Save our Advisory Council | Sauvons notre conseil consultatif

News: “Gov’t planning women’s summit”

From the Times & Transcript: http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/news/article/1449701:

The provincial government plans to hold a summit on women’s issues early next month after abolishing a watchdog and advisory group for women that was in place for more than 30 years.

Provincial cabinet Minister Margaret-Ann Blaney is to formally announce the Fredericton summit today, which she says will bring together women from across New Brunswick to identify measures that would give them a voice in the province.

“I don’t want women in New Brunswick to feel they don’t have a voice but I also want to make sure that we have a dialogue about what is it we need,” said Blaney, the MLA for Rothesay and the minister responsible for the Status of Women.

The Progressive Conservative government pulled its funding from the arm’s length Advisory Council on the Status of Women following its first budget in March as part of broader efforts to control spending. The move sparked protests in front of the provincial legislature in Fredericton, but the government didn’t back down from its controversial decision.

“A lot of women have said to me they didn’t even know there was an advisory council,” Blaney, also the environment minister, said in an interview.

“Other women have said to me, ‘Who will be the voice?’ And other women have said to me, ‘Do we need a voice?'”

The two-day summit on women’s issues, co-chaired by Blaney and Justice and Consumer Affairs Minister Marie-Claude Blais, will start at the Fredericton Inn on Nov. 4 with a discussion among non-governmental organizations that deal with women’s concerns. The following day, individual women, such as university students, stay-at-home mothers and business leaders, will gather for a talk on women’s issues.

“If women are feeling they don’t have a voice, I need to hear that,” Blaney said.

“I need to know what needs to be in place to ensure that there is one.”

The advisory council was responsible for promoting equal status, treatment and benefits for women and for recommending related legislation, policies and practices to the province, among other roles. The Alward government cut the group’s $413,000 in funding and folded some of its responsibilities into the women’s issues branch.

That sparked public outcry over fears the branch, part of a central government office, would not be as effective holding government to account as the advisory council, which operated at arm’s length.

“This summit is really important because it involves women from all walks of life,” Blaney said.

“And I think women have been looking for a way to talk about what’s meaningful for women in today’s society and whether we need to put another mechanism in place.”

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

Call for interviews/Appel à des entrevues

Hello,

My name is Karolyn Martin. I’m a feminist who hails from Fredericton, NB, and is currently living in Peterborough, ON. I’ve been following the news here in New Brunswick closely and am concerned by the cuts to funding that several women’s organizations and organizations disproportionately used by women have received over the past few years.

I’m currently doing my Master’s degree at Trent University, and as a part of this research, I am interviewing people who are passionate about feminist or women’s issues in New Brunswick. This project is open to people of any gender/age/political affiliation/etc. My main focus will be on the recent abolition of the NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women. I’m interested in hearing what people’s perspectives are on this, and what they think it means for women in New Brunswick. If you are passionate about these issues, please contact me!

I am looking for volunteers who would like to talk with me about this. I can arrange to travel to the city/town/village where you live. Unfortunately, I cannot do in-person interviews in French due to language constraints, but I can arrange to have questions sent to you in French and would appreciate answers in French! Any translations of your words that I include in my writing would be subject to your approval.

Be assured that I won’t include any identifying characteristics of anyone in my project without their okay! I can be reached by a private message here on Facebook, by e-mail at [Karolyn.martin@gmail.com], or by phone at (705) 768-4932.

In solidarity,

Karolyn Martin

Bonjour,

Je m’appelle Karolyn Martin, et je suis une féministe originaire de Fredericton, N-B, qui demeure présentement à Peterborough en Ontario. J’ai suivi de près les manchettes ici au Nouveau-Brunswick, et je suis concernée par les coupures de financement que plusieurs organisations pour les femmes, (très vastement utilisées, d’ailleurs), ont subies au cours des quelques dernières années.

Au moment, je complète ma Maîtrise à l’université de Trent, et l’une des composantes de ce projet de recherche consiste à interviewer des gens qui sont passionnés par le féminisme, ou par les causes des femmes au Nouveau-Brunswick. Ce projet est ouvert aux gens de tous sexes/âge/ affiliations politiques/etc. Mon objectif principal sera sur la récente dissolution du Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme au Nouveau-Brunswick. Je suis intéressée à entendre les différentes opinions qu’ont les gens à ce sujet, et ce que vous pensez que cela représente pour les femmes au Nouveau-Brunswick. Si vous êtes passionnés par ces sujets, n’hésitez-pas à me contacter!

Je suis à la recherché de bénévoles qui aimeraient discuter de ces circonstances avec moi. Cependant, des contraintes linguistiques m’empêchent de faire des entrevues en personne en Français; mais si désiré, je peux vous faire parvenir mes questions en Français, et j’apprécierais que vous me répondiez dans votre langue maternelle, ou dans la langue dans laquelle vous préférez vous exprimer! Toute traduction de vos propos inclus dans mes écrits sera sujette à votre approbation avant d’apparaître.

Soyez assurés que je n’inclurai aucunes caractéristiques pouvant révéler l’identité des participants de mon projet sans leur accord! Je peux être rejointe par message privé par l’entremise de Facebook, par courriel à l’adresse suivante : Karolyn.martin@gmail.com ; ou par téléphone au (705) 768-4932.

En toute solidarité,

Karolyn Martin

Filed under: Actions

CONSEIL CONSULTATIF SUR LA CONDITION DE LA FEMME NÉCESSAIRE AUJOURD’HUI PLUS QUE JAMAIS : LIBÉRAUX

mercredi 29 juin 2011

http://nbliberal.ca/fr/1443/status-of-women-advocacy-needed-now-more-than-ever-liberals

FREDERICTON – Pendant qu’un groupe de femmes se réunis en dehors de l’Assemblée législative pour manifester contre la perte de services cliniques de santé sexuelle pour ceux âgées de 20 à 24 ans, il est clair qu’un groupe de pression indépendant pour les femmes est nécessaire aujourd’hui plus que jamais, a dit Victor Boudreau, chef  de l’Opposition libérale.

« Si jamais on avait besoin du Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme, c’est maintenant, » a dit M. Boudreau.  « Le Conseil sur la condition de la femme était une organisation indépendante qui pouvait parler au nom des femmes contre le gouvernement lorsque celui-ci prenait la mauvaise route, tout comme l’a fait le gouvernement Alward lorsqu’il a coupé les services de santé sexuelle pour le groupe qui a un plus grand besoin pour ces services. »

Bill Fraser, critique de la Santé pour l’Opposition officielle, a fait l’annonce des changements aux services de santé sexuelle lors du Budget principal des dépenses du ministère de la Santé pendant la dernière session législative.  À l’époque, les Néo-Brunswickois ont appris que, malgré ce que la ministre de la Santé a décrit comme étant une « épidémie » d’infections transmises sexuellement (ITS), le gouvernement éliminait les services de santé sexuelle pour les femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans.

L’Assemblée législative a aussi entendu que trois des quatre médecins qui pratiquaient à la clinique de santé sexuelle ici à Fredericton ont démissionnés de leurs postes pour protester contre les coupures de service.

Le chef Libéral par intérim a suggéré que si le Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme existait toujours, on aurait pu appuyer de la pression afin d’éviter cette mauvaise décision.  Le Conseil consultatif a été éliminé par David Alward, malgré sa promesse dans sa plateforme électorale de travailler avec le groupe qu’il a éliminé à la première occasion.

« En éliminant le Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme, ce gouvernement à essayer de museler la voix des femmes, » a dit M. Boudreau.

« Si le Conseil sur la condition de la femme existait toujours, les femmes auraient une voix forte sur cette question, » a-t-il ajouté.  « Voilà un exemple de pourquoi nous faisons appel à la ministre (Margaret-Ann) Blaney de réinstaurer immédiatement le financement au Conseil consultatif. »

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

STATUS OF WOMEN ADVOCACY NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER: LIBERALS/

Wednesday June 29th, 2011
FREDERICTON – As women gather outside the provincial Legislature to protest the loss of sexual health clinic services for those ages 20-24, it’s clear that an independent, arms’ length advocacy group for women is needed now more than ever, Victor Boudreau, Leader of the Official Opposition Liberals, says.

“If ever we’ve needed the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, it is now,” Boudreau commented. “The Status of Women council was that independent organization that could speak out on behalf of women against the government when it took the wrong path, as the Alward government did when it cut sexual health services to the age group that most needs those services.”

Opposition Health Critic Bill Fraser broke the news of the changes in sexual health services during the main estimates of the Department of Health during the last Legislative session. At that time, New Brunswickers learned that, despite what the Minister of Health described as an “epidemic” of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the government was eliminating sexual health services to women ages 20-24.

The Legislative Assembly also heard that three out of four doctors practising at a Fredericton sexual health clinic had resigned their positions in protest of the cut to services.

The interim Liberal leader suggests that had the Status of Women advisory council still been in existence, pressure could have been applied to avoid this bad decision from happening. The advisory council was eliminated by David Alward, despite his promise in his election platform to work with the group that he eliminated at the first opportunity.

“By eliminating the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, this government sought to silence the voices of women,” Boudreau charged.

“If the Status of Women council was still around, women would have a strong voice on this issue,” he added. “This is a prime example of why we’ve been calling on Minister (Margaret-Ann) Blaney to immediately reinstate funding to the Advisory Council.”

-30-

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

New Articles + Women’s Issues Branch on Twitter/ Questions féminines sur Twitter

Two articles this month have made mention of the abolition of the ACSW:

“Mount A associations meet with MLA” July 6th, Times & Transcript http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/news/article/1421285
“Critics pan sexual health changes” July 2nd, Times & Transcript http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/news/article/1420458

The Women’s Issues Branch has also joined Twitter (http://twitter.com/womennb) and begun its own e-newsletter, “Women Femmes NB” (to subscribe, email wib-dqf@gnb.ca).

La Direction des questions féminines est maintenant sur Twitter (http://twitter.com/femmesnb) et a commencé son propre bulletin électronique, «Women Femmes NB» (pour s’abonner:  wib-dqf@gnb.ca).

Filed under: Media/Médias

Lobbying Kit/ Trousse de campagne

Greetings!

Concerned groups and individuals have recently formed the Ad hoc Committee
for a Council on the Status of Women. Now, they invite you to participate in
the Ad hoc Committee’s campaign to prevent the abolition of the NB Advisory
Council on the Status of Women.

To do this, we ask that you have the petition signed and have your
provincial MLA table it in the Legislature once you have gathered at least
25 signatures.

Meeting your MLA is also a good way to demonstrate your interest in the
Council. Here is a kit to help you. Let us know the results of your efforts
by sending a report to the email address indicated in the Guide to Lobbying.

Please distribute this information within your networks.

Intro – Lobbying kit EN

Guide to Lobbying

Backgrounder on ACSW

Roles WIB, ACSW, advocacy organizations

Petition

Des personnes et des organismes ont récemment formé un Comité ad hoc pour un conseil sur la condition de la femme. Ce dernier vous invite à participer à sa campagne pour empêcher l’abolition du Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme au Nouveau-Brunswick.

Pour ce faire, nous vous demandons de faire signer la pétition ci-jointe et de demander à votre député provincial de la déposer à l’Assemblée législative dès qu’elle compte au moins 25 signatures.

Rencontrer votre député est également un bon moyen pour démontrer votre intérêt envers le Conseil. Voici une trousse pour vous aider. Faites-nous part des résultats de vos démarches, à l’adresse courriel jessica.hache@nb.aibn.com!

Veuillez distribuer cette information dans vos réseaux!

Intro – trousse de campagne

Guide du Lobbying

 

Informations générales sur CCCF

 

Rôles, DQF, CCCF, organismes de revendication FR

Petition

Filed under: Actions, Basic Info/Info de base

Reminder/Rappel: the media page is updated daily, la page des médias est mise à jour sur une base quotidienne

Just to remind everyone that the issue is still getting media coverage and that the “media” page on the right hand column is updated daily. Recent articles/letters:

La question continue à faire les manchettes et la page “médias”, dans la colonne de droite, est mise à jour quotidiennement. Récents articles et lettres:

“Protesters keep fighting to get funding for women’s council” May 7th, Daily Gleaner, http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/cityregion/article/1404389

“Province praised for consultation efforts” May 6th, Daily Gleaner, http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/cityregion/article/1403973

Lettre “Pourquoi briser une promesse électorale?” 5 mai, L’Étoile, http://letoile.jminforme.ca/editorial/article/1403087

Letter “Women’s opinions need to be heard” May 3rd, Telegraph Journal http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/1402841

Chronique “Être à l’écoute” 3 mai, L’Acadie Nouvelle http://www.capacadie.com/chroniques/2011/5/3/etre-a-l-ecoute

Letter “Work of council cannot continue as is was under government” May 3rd, Daily Gleaner http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/rss/article/1402901

Lettre “Pas assez féministe?” 29 avril, L’Acadie Nouvelle http://www.capacadie.com/opinions/2011/4/29/pas-assez-feministe

Lettre “Conseil consultatif: la bataille vaut la peine” 21 avril, L’Acadie Nouvelle http://www.capacadie.com/opinions/2011/4/25/conseil-consultatif-la-bataille-vaut-la-peine

Lettre “Des inégalités aberrantes21 avril, L’Acadie Nouvelle http://www.capacadie.com/opinions/2011/4/25/des-inegalites-aberrantes

Lettre “Les femmes ont droit à une voix collective indépendante” 21 avril, L’Acadie Nouvelle http://www.capacadie.com/opinions/2011/4/21/les-femmes-ont-droit-a-une-voix-collective-independante

Filed under: Media/Médias

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

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