(Above) Members of the Army’s modern slavery and human trafficking team meet with Shelby Kramp-Neuman, member of Parliament and chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. From left, Stephen Moorgen, Tracy Desjarlais, Kramp-Neuman,Mjr Ray Lamont, Dianna Bussey and Jaclyn MacLean (Photos: Just Joy Imaging)

Greg Fergus receives a painting from Commissioner Lee Graves
Speaker of the House Greg Fergus receives a painting from Commisioner Lee Graves

In May, the Canada and Bermuda Territory’s public affairs team hosted the second annual Salvation Army Week on the Hill, bringing 60 Army representatives to Ottawa to influence and inform lawmakers and politicians on behalf of the people the Army serves.

Among those representatives were executive leaders, including Commissioners Lee and Debbie Graves, territorial leaders, as well as public relations professionals and specialists from the front lines, representing the various services the Army provides in every division across the country.

“Our focus that week was on the four pillars that represent alignment between our mission and the services we provide, and the priorities of government as we saw them outlined in the recent budget,” explains Major Rick Zelinsky, territorial director of public affairs. “Those pillars are housing, gender-based violence, poverty and emergency disaster services.”

Colonel Wendy Swan shakes hands with John McKay
Col Wendy Swan meets member of Parliament John McKay at the leadership dinner

The week began with Army leaders attending the 59th annual National Leadership Dinner and Prayer Breakfast, followed by 45 targeted meetings with government officials, including with members of Parliament representing the Ministry of Health and the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, and with Speaker of the House Greg Fergus.

The Army also hosted an all-party reception attended by more than 75 members of Parliament and staff, and a leadership dinner with special guest Colonel Wendy Swan, director of the International Social Justice Commission.

Major Al Hoeft, Robert Kitchen and Major Karen Hoeft stand together
Mjrs Al and Karen Hoeft of the Prairies and Northern Territories Div share a moment with Robert Kitchen, member of Parliament, at the leadership dinner

During the Week on the Hill, Public Safety Canada announced additional funding, under the Humanitarian Workforce Program, to boost The Salvation Army’s wildfire response efforts this summer, adding further excitement to the week’s events.

“Salvation Army Week on the Hill gives us an opportunity to speak to government and show them the breadth of our work, and ultimately to connect them to the mission of The Salvation Army in 400 communities across Canada,” says Major Zelinsky. “It’s about making our voice heard.”

Listen to the full interview with Major Rick Zelinksky, as he gives a behind-the-scenes look at Hill Week and the work of the public affairs team.

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