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On January 18th 2006, Stephen Harper stated: “I agree that Canada has more to do to meet its international obligations to women’s equality. If elected, I will take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women in Canada.”

He even signed it.

It is a year later, and Harper shows no sign of keeping his promise.  His Conservative government has cut the budget of Status of Women Canada by 43 per cent, closed twelve of the sixteen SWC offices, and terminated funding to women’s advocacy groups.

To mark the first anniversary of this broken promise, BC women held an information picket in front of the Vancouver SWC office, which is slated to close.  An occupation of the office began after the picket, with the women demanding a meeting with Bev Oda, the Minister responsible for the Status Of Women.

Late last night, Minister Oda agreed to have a teleconference with the women this afternoon at 3:30pm (Pacific Time).  A press conference will be held following the teleconference.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees wholeheartedly supports and appreciates the work done by these activists.   We hope that Minister Oda uses the teleconference as an opportunity to learn how to better serve her constituents.