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

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  1. I completely agree. If this keeps up, Harper will have us all in bonnets and long-sleeved dresses, plucking chickens and baking biscuits.

  2. My brothers and I shared in what was settled as my mother’s pay equity payout (civil service) and that cheque came 10 years after her death. It pains me to think that other women should have to wait so long. Obviously, it doesn’t pain Harper at all.

  3. janfromthebruce

     /  December 24, 2008

    Of course, Harper wants to make it a part of union negotiations because that fits with his “divide, fight and thus conquer” mentality. Thus it would pit one gendered worker against another worker. This is classic “common sense revolution” operational strategy: setting up competing interest groups. It would tear the labour movement a part.
    One needs to move beyond the obvious to see the longer range strategy – gender warfare. It also complements his class warfare, and race-based warfare.

  4. ZAJ

     /  December 28, 2008

    Pay Equity is a scam. Most people in the civil service do jobs any monkey could do… and are there by historical accident… they are either post-war baby boomers who got the jobs because they were so dam plentiful thanks to the war or post baby boomers who were hired on account of their race or gender pursuant to affirmative action policies to redress the gender and racial inequalities that the baby boomers never worried about when they were given the jobs.

    What would be worse for women than another day of Steven Harper as PM?

    Having a coalition government in power that gives more spoils to already spoiled snivel servants.

  5. “Snivel servants”! Ba ha ha!

  1. Free Verse #2 « DOMINO

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