Oda a no show on International Women's Day

    TORONTO, March 9 /CNW Telbec/ - The members of the Public Service
Alliance of Canada (PSAC) who spent International Women's Day in Status of
Women Minister Bev Oda's constituency office say it was a day well spent.
    "Since Minister Oda didn't ask us to celebrate International Women's Day
with her, we decided to invite ourselves," says PSAC Regional Executive
Vice-President for Ontario Gerry Halabecki, one of the members installed in
the office. "We felt she needed to hear first hand how the Harper government
is failing women."
    "In the short term, we asked for a meeting with the Minister," says
Halabecki. "We wanted to give her an opportunity to meet with PSAC members who
have been providing service through the Status of Women Canada offices, and
other women in the community, to outline what we believe needs to be done to
advance women's equality. Unfortunately, Minister Oda seems reluctant to meet
women who don't share her government's opinions about the state of women's
equality in this country."
    In the long term, the Harper government needs to stop the backwards trend
and take progressive steps according to PSAC Regional Vice-President Robyn
Benson, the union's officer responsible for women's rights.
    "Prime Minister Harper, in his International Women's Day statement which
focussed on violent crime, seems to think that the answer to violence against
women and girls is longer prison terms and harsher penalities," says Benson.
"We know these do not address the systemic problems that give rise to this
violence. What are needed are positive, long-term solutions to deal with
women's economic inequity and to ensure women's equal participation and
recognition in Canadian society."
    "We continue to call on the Prime Minister, Minister Oda and the
Conservative government to rescind their decision to cut the operating budget
and close most of the Status of Women Canada offices, to continue to fund
women's groups to conduct research that will produce solutions for systemic
changes, to restore the Court Challenges Program, to introduce proactive pay
equity legislation, as recommended the federal Pay Equity Task Force, and to
create a national child care system," says Benson.

For further information:

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

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