Harper government plays $5 million shell game with Status of Women Canada

    OTTAWA, March 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The Public Service Alliance of Canada
(PSAC) is calling the Harper government's latest announcement on the eve of
International Women's Day a shell game.
    The government has announced that the $5 million in cuts to Status of
Women Canada (SWC) imposed last fall are now being "reinvested" into the
Women's Program, the arm of Status of Women Canada that funds women's groups.
They even have the nerve to tout the reinstatement as a 42% increase in the
Women's Program budget.
    "While another $5 million to fund some women's programs is welcome, it
shouldn't be at the expense of funding for women's groups to document the
roots of women's inequality and to propose systemic solutions for change,"
says PSAC National President John Gordon." They continue to be denied access
to Women's Program funding."
    The $5 million "re-investment" also won't keep open the 12 out of
16 regional Status of Women Canada offices scheduled to be closed, and won't
provide SWC with the resources it needs to lead on women's equality. "It's
shameful that SWC will still not have the resources or the mandate to assume
leadership on women's equality, both within and outside government," says
Gordon. "This government just doesn't get it."
    "The Harper government has prided itself on its accountability agenda yet
is failing when it comes to advancing and promoting women's equality," says
Robyn Benson, PSAC elected officer responsible for women's rights and Regional
Executive Vice-President for the Prairies. "Furthermore, SWC's mandate to
promote women's political participation has been struck from their agenda, and
from that of the Women's Program. Yet, political participation by women is key
to advancing their equality."
    Just last week at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women,
the Government of Canada's statement referred to the "close partnerships with
women's organizations, non-governmental organizations and other sectors of
society", and acknowledged that "the voluntary sector has played a crucial
role in raising public awareness and combating violence against women and
girls". Yet this same government has eliminated funding to the very women's
organizations that have raised awareness, documented, and advocated for
solutions to violence against women and girls.
    The PSAC joins the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality and women from
coast to coast to coast who want a strong and adequately resourced Status of
Women that will take the lead on women's equality issues, and a Women's
Program that funds women's groups to do research and advocate for change.

For further information:

For further information: Louise Laporte, PSAC Communications, (613)
560-4287, (613) 558-4975

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