Mrs. Hnatyshyn had a long history of involvement in Council, having been President of the Provincial Council of Saskatchewan from 1965-67. She saw as part of the Councils position “an established channel of communication between governments and the people,” an interaction she saw as “participatory democracy in action.”
At the 1972 annual meeting, Mrs. Hnatyshyn gave an impassioned address on the need for women to “become active in politics, where they could wield influence where it counts – in the administrative bodies of this nation.”
Helen, along with two other Council women, Catherine Armstrong and Ruth Hinkley, were members of the first board of directors of MATCH, a non-governmental International Centre designed to match the resources and needs of Canadian women with those of women in the third world.
In her final address as president in 1973, she enumerated specific matters relating to the status of women that were brought before the Prime Minister and Cabinet, including appointment of more women to Boards, Commissions, the Senate and other policy making bodies. At successive meetings with the Cabinet, Council has reiterated the request that “government ensure for women equal opportunities with men in all aspects of Canadian Society.”
Council repeated requests to have the government amend the Pension Plan, so that the spouse who remains at home can participate in the plan. This is particularly desirable for the protection of the homemaker, and would give recognition of her social and economic contribution to society.