OTTAWA, Aug. 22, 2014 /CNW/ - During a press conference held this morning, four organization representative taking part in the Peoples' Social Forum led a joint charge against austerity policies.
"The Harper Government's budget cutbacks to advocacy groups weakened the capability of women's groups to get organized on the national level, at a time where there is a greater need than ever to unite our voices and speak out against austerity. The Conservative policies are widening the inequality and injustice gap between women and men, women and communities," stated Alexa Conradi, President of the Fédération des femmes du Québec.
"Every advocacy group, federal scientist, environmental research centre and government statistician documenting the various issues raised by neoliberal polities have been the target of austerity measures by the Canadian Government. Their budgets have been cut, jobs were lost and access to data regarding the democratic decisions that concern us was significantly restricted. This grouped fire on the interests of the population impairs our ability to learn about and understand the events and phenomena happening in our society. These decisions also impact other countries experiencing the same attacks," declared Robert Fox, an executive committee member for Voices and Oxfam's executive director.
"At a time when Canadians should get better access to public services and decent retirement income, our governments are implementing austerity policies aiming at reducing citizen services and calling into question existing retirement agreements between management and unions. Instead of witnessing a reduction in protection, we should collectively do everything we can to ensure that everyone is granted a decent pension plan. A collective understanding of these issues calls for a joint response," added Jean-Claude Parrot, a retired mailman and former president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
"Be it the Government's attacks on Employment Insurance, women, aboriginal peoples and unionism, the Tories have clearly showed that they intend on defending the interests of a minority instead of the majority present here at the Peoples' Social Forum. We are therefore asking for the creation of a united front to counter the austerity measures that have been implemented across Canada. We are here to put forward another vision of society, that puts the community and solidarity first," concluded Jacques Létourneau, President of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux.
The Peoples' Social Forum will continue until August 24, at the University of Ottawa.
SOURCE: Forum social des peuples
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