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West coast women named to Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women

['Erica Samms-Hurley']
['Erica Samms-Hurley']

Three west coast women are among nine appointments to the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women announced by the province earlier this week.

Erica Samms-Hurley of Mount Moriah, Arlene Blanchard-White of St. George’s and Raelene Vickers, who grew up in Corner Brook and now lives in Happy Valley-
Goose Bay, are all new members of the council.

Established in 1980, the council provides advice to government on issues affecting women in the province.

Other appointments include Barbara Agnes Barker, Kelly Hynes-Curties, Abigail Steel and Carmichael Polonio of St. John’s, Elizabeth Evans-Mitchell of Makkovik and Vanessa Jo McCarthy of Gander.

McCarthy, who will serve as vice-president of the council, and Polonio were both reappointed for a second term.

The appointments were made bases on a list of recommendations provided by the Independent Appointments Commission.


Erica Samms-Hurley

Samms-Hurley is currently a nurse educator at the Western Regional School of Nursing in Corner Brook and an adjunct professor in the school of arts and social sciences (humanities) at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

She is currently studying for her PhD in nursing through the University of Alberta.

A Mi’kmaq woman, Samms-Hurley is sitting western region vice-chief of the Qalipu First Nation.

Her volunteer credits include serving on the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Health Advisory Committee, the Canadian Institute of Health Research Institutes Advisory Board for Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes and the Council on Higher Education Subcommittee on Indigenous Education.

Arlene Blanchard-White

Blanchard-White is a business development officer with the Ulnooweg Development Group in Stephenville. The group provides mentoring to Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Much of her life has been dedicated to volunteering on various boards such as the St. George’s Economic Development Corporation, and with the Bay St. George Mi’kmaq Cultural Revival Committee volunteering with local schools to enhance Indigenous culture and heritage.

She has served a three-year term as the Qalipu First Nation’s ward councillor for St. George’s, sitting on the band’s education committee and as a representative to the Women’s Policy Office.

Raelene Vickers

Vickers graduated in 2014 with a bachelors degree in social work from Memorial University and in 2018 with a masters degree in social work from the University of Toronto.

She describes herself as a feminist who challenges society’s expectations, and an advocate for gender and sexual diverse populations.

Recently, she entered the role of executive director of the Mokami Status of Women Council in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, where she is incorporating strengths based and trauma informed theories into her everyday work.

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