So women's groups are protesting that the Tories will change abortion laws. I believe Stephen Harper when he says he won't. I am not altogether happy with that, As all of you know I am pro life just like some in the Tory caucus and some in the Liberal caucus like Szabo, McTeague and several others.
I am pro life and even I don't want to outlaw abortion. I want to discourage it as much as possible.
this includes all kinds of falsehoods and inaccuracies. By the logic of these people, the grits will ban abortion. They have a a group of pro life MPs that defeated Ignatieff on this issue. Planned Parenthood says its funding is stable. And it was the New brunswick government that initially appealed the rulng about abortions in that province.
The grits did cut funding in 1995 to planned parenthood. Their fearmongering about abortion is pretty hollow. That describes the party these days. Pretty hollow.
How federal budget cuts are hitting women
The Hamilton Spectator
Tue Apr 4 1995
Byline: By APRIL LINDGREN
Source: FROM THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
Critics of the government are being unfair when they say the Liberals have abandoned women's concerns in their zeal to cut the deficit, an exasperated Sheila Finestone says.
"There are certain realities that they are not willing to address and it's just not fair," the secretary of state for Status of Women Canada said.
"Don't tell me that we have not demonstrated a deep commitment to a variety of concerns of women. What more do they want in an era of very difficult change for an entire society?"
Ms Finestone says the government's response to women's concerns includes reinstating the program to fund Charter of Rights challenges, the introduction of employment equity legislation, partial settlement of pay equity claims in the public service, revisions to the criminal code (including limits to the use of the drunkenness defence) and the introduction of a national prenatal program.
But many feminist activists and researchers say this record must be weighed against setbacks for women as a result of the federal budget. For instance:
Advisory council gone
Funding for the 22-year-old Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women ended Friday. The council funded some of the original research that put violence against women on the national agenda. More recently it commissioned analyses of how proposed social program reforms will affect women.
The council spent about $500,000 of its $3.2 million budget on research and Ms Finestone says Status of Women Canada will continue to fund research at about the same level. She also insists there will be no political meddling in what research is undertaken and publicized. (The council had an arm's length relationship with government that limited the minister's influence over its research and conference agenda.)
Not everyone, however, takes comfort from such assurances: "It's clearly ridiculous to have the government tracking its own record," observes Sunera Thobani of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.
Violence funding gone
The budget made no provision to continue funding the four-year-old, $136 million Family Violence Initiative which also wound up Friday. Frantic meetings are under way to determine if any new money is available to keep programs alive. At stake is direct funding for many women's shelters, community education programs and a national clearing house to distribute information on family violence.
Planned Parenthood cut
Canada has cancelled its $8.3 million contribution to the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Just six months ago, the government stood up at an international conference in Cairo and expounded on the need for safe, affordable birth control for women in developing countries.
"I find this absolutely astounding," says Bonnie Johnson, the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada. "Canada spent hundreds of thousands of dollars sending delegates to the International Conference on Population and Development and now they are doing exactly the opposite to what they were talking about."
Human rights investigators cut
Spending cuts at the Canadian Human Rights Commission mean that the commission's six regional offices will no longer investigate complaints. Critics say the elimination of the 40 regional investigators' positions will make it more difficult for women to have sex-discrimination complaints dealt with. In the future, all complaints will be handled through a toll-free line to Ottawa.
"Fewer complaints will be followed through and fewer people will complain. They will put up with discrimination for longer," predicts Pat Armstrong, the director of the school of Canadian Studies at Carleton University.
Sex discrimination cases made up 27 per cent of all complaints to the commission between 1991 and 1994. Almost all 373 of those complaints came from women. They ranged from sexual harassment cases to concerns about workplace discrimination because of pregnancy or gender.
Child care forgotten
The Liberal election promise to create 150,000 new child care spaces gets more unlikely with each passing year. Ms Finestone says the money promised for child care subsidies in last year's budget is still available. But it was not mentioned this year. And the cuts to federal transfer payments increase the odds against the provinces coming up with matching funds -- a condition of the federal contribution.
"Obviously this affects women, because without affordable quality child care women just can't access jobs," says Jocelyne Tougas of the Ottawa-based Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada. In Canada only 15 per cent of the three million children requiring full-time child care have access to licenced, regulated day care. This is much lower than among European Union members where 70 per cent of all children aged three to five years have access to public child care facilities. The comparable figure for Britain, for instance, is 44 per cent, and for Belgium it is 95 per cent.
Plans to reduce unemployment insurance benefits and make it tougher to qualify will further discourage the thousands of single mothers on social assistance from venturing into the workforce, says Havi Echenberg, an Ottawa consultant on social and fiscal policy.
"The whole point of being in the workforce is to improve your financial status." says Ms Echenberg. But if the job is badly paid and insecure and the availability of UI benefits in doubt, then women will think twice about walking away from the relative security of welfare -- especially if they are also faced with inadequate child care arrangements.
Public service layoffs
Financial incentives designed to encourage 45,000 public servants to leave the federal government are likely to be less lucrative for women than for men. This is because pensions and buyout packages are based on years of service and salary levels. Yet women, who will be under equal pressure to leave government, generally have fewer years in the workforce because many take time off for children. And they tend to occupy the lower paid jobs.
The new urgency in government to commercialize and privatize public services and agencies will reduce the quality jobs available to women. Research shows for instance, that 72 per cent of public sector workers have paid maternity leave in their collective agreements, compared to 11 per cent in the private sector; 43 per cent of pubic sector workers are covered for family illness leave, compared to seven per cent of private sector workers; and 56 per cent of public sector employees are protected by sexual harassment provisions compared to 20 per cent in the private sector.
Johanne Labine, the women's program officer with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says the union is also concerned that women will disproportionately lose their public service jobs as cutbacks go into effect. The introduction of new technologies and the definition of merit among the male-dominated management group are the reasons for this concern, Ms Labine said.
Some Liberal cuts
* Funding for the 22-year-old Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women has ended.
* The four-year-old, $136 million Family Violence Initiative wound up last week. Frantic meetings are under way to determine if any new money is available. At stake is direct funding for many women's shelters.
* Canada has cancelled its $8.3 million contribution to the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
* Spending cuts at the Canadian Human Rights Commission eliminated the 40 regional investigators' positions, making it more difficult for women to have sex-discrimination complaints dealt with.
* The Liberal promise to create 150,000 new child care spaces gets more unlikely with each passing year.
© 1995 Torstar Corporation
• National Action Committee head Sunera Thobani, Liberal minister Sheila Finestone