31.8.06

kudos NB telegraph journal...

... for printing a fabulous commentary by ginette petitpas-taylor of the new brunswick advisory council on the status of women, excerpted as follows:

A rose grower who lived on the route of the 1995 Qu├ębec women's march against poverty was so inspired that he brought 10,000 roses to the crowd. Was he being leftist or anti-family?

When New Brunswickers rally in support of groups such as the New Brunswick Coalition of Transition Houses and Saint John's Urban Core Support Network, are they all by definition - gasp - radical feminists?

Some people have time and inclination to debate these points. Others don't, and just get on with the work of improving their community and working for greater fairness and opportunities.

Some are trying hard to create the illusion that there is a bandwagon calling for an end to funding of equality-seeking groups and of government sections such as Status of Women Canada. Others know that "equality-seeking groups" is a term that "people from away" use for the groups that work in our communities to end violence, get people out of poverty or ensure there is quality child care.

Lately, whenever I've come across arguments, such as by conservative columnists, for the abolition of government support for equality-seeking groups, two things have come to mind.

One is, What support? Women's groups in New Brunswick work with little government assistance, with at most occasional project funding. Any financial assistance they have received from Status of Women Canada has been good for New Brunswick communities.

The other thought is, When did it become a liberal - with a capital or a small 'l' - or left-wing thing to support reducing poverty, violence and discrimination?

Canadians are fair-minded people, but mostly they are practical - few of us have the time or inclination for American-style name-calling and false divisions of right and left.

An Ottawa-based group called Realistic, Equal, Active and For Life [REAL], is asking its supporters to send letters urging the federal government to abolish its Status of Women Canada and end the funding for the Court Challenges Program, the Federal Law Commission and others.

[REAL] are now concerned that their campaign has recently been met "by a massive counter offensive with letters pouring in to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet and individual MPs from across the country expressing concerns about the disbandment of the Status of Women."

At this point, only the federal government can put an end to this silliness by stating that Canada stands for more, not less, equality and diversity.

There are an enraged few misrepresenting the position of what they insist on calling their "opponents" and then pretending to refute it. They pretend Status of Women Canada wastes millions on ideology-based groups, whatever that is.

Tell that to the many groups dividing up the $300,000 that Status of Women Canada spends in New Brunswick - or better yet, please don't bother them. They're busy working on dating violence prevention, on supporting women moving from income assistance to employment, on improving the value we give to traditional female work.

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