A Visit with MP Joyce Murray: Celebrating the Power of Elders

In June 2023, SPEC Guiding Elder Carole Christopher, along with two SPEC members, had the privilege of meeting with MP Joyce Murray. The focal point of the discussion centered around the SPEC Elders Circle, delve deeper into its purpose and significance. Additionally, the opportunity was seized to align this program within the broader spectrum of SPEC’s initiatives, engaging in fruitful conversations about our other programs.

Written by SPEC Guiding Elder, Carole Christopher

A Fruitful Visit by MP Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coastguard

MP Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coastguard, paid my board colleague Enzo Casal, Repair Cafe Coordinator Brain Wong a visit of which we are very pleased with the outcome. While the SPEC Elders Circle, a federally funded program by New Horizons for Seniors, remained the primary topic of conversation, we also seized the opportunity to place it within the broader context of SPEC’s initiatives and engage in discussions about other programs.

Embracing the Vision and Exploring Collaborative Opportunities

We delved into the Elders Circle’s vision, the development of our successful CORE Legacy-Making course, and its integration into our current programming on Becoming an Organizational Guiding Elder.

I reached for the words to succinctly tell the story of how the Elders Circle started and my vision of western Elders reclaiming a socially meaningful role and its importance for our physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being.   I shared my inspiration as a SPEC Guiding Elder, how it fostered a broader perspective on our work, structures, and culture. Additionally, I expressed my desire to extend this growth opportunity to other elders involved in community organizations.  Older adults who can see themselves and can function as mature elders can bring wisdom, skills, and experience to organizations that help to knit the fabric of our common life together.  

Minister Murray resonated with this vision and emphasized the value of elders remaining available and accessible to younger generations. She shared a story of her husband’s honorary title as an Elder by Indigenous people from his decades-long business operation in the region.

Expanding the Horizons of Discussion

Supported by Enzo and Brian, we expanded the conversation into other areas of SPEC’s work.  Over the course of 35-40 minutes, we focused on ocean plastic and its impact. Minister Murray described her role in stewarding the process across various ministries to garner support for beach debris cleanup through legislation promoting the Oceans’ Protection Plan.

When the topic turned to sustainable harvest, Enzo and Minister Murray discovered their mutual interest in a niche market in tanning fish skins that’s part of an overall effort to reduce the ‘by-catch’ waste of commercial fisheries. Brian brought in his considerable expertise in hosting the booming popularity of SPEC repair cafes.  We promised to send her information about the next available café due to her expressed interest in bringing small repair items on her next visit to Vancouver.

Reaffirming the Importance of Elders and Intergenerational Support

MP Joyce Murray’s visit as Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coastguard was a resounding success. We showcased SPEC’s work beyond the Elders program and discussed a variety of topics of shared importance. Minister Murray embraced the vision of elders reclaiming meaningful roles and stressed the importance of their accessibility to younger generations. This visit has reaffirmed the importance of intergenerational support and the power of wisdom, skills, and experience in knitting the fabric of our common life together.

June 26, 2023