Ottawa – The Harper Conservatives commitment to governing all Canadians – irrespective of gender – is questionable at best.
“For women in Canada the sting of the Federal government abandoning its commitment to equality is razor sharp. It is not only about abandoning funding to the Status of Women program, it is about the utter lack of commitment to the principal of equality,” said Paul Moist, president of Canada’s largest union the Canadian Union of Public Employees. CUPE represents over half a million Canadians - that is 1 in 60 working Canadians is a member of CUPE.
The federal government is enjoying a robust surplus of $7.3 billion. “The move to cancel federal support to equality initiatives by our Prime Minister will set women’s equality work back by a generation. It is a stunning decision that must be reversed,” Moist added.
Highly productive and competitive countries invest significantly in early childhood education and care, with public spending equivalent to between 1% and 2% of GDP. Canada is at the bottom of the list, only investing about 0.25%.
“Not surprisingly the $100.00 monthly payment the Conservatives used to replace the previous government’s proposed program made things worse, not better. One hundred dollars per month does not even begin to cover the costs of childcare. The code blue childcare-working group has reported that under the Harper government not one new childcare spot has been created,” Moist added.
Canadians want the federal government to invest in a real national childcare program, respecting the principles of quality, universality, affordability with delivery by not-for-profit providers. “Childcare enables parents to study, work and contribute to society at a time when Canada is facing a labour shortage in some areas,” said Moist.
“On the eve of International Women’s Day we gather to celebrate many of the struggles and victories of the women’s movement. At the same time, the need to organize to effect political change is ever present. We mourn how the Harper Conservatives have thrown more roadblocks to achieving true equality than any other minority government in history. We also know that the resilience of our mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, co-workers, grandmothers, mentors and women leaders will continue to grow. Together, we will not give up,” concluded Moist.
Contact: Paul Moist, CUPE national president, 613-2370-1590 ext. 224 or 613-558-2873 (cell); Catherine Louli, CUPE communications, 613-237-1590 ext. 268 or 613-851-0547 (cell)