Saturday, March 31

NDP ready for elections

Federal NDP candidate Jo-Anne Boulding, left, and provincial candidate Sara Hall chat during the nomination meeting Tuesday evening at the Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Ms Boulding took aim at the Conservatives’ recent cuts to Status of Women Canada.

If elected, she pledged to advocate for greater gender equality in Ottawa.

“Equality is still completely misunderstood in Canadian politics,” Boulding said. “The Harper government is silencing 52 per cent of the population. We’re not a minority. We’re not an interest group. We are half the population.”

LINK: North Star Publishing

Toronto - PSAC Demo where SWC office closed March 30th

Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada are joining protests against the Harper government's lack of commitment to women and the loss of services and jobs provided by Status of Women Canada. A demonstration took place in Toronto at 4900 Yonge Street where a SWC office closed on Friday, March 30th. See photos and listen to an audio slideshow where PSAC Ontario Regional Women's representative Valerie Fargey and PSAC VP Ontario Ken Boone express their thoughts on the situation

Protest bridges child-care gap

An expectant mother stood shoulder-to-shoulder yesterday with more than 100 parents, child-care providers and others who were "bridging the gap" between Ontario's child-care system and Quebec's universal system by demonstrating along the Portage Bridge.

Quebec parents pay $7 a day for child care, while Ontario parents have to shell out roughly $55, noted Morna Ballantyne, co-ordinator of Code Blue for Child Care.

"The main difference is that on that side of the river, they have a provincial government that recognizes the importance of building an accessible, affordable child care system," said Ballantyne.

The protest was also meant to draw attention to a $1-billion cut to early learning and child care by the federal Conservative government, which is instead providing $250 million to create care spaces.

A new study by the Toronto-based Council for Early Child Development ranks Canada last in funding among developed countries. Canada spends 0.25% of its GDP on early childhood programs; others spend up to 2%.

No Political Will = No Equality For Women

An expert panel on Accountability Mechanisms For Gender Equality filed their final report" "Equality for Women: Beyond the Illusion" in December 2005.

December 2006 Harper announced the closure, defunding and stifling of Status of Women Canada; the end of provincial/federal agreements on child care; death of the Court Challenges program and refused to initiate any of the expert recommendations on pay equity

Apparently Harperites feel that these recommendations from 2005 should be ignored and that women should go back to their kitchens where they belong!

Women need to use their votes to "Dethrone King Steve"

"it became obvious that use of the word "gender" rather than "women" gave many people the impression that women had somehow achieved equality in Canada. This was a recurring theme in our discussions and it is, therefore, one we take seriously. The simple reality in Canada is that, while women have made enormous strides towards equality, the job is not yet finished."

A number of themes struck familiar chords in the Panel's discussions and review of materials:

  • the need for strong leadership from elected leaders and top public servants, which would include the setting of priorities for gender-based analysis in the Speech from the Throne;
  • the need for the Government's activities and actions to be more focused in order to achieve substantive equality;
  • the importance of integrating the goal of equality for women into the Treasury Board Secretariat's systems of management accountability;
  • the lack of understanding within the Government about the value of gender-based analysis, and the lack of substantive results to date;
  • the need for those inside government to seek advice on an ongoing basis from experts outside government, consistent with the Government's approach on the Voluntary Sector Initiative (ANNEX F);
  • the capacity of non-government organizations to engage fully is hampered by insufficient funding;
  • the need to focus more on the inequality of immigrant women, Aboriginal women, lone-parent women, seniors living alone, visible minority women and women with disabilities; and
  • the need to strengthen the role of Status of Women Canada.

LINK: Photo credit: Dethrone King Steve

CUPE National Women’s Task Force issues mid-term report

The National Women’s Task Force was created by the adoption of Resolution 106 at the 2005 CUPE national convention in Winnipeg. The mandate of the Task Force was to consult broadly with CUPE members on women’s equality issues and to examine barriers to women’s participation at all levels of our union. The Task Force was asked to bring back recommendations to advance women’s equality in the union, including structural changes.

Friday, March 30

Little Coyote - Cooking Up A Revolution

Dear Bev Oda,

In hopes of being a good "round the kitchen" kinda woman. I've decided to share one of my favourite recipes with you. This recipe has been around for hundreds of years but was only just recently passed along to me.

Recipe for a Revolution Ingredients:
1 part cutting "equality" from the Status of Women mandate
1 part creative feminist justice
1 part demanding justice
1 part persistence
heaping spoonful of anger and frustration
pinch of sarcasm and humour
Blend ingredients together. Allow to simmer for years on end. Expose mixture to horrific violence, rape, abuse, poverty, pay inequity, lack of child care and other injustices. No need to stir -- it will come to a rigorous boil very quickly. Should this recipe not result in direct change, contact (613) 992-2792 to share your concerns.

With Anger,

------Status of Women was closed today thanks to Harper's cuts.The Radical Cheerleaders, Alexa McDonough, and a number of other angry males and females met outside of the Status of Women office today to voice their concerns! See it on Canada's Best: CBC.Three cheers for cooking up a revolution.

Protestors force temporary closure of Hamilton federal building

The federal government building at 55 Bay St. N. was temporarily shut down earlier today after a group of protesters upset at the closure of Status of Women offices across the country attempted to get in the building.

Five women from a local organization had first attempted to visit local Status of Women organizer Evelyn Myrie "to thank her for her years of hard work and support," activist Kelly Hayes said. They were met by security and police and asked to leave the building, which housed the Status of Women office.

The five women stayed in the building lobby as dozens of protesters who had gathered outside to demonstrate against the office closures, which come in to effect today, tried to enter the building. The doors were locked and people who were already in the building had to leave through the back exit.

LINK: Hamilton Spectator

Halifax - Women protest outside Status of Women office on last day of operation

Dozens of people banged pots, chanted and waved mock gravestones Friday to protest Ottawa's decision to slash funding from the Status of Women budget.

The protesters gathered outside the regional office of the Status of Women in Halifax on its last day of operation to urge the federal government to reinstate $5 million it cut from the agency's budget.

"We really want Status of Women to be an equality seeking organization," Jen Crawford, a women's rights activist, said on a blustery day as passing trucks blared their horns in support.

"We don't feel very equal and we're not ready to settle for what's being given to us by the Conservative government and we'll protest until things change."

The office, which has one staff member, is being closed in the wake of the cuts last fall.

New Democrat MP Alexa McDonough said the decision to remove the word equality from the Status of Women's mandate is regressive and makes the office a farce.

"What a fraud it is to have a government in power that has a supposed commitment to advancing the status of women that actually rips equality right out of the mandate," she said at the protest.

"This is absolutely unbelievable."


Regina - Students rally for equality

It's not just a girl thing.

Social justice groups were mobilized Thursday at the University of Regina to rally in support of women's issues that have been in the limelight of late. The biggest issue is the federal Status of Women department's decision to remove the word "equality" from its mandate as well as the stipulation that women's groups that receive funding from the department cannot advocate.

"The significance of removing 'equality' from the Status of Women's mandate is that then essentially, the Status of Women as an organization, really, has lost its power to effect positive change," said Ben Chung, a member of OXFAM Regina. "So it's like taking the power behind the organization out of it so that it still exists, but how effective can they really be?"

Effective April 1, the Status of Women will receive $5 million in new funding, bringing its 2007-08 total budget to $15.3 million. It will replace the $5 million cut from the operating budget in September. The new money will come with the stipulation that the Status of Women will not provide funding to domestic advocacy activities.

LINK: Regina Leader Post

The biggest child care cut in Canadian history...

Parents, child care workers and advocates joined together on a major Ottawa bridge this morning to protest the biggest child care cut in Canadian history - a cut that makes an already bad situation worse for families in the nation's capital.

"On April 1st Stephen Harper is introducing the biggest child care cut in Canadian history. This is money that Canadians were counting on. So, too, werethe provinces. The cut is going to have devastating consequences for parentsand children who are already in desperate need of affordable quality childcare services," says Ottawa resident Morna Ballantyne, coordinator of the CodeBlue for Child Care campaign.

Advocates rallied on the Portage Bridge to draw attention to a $1 billion dollar cut they say Stephen Harper is trying to hide from Canadians. In last week's budget, the Conservative government claimed it was investing more than $5 billion in early learning and child care.

Thursday, March 29

We've come a long way ... but is it far enough?

These offices have dreamed for women and asked the big questions. Who will do that now?

I dwell in possibility. -- Emily Dickinson.

Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?" -- George Bernard Shaw

What a pair of dreamers, Dickinson and Shaw. And for that, we should thank them.

They reassure us it's OK to dream. And that just because no one ever thought of something before doesn't make it wrong.

In the 1960s a few women began to dream of things that never were -- and many people thought never should be. They were big-mouthed women and definitely not well-behaved. And I need to thank them, too. Because their pain-in-the neck lobbying made possible the life I lead today. And perhaps yours, too.

..........And so Lester Pearson created the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in 1967. After asking women across the land about their dreams, it finally reported in 1970. And one of its many recommendations was to create Status of Women offices across Canada.

These offices have kept plugging away ever since, kept asking why not and helping it to happen. But in late 2006 Stephen Harper announced the closing of 12 of them, including Hamilton's.

For all these things, the Hamilton Status of Women office was paying only one full-time salary. Evelyn Myrie, who for years was that employee, declined to be interviewed. So I've had to piece together what the office has accomplished. Probably the biggest thing is to make a more level playing field.

Warnke also points out a little-known fact. When the Conservatives closed the Status of Women offices, they also cut funding to researchers, the folks who gather statistics on where we're at and where we're going.

Without them, we have no idea where we should be going.

But mostly I want the Status of Women's offices to keep asking questions. Otherwise how will we ever open our minds to the aspirations of our own daughters and sons? Because one thing is certain: They'll surely do things we think are ridiculous -- or simply can't imagine.

And then we'll need the dreamers to hit us over the head and wake us up all over again.

LINK: By Linda JacobsThe Hamilton Spectator(Mar 29, 2007)
Linda Jacobs is a Hamilton journalist whose greatest passion is writing about the Second World War, a most unladylike activity.

I ask all Hamiltonians to look at the women around them..

I've been intrigued by the articles in The Spectator over the last few months regarding women's issues by writers such as Lenore Lukasik-Foss, Krista Warnke and Evelyn Myrie.

As a person in the infancy of my women's issues education, I am compelled to take issue with the Status of Women's office closure.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty certainly sent a clear message when they cut the funding to Status of Women, which resulted in the muting and dissolution of the Hamilton office.

That message is: programs that identify the issues that affect women -- such as lack of childcare, violence, inaccessible education and women who are seniors in poverty -- are resources not worthy of investment.

For those who turn an indifferent ear to this issue because it's on the federal level, look locally at how this trickles through the mindset in the treatment of the 69 women and one man on strike at First Ontario Credit Union.

They're standing their ground for issues such as post-retirement benefits, sick days, ensuring full-time positions so they can be secured enough hours to live on.

I ask all Hamiltonians to look at the women around them, the immigrant woman in an abusive relationship, the single mom without affordable child care, the senior who has to go to the food bank, the employee who is paid 71 per cent of her male counterpart and remember there is still much to do in raising awareness in the attitudes around women's issues.

Are Hamiltonians up to it? Without a doubt.

LINK: By Juanita Maldonado Hamilton Spectator

Demo In Support Of Women's Rights - Toronto - March 30

Status of Women offices gone but not forgotten

TORONTO, March 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Most of Status of Women Canada's offices are shutting down at the end of March but women are not taking the closings quietly.

Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada are joining protests
against the Harper government's lack of commitment to women and the loss of services and jobs provided by Status of Women Canada.

Demonstrations are taking place in two Ontario cities where SWC offices
are slated to close.

Date: Friday, March 30, 2007
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Place: 4900 Yonge Street at Shepherd

LINK: Canada Newswire

Demo In Support Of Women's Rights - Hamilton - March 30

Friday, March 30th, 2007; 10:30 am; 55 Bay St. N. ; Hamilton (in front of the federal government building)

Send Harper’s government a message: Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

Across the country, women are responding to a series of bad decisions by the Harper government which, if not reversed, will set women's equality back twenty years:
• cutting funding to Status of Women Canada
• closing 12 out of 16 regional Status of Women offices and cutting 61 out of 131 jobs.
• eliminating Status of Women's independent policy research
• eliminating "equality" from the mandate of Status of Women Canada
• changing the rules so that women's groups which do research or advocate for equality are no longer eligible for federal financial support
• cancelling federal provincial child care agreements
• eliminating funding to the Court Challenges Program, the process for addressing equality rights under the Charter
• refusing to implement proactive pay equity law

Bring your voices & your friends! Bring banners, signs, flags and noisemakers!

Contact The Woman Abuse Working Group for more information: c/o SACHA at 905-525-4573

Rally For Child Care - Ottawa - March 30

On March 30th, 2007 the federal transfers to the provinces for the provincial/federal Child Care Agreements end and CODE BLUE FOR CHILD CARE wants to mark this day with an action. An action that will help us send the message that when there is political will there is always a way to do what is right for children and families.

We need the child care community and its many friends to join us on the Portage Bridge (Ottawa side - Wellington Str) this Friday (March 30th) from 8:30am to 10:10am. We will link across the bridge between Ontario and Quebec (Gatineau/Hull side). We will be doing this as a way to also keep pressure on our province to step up to the plate and do what is right by children and families.

LINK: Code Blue

Guerilla Girls - Don't Stereotype Me!

LINK: Guerilla Girls

Wednesday, March 28

Six recommendations for the Canadian Government from Yukon Status of Women

Charlotte Hrenchuk:

  • The first recommendation is to return the word “equality” to the Status of Women Canada's mandate.
  • The second is to establish a northern Status of Women Canada office in one of the three territories. This would be a more effective and efficient use of tax dollars. It is not effective to attempt to serve a huge geographic area from one southern office that will be stretched beyond capacity.
  • The third is to re-establish funding for the independent research fund program.
  • The fourth is to restore funding to the women's program for advocacy activities.
  • The fifth is to allow non-profit advocacy organizations to obtain a charitable number.
  • The sixth is to restrict women's program funding to not-for-profit groups. It's just mind-boggling to me how a small organization like mine or Brenda Murphy's can compete with for-profit organizations that have their own economic resources, whereas we have volunteers and that's about it.

LINK: Yukon Status Of Women Council

Barbie. Whore. Baby. Bitch. Prostitute.

Calling women anything but equal in politics

Just another day at work for some women, including some female politicians in Legislatures. Such comments are disparaging and sexist, no matter where they are said, at home, in the office or the Legislature.

Canadian men's White Ribbon campaign to end violence against women has an arresting poster that asks, "Did you ever notice that the worst thing you can call a man is a woman?"

Well, politicians haven't decided yet what is the worst thing you can call their female colleagues.

Female politicians are also called weathergirl, dipstick, slut. Anything but equals.

Go back in the kitchen where you came from. Stick to your knitting. Pour me another tequila, Sheila, and lay down and love me again.

Just so many colourful ways used to say No Girls Allowed.

Release of Halifax violent sex offender angers N.B. status of women council

A decision to grant day parole to a violent sex offender who served only two years of a seven-year sentence is being criticized by the province's Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

"It's absolutely not appropriate," said council chair Ginette Petitpas-Taylor. "If we want to prevent this type of situation from occurring, we have to send the message loud and clear that the courts and justice system are going to react accordingly.

On July 3, 2004, after a day of heavy drinking and smoking marijuana, McAuley offered to escort a young woman he had met earlier that evening to her car.

"She was accosted from behind and brutally assaulted, both physically and sexually," the parole documents state. He broke several bones in her face and she spent three days in hospital.

McAuley also threatened to kill her, the court heard.

"I'm sure she does not feel a sense of security knowing this individual is out," said Petitpas-Taylor, who works in victim services.

LINK: Halifax News

Tuesday, March 27

Quebec election: We can't believe HE said:

Early in the campaign, Action democratique du Quebec Leader Mario Dumont is forced to fire two candidates, one for scoffing at violence against women and the other for suggesting Quebecers need to make more babies to avoid being overwhelmed by "ethnics."

Radio host Louis Champagne of CKRS, a station in Saguenay separatist heartland, declares Parti Quebecois resembles "un club de tapettes." Tapette is French equivalent of "fag."

Boisclair comes under fire for using French equivalent of the term "slanting eyes" - les yeux brides (bree-day) - to describe Asian students, and refuses to apologize for it. There is debate about whether his comments are as insulting in French as in English, though many Asian-Canadians find it offensive. His party also defends candidate whose book questioned extent of 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Dumont says Quebec must stop bending over backwards to accommodate religious minorities: "We must make gestures which reinforce our national identity and protect those values which are so invaluable to us." His poll numbers start to creep up in rural areas with his stance.

Quebec Election: Disappointing for Women

Fewer women in the National Assembly will not be good for women from the new minority government in Quebec. We know that the more women are represented over 30 percent in political institutions, the better their issues are handled. With that critical mass now gone, it will be interesting to see what happens for women in Quebec. From the Inbox:

Last night’s Quebec election means there are fewer women in the National Assembly. Of Quebec’s 125 provincial seats, only 31 now are held by female MNA’s –or 24.8 per cent.

At dissolution, Quebec had been first in Canada, with 38 women of 123 occupied seats or 30.89 per cent.

LINK: politicsnpoetry
LINK" Cartoon from Aislin

CRIAW - Federal budget update

The federal government has been flip-flopping like a fish on a boat deck, and the media do not cover funding for women’s programs very well. The objective of this information update to CRIAW members is to let you know what is going on, and where to go for more information.

The federal budget of March 2007 added new money to Status of Women Canada, some of which would go into the Women’s Program, and some for a new “Partnership Fund”. What is the Partnership Fund? We have no idea. The government announced “$20 million” in total for Status of Women Canada. The fine print is, this money is over two years, includes the $5 million they had already announced that they had taken away in the first place, and there is still no mention at all of equality.

The government is now claiming that Women’s Program funding is the highest ever in history. However, that still doesn’t help the organizations that promote equality who will have no access to these funds because the terms and conditions bar most of the activities they undertake. It doesn’t replace the lost jobs at Status of Women Canada, most of which were held by women who are now unemployed at the hands of the government. It doesn’t replace the Policy Research Fund because the government still does not want to know what’s wrong or how to fix it.

CRIAW needs you very much

I would also like to remind you, speaking of budgets, that CRIAW needs your support more than ever before since our inception in 1976. Please, if you have not already done so, consider becoming a monthly donor. You can sign up on our web site: You can contribute to the updating and reprinting of our violence against women and girls fact sheet, and the workshops and projects we do with community social justice groups across Canada. Even $5 per month would be helpful, because after June 30, 2007, our project monies from the Women’s Program will run out. We are audited annually, and are fully financially accountable. We want to keep doing research to advance women’s equality and provide accessible information for all Canadians to take action, whether the government wants us to or not. We need your help.


Monday, March 26

Quebec election and "reasonable accommodation"

Some Niqab wearing (veiled) women voters in Quebec did not want to show their faces to the poll officials when they voted in the upcoming election. The decision (since reversed) was to accommodate this request.

Members of No One Is Illegal-Montreal are responding to the xenophobic “debate” in Quebec about “reasonable accomodation” with the following statement:

As racialized and migrant women, we are outraged by the slanderous, xenophobic and racist propaganda that is being expressed in the debate about "reasonable accommodation".We assert our ability, as subjects not objects, to exercise our own capacity to self-determine our lives; we reject the repeatedly paternalistic, and fundamentally misogynist, discourse about the State that will supposedly save us from our own cultures.We assert that such a discourse is both racist and sexist. It is racist, because it perpetuates the idea that our cultures are fundamentally backwards and cruel, in contrast with white Western culture, which is seen as the ultimate achievement of civilization. It is sexist because it derives from ideas that render women childlike, or viewed as simple victims incapable of struggling for their own wellbeing.

LINK: Read entire statement at "No One Is Illegal"

Leading the Way - A Decade of Policy Research Fund Reports - NOW CANCELLED!!

If you have not already seen this, please read the English and French backgrounders on the cancelled Policy Research Fund. One of the many interesting pieces of information in it is that in 2006-07, 1.4 million people around the world accessed these publications and they have had a profound influence on scholarship.

Sound research provides the basis for policy change. Created in 1996, the Policy Research Fund (PRF) of Status of Women Canada enabled the review and discussion of many critical issues of concern to women, making sure women’s perspectives and experiences were included in policy making and promoting discussion of gender-equality issues between the public and policy makers. The projects critically examined the impact of many Canadian public policies on women: child care and custody, social and health policies and programs, fiscal policies, trade agreements, national security and immigration policies, rural development issues, legislative changes in the area of same-sex legislation, and the changes to the Indian Act and Bill C-31 determining the membership and status of First Nations people. An important factor in all the research areas was the recognition that women in Canada are not a homogeneous group, therefore introducing the requirement to take into account the effect of policies on women in their full diversity.

From the very beginning, one important hallmark of the program was the independent nature of the research. During each planning cycle, PRF staff scanned a variety of sources to determine the pressing issues and research gaps. Research themes were presented as openly as possible to capture unique perspectives, which often brought previously unconsidered ideas and options to policy discussions. An external committee, nominated and selected through a transparent process, selected the themes, evaluated and selected the projects, and assessed the final reports for publication.

The Policy Research Fund was unique in Canada, and perhaps the world, in its focus on gender-based policy research. The distinctive blue and green PRF publications fill the shelves of university libraries, policy analysts’ offices and judges’ desks. They are visible reminders of the knowledge generated by the Policy Research Fund during its 10 years of existence, about the issues affecting women’s lives. The Fund achieved its goal of bringing a gender-based perspective to policy discussions and nurturing the creation of a network of feminist researchers with policy research expertise. Policy is essentially about power and gender-based policy approaches, by their nature, widen our conceptions of power and its impact on people’s lives. But good policy making requires good evidence-based research. The PRF publications brought the reality of women’s lives and their struggle to achieve full and equal participation to the attention of policy makers. They made a world of difference.

Excerpt of letter to Boisclair from Quebec women

The undersigned deeply regrets that Mr. André Boisclair used derogatory and deplorable references to describe persons of Asian and Indian origin during a speech to students at the Université du Québec in Trois-Rivières.

Our objection concerns not only his use of the French expression “yeux bridés” to describe Asians in general. This common expression in the French language dating from the 19th century, during a period of expanding colonization of Asia by European countries, is essentially a western invention to label peoples of the Orient. It may appear to be acceptable for persons who do not care, including Asians.

However, Asians do not form a homogeneous group: the reactions vary according to their respective history, social experiences and national cultures. In North America, the simplistic expression “yeux bridés” has been largely rejected by many Asians because of its derogatory and condescending meaning, in whatever possible language.

LabourStart creates women's page

LabourStart's IWD news page proved so popular it is now a permanent feature on their site. Look for the graphic below on their main page (top right) for a link to 'Working Women: Daily News'. And let them know as you come across stories you think should appear there.

LINK: labourstart

Sunday, March 25

Why can't a woman . . .

As more and more strong women rise to the top of the political world, CAMILLE PAGLIA ponders the paradigms of power and gender

Hillary Rodham Clinton is leading in all national polls in the United States as the first woman candidate with a real chance to be nominated for president by a major party. There have been many women mayors, governors and senators, and even an unsuccessful vice-presidential candidate, Geraldine Ferraro, but American women's exercise of political power is still a work in progress.

Other nations, in contrast, have had women leaders since the 1960s -- from Indira Gandhi and Golda Meir to Margaret Thatcher and Benazir Bhutto. Examples since the early 1990s include Mary Robinson (Ireland), Kim Campbell (Canada), Angela Merkel (Germany), Michelle Bachelet (Chile) and Tarja Halonen (Finland).

LINK: Globe and Mail

4 Days until SWC Offices Close Forever....

12 out of 16 regional offices are being closed in the following communities: Vancouver , Saskatoon , Winnipeg , Thunder Bay , Toronto , Hamilton , London , Ottawa , Ste-Foy, Halifax , Charlottetown , St. John's.

Status of Women Canada's regional presence will be limited to four “points of service”: Edmonton , Ottawa (at Headquarters), Montréal and Moncton.

Furthermore, under new policy, women’s groups who do lobby or advocacy activity, like the Parliament gathering, will be ineligible for funding.

The ban translates into not being able to speak on public panels, at rallies, and to parliament. Organizations who compile original research will also become ineligible.

LINK: McClung's Winter 2007

Puppetry of the budget

Where the money goes, nobody knows Last fall the Status of Women Canada received a massive blow when the Conservative government stripped $5-million from the agency's administrative budget. The cut was not well received and has since been rescinded... well, sort of.

LINK: The Hour

Saturday, March 24

Feminism 3.1: Briarpatch does gender

Our gender identities, in all their complicated incarnations, continue to limit the choices and opportunities of many of us. In the face of an ongoing ideological onslaught against equality for women and sexual minorities, Briarpatch throws gender in the blender—and whips up a challenging and thought-provoking blend of ideas and arguments for bending gender hierarchy till it breaks!

  • Why Feminism isn’t for Everybody by Becky Ellis. Will gender-based oppression end if we ask politely? Not bloody likely…
  • Feminism 3.1 by Audra Williams & friends. Does the third wave need an upgrade? A critical discussion of the culture of feminism.
  • Test Your F.Q. compiled by Dave Oswald Mitchell. Got a Y chromosome? Then this sexism self-exam is for you.
  • Yesterday’s Men by Bruce Wood. How can men work with men to end violence against women?

Equality Work Isn’t Done

Gloria Steinem (who turns 73 on Sunday) one of the icons of the women's movement, said the next 70 years of the movement should see continued change.

Gloria Steinem was speaking to a Dominion University audience last week. They heard her contrast the past with what the future could be. "If you wanted to be a lawyer or an airline pilot, you married it, rather than became it," Steinem said of previous generations.

Steinem said we must learn to think less about horizontal history and more about vertical history, echoing her oft-repeated quote that the first problem for all humans, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.

LINK: HamptonRoads article

Friday, March 23

Quote Worth Revisiting?

...... In the optimistic afterglow of Expo 67, Canada enjoyed a level of national self-confidence it has yet to recapture. The spectre of Quebec separation did not go away (indeed, separatism reached a militant peak in this period), but even that was unable to take away our broader confidence that Canada had a legitimate and indisputable place in the world. It seems not coincidental then, that the early seventies brought several breakthroughs in the enfranchisement of women and minorities: Pierre Trudeau's famous 1967 statement that the state had "no place in the bedrooms of the nation", the 1970 Royal Commission on the Status of Women, the 1971 Multiculturalism Act. Those were heady days when Canada was building something, instead of just protecting, defending or dismantling.....

Cuts Will Impact the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Recently announced program cuts by the federal government, particularly cuts to Status of Women Canada will have a direct impact on the work of the Advisory Council. The closure of the Nova Scotia - Status of Women Canada office and the elimination of the research program will undoubtedly increase work demands placed on Council. Women’s organizations in Nova Scotia who have actively been lobbying on issues such as poverty, precarious employment, family violence, sexual assault and access to quality child care
will no longer be eligible for federal grants. Expectations may be placed upon Council to fill the research and policy voids resulting from federal programs cuts.

LINK:Plan of Action (Business Plan) for 2007-2008

Thursday, March 22

Not a Budget for Women

Based upon FAFIA’s budget de-brief, the following info has been compiled. It has been organized into four categories:

  • Poverty Measures
  • Tax Breaks
  • Social Programs
  • Values.

    While we have tried to be comprehensive, we have not been able to cover everything. Analyses of changes to the equalization formula, the new Registered Disability Savings Plan, Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) or the announcement of $1.26 billion in infrastructure spending for unspecified Public-Private Partnerships are not yet included in this document.

    We welcome your comments, contributions and corrections.Please email FAFIA at or call us at 613-232-9505, x222.

    LINK: FAFIA - Not A Budget For Women

Wednesday, March 21

Budget 2007 - Bag of Tricks Animation

Check out the CUPE federal budget analysis--this animation highlights the "handouts" and what they really mean..........

NOTE: There is a longer analysis along with CUPE sector short pieces including child care, women, and social services.

Harper’s second budget is clearly targeted as an election-ready budget aimed at strengthening their foothold in the middle: middle-income, middle of the country, and middle of the political spectrum. This budget aims to turn the federal government into little more than a tax collection and cheque-clearing agency for anything outside what they see as area of “core federal responsibility”

Angry N.L. premier leads charge against Harper in equalization row

Short of threatening to take down the Canadian flag again at his legislature, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams continued to loudly lead the provincial charge against the new equalization formula in the federal budget, vowing to campaign against Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the next federal election.

Williams said he is asking a variety of groups, such as those involved in women's issues, aboriginal rights, student affairs and literacy to join him in campaigning against the Harper government.

LINK: Read more at NP

Monday, March 19

Tax cut budget out of step with Canadians' priorities

Today's federal budget may be a short-term attempt to buy votes but it fails to address the long-term priorities of most Canadians, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Two recent national polls one by Environics Research, the other by Strategic Counsel show overwhelming public support for government investment in social programs that benefit all Canadians and that tackle persistent poverty as well as income inequality "the other 'inconvenient truth' of our time.

"There are many things tax cuts just can't do. Tax cuts cannot create child care spaces, build affordable housing, or lower the cost of post-secondary education. Any government serious about helping working families would invest in these services."

The Centre is also critical of the budget promise to transfer almost$5 billion to the provinces over two years with no strings attached.

"Without strings attached, the provinces are free to spend the money on lawn mowers instead of guaranteeing they will tackle poverty and inequality head-on," says Bruce Campbell, executive director of the Centre.

"The Harper budget is about nation dismantling, not nation building. A transfer without any conditions or standards is an abdication of leadership.

Nation building is far more than being a tax collector for the provinces," concludes Campbell.

First Nations not Included in a "Stronger, Better" Canada

"Today's budget was supposed to contain something for all Canadians, but today, First Nations are beyond disappointment. We don't see any reason to believe that the government cares about the shameful conditions of First Nations. We have tried dialogue and tabled a rational plan to address it. The only thing missing is a commitment from the federal government.

LINK: Read More at Assembly of First Nations

Conservative budget doesn't make country fairer, safer or better

In spite of its claims, the latest Conservative budget is not going to make Canada better or safer, nor will itmake it fairer, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).

"The federal budget proposes to establish a $25-million office to foster public-private partnerships (P3s), when what Canadians need and deserve are quality public services that are publicly funded and delivered," says PSACNational President John Gordon.

The budget calls for $1.26 billion over 7 years in a national fund for unspecified public-private partnerships, as well as $2.1 billion for gateways and border crossings, including the new Windsor-Detroit access which is already earmarked as a P3 initiative.

LINK: Read more at the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). website

Budget message on child care: let parents eat cake

The federal budget is a slap in the face to the millions of Canadian families desperately seeking child care, says CodeBlue for Child Care.

"The Harper government is cutting $1.2 billion in federal funding forchild care and instead is handing over only $250 million to the provinces andterritories to create spaces," says Morna Ballantyne, Code Blue Coordinator."

The Conservatives have taken away any hope and opportunity for creating the system of early learning and child care that Canadians say they want."

LINK: Code Blue

Harper’s cut and run approach hurting families

It’s time for the Harper government to publicly face the truth – they’re hurting Canada’s families by failing to deliver on early learning and child care. Although they said child care was one of their top priorities in the last election, today’s budget confirms federal child care funding cuts of almost a billion dollars (80%). The announcement of a measly $250 million transfer to provinces and territories with no accountability framework shows that they do not have a plan for delivering the national child care program that Canadians want.

LINK: Read entire article at CCAAC website

The 2007 Bribe Everyone Budget

My Blahg writes: My initial reaction after glancing at the budget summary is that it looks like Canada’s New Harperment has decided to throw handfuls of pennies into the crowd.

Stay tuned, more to come.

LINK: Budget summary at CBC

Sunday, March 18

Monday March 19th - Host or Join a Budget Watch

Cartoon "borrowed" from

On Monday, March 19 2007 the federal budget will be presented in the House of Commons.

Parents, child care providers, advocates and supporters across the country will be watching and listening to see if the federal government has listened to their concerns about child care cuts.

What are we likely to see on March 19th? The federal government will likely cut almost $1 billion in funding for early learning and child care services and abdicate its responsibility for ensuring that an early learning and child care system is established across Canada.

What should we see in the federal budget? At least $1.2 billion in federal cash transfers to the provinces and territories with accountability measures that ensure that this money is spent in a way that gives families access to quality, regulated care.

All You Need to Host or Join a Budget Watch

We appreciate your efforts in letting the federal government know that the child care community is looking for action and commitment in this budget. Here are a couple quick reference fact sheets that include (in two pages total) everything you need to know to spread this message by hosting and joining a budget watch.

Facts and key messages on recent federal initiatives related to child care
A guide on how you and your group can help spread this message by hosting or joining a budget watch

For further background information,

See CCAAC’s submission to the federal government in response to their 2006 Economic and Fiscal Update which presents the government’s priorities including debt reduction and tax cuts but regrettably not child care services: Early Learning and Child Care Services for Canada: Building Advantage from the Foundation
Also, see the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ recently released Strength in Numbers: Alternative Federal Budget 2007, or the summary document: Alternative Federal Budget 2007: Budget in Brief.
See also the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) publication Women’s Equality and the Fiscal Imbalance, which describes how increased federal transfers to the provinces and territories represent a real opportunity for Canada to better comply with its human rights obligations to women, but only if governments agree to develop common standards and designate monies for programs and services on which women heavily rely.

March 30 - SWC Closures and Child Care

The members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) who spent International Women’s Day in Status of Women Minister Bev Oda’s constituency office say it was a day well spent. “We felt she needed to hear first hand how the Harper government is failing women.”

On Status of Women Closures

Minister Bev Oda announced cost-cutting measures last November that meant that 12 out of the 16 Status of Women regional offices would be slated for closure permanently on March 30, 2007.

The Status of Women Canada's regional presence will be limited to four “points of service”: Edmonton , Ottawa (at Headquarters), Montréal and Moncton.

Women's organizations, labour women and community activists will be organizing March protests on these closures of Status of Women Canada regional offices in the following cities:

Thunder Bay
St. John's

On Child Care:

Women have been struggling for decades to achieve universal, affordable, quality child care.

The minority Conservative government has abandoned its much-maligned plan to rely heavily on businesses to create 125,000 new child-care spaces over five years. The government's change of course will be outlined Monday in the federal budget.

Code Blue is stepping up its campaign leading up to the next federal election with the launch of a cross-country child care tour starting in mid-April.

LINK: Photo credit - PSAC Ontario
LINK: Two Minute Action on Closures
LINK: Two Minute Action on Child Care
LINK: "Put Equality Back On Track" March 2007 events

Friday, March 16

Women's groups to protest office closure at March 30 rally

Jan Lukas knows women have made great progress in their fight for equality.

As a young woman, she was forced to ask her father's permission to move into her own apartment and to get her own telephone line. When she got married, her credit cards reverted to her husband's name, a common practice at the time.

Some things have changed, but others remain the same. The latest figures from Statistics Canada reveal women earn just 71 cents for each dollar a man earns. Now recently retired, the Ancaster woman plans to protest the closure of Hamilton's Status of Women office. The office will close its doors forever on March 30.

"I believe in a society where everyone has a right to be whatever they wish to be and if I see wrongs, I work on committees to try to right them," Ms. Lukas said. "This is wrong, very wrong what this government is doing and women everywhere need to stand up and say enough is enough."

The Hamilton office is one of 12 being shut down across the country. The cost-cutting measure was announced last November by Conservative Status of Women Minister Bev Oda. Following the restructuring, a single office in the Ottawa capital region will service Ontario. Status of Women has also lost $5 million from its $23 million administrative budget. On March 8, Minister Oda announced the $5 million cut from administration will be redirected to provide direct services to women. Advocacy and research projects are no longer financed under the new funding formula.


DATE: Friday, March 30th, 2007
TIME: 10:30 am
WHERE: 55 Bay St. N. Hamilton (in front of the federal government building)

LINK: News Story at Ancaster News
LINK: Contact
LINK: Website - SACHA 905-525-4573

CUPW Scarborough and Toronto Sisters and Brothers at IWD

Harper's flip on child care shows government¹s policies a flop

Stephen Harper¹s flip flop on $250 million worth of business tax breaks for child care shows the Conservative government can¹t support its own ill-conceived child care policy.

"The idea that child care spaces will come from tax breaks has failed miserably in the past," said Morna Ballantyne, Coordinator for the Code Blue for Child Care campaign. "The Conservative government should have known this from the start," she added.

"The Conservatives also know the $1.2 billion cut in federal child care funding that takes effect April 1st is going to spell disaster for families across Canada. We need that cut reversed as well," said Ballantyne.

Code Blue is concerned that the $250 million originally earmarked for tax breaks will now be transferred to the provinces and territories with no requirements for accountability or commitment to sustained or expanded funding.

"Yes, transferring federal funds to the provinces makes sense because they¹re the ones delivering child care programs, " Ballantyne said. "But the federal government must ensure these federal tax dollars are spent in a way that gives families access to quality, regulated care. We¹ve seen transfers used for anything but child care in the past."

Ballantyne noted that this flip flop on child care fits what is becoming a Harper government style: ill-conceived policy directions that need to be reversed when it becomes clear that the direction is wrong-headed.

Code Blue is stepping up its campaign leading up to the next federal election with the launch of a cross-country child care tour starting in mid-April.

"Parents are filing their tax returns at this very moment and having to repay a good chunk of the so-called child care allowance. They know that the Harper government has done nothing on child care since being elected, making it harder for families to find affordable, quality care," said Ballantyne.

Parents have expressed a lot of anger and frustration at the Harper government¹s inaction on child care, Ballantyne added. "We¹re going to channel those feelings into a significant force."

Code Blue is a Canada-wide campaign to build a real pan-Canadian child care system. The campaign brings together parents, national, provincial and territorial child care organizations, labour, women's and social justice groups along with Canadians from all walks of life.

For more information:
Morna Ballantyne, Code Blue Coordinator, 613-791-3411
LINK: Code Blue For Child Care

Tories expected to flip-flop on child-care spaces

The minority Conservative government has abandoned its much-maligned plan to rely heavily on businesses to create 125,000 new child-care spaces over five years.

It has decided instead to channel directly to provincial and territorial governments the $250-million a year it had originally earmarked for tax incentives and grants to businesses and other private organizations, CanWest News Service has learned.

The government's change of course will be outlined Monday in the federal budget.

The child-care money, which will be divvied up among the provinces and territories on a per capita formula, will start flowing on April 1.

The government has been under the gun to produce details of its plan for creating child-care spaces since Stephen Harper announced on the day he was sworn in as prime minister last year that he would not honour the former Liberal government's child-care agreements with the provinces and territories beyond March 31 of this year.

The move meant the five-year agreements signed with the Paul Martin government, worth $5-billion, were cancelled after just two years, leaving the provinces and territories with $3.5-billion less than they had been banking on.

The Conservative party, which made "choice in child care" a core campaign slogan, had a different approach.

It promised during the election campaign to provide tax credits of up to $10,000 to employers or organizations for each child-care space created. It said the program would cost $250-million a year, or $1.2-billion over five years.

The bigger ticket for the Conservatives has been its Universal Child Care Credit, a taxable $100 a month for each child under the age of six. It started going to parents last July, and has cost an estimated $1.6-billion so far. It is expected to cost $2.1-billion in the fiscal year beginning April 1.

Don Geisbrecht, president of the Canadian Child Care Federation, said many parents, now in the midst of filing tax returns, are belatedly realizing the $100 is a taxable benefit.

"To a lot of families this is coming as a shock," Mr. Geisbrecht said in an interview. "They are also coming to another realization. They've realized this ($100 a month) isn't choice in child care."

Provincial ministers said they pressed Human Resources Minister Monte Solberg to recognize businesses are not interested in creating child-care spaces and the provinces are in a better position to put the money to effective use.

Deb Higgins, minister of learning in Saskatchewan, said her message to Solberg was: "Look, we've got the plans in place. We know what we are doing.
This is provincial jurisdiction. And we need some support."

She also said she warned him growing labour shortages are upping the pressure on women to fill the gaps, something, she added, they can't do unless they can find quality child care. "History has told us businesses are not going to step up to the plate on child care," said Mr. Geisbrecht.

Business representatives have said privately the pressure on them to go along with the Conservative child-care initiative has dissipated completely in the last few months.

Also, a briefing book prepared by bureaucrats for Diane Finley, who preceded Mr. Solberg in the human resources portfolio, warned against relying on tax breaks to lure businesses into the program.

Still, the Harper government may try to save some face on the child-care issue by earmarking funds in the budget for tax credits and grants to businesses and other organizations that create new spaces. Provincial ministers said they have been heartened by what they saw as Mr. Solberg's willingness to apply "fresh eyes" to the Conservative child-care policy after he was named to the job in January.

They said they told him if Ottawa was unprepared to restore the "robust" funding promised by the Liberals, the least it could do was divide the $250-million among them.

They said the money will allow them to sustain the child-care systems they now have, and possibly allow some expansion in specific areas.

Ontario expects to get about $90 million under that plan.

Saskatchewan puts its share at between $5- to $7-million, and Manitoba said it could collect up to $9-million.

"The federal government has changed its position on income trusts and the environment," said Gord MacIntosh, minister of children and family services in Manitoba.

"Surely, it can do likewise for the sake of letting people go to work and enhance the Canadian economy. Child care is about the well-being of children."

LINK: Vancouver Sun - Cut-and-duck Tories wasted a year
LINK: CBC - Tories ignoring working families' needs
LINK: Pass me the beer and popcorn, baby!
LINK: Tories abandon child-care plan