackett Memorial Bursary for a woman-identified student who entered Canada as a refugee and is pursuing education or training. The bursary remembers past Council Vice-Chairperson Inge Blackett, who when she died was the last Holocaust survivor on PEI.

And thanks to Melissa for the beautiful cutting board she made from maple and walnut.

And also thanks to Melissa for the beautiful maple/walnut cutting board she made.




The deadline to apply for the 2017 bursaries is October 15, 2017.
More info:  Bursary webpage / En français

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PEI Woman Co-Chairs National Coalition/Une Insulaire est élue à la coprésidence d’une coalition nationale

December 21, 2016

PEI Woman Co-Chairs National Coalition

Charlottetown, PE – Mari Basiletti of Canoe Cove, Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women, was elected this fall to co-chair the National Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Advisory Councils on the Status of Women.

“I am very proud to co-chair this important voice for women on national issues,” says Basiletti. “I am co-chairing with Linda Ross, the President and CEO of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women of Newfoundland and Labrador. Linda has been the long-time chair of the National Coalition and is an inspiring and encouraging leader.”

The National Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Advisory Councils on the Status of Women formed after the federal government eliminated the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women in 1995. The Coalition consists of provincial and territorial advisory bodies from across the country dedicated to advancing women’s issues within their individual regions but who come together in the interest of women on a national level.

Earlier this fall, the Coalition met with federal Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu in Ottawa. “This year, the Coalition has made input on a number of important issues that affect the status of Canadian women,” says Basiletti. “For example, we’ve communicated with government about the national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women, the impacts of gender violence, and the importance of a gender analysis of the effects of pornography. We’ve also had the opportunity to congratulate government on the selection of Viola Desmond to be on the $10 bill.”

Basiletti is retired from a career as an occupational therapist, working for many years in mental health settings, including Hillsborough Hospital, Community Mental Health, and private practice. She is also a visual artist with paintings in private and public collections. She is an active volunteer with Canoe Cove Women’s Institute and many local community initiatives.

When she was appointed by the Prince Edward Island government to the PEI Advisory Council in 2013, Basiletti became the first openly LGBTQ member of Council appointed in the Council’s 40-year history. When government approved her nomination as Chairperson in 2015, she became the first openly LGBTQ chairperson. “It is very important to me to be able to sit at the table in a government-appointed role with the other Council members and to be accepted for who I am,” says Basiletti. “I can be myself and speak freely about my partner, JoDee and our family without fear of discrimination.”

Basiletti continues, “This opportunity needs to be available to everyone from diverse backgrounds, whether that means a Francophone woman who can sit at the table and speak her own language, or a Deaf or hard of hearing woman supported by sign language interpretation. Engage PEI has been doing a wonderful job increasing the diversity of our Advisory Council, and there are many ‘firsts’ still to come. Diversity and inclusion can only add to our ability to take part in and lead national conversations.”

– 30 –


Photo caption: At left, Mari Basiletti, Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women; in the centre, Linda Ross, Chairperson of the National Coalition and of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women of Newfoundland and Labrador; and at right, Eva Ottawa, Chairperson of the Quebec Status of Women Council.


Le 21 décembre 2016

Une Insulaire est élue à la coprésidence d’une coalition nationale

Charlottetown (Île-du-Prince-Édouard) – Cet automne, Mari Basiletti, originaire de Canoe Cove, a été élue coprésidente de la Coalition des conseils consultatifs provinciaux et territoriaux sur le statut des femmes.

Madame Basiletti, qui est aussi présidente du Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, se dit « très fière de coprésider un porte-parole national aussi important pour les femmes. J’assure la coprésidence avec Linda Ross, PDG du Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador et présidente de longue date de la coalition nationale. Elle est une véritable source d’inspiration et d’encouragement! »

La Coalition des conseils consultatifs provinciaux et territoriaux sur le statut des femmes s’est formée lorsque le gouvernement fédéral a éliminé le Conseil consultatif canadien sur la situation de la femme en 1995. La Coalition se compose d’organismes consultatifs provinciaux et territoriaux des quatre coins du pays qui se vouent à la promotion des questions relatives aux femmes au sein de leurs régions respectives tout en se réunissant dans l’intérêt des femmes à l’échelle nationale.

Plus tôt cet automne, la Coalition a rencontré Patty Hajdu, ministre fédérale de la Condition féminine, à Ottawa. « Cette année, la Coalition a alimenté les débats sur divers enjeux importants entourant la situation de la femme au Canada, a souligné madame Basiletti. Nos échanges avec le gouvernement ont touché à plusieurs sujets, notamment l’enquête nationale sur les femmes autochtones disparues et assassinées, les répercussions de la violence sexiste, ainsi que l’importance d’effectuer une analyse comparative entre les sexes sur les effets de la pornographie. Nous avons aussi profité de l’occasion pour féliciter le gouvernement d’avoir choisi l’image de Viola Desmond pour figurer sur le billet de 10 $. »

Madame Basiletti a pris sa retraite après avoir été ergothérapeute dans divers milieux liés à la santé mentale, y compris l’hôpital Hillsborough, des services de santé mentale communautaires et des cabinets privés. Adepte des arts visuels, elle a peint des tableaux qui font maintenant partie de plusieurs collections privées et publiques. Madame Basiletti fait également du bénévolat auprès du Women’s Institute de Canoe Cove et de nombreuses autres initiatives communautaires.

Lorsque le gouvernement provincial l’a nommée au Conseil consultatif sur le statut de la femme de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard en 2013, madame Basiletti est devenue la première personne s’identifiant ouvertement comme membre de la communauté LGBTQ à faire partie du conseil. Deux ans plus tard, sa nomination à la présidence était une autre première pour le conseil. « Il est très important pour moi d’avoir été nommée à ce conseil par le gouvernement et de pouvoir jouer mon rôle tout en étant acceptée comme je suis par les autres membres, a expliqué madame Basiletti. Je peux toujours être moi-même et parler librement de ma partenaire, JoDee, et de notre famille, sans avoir à craindre la discrimination. »

Selon madame Basiletti, « cette possibilité devrait être accessible aux gens de tous les horizons – qu’il s’agisse d’une francophone souhaitant s’exprimer dans sa langue maternelle, ou encore d’une femme sourde ou malentendante qui reçoit l’appui d’un interprète gestuel. Contribuons à l’Î.-P.-É. a fait un excellent travail pour améliorer la diversité au sein du Conseil consultatif; je n’ai aucun doute que d’autres premières suivront. La diversité et l’inclusion ne font que renforcer notre capacité à alimenter et à diriger des échanges nationaux. »



Légende : A gauche, Mari Basiletti, la présidente du Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de Île-du-Prince-Édouard; au centre, Linda Ross, la présidente de la Coalition Nationale et du Conseil consultatif provincial sur la condition de la femme de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador; et à droite, Eva Ottawa, la présidente du Conseil du statut de la femme du Québec.

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Viola Desmond, First Canadian Woman to Grace a Canadian Banknote / Viola Desmond, première femme canadienne à figurer sur un billet de banque du Canada


December 12, 2016

The Honourable Bill Morneau
Minister of Finance
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Morneau:

We are writing to express sincere pleasure on selecting Viola Desmond as the first Canadian woman to grace a Canadian banknote. On behalf of the Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Advisory Councils on the Status of Women, we congratulate you and your government on a laudable consultation process and a decision that Canadians can take pride in.

To see a woman represented on Canadian currency is significant and symbolic. Many Canadians will be inspired to learn more about Viola Desmond as an African Nova Scotian and civil rights leader. They will learn about her struggle for equal rights, for herself and others, and the resistance, prejudice and discrimination she experienced and triumphantly overcame.

It is our sincere hope that every Canadian, both young and old, will be inspired by Viola Desmond’s advocacy and will continue the work to overcome prejudice and discrimination, strive to address laws and systems that discriminate and work towards justice and equality for all. We look forward to seeing the $10 bill featuring Ms. Desmond in 2018.

We would also like to thank Ms. Merna Forster and others who advocated for Ms. Desmond, a true champion of equality and inclusion, on our Canadian currency.

Mari Basiletti, Co-Chairperson


Le 12 décembre 2016

L’honorable Bill Morneau
Ministre des Finances
Chambre des communes
Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0A6

Monsieur le Ministre,

Nous vous écrivons pour vous dire à quel point nous sommes heureuses que vous ayez choisi Viola Desmond comme première femme canadienne à figurer sur un billet de banque du Canada. Au nom de la Coalition des conseils consultatifs provinciaux et territoriaux sur le statut des femmes, nous vous félicitons, vous et votre gouvernement, d’un processus de consultation louable et d’une décision dont les Canadiens et Canadiennes peuvent être fiers.

Voir l’image d’une femme sur une devise canadienne est un événement marquant et symbolique. Un grand nombre de Canadiens et Canadiennes seront inspirés d’en apprendre davantage au sujet de Viola Desmond, une Afro-Néo-Écossaise et défenseure des droits de la personne. Ils apprendront sa lutte pour assurer l’égalité des droits, pour elle-même et les autres, ainsi que la résistance, les préjugés et la discrimination qu’elle a connus, mais surmontés en triomphe.

Nous souhaitons sincèrement que les Canadiens et Canadiennes de tout âge trouvent l’inspiration dans le travail de défense des intérêts de Viola Desmond, qu’ils continuent les efforts de lutte contre les préjugés et la discrimination, qu’ils visent à faire changer les lois et les systèmes discriminatoires et qu’ils fassent tout leur possible afin d’assurer la justice et l’égalité pour tous. Nous avons hâte de voir le billet de 10 $ orné du visage de Mme Desmond en 2018.

Nous désirons également remercier Mme Merna Forster et les autres qui se sont prononcés en faveur de Mme Desmond, une véritable championne de l’égalité et de l’inclusion, sur notre monnaie canadienne.

Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur le Ministre, mes meilleures salutations.

Mari Basiletti, coprésidente

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2016 Memorial Service Gallery

The selection of photos below are from the December 6, 2016 Memorial Service for Victims of Violence held at the Confederation Centre of the Arts (venue sponsor). Thanks to everyone who attended the service and participated in the 2016 Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence.

We remember 1989
27 Years Since the Montreal Massacre



  • December 6, 2016 – CBCNEWS PEI: ‘We have to keep reminding people:’ Montreal Massacre remembered in Charlottetown … link
  • December 6, 2016 – The Guardian: Charlottetown memorial remembers victims of violence against women … link

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