Save our Advisory Council | Sauvons notre conseil consultatif

Rally to protest against the abolition of the ACSW/Manifestation contre l’abolition du CCCFNB

To protest against the abolition of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Where: A march from Officers Square to the Legislature

What date: Friday May 6th

When: 2:30 pm

Who: Organized by CUPE 2745

Added details: We will be bringing our bras and maybe doing a symbolic “Burning of the Bras” in protest

Manifestation contre l’abolition du CCCFNB

Pour protester contre l’abolition du Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme

Endroit: Une marche à partir du “Officers Square” jusqu’à l’Assemblée législative

Date: Vendredi le 6 mai

Quand: 14h30

Qui: Organisé par SCFP 2745

Détails supplémentaires: Nous allons apporter des brassières et peut-être les brûler de façon symbolique.


Filed under: Actions, solidarity/solidarité

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

Beth Lyons as Mabel French (they didn't have duct tape in 1919!)

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

Texte de la scénette (skit) jouée le vendredi 15 avril/Text from Friday’s Skit

Voici le texte de la scénette (skit) jouée le vendredi 15 avril devant l’Hôtel de ville de Moncton.  Il est ici tel que présenté, avec un rôle en anglais et l’autre en français.Version français here.

Below is the text of a small skit that was performed Friday, April 15th, in front of Moncton City Hall. It is presented as it was performed, with one role in English and one role in French. Download the all English version here.

Mabel: Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am most pleased to be with you good persons here today to mark the anniversary of the province of New Brunswick extending the right to vote to certain of its female citizens.

Now, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mabel French. I’m apparently slightly well-known nowadays as the first female lawyer in New Brunswick AND British Columbia, as well as a suffragette. Back in the day, when I first attempted to be permitted to enter the New Brunswick Barrister’s Society, I was informed by the Supreme Court of the province that I could not join because, as a woman, I was not a person! I fought that battle, gained entry to the Society and then later pulled the same stunt in British Columbia.

Enough about me, though! This Sunday marks the anniversary of the occasion on which many of New Brunswick women gained the right to vote provincially.

In case some of your young’uns have forgotten, women have not always had the right to vote, so I’m going to give a brief history lesson!

-Women, along with infants and persons deemed lunatics, were thought to not have the mental capacities required to vote. Certain men were also prohibited from voting including Jewish, Aboriginal, and black men. For a period, Roman Catholics in New Brunswick, could not vote either, effectively disenfranchising most of the Acadian and Irish population.

 -Since the 1800’s, Canada women landowners voted municipally based on the notion of no taxation without representation. This was true in New Brunswick, though it was almost certainly Anglophone Christian women of European decent and some affluence who were able to exercise their right to vote.

 -It wasn’t until 1918, that women aged 21 and older were extended the right to vote federally. Despicably, Aboriginal women were denied inclusion in this right.

 -Now, as to why we’re here today! On April 17th, 1919 women in New Brunswick were extended the right to vote provincially. Again, Aboriginal women were not extended this right. It was only in 1951 that the Indian Act was amended to allow Aboriginal women living on reserves to vote in band elections and only in 1963 that New Brunswick Aboriginal women and men living on reserves given the right to vote provincially.

Alright, I’m done with my history lesson. Now, because I was a suffragette, I’m actually quite bloody bored with talking about women getting the franchise! What is far more interesting to me is talking about how far women have come since my heyday!

I can only imagine that now, almost 100 years since many women were first extended federal and provincial voting rights that women must make up half of the provincial legislative assembly! (Handler taps Mabel on the shoulder, leaning in and whispering in her ear.) PARDON??! Women have had the vote in New Brunswick for almost a hundred years and only 14% of the provinces’ MLAs are women?! Well, I declare that THAT is certainly a disappointment.

I am most certain that there have been impressive gains for women in other areas then. Like wages! Now that women are full and equal participants in society, I trust that we’re no longer forced into only a select few traditional careers that are traditionally underpaid. (Handler again taps Mable and leans in to whisper.) 88 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR A MAN EARNS?!!?!? I must be losing my hearing!

Fine, fine, well, if the women of New Brunswick still don’t have adequate representation in politics or fair wages at this juncture, there must be some other issues that have been dealt with appropriately. (Looking at her handler.) Please tell me that in this good province women have dominion over their bodies and have access to a full range of, oh what do you call them, reproductive rights? (Handler shakes heads and holds up empty hands, almost embarrassed.)

(During the following section Mabel does not take her eyes off the handler, who keeps shaking her head no in answer to the questions.)

No? Well tell me that violence against women has been eradicated?

Has society at least stopped blaming women for the sexual violations carried out against their bodies?

Have Francophone and Aboriginal women ceased to be subject to ongoing marginalization?

Has a system of reliable and affordable childcare outside of the home been developed so women can fully participate in the workforce?

Have you at least stopped insisting on dressing baby boys in blue and baby girls in pink?! NO?!!?

Well, I must say that things in New Brunswick have not progressed NEARLY as much as I had hoped. Frankly, I am extremely disappointed in this sad state of affairs. Tell me, do you not have a temperance union, an association of women to organize and agitate for better treatment of women?

(L’assistante s’avance et prend le microphone) L’assistante : En fait, plusieurs organisations fantastiques existent et se penchent sur ces enjeux. Malheureusement, plusieurs d’entre elles ont peine à trouver les fonds nécessaires à leur travail de revendication, ou encore, la loi ne leur permet qu’une certaine latitude en matière de défense des droits. Bien sûr il y a, dans notre province, le Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme au Nouveau-Brunswick. Il s’agit d’une agence gouvernementale indépendante ayant pour mandat la revendication du droit des femmes, la recherche et les consultations et la sensibilisation aux enjeux d’intérêt pour les femmes du Nouveau-Brunswick.

Mabel: Excellent! A government agency dedicated to women! Well, we all know that typical government departments are strictly occupied with the concerns of men, so of course there should be an agency dedicated to women! It’s a large department, I assume, about half the government? I mean, women ARE half the population!

L’assistante : Um, en fait, leur budget n’a jamais excédé un demi-million de dollars, ce qui, de nos jours, est une somme assez négligeable quand on pense aux dépenses publiques, mais —(Mabel l’interromp).

Mabel: Half a million dollars? What is that, less than a measly dollar for every woman in the province?!

L’assistante : Oui mais, vous voyez—

Mabel: This is preposterous! How are women supposed to be—

L’assistante: Mabel—

Mabel: —full and equal members of society if—

L’assistante : MABEL! (Mabel, abasourdie, se tait et regarde son assistante.) Le gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick vient en fait tout juste d’abolir le Conseil consultatif. En fait, les représentants ont dit que l’abolition du Conseil démontrait clairement à quel point nous avons fait du progrès. Ils ont expliqué que tout comme le droit de vote des femmes, il s’agissait d’une décision choquante à premier abord, une décision qui provoquerait bien des débats, mais que les gens reconnaitraient en fin de compte qu’il s’agissait de la bonne chose à faire.

Mabel (sputtering): What… you… I don’t… Why did you all let them do this?!?!!?

L’assistante : Eh bien, nous ne les avons pas laissé faire. Ils… l’ont tout simplement fait. Tout au long de la campagne électorale, ils ont promis de consulter le Conseil consultatif, s’ils étaient portés au pouvoir. Une fois élus, par contre, ils ont simplement éliminé le financement de l’agence et prévoient abroger la loi qui a créé le Conseil. Personne ne nous a consultés… nous n’aurions pas accepté que le Conseil soit aboli!

Mabel: You had a LAW mandating the existence of this Council and they’re just going to change it?!?! What’s next, revoking women’s right to vote?!?!

L’assistante : En toute franchise, un autre organisme gouvernemental de la province s’occupe aussi des enjeux qui touchent les femmes. On nous a assuré que cet organisme prendrait le flambeau et défendrait les droits des femmes – et que tous les services seraient préservés.

Mabel: I see. And is this office independent? It is able to voice dissent and discontent? And the person responsible for this department is a strong advocate for women?

L’assistante : Il s’agit en fait d’une section du Conseil exécutif et qui travaille donc sous l’égide du premier ministre. La personne qui en est responsable est la députée nommée ministre responsable de la condition de la femme.

Mabel: Ah! You have a Minister responsible for the Status of Women! Well, surely you can appeal to this person to reinstate the Council! Anyone worth her salt as an activist knows that you have to have an independent voice—(Handler interrupts)

L’assistante : Pour tout vous dire, la ministre appuie l’abolition du Conseil.

Mabel (taking a slow deep breathe before beginning): So. The good women of this province continue to be underrepresented in all levels of political assembly (Handler nods) yet the government of New Brunswick has seen fit to, without consultation, eliminate the incredibly small and inexpensive Council that has served as women’s independent voice in government (Handler nods) all the while telling you that the very same Minister who supports the abolition of this Council will henceforth represent your concerns? (Handler nods. Mabel takes another deep breath). Well, I must tell you that you must organize to have this decision reversed! If I may offer some advice, in my day, we found petitions to be quite an effective means of exercising political pressure. Tell me, have you arranged any such actions?

L’assistante : Bien entendu! Nous avons créé un blog (Mabel semble confuse en entendant ce mot.) par l’entremise duquel, grâce a une « manifestation photos », plusieurs groupes – des groupes nationaux d’envergure, en fait – expriment leur mécontentement face à l’abolition du Conseil consultatif. Nous y avons également publié une déclaration qui dénonce l’abolition et demande le rétablissement du Conseil – elle porte la signature de 59 organismes provinciaux. Oh, et nous lancerons également une pétition papier à l’intention du grand public sou peu!

Mabel: Well, I am relieved to know that the spirit of organization and agitation hasn’t left the women of this good province. Because, let me tell you, no government is going to give you equality without your demanding it first. What government will do, in my experience, is treat you as a non-person, see how far they can push you, and then push you even further. If you allow, in this 21st century, your government to take your independent voice in government from you without your express consent, then I am gravely worried for the future that awaits you.  As for the government of New Brunswick, I would for like them to know that, as a very modern woman from 1919, I find their decision to abolish the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women quite backwards and old fashioned. Now, if you will excuse me, based on what I’ve heard today, I believe that I have some rabble-rousing I need to attend to.

Filed under: Actions, Media/Médias

Friday/vendredi: Got the Vote, Lost Our Voice! Vote obtenu, voix perdue!

In honor of the anniversary of (some) N.B. women getting the provincial vote in 1919 (and in light of the government’s suggestion that the elimination of the Advisory Council is comparable to women getting the vote/becoming persons/being able to hold office in terms of evidence of advancing equality) we’ve got a little event lined up. If you want to join in, please feel free to make your own suffrage themed banners (check this out for an idea of the look to go for). If you want to learn more about the suffrage movement, there is a wonderful film called Iron Jawed Angels you can watch (though it is based on the American suffrage movement). (Download the poster!)

Afin de célébrer l`anniversaire des femmes Néo-Brunswickoises qui ont eu le droit de vote provincial en avril 1919 (comme le gouvernement a comparé les femmes qui recoivent le droit de vote/ sont reconnues comme des personnes / sont capables de se présenter aux élections comme preuve de notre égalité) nous organisons un petit événement. Si vous voulez vous joindre à nous, sentez-vous libre de préparer une bannière au thème du suffrage des femmes (voir cette affiche pour ce qu’une affiche pourrait ressembler et allez y!) Pour en apprendre d’avantage sur le mouvement pour le suffrage féminin, vous pouvez écouter le film américain Iron Jawed Angels (c’est basé, par contre sur le mouvement américain pour le suffrage). (Téléchargez affiche ici.)

Filed under: Actions, Media/Médias

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

Atlantic Region Conference: Canadian Union of Postal Worker's

Filed under: Photo Protest/Manifestation photos

Media Roundup!

Letter to the Editor “Please reconsider funding for this independent voice” April 11th, Daily Gleaner

Commentary “Is it all over for women in New Brunswick?” April 11th, Telegraph Journal

“Groups want advisory council back”, April 9th, Times & Transcript,

“N.B. labour groups protest on women’s issues,” April 8th, Canadian Press–n-b-labour-groups-protest-on-women-s-issues

Letter to the Editor: “Council’s voice promoted equality” April 9th, Telegraph Journal

“Council still needed, protesters contend” April 9th, Telegraph Journal

“Protestors make noise at legislature” April 9th, Times & Transcript

Letters to the Editor “Restore women’s advisory council” and “New battle to be fought” April 9th, Times & Transcript

Filed under: Media/Médias

Priceless Quotation from Last Week’s Debate on the Motion to Reinstate the ACSW

Quote from Dorothy Shephard MLA, Saint John Lancaster:

I understand that women across the province were surprised by this decision. There is some fear

about the future of women’s issues. We hear that, and we are listening. That is the difference:

We are listening.


Change can be scary, and it is often met with opposition. Nellie McClung met with opposition

when she petitioned to give all Canadian women the right to vote, but this change was a good

change. Agnes Macphail was met with opposition when she put her name on the federal ballot.

She became the first woman elected to Parliament. It was a big change, but it was a good change.


When Emily Murphy became the first women appointed as a magistrate in Canada—in fact, the

first female magistrate in the entire British Empire—it was a big change to the way our country administered

justice, but it was a good change. Mine could not compare with the milestones achieved by the aforementioned

women, but I am an independent businesswoman. I have worked for 30 years in what used to a very

maledominated industry. I know what it is like to work side by side with male counterparts and to be perceived

as inferior. We—and I mean women and women’s issues—have come a long way in 30 years. I am confident

that our government will continue to promote the voices of women and women’s issues. Bringing women’s

advocacy wholly into Minister Blaney’s portfolio is a big change, but it is also a good change. It signals the end

of women’s issues being at arm’s length of the government, and it signals the end of the division between the

advisory council and the Women’s Issues Branch. Down the road, as the Women’s Issues Branch continues to

advocate for the status of women in New Brunswick, this change will also be recorded as a good change.

Filed under: Basic Info/Info de base



Where: In front of the Legislative Assembly, Fredericton

When: this Friday, April 8

Time: 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.

Bring your noise makers, banners and signs!

Organized by the Canadian Union of Public Employees – New Brunswick .

Take the bus from Moncton to the rally against the abolition of the NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women. The bus transportation is being provided for free!

Register: If you want to travel by bus, give your name, phone number, and your email address to Linda McCaustlin, at 855-7046 or at

The bus will leave from the Champlain mall parking lot (near Burger King), on Friday April 8, at 7:45 a.m. We will be returning to Moncton from the Legislative Assembly in Fredericton at 11 a .m.


Où : Devant l’Assemblée législative, à Fredericton

Quand : ce vendredi 8 avril

Heure : 10h15 à 10h45

Apportez des choses pour faire du bruit, vos bannières et vos affiches!

Organisé par le Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique – section N.-B.

Prenez l’autobus de Moncton au rallye contre l’abolition du Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme (voir info sur le rallye ci-dessous). Le transport par autobus vous est offert gratuitement !

Inscrivez-vous : Si vous voulez voyager par autobus, inscrivez-vous auprès de Linda McCaustlin (bénévole, anglophone), au 855-7046 ou par courriel, en anglais, en fournissant votre nom, votre numéro de téléphone et votre courriel, à

L’autobus partira du stationnement du Centre d’achat Place Champlain (près du Burger King), le vendredi 8 avril, à 7h45 et repartira pour Moncton de l’Assemblée législative, Fredericton, à 11h.



Filed under: Actions, Basic Info/Info de base

Media Today! Média aujourd’hui!

Letter to the Editor “Some cuts don’t make sense”

Column “A great leader is willing to admit a mistake”

New Brunswick Association of Social Workers expresses support for the ACSW in a letter to the editor “Cut will create hardship”

Lettre de L’Association des travailleurs sociaux du Nouveau-Brunswick”Décision à reconsidérer”

First edition of Jody Dallaire’s new Times & Transcript column “Looking for gender in the provincial budget”

Lettre “Une atteinte aux acquis des femmes”

Lettre “Le Conseil consultatif comble un déficit démocratique”

Article “De plus en plus de voix s’élèvent contre l’abolition du CCCF”


“Se tenir debout”

And former ACSW employee Beth Lyons is now blogging at Shameless Magazine about the abolition of the Council.

Filed under: Media/Médias

Reminder/Rappel: New Media Posted Every Day/Nouveau médias partager chaque jour

@ Media/Medias and/et Articles that aren’t available online/Articles qui ne sont pas disponible sur l’internet

Also, former NB ACSW employee Beth Lyons has started blogging in English about the abolition with Shameless Magazine.


Filed under: Basic Info/Info de base, Media/Médias