March 25th, 2011
Dear Minister Higgs,
I can’t begin to express the level of shock I am feeling about your recent proposal to abolish the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. As a woman in this province, I have been proud and confident knowing we had the Council overseeing Women’s equality issues. The Advisory Council was established to be an independent body. They have advocated for women and equality issues since 1977. Women in New Brunswick trust the work of the Advisory Council, because they are an independent think tank and are able to see the issues women face around equality.
While it is evident that your government plans to balance the books in this province, I an many other women, feel that abolishing this council is not the answer to fix the problems created by our elected governments. It is imperative that the Advisory Council remain as an independent body, in order for our society to work towards a more equal and just society. The establishment of the Council in 1977, was done as a catalyst for women to work towards the very important goal of equality, it would appear that your government feels that equality has been reached, with your decision to close it.
I must remind you that we are far from equality in this province, we know that gender based violence has not decreased, and the direct cause of this violence is in fact, inequality-not only in the homes of women that are experiencing violence, but also in society as a whole-for if we had reached equality those men that continue to abuse women would face stiffer penalties and sentencing. Further, we would have seen the RCMP push harder to find those that murdered our Aboriginal sisters. Instead, more than half of the murders of Aboriginal women remain unsolved. And finally, if equality were a fact of life in our society, women in this province would have seen pay equity years ago.
I urge you and your government to change your decision to abolish the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Women in this province are far from equal, and this decision will only push that goal farther from a reality.
I look forward to meeting with you to discuss this matter further. Please have your office contact me to schedule an appointment.
CAW Local 2002 Atlantic Region VP
CAW Council Chair of Women’s Committee