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Judy Henley, secretary treasurer of CUPE 4980 in Saskatchewan, and Tim Maguire, first vice-president of CUPE 79 in Toronto, recently participated in the Caribbean Canadian Emerged Leadership Dialogue from May 28 to June 11. The Dialogue consisted of a total of 120 participants representing labour, government, business and community (80 from the Caribbean and 40 from Canada).

Under the overall theme of the dialogue “Growth through Connection - Enabling Sustainable Progress”, participants examined the qualities of leadership and “explored strategic areas including governance, regional and infrastructure, innovation in public and private institutions, the environment, sustainable economic growth and social inclusion with the objective of building leadership capacity.”

Participants gathered in Ottawa for the opening plenary sessions and were then divided into ten groups of 12 with each group experiencing site visits with leaders from labour, business, government and community in different Canadian and Caribbean locations. Later they gathered for the concluding plenary sessions in Barbados for the closing.

Judy observed that, “Our group learned that this event allowed us the opportunity to learn first-hand from many different interests groups about the leadership issues they are faced with. By working with the local people directly, leaders felt they were better able to make decisions that best served the people, regardless if that leader came from the business, government, community groups or labour organizations.”

Effective leadership has to be inclusive, by inviting local people to participate in the decision-making process, and offer the ability to collaborate and share information. Projects that are inclusive will have a greater chance for success.”

During on-site visits, CUPE participants were able to meet with local leaders to discuss the challenges they face, and the strategies used in meeting them. Organizations that the participants visited included those engaged in environmental management, tourism, education, health care, construction and infrastructure, culture, community work, finance and law enforcement/security.