Friday, September 21, 2007

Harper and women: What would Mulroney say?

Much has been written about the record of the Harper Conservatives on women's issues, from the Status of Women cuts all the way to a cabinet shuffle that lowered the clout of women in Harper's inner circle. The latest developments have been covered by Impolitical, Unrepentant Old Hippie and Garth Turner.

On a related note, I'm reading Brian Mulroney's 50 pound autobiography at the moment. Look for a review some time around 2010, because this thing is crazy long. But I bring it up because, in light of current events, I found this passage from the guy Conservatives are now rallying behind to be interesting:

On election night in 1984, I made the following pledge to the women of Canada: “From now on, the advancement of women's rights will be one of the major concerns of the Government of Canada. Injustices that women have suffered – belatedly recognized as such by many of us – will no longer be tolerated in this country, and our government will attempt to remedy the most glaring of problems and will vigorously address the difficulties that remain.”

I spent the next nine years delivering on that pledge, by appointing more female ministers, deputy ministers, senators, and judges than any other prime minister up to that time. I also initiated anti-stalking legislation, and implemented many other measures to support women.
I guess Mulroney must have fixed everything, given the record of Harper's government on these issues. Indeed, based on their actions it would seem Canada's New Government believes Mulroney went too far on women's issues, and they need to dial it back a bit.

It's yet another reminder of why the Conservatives dropped the Progressive moniker. Must be one of the few times the Harper Cons decided for truth in advertising.

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13 comments:

rabbit said...

Whether intentionally or not, Harper did The Status of Women committee a favour. They're better off finding their own funding, cause...

1. A concerted fund raising should be able to raise at least their current budget. $100 from every 100'th women in Canada would do it.

2. There's an opportunity to raise much more than their current budget. If organizations like GreenPeace and PETA depended on governement handouts, no one would ever have heard of them.

3. It would leave Status of Women independent and not beholding to any government or political party.

4. It would force Status of Women to make sure that their policies have reasonably broad appeal. There is a danger with a group funded solely by government that it becomes controlled by a small cadre of radicals whose policies have little support with Canadian women as a whole. This would prevent that.

5. A self-funded group would get a lot more respect from the Canadian public.

6. If Status of Women are incapable of raising money, perhaps they have no popular support for what they do, and so perhaps should disappear.

burlivespipe said...

Harper's stone-age thinking transcends the CON meme on women's rights. By cutting funding, even removing the word 'equality' sends out a loud-and-clear message that those around him perspirate. Must reveal something about his home life, you know, the wife who wouldn't take his name until he had a big title or something... Wait, is it still Laureen Teskey, or is that her maiden name?

The Right is Where its At said...

Jeff if you don't mind me saying this why is it the left wants a Nanny State.

What I mean about this is if NAWL womens organization and others
why don't they just simply get off their butts and organize a fund raiser instead of waiting for handouts from the government?

We have many different
organizations out there
who don't get $$$ from governments and work fine.

Let me just give you an example: animals right groups out there I don't think they get $$$ from our government
they seem to be doing fine.

I have no problems for these womens groups to
exist. If people want them to exist they would then donate.

There is all kinds of foundations out there
that don't get any government grant.

Please respond anyone!!
Thank you.

Andrew Smith said...

When Mulrouney was PM, it was a different era. Now, over 20 years after Mulrouney was first elected, feminists have achieved much of what they fought for back then. For example, nobody today would suggest that a woman get paid less than a man for the same job. I would say that gender equality is now an entrenched value in Canada, and I don't see that ever changing.

Now we have to ask, if we already have gender equality, what's the purpose of funding organizations to promote it, its a waste of money!

Plus if you really believe in equality, the government should waste even more money to fund a status of men committee to look at men's issues!

Kingston said...

Actually and I stand to be jumped on on this, but from what I read on the reasons for the project being cut back was it had been totally taken over by special interests and it administrative costs were consuming the largest portion of its budget, what the CPC did was basically cut the administrative side and left the grant side intact to try and make it meaner and leaner

Alison said...

"When Mulrouney was PM, it was a different era. Now, over 20 years after Mulrouney was first elected, feminists have achieved much of what they fought for back then. For example, nobody today would suggest that a woman get paid less than a man for the same job."

No one needs to suggest it - for it to be a problem it is only necessary for it to be true.
A woman working full-time at a job now makes 73 cents compared to the dollar that a man makes working full-time in the same job; this is a problem that has not improved since the Mulroney era.
NAWL's role has been to demand domestic compliance in Canada with the international human rights standards that Canada helped to create in the first place.
As it has been an uphill battle for women just to maintain what they had 20 years ago, I would suggest that Canada is failing to adequately protect the human rights of women in this country. The closure of NAWL signals that we are now going backwards.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Rabbit,

A concerted fund raising should be able to raise at least their current budget.

SOWC is a government agency. Other government agencies include the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canada Revenue Agency and the Canada Food Inspection Agency, to name but a few. Would you suggest we should cut funding to the border services agency, and have them hold fund raisers instead?

the right,
Jeff if you don't mind me saying this why is it the left wants a Nanny State.

The left, and Brian Mulroney too it would seem.

When Mulrouney was PM, it was a different era.

I know for us younger folks 1984 seems like ancient history, but it really wasn't. And, as alison points out, the stats show there is still work to be done.

The Right is Where its At said...

Nice try Jeff but you
haven't answered my
question which is:

"Why is it the left wants a Nanny State?"

Please my post of 3:33 pm.

900 ft Jesus said...

rabbit -
1. in that case, give us back our tax money and let us decide what we want to fund. My taxes support organizations and programs I don't agree with and have no use for, but I accept that our system works that way. We vote for a government, they set policies and programs hopefully based on voters' will, all of us end up liking something, but we will never like all of it.

2. we should not have to start taking over funding of programs orginally funded by gov. We pay axes, and if we set a trend in that direction, it's just double taxing. GreenPeace and PETA started on their own. Elected members representing the public had nothing to do with them.

3. there is nothing wrong with agencies funded by gov. to be accountable. If tax money is used for funding, that's how it should be.

4. accountability through reports takes care of that. Elected ministers run the show and can prevent any single interest group from taking over. SWC is (or was) for women's equality. Some people may view that as radical, but that as their mandate. See how easily it was changed under Oda?

5. Really? I doubt that. Respect is not based on how much money people are willing to invest, but based on what is accomplished - in this case - pay equity, reduced spousal abuse, employment equity, etc. If the KKK funds itself (which it does), it will not gain more respect or validity from the public.

6. what about Defence? Should we then ask our soldiers to go out and beg for money to prove they have support? That's ridiculous. And no, it isn't different. As I said, we pay taxes - some go to programs some of us like, some of it goes to what other people like.

SWC is not an anti-anything organization. I was meant to forward equal rights and ensure these rihts are protected in a changing world. With so any immigrants coming from places that have no concept of equality, SWC is still very relevant. That's just one example.

Gayle said...

The government of Canada has a responsibility to its citizens to ensure we are all treated equally. Hence the creation of SOW, and other such organizations.

This is not about whether people want their tax dollars used in this fashion. It is about a government living up to its responsibility to ALL its citizens.

In case you did not notice, women still are largely valued by their looks. In order for a woman to be taken seriously, she generally has to be attractive as well as smart (how many ugly fat women has Harper promoted again?).

Women are still being assaulted, raped and killed by men, simply because they are women.

"I would say that gender equality is now an entrenched value in Canada, and I don't see that ever changing."

I agree in theory, but in practice there is much to be done. The first is to recognize sexist attitudes still exist.

900 ft Jesus said...

well said, gayle

Andrew Smith said...

(how many ugly fat women has Harper promoted again?).

Have a look yourself. I don't know about you, but I don't find Bev Oda, Diane Finley or certainly not Marjorie LeBreton attractive. But I'm sure they are very good at their jobs and make the same amount of money as their male counterparts.

Also if you truely believe in equality don't you think that people should get jobs based on merit and ability, not gender (i.e. chauvanism or QUOTAS!!!)

Gayle said...

"if you truely believe in equality don't you think that people should get jobs based on merit and ability, not gender (i.e. chauvanism or QUOTAS!!!)"

When did I say otherwise?

There is this mythology that women who get powerful or high profile positions only get them because they are women, and not because of merit. For some reason, most of the people who complain about your so-called "quotas" do not complain about MEN getting these jobs. For some reason, it is OK for men to get jobs because they are part of the old boys network, but not OK for women to get the same jobs.

See, most of the people in power positions are men - and like most people, they want to surround themselves with people who think and act like them. This generally means they are going to prefer men, whether they do so consciously or not.

Organizations like SOW work to overcome these barriers. They work to make women equal - not only before the law, but in perception and in practice.