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Minister’s “flat earth” statements reflect prehistoric view of working women

OTTAWA –Social Development Minister Diane Finley’s comments yesterday signal a mindset that reflects “a prehistoric view of working women,” said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The minister’s statements reflect a view that child care is a social evil that lures parents back to work when they should be staying at home to raise their children,” Moist said. “This is akin to people saying the earth is flat. The fact is working men and women need high quality, affordable and accessible child care, delivered by trained staff, so they can build their families’ future.”

In announcing the cancellation of child care agreements with the provinces, Finley is cutting off the life line that provinces need if they are to deliver quality child care spaces to Canadian families.

She has said that canceling the federal child care agreements does not prevent provinces from going ahead with their own programs,” Moist added. “Well, if you talk to the premiers of Ontario, Manitoba or any other province, you’ll hear that they are strongly critical of this move.”

Moist said he supports the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada’s (CCAAC) plan to fight the Conservative minority government’s decision to nix the expansion of child care and will attend the vigil being planned outside 24 Sussex Drive this evening.

I think it’s important to note that CUPE is Canada’s largest union and we are mobilizing all of our members to defend child care. Affordable accessible child care is especially important for our women members who, like most women, continue to be primarily responsible for the care of their children.”

This weekend, Moist will be attending the first meeting of CUPE’s national task force on women. It was set up in January to examine and recommend ways to meet the challenges women workers face in workplaces across the country.

Working women know that quality child care makes the biggest difference in their working lives,” he added. “Minister Finley’s archaic view of the world is an insult to working women across the country.

We have to be vigilant, and that’s why I’ll be at the vigil outside Sussex Drive tonight. I’m hoping that some of the provincial premiers will stop by, too, to hear firsthand what parents and children are saying about the Tory agenda.”

CUPE is Canada’s largest union, with 540,000 members providing public services in communities across the country, including health care, child care, municipal services and more.

Contact: Paul Moist, National President, (613) 558 2873; Claude Genereux, National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), (514) 884 5074; Barry Doyle, CUPE Communications, (613) 294-9424, bdoyle@cupe.ca