Monday, February 23, 2009

stephen harper to canadian women: take one for the team!

honestly, we all saw this coming. did we expect the conservatives to drop a budget that did anything but suggest bandaid solutions? they prorogued parliament rather than take responsibility for bolstering the rapidly crumbling economy with the coalition government back in december when they had the chance.

Considering the back-to-work legislation for CUPE 3903 at YorkU (introduced and supported by the liberals and conservatives) nothing this government does will ever surprise us.

Instead of focusing on our own budget and its implications, Canadians seem transfixed on the American election afterglow and the drama of the American stimulus package. Obama-rama shouldn't be an excuse to allow our government to sneakily slip such regressive policy into a budget that they know is going to fly under the radar.

Statement from Irene Mathyssen, NDP Critic for the Status of Women

OTTAWA - The Conservative budget is totally inadequate when it comes to
funding for Status of Women and for issues that directly affect women.
Women are not considered at all in this budget. There is not a single
mention of women in the entire document.

In tough economic times it is crucial that the government invests in
protecting the most vulnerable in society. No affordable housing
programs were introduced that would target vulnerable women. Housing is
key to fighting poverty and the first step needed for many looking to
get into the workforce.

The budget contains no mention of childcare spaces. An investment in
childcare would have been an investment in the economy. No national
child care program will significantly reduce women's ability to
contribute to the labour market. The increase to the Child tax benefit
is helpful, it does not go far enough no create any new childcare

It maintains the attack on women's ability to pursue pay equity
complaints. The NDP has called repeatedly for a pay equity
commissioner to ensure that pay equity complaints are dealt with
effectively and efficiently.

The job creation programs announced are aimed at infrastructure and
construction programs which are male dominated industries. This again
leaves more women vulnerable to the effects of the economic downturn.

An expert panel will be established to consult Canadians on extending EI
to self employed workers. While this is a positive move, it will not
help those who may be impacted in the short term. With two thirds of
women not qualifying for EI, changes to the system are crucial.
Unfortunately, the Conservatives did not make any further changes to
E.I. leaving many part-time workers, and seasonal workers without any
support despite paying into the fund.

There was no attempt at incorporating gender responsive budgeting as
recommended by the June 2008 Status of Women Committee report. This was
a failed opportunity for the Conservative Government to show that it
would address issues raised and passed by the other parties in the House
of Commons.

Tax cuts have historically not benefited women. The focus on tax cuts
in this budget will only decrease the government dollars available to
invest in promoting women's equality in Canada. The tax cuts in this
budget will be of no benefit to 40% of women who fall below the lowest
income bracket. It will have minimal impact on the 38% of women who fall
in lowest tax bracket leaving the most vulnerable 68% of women receiving
little or no benefit from the tax cuts.

For more information, please contact:
Office of Irene Mathyssen, MP - Miriam Rycroft, 613-995-2901

Miriam Rycroft
Member's Assistant
Irene Mathyssen, MP
NDP Status of Women Critic
P: 613-995-2901 F: 613-943-8717
CEP 232/SCEP 232

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