more mat leave for me - hooray!

harper’s gift to self-employed women of extended parental leave shows he cares. we apparently shouldn’t have to “choose between starting a family and starting a business” - aww.

from the sanctimonious tone of the announcement, you’d think harper has decided to bestow onto self-employeds all the benefits afforded other working moms … at least the ones fortunate enough to work in settings where a full-time/secure status gets them access to health plans, dental benefits, sick leave, paid vacation, A Pension, even THE WEEKEND.

the media has hyped the announcement as an election gimmick, and they sure got it right.

um, thanks, harper, for taking notice of the one million or so women you want to lure with this extended mat leave idea. those of us still on the fence about you will now surely belly up to your kool-aid. gosh, you really ‘get’ us!

puh-leez. throwing this bone to the small constituency of women who could benefit from the proposal after having mocked/decimated/overlooked so many policies that would advance women’s equality is akin to tossing out a couple of life preservers while denying the ship is even sinking. if canadian voters are so gullible as to think this makes you progressive or clued-up, then we surely deserve you as our PM.

anyone in touch with the realities facing women in canada - self-employed or otherwise - would rather harper (or any federal leader) put his suddenly-gender-inequality-addressing money where his mouth is by:

  • putting ‘equality’ back into status of women canada and augmenting funding to equality-seeking groups
  • incentivizing health plan providers to serve the increasingly non-traditional workforce of which a majority are women, including self-employeds, consultants, freelancers
  • conceding that fewer than 20% of children in canada have access to a regulated childcare space and heeding the calls for a universal childcare system
  • including self-employment within areas covered by the EI program - you seem to know that one in 10 employed women is now self-employed, so why allow 10% of employed women to be automatically excluded from EI?
  • increasing the amounts and categories of what we self-employeds can write off as business-related expenses, including more related to parenthood

harper seems incapable of recognizing - let alone comprehending - matters related to work/life/familiy balance that women of all sorts of employment status in canada face. maternity leave is but one modest piece of a far more nuanced, complex puzzle than harper could ever handle.


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