This week, the New Brunswick government introduced its 2011 Budget, which abolishes the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women, effective April 1.
The government says the ACSW provides the same services as the Women’s Issues Branch. However, the ACSW argues their work does not overlap and that it’s crucial to have an agency like theirs that has objective distance from the government in order for them to evaluate government programs critically. Because of its direct relationship with the government, the Women’s Issues Branch can’t have the same independent influence.
The ACSW’s budget is only $418,000, a paltry amount compared to the overall provincial budget, and compared to the good work they do on issues like pay equity, child care, poverty, women seniors, violence against women, and many more . The ACSW is arguing that the Alward government is cutting their funding not for financial reasons, but for ideological ones.
Across Canada, we’ve seen similar attacks by right-wing governments. Here in BC we’re still losing women’s centres partly due to loss of government funding under the Liberals. One silver lining is that Canadian feminist activists are more prepared to take action and show governments that these attacks on organizations dedicated to women’s equality are unacceptable.
Here’s what you can do to support the ACSW:
- Post messages of support for the ACSW on Twitter using the hashtag #nbwomen
- Join the Save Our Advisory Council Facebook Group
- Check out the blog set up to keep people informed and provide new ideas for action to support the ACSW.
- If you’re in New Brunswick, contact your MLA, the Premier, and/or the media.
- Know an organization or blogger or social media activist or local celebrity who’d make a statement of support? Get them talking.