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article imageHarper government cuts funding to key feminists groups

By KJ Mullins     May 6, 2010 in Politics
Ottawa - Several women's groups have had their funding cut under the Status of Women Canada's Women's Program in the past few weeks.
For many of the programs facing cuts it is a first in their histories according to the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality and Human Rights.
During recent weeks Status of Women Canada (SWC): the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity, le Conseil d'intervention pour l'accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT), the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), Réseau des tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec, the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, Action travail des femmes were all denied funding by the Harper government.
During the past few years the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, Womenspace, the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, the Alberta Network of Immigration Women, Centre de documentation sur l'éducation des adultes et la condition feminine, Association féminine d'éducation et d'action sociale (AFEAS.) have also been denied government funding.
Funding for these groups have played an important role in women's equality in Canada in the past. The current funding cuts is a direct violation of directives set by the United Nations to address women's equality through compliance with Canada's international human rights obligations and treaties it has signed.
These cuts have helped lower Canada's World Economic Forum gender gap index from 2004's seven ranking to the 2009 ranking of 25.
"These cuts to feminist advocacy will significantly erode women's equality in Canada. The Harper Government is conveniently weakening the very organizations that could challenge his government's attacks against reproductive rights, pay equity, child care and other human rights." Stated Jennifer Beaman from le Conseil d'intervention pour l'accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT) in a press release obtained by Digital Journal.
"Canada is being called on by the United Nations to address urgent violations of the human rights of women in Canada. These cuts further undermine the ability of the Government to meet its obligations under international human rights law. Cuts to service providers leave the most vulnerable women in Canada with nowhere to safe to go and cuts to policy and advocacy organizations leave women in crisis with no democratic voice with which to cry for help", said Kate McInturff, from the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action in a press release obtained by Digital Journal.
"The current Government is trying to quash any and all dissenting voices in Canada and those who promote and defend human rights seem to be a particular target," said Patty Ducharme the National Executive Vice-President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) in a press release obtained by Digital Journal. "Since the start of the year, the Government has shut down human rights commission offices, fired high level public servants for speaking out and denied funding to human rights and development organizations working on issues such as reproductive rights and access to contraception and abortion."
The current cuts are following a trend with women's advocacy within the Harper Government. In 2006, the Harper Government shut 12 out of 16 Status of Women's offices throughout Canada, eliminated the Courts Challenges Program and abandoned a funding agreement on universal child care.
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