What Harper’s Done to Canadian Social Programs

I wrote this for rabble.ca some time ago but never did blog it.  I’ve been trying to find it for some time because it’s in need of an update. Here it is.  Please feel free to use the comment box below to add the other places Harper’s axe has landed since this was written.

What Harper’s Done to Canadian Social Programs

by Bernadette Wagner

In September 2006 our boy, Steve Harper, pulled out his axe. Here’s a little review of where the axe fell.*

Aboriginal Programs

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada “operational efficiencies” = $3.5 million cut

“Unused funding” (re: Nunavut) = $50 million not re-allocated or otherwise made available

Elimination of funding for First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Strategy = $10.8 million cut

Status of Women Canada

“Administrative savings” = $5 million cut (40% of budget), job layoffs, offices closed, organizations unfunded, their offices also closed.

Skills and Literacy Programs

Literacy division of HRSD under one banner = $55.4 million cut

Youth employment subsidies for businesses and organizations = $17.6 million cut

Elimination of the Canada Labour Business Centre

Statistics Canada

“Organizational efficiencies” = $15 million cut & reduced ability to collect vital data

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

Social economy research program (community outreach) = $2 million cut

Health Canada

Policy Research Program eliminated = $7.5 million

“Health portfolio efficiencies” = $28.1 million was cut through

Foreign Affairs

Youth International Internship Program eliminated = $10.2 million cut

Delays and cutbacks on international postings and outreach programs at Canadian embassies = unknown but substantial cuts

Law Commission of Canada

Eliminated = $3.2 million cut, including two large scale projects on indigenous law and vulnerable workers

Court Challenges Program

Eliminated = $5.6 million cut and no legal assistance for equity-seeking groups who do not have the resources to take forward a legal challenge.

Treasury Board of Canada

Training programs for civil servants = $82 million cut

“Unallocated funds across all departments” = $18 million cut

Elimination of advisory panels in Revenue Canada and Agriculture Canada = unknown amount cut

* This information was culled from a Canadian Association of University Teachers Commentary

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Iggy the Idiot, Part I

When my daughter was young, she watched a CBC-TV show called Under the Umbrella Tree which featured Holly and her three puppet roomies, Gloria Gopher, Jacob Bluejay and Iggy Iguana.

Perhaps our own Iggy the Liberal leader watched too much of that show.  Or maybe it’s just part of the attributes that attach to that name but the iguana Iggy was characterized as “thinking too highly of himself and unwillingly making mistakes.”

Iggy the Liberal has certainly been thinking too highly of himself and too little of others.

His support for Harper’s budget bill is a slap in the face to Canadian women.  Of course we shouldn’t be too surprised at this given the Liberal Party’s record with women.  Wasn’t it Paul Martin as Finance Minister who began the federal attack on women’s organizations funded through Status of Women Canada?  So, to see Iggy and his ilk support an attack on pay equity and infrastructure solutions that exclude women while still denying Canadian women a national childcare plan is really to be expected.

But Canadians have some kind of sick idea that the Liberals are better than the Cons.  Not me.  Liberal or Tory, it’s the same old story.  Tommy Douglas was right about that in his story of Mouseland.  Not that the NDP or any partisan organization will be the savior of Canada or Canadian women, for that matter.  But at least the NDP get it when it comes to women’s issues.  Mind you, it’s not quite to the extent that the Bloc Quebecois get it, but it’s good.

About Iggy the Liberal unwillingly making mistakes, well, I’m not sure.  It’s looking to me like he’s willfully making mistakes at the expense of Canadian women and children.

Nurses livid! Proposal “most regressive in SUN’s history”!

There’s so much going on in this province right now, most of it quite frightening. I’m going to start with the most recent and work my way back as time permits over the course of the weekend. This media advisory, from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses outlines the attack on nurses in SK. This, at a time when SK is experiencing unprecedented economic growth!

MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, April 4, 2008
SAHO CONTRACT PROPOSALS CONSIDERED
“MOST REGRESSIVE IN SUN’S HISTORY”
<<<Regina>>>The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses says that the province’s regional health authorities have tabled the most regressive contract proposals in SUN’s history, and has predicted that hundreds of nurses will either resign or retire early in response.
The union is calling for the Minister of Health to replace the department officials and regional health authority leadership that is responsible for what SUN President Rosalee Longmoore describes as “a destructive and malicious attack on nurses and safe patient care and a crude attempt to tear up the SUN/Government Partnership.”
Longmoore says, “They are refusing to commit to fill current vacancies, because they are using the vacancies to balance their budgets. Instead, they have submitted proposals that would require nurses to work unlimited overtime. That’s not a retention strategy – that’s a detention strategy that will backfire -nurses cannot work more and more overtime. They have a professional obligation to refuse more overtime if they are too tired to provide safe patient care. They will refuse, or they will just quit.”
SUN says that regional health authorities want to muzzle nurses who report instances where safe patient care is being jeopardized. According to Longmoore, “Nurses went on strike in 1988 and 1999 to get the right to report in writing to supervisors when patient care is jeopardized. Nurses are obligated by legislation and professional standards to protect patient safety – we will never give that up.”
“The Minister of Health is going to have to decide – how long is he going to continue to let his own Ministry officials and regional health authorities try to tear up the SUN/Government Partnership and avoid implementing it? How would the worst contract in SUN’s history help the government achieve its retention and recruitment targets? The retention and recruitment proposals from the Partnership must be binding in the collective agreement, or regional health authorities will continue to defy the Minister,” said Longmoore.
The union has advised Conciliator Doug Forseth that they are adjourning contract talks until after their annual meeting on April 23-25.
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To speak to a SUN representative, please call:
Rosalee Longmoore, SUN President (306) 539-6162 (cell)