Save our Advisory Council | Sauvons notre conseil consultatif

Support from the N.B. Canadian Union of Public Employees/ Soutien du Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique

April 1, 2011

Dear Premier Alward,

I am calling on you today to cancel the announced abolition of funding for the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

I understand the great responsibility you have to govern in a responsible manner, but part of that responsibility is to be an effective steward of all our social programs for the benefit of all New Brunswickers.

This includes ensuring that all parts of our society have equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of our collective community.

Women in New Brunswick face real barriers and the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women is a vehicle to help identify and work towards finding solutions and to take down these gender barriers.

We only need to look at the composition of the Provincial Legislature and ask ourselves why is it that women make up only 14.5% of the members.  Or why is it as a society we need legislated pay equity.

I must be clear that we are not against putting more resources into the Women’s Issues’ branch.  But we feel there is a need for the Council as an independent body that can set its own agenda, determine priorities and positions on women’s issues at an arm’s length from direct government oversight.

CUPE feels that the decision to abolish funding for the Council was regressive and ask that your Government reverse the decision.

Sincerely yours,

Daniel Légère

President CUPE NB

 

http://nb.cupe.ca/media/abolishing-the-acsw-alward-needs-to-change-his-mind

Abolishing the ACSW: Alward needs to change his mind
FREDERICTON: The Canadian Union of Public Employees, New Brunswick Division (CUPE NB), is joining the public outcry and asking the Alward government to change its decision to abolish the Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

“We believe that the decision to do away with the Advisory Council is a way to muzzle women in our province,” said Daniel Légère, President of CUPE NB.

“Over the years, the Advisory Council has cried out against injustices and inequities in this province. The Council has done an exceptional job with scanty resources to make sure that the government can’t forget pay equity, childcare services, the place of women in politics, discrimination and violence, to name only a few of its concerns. The Council plays an essential role, and it has been a source of information and analysis on the status of women in the province for the past 35 years.”

“Abolishing the Council to save a few thousand dollars is inacceptable, and it will silence a strong, independent voice for women in the province.”

“Over the past few years we’ve seen Stephen Harper’s Conservative government try to muzzle advocacy and women’s groups like the NB Coalition for Pay Equity and the NB Child Care Coalition by cutting their funding. David Alward’s Conservatives are going even farther by completely abolishing the Advisory Council.”

“The Conservatives’ election platform talked about transparency and made a commitment to work closely with the Advisory Council. This decision certainly wasn’t transparent.”

“The Premier needs to reverse this budget decision and show that he is really listening to people,” Daniel Légère concluded.


http://nb.cupe.ca/media-1/abolishing-the-acsw-alward-needs-to-change-his-mind?set_language=fr

L’abolition du CCCF : Alward doit revenir sur sa décision

FREDERICTON : Le Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique, division du Nouveau-Brunswick (SCFP NB), se joint au front populaire et demande au gouvernement Alward de renverser sa décision d’abolir le Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme.

« Nous croyons que la décision d’abolir le Conseil consultatif est une façon de bâillonner  les femmes de cette province », a déclaré Daniel Légère, président du SCFP NB.

« Au fil des ans, le Conseil consultatif a dénoncé les injustices et les inégalités qui existent dans cette province. Le Conseil a fait un travail exceptionnel avec très peu de ressource pour s’assurer que l’équité salariale, les services de garde à l’enfance, la place des femmes en politique, la discrimination et la violence par exemple ne soient relégués aux oubliettes par le gouvernement.  Le Conseil joue un rôle essentiel; il est une source d’information et d’analyse sur la condition de la femme depuis 35 ans dans cette province.»

«L’abolition du Conseil pour sauver à peine quelques milliers de dollars est inacceptable et va priver les femmes de cette province d’une voix forte et indépendante. »

«Au cours des dernières années, nous avons vu le gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper tenter de museler les groupes de revendication et de femmes comme la Coalition pour l’équité salariale du N.-B. et la Coalition des services de garde à l’enfance  du N.-B. en coupant leur financement.  Le gouvernement conservateur de David Alward va encore plus loin en abolissant carrément le Conseil consultatif. »

« Dans son programme électoral, le parti conservateur parlait de transparence et s’engageait à travailler étroitement avec le Conseil consultatif. Il n’y a eu aucune transparence dans cette décision. »

« Le Premier ministre se doit de renverser cette décision budgétaire et de montrer qu’il est vraiment à l’écoute des gens », de conclure Daniel Légère.

Filed under: solidarity/solidarité

News Coverage of Protest and an Editorial

Moncton protest in the Times & Transcript today: http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/rss/article/1394019

Fredericton protest and Moncton press conference on Global TV: http://www.globalmaritimes.com/video/index.html?releasePID=I6HDPHPLmlsnotKz3TgS9C1Vwwmsd23y

Fredericton’s Gleaner ran an editorial on the ACSW cut today.  http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/1393968

Filed under: Media/Médias

Lettre d’appui!

M. Alward,

En tant que jeune femme militante, je suis profondément déçue et choquée par votre décision d’abolir le Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme. Il m’est difficile de voir là autre chose qu’une tentative de censure et de bâillonnement des femmes du Nouveau-Brunswick, phénomène malheureusement observé au fédéral depuis quelques temps. Et, je vous le demande, quelle économie sera faite par le gouvernement ? Le salaire des employées sera transféré à une autre instance gouvernementale et le budget du conseil consultatif est assez dérisoire. Je ne vois pas là une grande économie.

Vous dites que la Direction des questions féminines pourra assumer les fonctions du conseil consultatif. Il est évident que c’est impossible. Le Conseil consultatif est un organisme indépendant, non gouvernemental, alors que la Direction des questions féminines fait partie du gouvernement, donc elle est sous son contrôle. Les actions et les travaux de recherche faits par le Conseil consultatif étaient orientés selon les priorités et les besoins réels des femmes. Sous la tutelle de la Direction des questions féminines, les choix sont partisans et dépendent des priorités du gouvernement. En tant que professeure-chercheure, je considère qu’on ne peut faire de recherche crédible sans avoir une véritable liberté de parole; on ne peut prétendre à l’objectivité dans un tel contexte.

Il me semble également important de mentionner l’utilité du travail de recherche du Conseil consultatif pour les universitaires. Les études réalisées par cet organisme étaient utilisées par de nombreux chercheurs. Grâce à son travail, des données sur l’évolution de la situation des femmes et donc, sur la progression vers l’égalité étaient disponibles.

Finalement, je tiens à souligner que par cette décision, le gouvernement a brisé la promesse qu’il avait faite dans sa plateforme électorale de travailler en étroite collaboration avec le Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme. De plus, la façon dont le gouvernement a annoncé l’abolition du Conseil consultatif aux femmes qui y travaillent me semble contradictoire avec sa prétention de transparence.

Avec cette décision, le Nouveau-Brunswick fait marche arrière dans la route vers l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes. Je vous demande donc, pour l’avenir des femmes et des hommes du Nouveau-Brunswick, de revenir sur votre décision. Le Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme du Nouveau-Brunswick est un atout indispensable pour la population, pour les professeurs-chercheurs, pour les groupes de défense des droits des femmes, mais aussi pour le gouvernement. Démontrez que vous pouvez être à l’écoute de la population!

Sylvie Morin

Professeure de psychologie

Université de Moncton, campus d’Edmundston

Filed under: solidarity/solidarité

You didn’t think we were done, did you? Ongoing Action: RebELLEs’ Photo-protest/L’action continue: Manifestation photos des RebELLEs

Amy Turner

Amy Turner

 

Katie Flynn

 

Karlie Hanoski

Krysta Skentelbury

 

Sarah Reynolds

 

Meagan De Jong

 

Maria Gonzalez Frias

 

Lauren Vail

 

Lauren McFarlane

Sylvie Morin et Nicole Lang

Chantal Bouchard

Stefanie Boucher-Bouchard

Anna Maria Hartley

 

Manda Fair

 

Filed under: Actions, Photo Protest/Manifestation photos, solidarity/solidarité

Ongoing Action: RebELLEs’ Photo-Protest/ L’action continue: Manifestation photos des RebELLEs

Natalie Jones

Names TBA

Filed under: Actions, Photo Protest/Manifestation photos, solidarity/solidarité

Letter: The Human Development Council (Saint John)

March 29, 2011

The Honourable David Alward
Premier of New Brunswick
Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
Canada
E3B 5H1

 

Dear Mr. Alward,

 

Re. New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women

 

In keeping with our mission of coordinating and promoting social development in greater Saint John, we are writing to urge you to reverse your government’s decision to abolish the Advisory Council on the Status of Women (the “Council”). Since its creation in 1977, the Council has provided important “arms-length” information and advice to governments on matters relating to the status of women in New Brunswick. They have a track record of providing solid, reliable research and essential advocacy. The Council has been an important independent voice for women.

 

The Council’s list of accomplishments is impressive given the modest public investment made to sustain it. As your government addresses the province’s fiscal and demographic challenges it is important that all the interests in our communities – including gender – are heard and that researched positions replace rhetoric.  The Council is an important part of civil society in New Brunswick and its abolition would weaken an already fragile network of organizations. Moreover, it is likely that disbanding the Council would have a chilling effect on the advocacy efforts of other groups receiving government support.

 

We support the work of the Women’s Issues Branch and acknowledge the importance of its mandate to coordinate the implementation of the government’s action plans on violence against women and the wage gap. At the same time, we believe that a vital service provided by the Council – to bring matters of concern to women before the public (as set out in section 3 of its Act) – would be lost if the Council was abolished.

 

The Human Development Council urges you to reconsider your government’s decision.

 

Yours truly,

 

Cathy Patterson

President

Filed under: Letters/lettres, solidarity/solidarité

Letter: Irene Mathyssen, MP, NDP Status of Women Critic

March 30, 2011

Hon. David Alward
Premier, New Brunswick
Centennial Building
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1
 Canada

Dear Premier,

Re: Open letter urging the New Brunswick Government not to abolish the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women

I am extremely concerned and disappointed that in the 2011 budget the Government of New Brunswick eliminated the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women (NB ACSW).  The independent nature of the NB ACSW gave women in New Brunswick and across Canada a strong voice to critique the provincial and federal government’s progress on advancing women’s equality.

In the 1990’s, the federal Liberal government abolished the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women (CACSW) folding its mandate into Status of Women Canada. When the CACSW was abolished the Liberal government, at the time, promised, like your government that the federal department could take on the same mandate and save the government money. This turned out to be false. Currently, Status of Women Canada (SWC) does not perform any of the functions that CACSW did; research, advocacy and lobbying activities of SWC have now also been banned.

2011 marks the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day. Women in Canada have come far, but women still have not achieved equality in Canada. I’ve attached a newspaper article by Elsie Hambrook, the chair of the NB ACSW that describes why the advisory council needs to exist.
I urge to you to reconsider your decision and allow the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women to continue its work on advancing women’s equality in New Brunswick and across Canada.

Sincerely,

Irene Mathyssen, MP
NDP Status of Women Critic

Filed under: Letters/lettres, solidarity/solidarité

THANK YOU/MERCI

To everyone who came out today! Pictures are coming ASAP.

À tout le monde qui ont sorti aujourd’hui! On partage les photos aussitôt que possible!

Filed under: Actions, solidarity/solidarité

REMINDER: Protest at Moncton City Hall TODAY 4:30-5:30pm RAPPEL: Manifestation à l’Hôtel de Ville de Moncton AUJOURD’HUI de 16 h 30 à 17 h 30

Also: protest in Fredericton tomorrow beginning at 12pm in front of the legislature before the debate/vote on the motion to reinstate the NB ACSW begins around 2pm.

De plus: une manifestation demain commençant à 12 h devant l’Assemblée législature avant le débat/vote sur la motion de la réinstauration du CCCF du NB qui aura lieu vers 14 h .

Filed under: Actions

NB ACSW Chairperson’s Telegraph Journal Column

http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/1393639

http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/images/empty.gif  http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/images/empty.gif

What New Brunswick women lose with the expected disappearance on Friday of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women is a public body that speaks out to defend women’s interests.

There will no longer be a public body with a mandate that allows it to set its own agenda and its own priorities and to speak out based on the concerns and interest of women.

One generation of New Brunswick women, at least, will have had a publicly funded ally, in creating a fairer world.

Governments fund bodies like advisory councils because it recognizes that a group – the majority of the population in women’s case – is disadvantaged by history, by how things are done and by under representation in decision-making positions. Advisory councils are a way to raise issues of importance to the population group they represent, to begin to create a level “living” field.

It is clear to thousands of New Brunswickers that the promise of equality – the collective rights of women, of our daughters and granddaughters, as well as the quality of life of all our descendants, male and female – will suffer with the disappearance of an independent voice for women. No social justice reform has ever come about without public pressure having been exercised.

Here is the to-do list of work needed to reach a better status for women in New Brunswick:

*Have governments produce an independent report on the progress made toward reducing inequality between the sexes, in all aspects of New Brunswick society. Or else we won’t have a complete picture and will be vulnerable to those who would say that things are going well because government is working on a few non-controversial women’s issues of its choosing. We’re all appreciative that victims of violence have services, but – in other news – 73 per cent of men’s salaries is not enough, no access to child care is a poor reason to not be a mother or to be a stay-at-home mother, and discrimination based on sex stinks.

*Have all governments’ and institutions’ strategies take sex into consideration. Before launching a budget, measure whether it treats everyone fairly or whether it will actually increase inequality, which other public programs will then have to try to fix. For example, when planning how to reduce poverty, overcome the reigning political correctness that forbids looking at issues based on sex – face up to the fact that, often, men become and stay poor for rather different reasons than women. You won’t be effective if you don’t acknowledge this.

*End our silence about the status of our aboriginal sisters.

*Have New Brunswick employers, unions and governments create family-friendly policies and environments, so that women don’t have to sacrifice earnings, health or well-being in order to reconcile work and family, so that New Brunswick families can have the number of children they actually want, so that we become a good place for families.

*Have skills shortage initiatives consider recruiting girls and women and consider implementing the successful campaigns many other, more competitive, jurisdictions have. Ask why we were doing better in the 1990s in getting girls and women into non-traditional trades than we are now.

*Express outrage that governments have not even noticed, let alone expressed outrage, at the government survey results that show that more and more New Brunswickers blame battered women for provoking the violence. Where is the action plan? Why is violence against women as common as ever, despite massive community efforts and the millions of dollars spent?

*Have all New Brunswickers working in traditionally female positions benefit from the same right that was given to public sector workers – equal pay for work of equal value – so that employers don’t continue to benefit from the age-old “discount” on women’s salaries.

*Hold all our sons, partners, brothers, fathers and male colleagues responsible for rejecting sexism in their language, their actions and among their peers.

*Notice every day until it is no longer true that very few officials, commentators and quoted experts are women in this province and that this absence goes unnoticed. Ask yourselves and political parties, how the fact that the great majority of our elected leaders are from one gender is skewing how we are governed and what issues are addressed.

*Notice every day until it is no longer true that the worst-paid jobs often involve care work.

*Do not let one more politician or party person go unchallenged when they pay lip service to the need for more women in politics. Ask why women’s under-representation, a situation which is not improving with time, is not the focus of an action plan by parties, governments or Elections NB? The decision to abolish the Advisory Council on the Status of Women is more evidence that women’s voices, no matter how loud, are not heard when we are in minority situations – eight women in the legislature is evidently not enough.

Good luck, remember to have fun, and remember the watchwords of a New Brunswick women’s group active in the 1800s: Agitate, Educate and Organize. It is the only thing that ever improved women’s status.

Elsie Hambrook is chairperson of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Filed under: Media/Médias

Pages