Vol. 13, no. 2. August/août 2004


1. The President welcomed members and invited non-members present to join the Association. He welcomed the following new members: Guy LeCavalier, Graham Metson, Marie-Hélène Nochere-Ouimet, Pierre Parc, Florence Stevens and Frances Weller. He announced with regret the deaths of Roland Aylwin, Elizabeth (Cissie) Beattie, Don Fraser and Bob Pallen.
2. Geoff Adams summarized the background to the Scholarship programme. For 2003-2004 four undergraduate scholarships and four undergraduate bursaries, of $2,000 each, had been awarded. Recipients were Danielle Badgely (B.A., Biology), Ana Maria Busnita (B.Eng., Electrical and Computer Engineering), Tiffany-Lee Giancola-White (B.Comm., Accounting), Gary Germeil (B. Comm., Marketing), Nancy Lamontagne (B.F.A., Photography), Daniele Bruno Poliforni (B. Eng., Mechanical), Lois Esther Rowe (B.F.A., Fibres), Anne-Marie Taravella (B.A. Translation). Four graduate awards of $4,000 each had been made to Kinga Araya (Ph.D., Special Individualized Programme), Bao Zhu Liu (M. Eng., Electrical and Computer Engineering) Jean Riddle (M.F.A., Studio Arts), Jian Ming Zhang (M.A., Public Policy and Public Administration). Those recipients able to attend were given an opportunity to talk about their plans.
3. The President announced that the Activities programme had been stalled with the death of Bob Pallen. It was hoped that the survey of members currently being carried out would get a better idea of the demand.
4. In the absence of Phil O'Doherty due to illness, Colin Waters presented the interim statement of income and expenses for the period June 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004. It showed income of $4286.21 and expenditures of $4309.05, with a closing balance of $9380.35. It was agreed to maintain the current membership fee at $15.
5. Howard Fink reported on the activities of the Pension Committee. The Pension Fund, which had amounted to $470m. In December 2001 and $432 in December 2002, had grown to $483m. by December 2003 (+17%) and had gained a further 5.2% by March 31, 2004, standing at $503m. There was currently a small surplus, but he was doubtful that there would be indexation this year, as the Fund is still catching up on past reduced performance. On the class-action suit, he reported that the hearing of the appeal against the jurisdiction verdict had been scheduled for that very day, but had been cancelled. He reminded those present that the original motion had been refused on the ground that it had been addressed to the wrong court, but this decision had been appealed by CUFA, whose lawyers might be authorized the take the matter to the Supreme Court if necessary.
6. The President had no report on the Benefits Committee, since it had not met since the Fall. He was, however, able to report on progress in another direction. An initiative of Howard Fink and himself had resulted in retirees being given the right to have a non-voting observer on the Board of Governors. This observer has the right to be present and to speak to items directly relevant to the interests of the non-active members of the pension plan at both the closed and open sessions of all regular and special meetings of the Board, as well as meetings of the Corporation. This representative is to be nominated by the Pensioners Association, thus implicitly recognizing the Association as the voice of all non-actives (retirees and vesteds). The Executive had appointed him to that position, and he had attended his first meeting a few days previously. In the context of the revision of the University Code of Rights and Responsibilities, he had suggested that the coverage of the Code should be extended to the non-actives and this proposal was to be discussed at the May meeting. In answer to a question from the floor as to why non-actives were not covered for vision and dental care, Howard Fink reminded members that the matter had been brought up some years ago, but had been rejected by the membership at the time as being too costly. On the other hand, this item was one of the major issues being studied by the federation of College and University Retiree Assocations of Canada (CURAC). The President and he, thanks to outside funding, would be attending the May meetings of that body in Winnipeg.
7. Peter Paquet reported for the technical committee. The Web site was up and running at A Majordomo list of e-mail addresses had been set up - a group e-mail address - which could reduce mailing costs. Members must ask to be subscribers, although no financial cost is involved. Information is available on the Web site.
8. Geoff Adams reported on behalf of the Nominating Committee. Its recommendations for the 2004-2005 Executive were as follows: President - Graham Martin; Vice-President - Howard Fink; Secretary-Treasurer - Colin Waters (this arrangement is interim, until a Treasurer is found to replace Phil O'Doherty, resigned for health reasons); Members-at-large (returning) - John Fiset, Barbara Harding, Peter Paquet; Members-at-large (new) - Bérengère Gaudet-Tremblay, Shirley Maynes and Stephen Kumarapeli; Member ex-officio (CUPARUC editor) - Jim Whitelaw. Representatives on the Pensions and Benefits Committees of the Board - John Hall and Howard Fink (alternate). Geoff paid a tribute to John Hall and Howard Fink for their devotion and success in these functions.
9. The President introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of the McGill Office for Science and Society, and well-known author, journalist and commentator. Dr. Schwarcz addressed the gathering on "The Science of Aging". This was a most entertaining address, covering, amongst other things the attempts of past ages to prolong life and improve its quality, accompanied by light-hearted visuals. His presentation was warmly received and much appreciated. He noted that he regularly gives courses, open to all, on Tuesday evenings through the McGill Centre for Continuing Education. Dr. Schwarcz was thanked by Mary Baldwin.
10. The next meeting will be held in late October.