An anti-woman rampage

As published in Regina’s Prairie Dog and Saskatoon’s Planet S.


Intentional or not, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered another bitchslap to Canadian women in the economic and fiscal update his finance minister, Jim Flaherty, delivered on Nov. 27.

Sure, he took swipes at political parties and unions and promised to sell off public assets, too. And he also attacked women’s right to equal pay for work of equal value within the federal civil service.

Harper apparently hates anything to do with equal rights for women. As a result, women don’t vote for him. Maybe that’s why instead of wooing us, he takes extreme measures to further punish us.

Just look what he’s done in the past: he smacked down a national child care plan, killed off the Court Challenges program, attacked women’s reproductive freedom by supporting Bill C-484, axed jobs at Status of Women Canada (SWC) and eliminated the word “equality” from its mandate, silenced advocacy groups, shut down community-based women’s organizations and stripped money from women’s agencies and programs.

And the list goes on.

Now, he spins a pay-out of “over $4 billion in pay equity settlements” as an extraneous expense for government? Hello? That’s money stolen from women! Women who performed work equivalent to men in the federal civil service were paid less simply because they were women. It’s money they earned. The Canadian Human Rights Commission said so in 1984. That was 24 years ago! In 1999, after 15 years of legal wrangling, the Federal Court of Canada agreed women had been short-changed and ordered the government to cough up.

Some women have died waiting for their fair share. But Harper’s revenge would see those payments slow down. And their right to pay equity subjected to contract negotiations.

And their right to strike eliminated.

Gilles Duceppe was the first to stand up to Harper, accusing him of using the economic crisis as an excuse to attack women’s rights. “[The government] has decided to attack women’s rights by submitting their right to pay equity to negotiation,” he said. “Since when are rights negotiable?”

Since when, indeed! Some women I know want Gilles as PM. Others, including the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights, say that “the prospect of a coalition government means that things are definitely looking up for women.”

No kidding! What would be worse for women than another day of Stephen Harper as PM? /Bernadette Wagner

Cross-posted at


Belated Solstice Greetings

For you, dear readers, in celebration of the Winter Solstice:

From the vast void

She is born, a long, slow explosion of light.  Dark
specks sing through the eons
red and blue. A planet collects
songs and stories, gathers to spin
pretty around one star, learns
days from dust and liquids, heat and air,
breathes human life.  

			         Stardust, I am
alive and alone on this dark path, creating
safe to name truth,
overcome trouble, honour beauty
avoid denigration in a world consuming
itself in its frenzy for freedom from despair,
in a race lost to keeping up -- those Jones's
desperate to have it all, never arriving --
in a population swallowed, in a more-more campaign
for mutations processed, frozen, packaged
resold to tomorrow's consumers.

Ah, but our dreaming collective
finds small notes, sings big
bright stars of morning into lives,
rekindling joy in the return of light.

-- Bernadette L. Wagner

The season’s best to you and yours!

Harper continues to ignore will of Parliament

And I’m not referring to the prorogation perogative he was granted in order to avoid a motion of nonconfidence in Parliament.

No, I’m talking about the resolution Parliament passed in June, 2008, the one that says, “conscientious objectors to wars not sanctioned by the Security Council of the United Nations” should not be deported from Canada.  An Angus Reid poll conducted in June 2008 showed that 63 percent of Canadians (that number again!) agreed with allowing war resisters to stay in Canada.  That’s likely because they know the US invasion of Iraq was not sanctioned by the Security Council of the United Nations and is, therefore, an illegal war. Refresh your memory here.

Harper, however, doesn’t have to listen to Parliament, eh? Cuz he’s the Supreme Being, apparently;  he is above the law and certainly above the whims of a majority of Parliament, or so it seems.

Needless to say, I was a little miffed when this landed in my inbox today.   (Note:  There is an action item at the bottom of this post.)

War Resister Cliff Cornell Told to Leave Canada by Christmas Eve

Rivera Family to Get Decision on January 7

Toronto — In the latest of a series of deportation orders, Citizenship and
Immigration Canada has told war resister Cliff Cornell, of Nanaimo, BC, that
he must leave Canada by December 24, or face removal by force. Cliff,
originally from Arkansas, arrived in Canada in January 2005. He currently
works as an Assistant Manager of a retail store near Nanaimo, where he has
an excellent work record.

Cliff’s deportation order comes after similar orders for war resisters Corey
Glass, Jeremy Hinzman and his family, Patrick Hart and his family, Matt
Lowell and Dean Walcott. Like them, Cliff has begun to build a peaceful and
productive life in Canada and hopes to stay in his new country.

War resister Kim Rivera will receive a decision on January 7. Kim served in
the US Army in Iraq. She came to Canada with her husband, Mario, and their
two children, Christian (6) and Rebecca (4) in early 2007. Kim had a new
Canadian-born baby, Katie, on November 23, 2008.

The War Resisters Support Campaign continues to call upon the Harper
government to implement the will of Parliament, as expressed in a House of
Commons motion adopted on June 3, 2008. The motion recommended that
“…conscientious objectors to wars not sanctioned by the Security Council of
the United Nations,” such as the Iraq War, be allowed to remain in Canada
and apply for permanent resident status. It was adopted by a vote of 137-110
and also directed the Government of Canada to stop deportation proceedings
against all of the war resisters here.

I was further miffed when I called the office of the Minister Responsible to voice my concerns about this and the receptionist would not refer me to anyone who could speak about the issue to me.  She had been ordered to not refer telephone calls on this issue to anyone except the call centre.

I am not the only one concerned about this matter.  Sandra Finley, former leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan, a woman who is going to court for her refusal to fill out a census form that would be processed by Lockheed Martin, an arms manufacturer, had an earlier conversation with a Kenney Executive Assistant who claimed to know nothing about the Parliamentary resolution,

I spoke with Ministerial Assistant to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney,:

Essentially I was talking with someone who knows very little about something
he should know a lot about.

It is disconcerting, to know that people in the Minister’s office, in the
Canadian Dept of Immigration, where this has been an on-going issue for a
long time, do not know the most basic of information.

I won’t go into all the details. Some of the back-and-forth:

Lyntner: – no, I am not aware of anything passed by the House of Commons
(that would prohibit the deportations).

(I supplied the date and nature of the motion passed, and mentioned that
the deportees are people who resisted an illegal war.)

Lyntner: – who says it was illegal?

Me: – I don’t believe you would challenge the fact that the Bush
Administration used lies as the basis for dropping bombs on Iraq? There
were no weapons of mass destruction, as claimed. And I don’t think you
would challenge the fact that the U. N Security Council refused to sanction
the war? … okay. There are international laws that prohibit a state from
just dropping bombs on other countries.

Lyntner: – at some point in all this he says “well, that’s your OPINION
that the war was illegal”.

Me: – International Humanitarian Law, also known as the Law on Wars
makes it illegal. It is not my opinion. It is IN FACT an illegal war.

Lyntner: – well who passed that law? A country has to sign these laws
before they are binding.

Me: – The United Nations passed the various conventions that make up
International Humanitarian Law and Canada is signatory to those treaties.
Google “International Humanitarian Law” or “Law of War” – you can find it

Lyntner: – There are many different agencies (how can it be “international”
or “UN”).

Me: I am aware that there are many different agencies. But they all fall
under the rubric of the UN. There are International Laws that clearly make
the War on Iraq an illegal war.

Harper doesn’t care about anyone but himself and his own power.  We, as compassionate Canadians do and are taking action:
Contact Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney and ask him to:

• STOP deportation proceedings against U.S. Iraq war resisters, including
Cliff Cornell and Kim Rivera and her family; and
• IMPLEMENT the motion adopted by Canada’s Parliament to allow U.S. Iraq war
resisters to apply for permanent resident status.

Here are the numbers to call:

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney
Call 613.954.1064

MP Jason Kenney’s Parliamentary office:

Or email him at:

Please cc the opposition party critics if you email Jason Kenney:
Liberal party immigration critic Borys Wrzesnewskyj:
NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow:
Bloc Québécois immigration critic Thierry St-Cyr:

It’s an anger-making day!

I’m angry today.

It’s -28 degrees Celsius here right now.  And with a 40+ km/h wind coming in from the north, it makes for a wind chill factor of about -45.  It’s the first day of real winter here on the prairies.

But that’s not what’s making me miserable.  I’ve lived in Saskatchewan all my life.  Cold, I can handle.

It’s abuse of power that has my blood boiling.  Earlier today, in a PS to his Journamalism post, pogge sent me to Paul Wells’  blog at  Paul strings together the true story of our Prime Minister’s disdain for Parliament, then summarizes his opinion:

In short, he’s been a bit of a twit, has our dear leader. It does us no good to have a Prime Minister who flies to Winnipeg and Peru singing Kumbaya if he can’t set foot in Parliament without bringing a blowtorch. He clearly cannot stand the place. That’s a problem because at some point, he’s going to need a functioning Parliament to get anything done.

Well, that’s a problem if he actually wants to do something. Turns out that’s a big “if.” It’s becoming more and more obvious that the impasse in the House of Commons is an expression of the Prime Minister’s own conflicted feelings about the place. He showed on the Afghanistan war that when he wants to he can lead a government that bends and concedes in pursuit of its goals. But that was about soldiers. He cares about soldiers. He has never convinced me he cares about the economy, or believes any government can do anything to affect its course. Build roads? Bail out car companies? Take advice from Jack Layton? He’d sooner cut off the opposition’s allowance, then hit the road to tell more fibs about Stéphane Dion.

From a springtime of committee chaos to a summer of ultimatums to a fall election, a December crisis, a tasty prorogue-y holiday feast, and the near certainty of another New Year psychodrama. I could swear there was a pattern in there.

There, in the comments section, I found a link from Robert, to this Toronto Star story.  Apparently, Mr. Harper does not need Parliament to get things done:

OTTAWA–The Conservative minority government is letting people take advantage of some tax measures in its fall economic statement, despite the fact the Tory fiscal plan hasn’t been passed by Parliament.

Ottawa issued a news release yesterday announcing that Canadians can take advantage of a proposal to reduce the minimum withdrawal from their registered retirement income funds by 25 per cent for 2008.

The Canada Revenue Agency has advised financial institutions that it can administer the proposed change before the law is passed, the release says. It also says if the proposal does not get passed by Parliament, the agency would not apply penalties to anyone who follows the proposal.

It’s a blatant abuse of the rule of law.  Apparently, Steve the Sweater Guy is above that.  I mean, we know that, don’t we?  Certainly, we witnessed it quite clearly when he broke his own fixed date elections law.

This action seems to fit well with what James Laxer has identified as Harper’s “paranoid style” of political maneuvering. Though the corporate media and the CBC praise Harper’s political acumen, Laxer cuts through the spin to the real deal:

By paranoid style, I mean, that Harper belongs to the resentful right, whose adherents understand the world in simplistic, binary terms, and depict those who disagree with them as the agents of endless conspiracies against the forces of righteousness. (A telling example of the paranoid style is the way Conservatives have taken to labeling the Liberal-NDP coalition as “un-Canadian”. This ludicrous term is lifted from “un-American”, an unsavory epithet that was much employed by McCarthyites during the 1950s who believed they had a corner on what it was to be American. Until the Harperites appeared, no politicians in Canada were so certain of their monopoly of virtue as to label their foes “un-Canadian.) [Go read the full post.]

Stephen Harper is absolutely paranoid that he may lose his reign on power and he will do anything to hold onto it.  He knows that since he has not produced a majority government for his right wing alliance after three elections his leadership will be under review.  It’s likely he would be replaced.  And there are already rumours about who might do that.

He is paranoid and my guess is he will hold desperately onto every power Parliament affords him right now and use it to undermine his opposition.  He will continue with more questionable acts, such as rule by Order-in-Council and edict, over the next few weeks. It’s a trick Grant Devine used in Saskatchewan and other rightwingers have used elsewhere and one I’ve been expecting.

Here’s hoping the coalition has the courage to see these treacherous acts for what they are and bring down this would-be dictator come budget day.

Addendum:  The Jurist over at Accidental Deliberations has also added to this.

But it seems clear that Harper would rather govern illegitimately by fiat rather than not at all. And every step the Cons take to evade the need for Parliament to pass Canada’s laws moves us further from anything that could possibly be described as democracy.

Bonus for making it this far:  Bruce.

In memory

In memory of a man far ahead of his time, John Winston Ono Lennon, who was murdered 28 years ago today and whose music continues to inspire.


with thanks to blevkog for the reminder.

In memoriam

Today we pause to mourn the loss of 14 women who, because they were women, were massacred.

Gunman massacres 14 women

Broadcast Date: Dec. 6, 1989

A gunman confronts 60 engineering students during their class at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. He separates the men from the women and tells the men to leave the classroom, threatening them with his .22-calibre rifle. The enraged man begins a shooting rampage that spreads to three floors and several classrooms, jumping from desk to desk while female students cower below. He roams the corridors yelling, “I want women.”

Before opening fire in the engineering class, he calls the women “une gang de féministes” and says “J’haïs les féministes [I hate feminists].” One person pleads that they are not feminists, just students taking engineering. But the gunman doesn’t listen. He shoots the women and then kills himself. Parents of the Polytechnique students wait outside the school crying and wonder if their daughters are among the 14 dead tonight.

The 14 dead were:  Anne St-Arneault, 23; Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klueznick, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 22; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; and Annie Turcotte, 21.

December 6, 1989. Sylvie Gagnon was attending her last day of classes at Ecole Polytechnique when a gunman opened fire on women students, yelling “you’re all a bunch of feminists.” Sylvie survived a bullet wound to the head while fourteen other women were murdered. This clip shows testimony from Sylvie Gagnon about what the massacre means to her.

Today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.  Today we mourn.  Tomorrow, we organize.

Is something actually sticking to the Teflon PM?

It’s starting to look like maybe our Teflon PM has fallen on tough times.  It seems that the business suits’ love affair with Prime Minister Stephen Harper is beginning to wane.  Maybe he should’ve kept the sweater vests.  From the Report on Business:

C-suite survey

Executives pan PM’s plan as lacking punch

From Friday’s Globe and Mail

Prime Minister Stephen Harper may have won the skirmish that gives him time to come up with a budget providing economic stimulus, but he’ll be under intense pressure to get it right because close to half of business executives think his moves to date were deficient.

Even in Saskatchewan, where Team Teflon took 13 of 14 seats last election, the love just isn’t what it once was.  From the Regina Leader-Post:

Harper the barrier to ending this mess

And, as if that isn’t bad enough for the poor Hair Harper, that dastardly social democrat, Red Ed, dared to tell it like it is!  From The Globe and Mail:


Fanning the fires of national disunity

Founding president of Rights and Democracy and former leader of the federal New Democratic Party

Since first being elected to the House of Commons in 1968, at a time of great national unity, I have never witnessed a Canadian prime minister consciously decide to disunite the nation. Until now.

Now, for the first time in our history, we have a prime minister prepared to set a fire that we may not be able to put out, for the paltry purpose of saving himself from a confidence vote on Monday. In almost every sentence, paragraph and page coming from Mr. Harper, his ministers and Conservative MPs, we’re getting distortions intended to delegitimize a democratically formed coalition, proposed in accordance with normal parliamentary practices, between the Liberals and the NDP.

The Conservatives have tried to link the coalition with a demonized Bloc Québécois and Quebec. Mr. Harper wants to buy time in order to stir up support from a majority in English Canada. He is turning a serious constitutional and legal issue, on which he knows he cannot win a confidence vote, into a political battle of national unity, calculating that the numbers are on his side.

Instead of following constitutional precedent and allowing a democratic confidence vote to take place when it should, we have a power-hungry man who will be recorded as the first prime minister in Canada’s history to deliberately create a political crisis and set the fire of national disunity.

And, of course, the socialists had to open their mouths, too!  From Global Research:

Harper’s Coup; Power grab in Ottawa

by Mike Whitney

Global Research, December 5, 2008

“We are in the worst crisis since 1929 and we have no government. How can this be good?” Stephen Jarislowsky, chairman of Montreal money manager Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Canada’s parliament to avoid a challenge from opposition parties that were planning to oust him from power. The 3-party coalition–the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois—decided to remove Harper because of his strong opposition to a stimulus package that was designed to minimize the effects of the financial crisis. They also opposed his “proposed elimination of subsidies for political parties, a three-year ban on the right of civil servants to strike, and limits on the ability of women to sue for pay equity.”  Governor General Michaelle Jean helped Harper to hang on by using her constitutional authority to close the legislature for seven weeks. Now the country is in a furor.

Harper is a far right conservative ideologue who served as president of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), a conservative think-tank and advocacy group. The organization opposes national healthcare but supports privitization and tax cuts. It has 40,000 members but the names are kept confidential. It’s motto is “more freedom with less government.”

The Prime Minister has been a staunch supporter of George Bush and the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of his critics accuse him of being a neoconservative allied to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Bilderburger Group. He is alleged to be a proponent of plans for a North American Union, which is an elitist scheme to end US sovereignty by merging the three countries– Canada, the US, and Mexico–into one superstate. The plan coincides with Harper’s unwavering support for free trade.

Harper’s connection to extremist organizations may sound far fetched, until one one sees a video of him giving a speech that was also given by Australian PM John Howard prior to the war in Iraq. The speeches are identical–word for word–indicating that they must have been written by a third party somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon or a nearby think tank. The video dispels any illusion that Karzai, Abbas, and Siniora are the only sock-puppets working for Washington.

Harper is also a trusted ally of Israel and has defended Israel’s 31 day invasion of Lebanon in 2006 that killed over 1,300 Lebanese civilians who were fleeing the south to escape Israeli bombing. According to Wikipedia: “the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations presented Stephen Harper with its inaugural International Leadership Award for his support for Israel…the award was given to express the group’s appreciation for Canada’s “courageous stands” to boycott the Durban 2 Anti-Racism Conference.

On June, Harper was also awarded the Presidential Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism by B’nai B’rith International. He is the first Canadian to be awarded this medal.”

Harper is also a committed militarist who has circumvented Parliament and announced a plan that will greatly expand Canada’s armed forces. According to Linda McQuaig of the Toronto Star:

“Harper has already laid out an agenda that would fundamentally change this country – in ways most Canadians would oppose. While this agenda is not “secret,” my guess is few Canadians know about it… Sometime in the dark of night last June 20, the Harper government posted a plan on the Department of National Defence’s website – called Canada First Defence Strategy – to spend an eye-popping $490 billion over the next 20 years on the military.

It’s hard to imagine an agenda with more profound consequences for Canadians, beginning with a dramatic reordering of national priorities. Public health care? Child poverty? Fighting global warming?

While the election campaign focused on economic issues, the military and its combat role in Afghanistan have actually been the centrepieces of the Harper administration. Harper has tried to reshape the way Canadians think about Canada, weaning us off our fondness for peacekeeping (and medicare, for that matter), and getting us excited about being a war-making nation, able to swagger on the world stage in the footsteps of the Americans.” (Linda McQuaig, “Stephen Harper: Bulking up Pentagon North”, the Toronto Star)

Poor, poor, Steve!  No one loves him.

Oh, but I am sure his mother must.  Mom’s are kinda like that.

Prorogue precedents

Steven Harper wanted to shut down Parliament just because he does not agree with it. Some say this is unprecedented.

In fact, Harper is following parliamentary tradition. Consider the following precedents:

1629 King Charles I in England
1799 Napoleon in France
1913: Victoriano Huerta in Mexico
1933: Adolf Hitler in Germany
1936 Francisco Franco in Spain
1939: Benito Mussolini in Italy
1973: Augusto Pinochet in Chile
2008: Steven Harper in Canada

with thanks to Sean in Ottawa for bringing this to my attention.

Coalition: Keep Meeting

Keep meeting

This is posted from a comment by Eric Finley to a post at  This action would demonstrate that opposition to Stephen Harper and to the events of the last week isn’t just some fleeting, momentary frustration. And it would demonstrate that objection to today’s decision is based on both serious concern for our democracy and for the urgency of the occasion. Please give it your consideration and feel free to leave your comments below.

Keep meeting.

To the coalition: Keep meeting.

Parliament has been prorogued. So you’re not meeting in an official capacity. But nonetheless meet as if you were not prorogued.

Find a site. Pay for it yourselves, and be explicit about that. You’re citizens meeting to speak. But in so doing, keep up the business of Parliament. Debate. Draft bills. Hold (unofficial) committee meetings. Vote… on memoranda of understanding.

Show the country, its citizens, and its investors that while you do not argue with the legality of the delay, you see no need to go on vacation in this crucial economic time. Assume (without even explicitly saying it) that in January when Parliament reconvenes, Harper will fall, the coalition will form government, and the memoranda of understanding and drafted bills will be dealt with, bang-bang-bang, because you have already hashed this out.

Invite the Conservatives to join you. If you get some momentum, you might get no few disgruntled members willing to bet that Harper’s fury will not control their lives.

Let the Conservatives take an extended vactation. Shrink the proposed vacation period instead, to mark the severity of the economic need.

Make it plain that you do not dispute Her Excellency’s right to consent to her nominal first minister’s request to prorogue, and that you respect her for making a difficult decision in uncharted waters. Open each session with a consistent, well-crafted adaptation of protocol which is sufficiently distinct that it does not trespass upon Parliament’s formal privileges… but that nonetheless shows clearly that you do this out of the uttermost respect for the Queen, the Governor General, and the Canadian people.

Repeat frequently that you’re just trying to get work done now, so that things can happen fast when the doors unlock in January. It can’t be trespass upon the privileges of government if its level of formality is that of a caucus meeting.

Be completely transparent. Defeat the smoke-filled rooms meme. Heck, hold it in a bar, if you can find one big enough.

The media will come to you. I can think of no more efficient way to stretch your advertising dollars than a bold, newsworthy stroke like this.

If you do this, I will donate to the limit of my ability. I will write letters to the editor praising your actions. I will take my four children and go door to door. In Edmonton. In December.

Pass it on.


Women’s groups criticize anti-coalition organizers

This just goes to show how much the Cons care about violence against women, eh?

*Conservatives wrong to call for protest against coalition government on day
to end violence against women, say women’s groups*

OTTAWA, December 2, 2008 – Women’s groups are indignant that protests in
support of the Harper government are being scheduled on December 6th, which
is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
“This is a timely reminder that a coalition government will be better for
women,” said Jessica Notwell of the Canadian Women’s CED Council.

December 6th marks the murder of fourteen young women at l’École
Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989 by a man who targeted “feminists.”
Established by Parliament in 1991, December 6th represents an opportunity to
reflect and act against violence against women in our society.

The Conservative plea to support Harper on this day leaves many women
shaking their heads. While the majority of rallies in support of the
proposed coalition are taking place on December 4th, pro-coalition events
are also planned for December 6th in Montreal and in Toronto. However, women
say there’s no conflict with the coalition. They have a problem with
attempts to prop up a government that has deliberately and methodically set
out to derail equality rights for women.

“This is the government that gutted Status of Women, eliminating all funding
for women’s advocacy and removing the word ‘equality’ from the Women’s
Program mandate,” said Gisele Pageau of the Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers Union of Canada. “This is the government that scrapped a
universal child care program and now intends to roll back pay equity when
women still earn an average of 71 cents on the dollar. They don’t deserve
our support.”

“If we’re serious about ending violence against women, let’s recognize that
we need strong advocacy, affordable housing, fair pay and a child care
system we can depend on,” said Rhonda Roffey of Women’s Habitat. “And we
know Stephen Harper just won’t do that.”

The coalition composed of the Liberals and NDP, with support from the Bloc,
has committed to support the implementation of the Pay Equity Task Force’s
recommendations as well as access to EI for women. Furthermore, the accord
signed by the parties specifically mentions the need for further government
intervention to improve child care.

“We believe a coalition will take steps to repair significant damage caused
by the minority Harper government,” said Aalya Ahmad of the Ad Hoc Coalition
for Women’s Equality and Human Rights. “That is why you will see women’s
organizations out in favour of the coalition this week. The prospect of a
coalition government means that things are definitely looking up for women.”

For more information, please contact Aalya Ahmad, co-coordinator of the Ad
Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights at 819-503-6969.

Les Conservateurs ont tort de demander des protestations contre le
gouvernement de coalition le jour marquant la revendication de mettre fin à
la violence faite aux femmes, selon les groupes de femmes*

OTTAWA, le 2 décembre 2008 – Les groupes de femmes sont indignés que les
manifestations de soutien du gouvernement Harper soient prévues pour le 6
décembre, qui est la Journée nationale de commémoration et d’action contre
la violence faite aux femmes. « C’est un rappel en temps opportun qu’un
gouvernement de coalition sera plus favorable aux femmes », a déclaré
Jessica Notwell, du Conseil pan-canadien du développement économique
communautaire des femmes.

Le 6 décembre marque l’anniversaire du jour, en 1989, où un homme qui disait
haïr les « féministes » a abattu quatorze jeunes femmes à l’École
polytechnique de Montréal. Déclarée journée spéciale par le Parlement en
1991, le 6 décembre est une occasion de réfléchir et d’agir pour mettre un
terme à la violence faite aux femmes dans notre société.

Le fait que le gouvernement demande d’appuyer M. Harper ce jour-là laisse de
nombreuses femmes incrédules. Bien que la majorité des rassemblements
d’appui de la coalition proposée soient prévus pour le 4 décembre, des
événements pro-coalition doivent également se dérouler à Montréal et à
Toronto le 6 décembre. Toutefois, les femmes disent qu’il n’y a pas de
conflit avec la coalition. Cependant, elles trouvent à redire aux efforts
d’autopromotion d’un gouvernement qui tente méthodiquement de faire
dérailler les droits à l’égalité es femmes.

« C’est le gouvernement qui a affamé Condition féminine Canada, éliminé le
financement des activités de défense de cause et retiré le mot ‘égalité’ du
mandat du Programme de promotion de la femme », a indiqué Gisèle Pageau, du
Syndicat canadien des communications, de l’énergie et du papier. « C’est le
gouvernement qui a mis au rancart le programme universel de services de
garde à l’enfance et qui entend maintenant faire marche arrière en matière
d’équité salariale alors que les femmes gagnent encore en moyenne 71 cents
par dollar que gagnent les hommes. Il ne mérite pas notre appui. »

« Si nous voulons vraiment mettre fin à la violence faite aux femmes, nous
devons reconnaître qu’il nous faut de forts services de défense de cause,
des logements à prix abordable, l’équité salariale et des services
appropriés de garde d’enfants », a dit Rhonda Roffey, de Women’s Habitat. «
Et nous savons que Stephen Harper ne nous donnera pas cela. »

La coalition composée des Libéraux et du NPD, avec l’appui du Bloc, s’est
engagée à appuyer la mise en œuvre des recommandations du Groupe de travail
sur l’équité salariale. De plus, l’accord signé par les partis améliorerait
les options en matière de services de garde d’enfants et l’accès des femmes
à l’a.-e.

« Nous croyons que le gouvernement de coalition prendra des mesures pour
réparer les dommages appréciables causés par le gouvernement minoritaire
Harper », a dit Aalya Ahmad, de la Coalition spéciale pour l’égalité des
femmes et les droits de la personne. « C’est pour cela que vous verrez des
organisations de femmes se prononcer en faveur de la coalition cette
semaine. La perspective d’un gouvernement de coalition donne nettement de
l’espoir aux femmes. »

Pour obtenir de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec Aalya
Ahmad, coordinatrice de la Coalition spéciale pour l’égalité des femmes et
les droits de la personne, au 819-503-6969.

Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights / La Coalition
spéciale pour l’égalité des femmes et les droits de la personne