Watch the video recording here.
Today, the Rotary Club of Guelph welcomed as our guest speaker The Honourable Bob Rae, Order of Canada, former Premier of Ontario, professor, lawyer, international mediator, author and the newly-appointed Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations.  What a tremendous opportunity to interact with one of Canada’s most outstanding political and intellectual leaders. 
Despite his well-earned fame, Bob seemed just like one of us, with warm chit-chat and appreciative humility. He spoke of his great admiration for Rotary, what it stands for, and for Rotarians being action-oriented people that get things done for the greater good. This matched Bob's theme throughout his presentation:  that what we SAY is not enough; it's more important what we DO and HOW we do it. 
He went on to address the global challenge of Covid-19, giving us an insight into one his top priorities representing Canada at the UN. As a lifelong activist in Human Rights, we could not have a better Canadian representing all of us in his new role. 
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Here are some of the key thoughts expressed by Bob:
  • While the pandemic has a profoundly LOCAL impact on us as individuals isolating ourselves and changing almost every aspect of our lives, the challenge is a GLOBAL one and ROLLING, as it keeps coming back.
  • The "wartime" analogy is not a fitting one. In wartime, people were put to work, there was little unemployment, people were productive and connected. Our experience with Covid is just the opposite.
  • Canada is spending unparalleled amounts of money on itself to keep the economy and populace afloat, but poor countries cannot do the same, and nor do their situations allow for social distancing, etc.
  • Richer countries need to help poorer countries, because none of us is safe from this until the world is safe.
  • Covid is sometimes described as The Great Leveller. Bob sees it as The Great Revealer. It has revealed Canada's poor health care of seniors with warehousing of older people as social policy, on the cheap. It has revealed people of colour suffering more greatly than other groups.
  • There is no real global leadership to address problems like Covid, no 'Marshall Plan' without a Marshall. Even the Secretary General of the UN cannot play this role, lacking money and authority, yet it is at the UN that nations can come together and collaborate - not only on the issue of Covid, but also issues such as famine.
  • We trade globally, and we have to think globally. It is in our self-interest.
  • Nice words are not enough. Canada has to DO more, and Bob is excited about his new role playing a part in this.
Rotarian News
  • President Tracey began the meeting with the huge news that Rotary International will finally have its first woman President, and that she is from Ontario!  Jennifer Jones from the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland will become RI President for 2022-23. 
  • Tracey shared the sad news that Ruth Parr passed away on August 2, at Hospice Wellington. Ruth was the wife of our late Rotarian, Don Parr. Ruth spent many years in public health nursing and took great pride in founding the palliative care program in Guelph and worked along side Don to help to establish Hospice Wellington. 
  • Tom Funk was recognized for reaching 40 years in Rotary. Congratulations and thank you, Tom!
  • Dianne Dance reported wonderful success on the Indigenous Awareness Committee's success in raising substantial funds through grants, including a Rotary Global Grant for the "Water First" project educating young Indigenous people in Canada in the technology career of water management within their communities. This topic will be reported in a fuller article coming soon on ClubRunner.
    • Several Rotarians spoke up to mention that Dianne's mom, Anne Dance, was a former member of our club and the main initiator of our club's attention to Aboriginal Affairs, and that Anne's great gift to us was her daughter Dianne's matching passion and leadership! What a great family story and tradition. 
  • Ab Moore reported success in obtaining a Rotary District Grant to support a health clinic in Cameroon.
  • Marva Wisdom was excited to report that Mahmud Hassain has persuaded Devon Clunis, the former Chief of Winnipeg Police, to be our guest speaker at our next Rotary meeting! Details to follow soon.