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.