Thursday, March 8

Harper Should be Ashamed on International Women's Day

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his regressive government have set back women's equality in Canada by 30 years, Liberal Critic on the Status of Women Maria Minna said on International Women's Day.

"What is particularly ironic is that the theme for this year's International Women's Day is 'Ending Violence Against Women.' You can't get real results in addressing violence against women if the Harper government is not willing to tackle the factors that perpetuate violence against women - that is, equality," said Ms. Minna, MP for Beaches-East York.

Ms. Minna said Canadian women are not going to be fooled by the government's announcement yesterday of $5 million for Status of Women Canada (SWC). "Taking money that they have already cut, putting it back in and labelling it as 'new' money is the most obvious ploy yet by this government. They needed something to announce on International Women's Day, and it just happens to conveniently fall before a possible election," she said.

"The reality is that SWC is no further ahead, which means women are no further ahead. And we cannot allow Canadians to forget that this is the government who deliberately removed the word 'equality' from SWC's mandate. "Canada has an international commitment to adhere to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Instead of pushing women's issues forward, as per his written campaign promise of 2006, Prime Minister Harper is silencing women and pushing back women's equality by 30 years," said Ms. Minna.

Women's groups have been calling on the Harper government to address women's inequality by addressing poverty; improving access to legal aid; increasing funding for affordable housing; respecting early learning and child care agreements made with the provinces by the previous Liberal government; introducing pay equity legislation as committed by the Liberal government; and re-instating the original mandate of the Women's Program, the funding arm for SWC.

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