The abolition of the NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women
I am shocked by the abolition of the NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women (ACSW).
The Premier should reconsider his decision to abolish the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. One good reason is the electoral promise that a conservative government would work more closely with the Advisory Council.
There was no advance notice about this decision which is testimony to the fact that the government knew how the women of the province would react.
It is also a testimony to the fact that the government doesn’t like watchdogs as much as women need them, for one thing because we are so underrepresented in the legislature.
The Advisory Council plays a unique role. It is an arms-length agency, independent from the government, respected by everyone in New Brunswick. It brings women’s concerns and issues in the public space, shares it with the government and advises the minister. Its abolition would represent the end of this independent voice.
The Women’s Issues Branch and the Advisory Council are two different organizations with different roles.
As the Chair of the NB Coalition for Pay Equity pointed out earlier today, the budget savings due to the abolition of the ACSW are only a drop in the bucket. “Isn’t the women’s perspective worth $342,000 to the government?” In fact, the ACSW’s budget was only $418,000 and the budget of the Women’s Issues Branch of the Executive Council Office only increases by $76,000 following the changes announced by the government, representing savings of only $342,000.
The women in this province should not be victims of the deficit.