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Since coming to power the federal Conservatives have inflicted numerous insidious funding cuts to advocacy groups for women’s rights. Between 2007 and 2011, the Harper government reduced or completely cut funding to 35 women’s groups.

As a measure of support for women’s groups CUPE committed financial support to five of these organizations so that they can continue their work: the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL), the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights, and the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC).

For years, the Harper government has attacked groups that do not share its vision of the world,in particular, women’s groups and, more recently, environmental groups. Matters have gone from bad to worse since the Conservative majority was elected. This behaviour constitutes an attack on democracy, on the essential role of freedom of speech in civil society, and on the very principle of equality.

Several advances that we had assumed were established are now under attack by the right in general and the Harper government in particular. CUPE has an important role to play now more than ever in ensuring women’s equality remains a priority on the political agenda.