November 02, 2006

NB Women's Groups Unite to Fight the Federals

Sticks, stones and words as weapons
NB Women's Groups Unite to Fight the Federals.

Growing up, we're often told that sticks and stones can break bones but words can never hurt you.

But when the Conservatives removed the word 'equality' from the mandate of Status of Women Canada last month, it stung New Brunswick women's groups like a whack from a big stick.

"I guess this is payback for Conservative supporters, for all those who hate the women's movement and equal rights," said Rosella Melanson of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Changes announced by Status of Women Minister Bev Oda also make it impossible for groups who do advocacy work, lobbying or research to receive federal assistance.

"The issue we are trying to advocate is for women living in poverty," said Brenda Murphy of the Saint John based Urban Core Support Network. "They (women in poverty) certainly don't have any money to give to an organization to fight on their behalf," said Murphy, who worries her organization will have to close its doors in February when the current round of funding runs dry.

Oda defended the controversial changes, saying government should be providing services not advocacy support, as opposition critics on the Status of Women parliamentary committee demanded her resignation. The changes will save government about $5 million over two years.

"It's not about saving money, they're cutting the lobbying ability for those voices they don't agree with," said Rosella Melanson.

"We aren't spending enormous sums of money," said Brenda Murphy, who's anti-poverty organization has about thirty active volunteers.

"We can get a lot done with very little."

While non-profit organizations may have to close their doors, Minister Oda suggested that corporations applying for money to fund services, like women's scholarships or apprenticeships, could be eligible for the first time. If health-care, education and other social services can be contracted out to the private sector, why not subcontract equality? Perhaps justice should be privately administered?

Some so-called women's organizations are supporting the cuts: REAL Women of Canada, an anti-choice, anti-gay, religious lobby group, making up a key segment of the Conservatives' support base, says nixing the word 'equality' is a "good start".

"We have a piece of paper that says we are equal," says Melanson. "That doesn't mean a lot when a women's salary is 85 per cent of a man's; when there is no proper childcare; when women are expected to work a 9-5 and still do all the domestic labor they did in the past."

Feminist groups are off to a good start in opposing the changes.

"There has been more organization on this than I have ever seen, and I am pretty old," says Melanson who is part of a newly formed Provincial coalition of women's groups.

On October 2, New Brunswick feminist leaders met with their national counterparts in Saint John for a press conference about changes to the mandate and funding capabilities of Status of WomenCanada.

"We hope that the Status of Women will eventually be eliminated entirely, since it does not represent "women", but only represents the ideology of feminists," notes REAL Women in a press release.

The country, you see, is controlled by a cabal of lesbian feminists who hate men, God and families.

Conspiracy theories from the far left are usually pretty silly; the free masons, Bilderbergers, and Zionists control the world; George Bush actively planned 9-11 and so forth. But the stuff being spewed by REAL women of Canada re-defines ludicrous.

REAL women of Canada certainly believe in 'women's rights'; wenches have the right to stay in the home, pump out babies and go to Church. These inalienable 'rights' must be defended, lest we all end up with girlfriends who don't shave their arm pits and the well waxed foundation of decent society collapses.

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