Not gonna mince words here: if it wasn’t clear before, it should now be plain as day: the Conservative gov’t has, in essence, declared war on the public sector—especially programs that benefit Canadian women—full fucking stop.
Godammitkitty (who has a PLETHORA of pertinent links and info – go!go!go!) and Alison @ Creekside have lots more on the latest surgical strike against ‘advocacy’; via F-email Fightback, Ginette Pettipas-Taylor asseses the collateral damage.
Update: also via F-email Fightback:
Amnesty International Canada expresses concern about the closure of the National Association of Women and the Law in the face of government funding restrictions
September 20, 2007
Canada has been a leader in creating critical international standards and institutions for the protection of women’s human rights. However, Canada has failed fully to implement those standards at home. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women has cited Canada for not implementing its obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The sad consequence is that Canada is failing adequately to protect the human rights of women in this country. Government programs and policies for the protection of women’s human rights have been fragmented and shortsighted. Last year’s significant decrease in the budget of Status of Women Canada and the imposition of restrictions on the activities of organizations that receive funding from Status of Women combined to drastically curtail the work of a range of local and national organizations dedicated to defending the human rights of women and challenging existing barriers to the full realization of those rights. When it becomes more difficult to defend rights and challenge barriers, the risk of violence and discrimination inevitably increases.
The fact that the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) has been made to close in the face of funding cuts is a stark illustration of what is at stake. NAWL has played a critical role in demanding domestic compliance with the international human rights standards that Canada helped to create. NAWL has provided important support to women and women human rights groups, to address and change the systemic causes of violence and discrimination.
NAWL and other women’s human rights advocacy groups play an essential role in challenging the gaps and failings of government policies, both federally and provincially, and proposing recommendations for reform. NAWL will be missed. Without that expertise and attention, Canada fails women in this country.
Update 09.24: via rabble – CLC/CTC statement on the closure of NAWL:
Women’s Equality moves to the back of the shop – Closure of NAWL leads to renewed call from labour for government to restore Status of Women mandate and funding
September 20, 2007
OTTAWA – The Canadian Labour Congress renewed its call today for the federal government to reverse budget cuts that have devastated progressive women’s groups across the country and immediately reinstate the equality mandate for Status of Women Canada.
The call followed the announcement that the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) was shutting down its offices and laying off its staff in the wake of government funding cuts.
“The National Association of Women and the Law has a proven track record of getting results for women through careful research and principled calls for change when that research pointed toward a better deal for women in Canadian society,” said Barbara Byers, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress.
Byers says the closure of NAWL’s offices and its relegation to a back room with volunteer resources is a sad development that diminishes an important voice in Canadian society.
Women’s organizations, like NAWL, have played an important role in demonstrating why federal and provincial government should consider changing laws, policies and practices that discriminate against women. Through their dedicated work, reforms such as the inclusion of maternity benefits under Employment Insurance, amendments to human rights laws to prohibit sexual harassment and discrimination based on pregnancy and sexual orientation, the criminalization of wife assault and many others became a reality.
“Governments who placed a high priority on women’s equality and the elimination of discrimination recognized the value of what organizations like NAWL had to offer. Constructive criticism is a fundamental part of parliamentary democracy, which is why groups like NAWL found financial support through Status of Women Canada. The removal of that support, abruptly and without consultation by the new government has sent a chill through civil society, and silenced another voice for equality,” said Byers.
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils. Web site: http://www.canadianlabour.ca
Contact: Jeff Atkinson, 613-526-7425 and 613-863-1413
Also, Godammitkitty points to this bitterly bang on post by April Reign:
The highjacking of our government by special interest groups intent on forcing their narrow minded, narrow viewed, religious and idealogical doctrines upon the country as whole is a travesty that must be opposed.
We have only to look south of the border to see the havoc wrecked upon a society catering to the lowest common denominator.
This lengthy 2006 Walus article provides some examples of the feast currently being gluttonously enjoyed by our homegrown lowest common denominator, supping at the Tory policy table while the rest of us are left to scramble for the meager crumbs that drop on the floor.
Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers