Sunday, October 08, 2006

Canadian Women's Lobbies In Jeopardy

I was going to post this a few days ago - Hilaire recently made an excellent, succinct observation to me: "What kind of government cuts almost 40% of funding for women's issues?" - one that needs to go...

New Federal Guidelines Bar Advocacy and Lobbying
by Women’s Groups

October 4, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa: At a meeting yesterday with women’s groups, Beverley Oda, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women (SWC), informed representatives that new federal guidelines for funding will prohibit them from engaging in any advocacy or lobbying activities with federal funds. Women were also told that the federal government has no intention of reversing a 5 million dollar cut to the department’s budget, despite wide-spread pressure to do so.

“The Minister’s narrowing of the rules severely limits our ability to advocate for systemic change when it comes to justice, legal and other matters of concern to women in Canada,” said Alia Hogben, Executive Director of the Canadian Council of the Muslim Women.

“The prohibition on advocacy or lobbying with federal dollars is undemocratic – and punitive to those with the least resources,” added Edeltraud Neal of the Canadian Federation of University Women- Ottawa.

Last week, the government announced a 38.5% cut to Status of Women Canada’s budget, signaling what women’s groups regard as an effort to undermine some longstanding women’s equality initiatives. “In the absence of a critical mass of women in either Parliament or the Cabinet, advocacy by women’s groups has been a hallmark of Canada’s democracy,” said Neal.

Women’s organizations have received federal funds over the years to analyze government policies, develop proposals that reflect the needs of women in their communities, and advocate for change.

“It is clear to us that this government is out of touch with the realities of ordinary women in Québec and Canada. Minister Oda does not appear to fully understand that systemic discrimination for women still persists, as documented by a widely respected Statistics Canada report in March 2006,” remarked Michèle Asselin, President of la Fédération des femmes du Québec, the largest women’s organization in Québec.

In response, women’s organizations have immediately requested a meeting with Prime Minister Harper. In a written statement to FAFIA during the last federal election, the Prime Minister committed to “support women's human rights” and “take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women in Canada.”

“Recent actions of the federal government are not consistent with this commitment,” said Bonnie Diamond of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA). “We would like Mr. Harper to be accountable to women.”

Yesterday’s meeting with the Minister included representatives from the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Canadian Federation of University Women, Canadian Research Institute of the Advancement of Women, FAFIA, Fédération des femmes du Québec, National Association of Women and the Law, National Council of Women, and the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women.

For further information, contact 613-232-9505, x222 or 613-292-7941 (cell).

1 Comments:

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Hilaire said...

Goofdfor you for posting this. I have been planning one, too. About the redefinition of the mandate of status of women canada so that it doesn't include canada anymore. Something very sinister is afoot here.

 

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