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Energy and Enthusiasm Pervade 2000 NFB:AE Conference

Each of the three Canadian conferences of the NFB:AE have been unique, and the 2000 gathering in Toronto was no exception. From the opening of the Thursday night welcoming reception to the close of business on Sunday afternoon, the 2000 conference was filled with tremendous energy and enthusiasm. This year, we had members from six provinces, including a large contingent from Quebec.

The Conference Committee tried to offer participants a balance between plenary speakers and workshop discussions. The goal of each NFB:AE annual conference must be action-planning for the year ahead.

Four plenary speakers addressed the conference. Ms. Doreen Demas, the newly-elected Chair of Disabled Women's Network Canada (DAWN), provided information on the national scene and encouraged the NFB:AE to play an ever-increasing role in these deliberations.

Ms. Kaye Leslie, Manager of Workplace Equality at the Bank of Montreal, spoke about the changing nature of the workplace and expressed considerable optimism for our futures in the world of work.

Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie said that prospective litigants should spend more time developing the questions they want a court to answer so they have a better chance of gaining success.

Toronto lawyer, Ms. Patti Bregman, discussed the importance of cross-disability legislative advocacy within the context of the Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committees experience. She emphasised that it is even more important to work together in these times where funding is extremely scarce.

Workshops included such topics as self-employment, membership development, employment, choosing technology, early intervention, access to information and advocacy on a wide range of issues.

Again this year, we presented scholarships to four outstanding students. The recipients this year were Jennison Asuncion of Montreal, Quebec, Kevin Shaw of Toronto, Ontario, Kristina Kolley of Toronto, Ontario and Kimberley Brownlee of Abbotsford, BC, who was awarded a scholarship for the second consecutive year. Congratulations to each of these outstanding scholars.

The election process was very spirited. Each office was contested, and all nominees presented their views for consideration by the membership at the Candidates Forum. The following three people were elected to the Board for two-year terms: Ross Eadie, First Vice-President, John Rae, Treasurer, and Irene Lambert, Member at Large. Betty Nobel was elected to a one-year term as a Member at Large.

Each annual conference of the NFB:AE should be a time for review, renewal and rededication. Based on the energy and enthusiasm that was present throughout this years conference and the resolutions that were passed (discussed elsewhere in this issue), the NFB:AE has a busy year ahead.