For-profits at SWC trough?

Three days away from my computer and the news on Status of Women Canada (SWC) funding changes gets even worse.  Two fine feminist activists, Judy Rebick and Linda McQuaig, offer their thoughts on the drastic changes and cuts at SWC.  From Rebick, founding publisher of rabble.ca and a former President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women:

…Another potentially even more significant change is that for-profit groups are now eligible for funding. In other words, the Royal Bank of Canada could apply for funding to Status of Women Canada to increase the number of women managers at the bank.

This should have the corporate sector salivating — yet another trough from which to feed.  Rebick continues:

…Politically motivated cuts to the program began in the ’80s under Brian Mulroney, at a time when the women’s movement was one of the most important opponents of free trade. The Liberals continued the cuts and quietly changed the program so that it was no longer funding operations but mostly research. This had an even a more devastating impact on women’s groups.

In one way, the Harper changes are the nail in the coffin, which may be why they are receiving so little attention. But we should not underestimate their significance. On the one hand, they are a sign of the anti-feminist, social conservative direction that the Harper government will take should it win a majority. On the other hand, they are another deeper stage of a dramatic restructuring of the Canadian state that will further marginalize those who have the least political power in society.

In her Toronto Star column, McQuaig makes interesting points and addresses the irony of PMS‘ recent move:

Last May, the Prime Minister told Parliament that ensuring equality rights for women was one of the key reasons Canada is waging war in Afghanistan.

Certainly Harper’s claims of championing the rights of burqa-clad women have helped him sell that unpopular war to Canadians.But when there’s no war to peddle, Harper doesn’t give a piffle about women’s equality. Indeed, he seems downright opposed to it. In a recent move that got relatively little attention, the Harper government actually removed the word “equality” from the list of goals of Status of Women Canada, ending decades of advocacy for equality on the part of that federal agency.Such advocacy itself is now under attack. The Harper government has cut off funding for advocacy done by women’s organizations, which have fought hard to overcome discrimination that has, for instance, left women earning substantially less than men, regardless of occupation, age or education. Canadian women earn 72 cents for every dollar a man earns.

This pay gap exists despite federal and provincial pay equity laws, and would undoubtedly be bigger if it weren’t for women’s groups pressuring governments to enforce and strengthen these laws, despite opposition from business. The Conservatives have also stopped funding women’s groups that carry out research about women’s status. Evidently, the less women know about their inferior status, the better. These moves are aimed at appealing to Harper’s base of social conservatives and religious right wingers, but are wildly out of sync with the Canadian mainstream.

Many are left wondering what Harper is up to.  As both journalists point out, this hard right turn is what Canadians can look forward to should a Harper Conservative majority ever come to fruition.  Yet, this turn is alienating Harper from the support he needs in Quebec.  Women’s groups are now forced to take a lead role in the struggle against this right wing extremism.

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9 thoughts on “For-profits at SWC trough?

  1. YOu need to take the lead against right wing extremism???? What in heck is that? Extremism??? I think you mean that if someone does not agree with you, a socialist that they are “extreme”. Why do you label everybody who does not agree with you? That is extremely bigotted and bised of you. And, by the way, as a woman I would appreciate if your type would stop calling me poor and disadvantaged and second class. There are disadvantaged of both sexes. “Equality” would mean that there should be similar funding and programs for me, don’t you think.
    For example, men who have lost access to their children due to marital breakdown and children who no longer have their dads in their lives.
    So, stop pidgeon-holing one sex over the other – you types of women are are the ones who make it harder on the rest of us.

  2. On another level, there’s isn’t much irony as the mission in Afghanistan is actually increasing insecurity and risk of violence to women, according to on-the-ground women’s groups like RAWA.

  3. So, stop pidgeon-holing one sex over the other – you types of women are are the ones who make it harder on the rest of us.

    Do you mean that “your man” is having a hard time dealing with “us types of women”? If that is so, I am truly sorry. I know exactly what you mean.

    It is an issue that needs to be addressed. Does that mean more education to those men in order to explain to them that there is nothing to fear from women asserting themselves. On the contrary, that means less pressure on them. I don’t know what the right answer is to that dilemma that many women have to grapple with but it certainly needs to be addressed.

  4. Lorraine,
    you sound like a grandma defending your male child at this point not able to see his offspring.
    if i am wrong, i apologize.
    the way you write is as another person.
    you labelled the writer/poster above as a socialist, whatever that means.
    hey grandma, if you got beefs about your grandkids, deal with your own kids. harper would expect that from you at the very least. your kids are your own problem.
    what happens in society is stays in society, and vic toews is on the job; if your 10 year old is a menace he or she shall be put in jail.
    so, instead of worrying about what other free people are doing, watch your own. if you are not a parent… well you’re obviously not contributing to working families.
    however, grandparents and old people without family are accorded the same rights in Canada. that’s a good thing, no?
    no worries, if you have a beaten down woman child, finley is on the job and bringing help to the women on the ground. just wait. be patient. help is on the way.
    soon as finley has her on her feet, you can see your grandchildren, unless the provincial foster care machine says no. however, good news! as long as their father is not aboriginal, he’s likely to get out, get rehabed, and set on the right path a lot sooner.
    uh huh, hun.

    p.s. Harper called all of Canada second rate, so suck it up at least half way, eh.

  5. “your kids are your own problem.” says E. Ingram.

    We shall do well to remember that sentiment when ordered to fund national daycares.

    And she/he goes on to add:

    “if you are not a parent… well you’re obviously not contributing to working families.”

    I’d say, the confusion in the ranks of SWC is showing itself….. about the value of children, or the value of those who pay taxes, but do not have children.

    No wonder we cannot get a straight answer from SWC on what exactly they are demanding/expecting from the rest of us who simply want to know what we are paying for, and how even-handed it is for other women, or men.

    There is something unsavory about the separating out children as being a man-child or a woman-child, as it makes discrimination based on gender applicable.

    Children are children.

    And under The Charter, that is not on.

  6. Pingback: My Blahg » CHANGING THE FUNDING RULES

  7. No wonder we cannot get a straight answer from SWC on what exactly they are demanding/expecting from the rest of us who simply want to know what we are paying for, and how even-handed it is for other women, or men.

    I’d like to know about all the billions going into the Military. What is all that paying for?

    You Conservatives are such hypocrites.

  8. “Earlier this year they changed CIDA’s funding rules to allow professional associations and diaspora groups to become eligible for funding.”

    Not having the link to that, it is quite possible that diaspora groups would know best, how to help out the people from their past citizenship

    Do you have a link to what professional associations are mentioned?

    Are there any organized lawyers in the mix, if you know?

    SWC wants women’s equality as the goal…including giving all women an equal voice.

    Posters have different views, and sometimes the question that rankles, could be the very one that needs further review.

    As far as the military spending is concerned…

    What does a country do without a military?

    And cheap, it is not. There is ongoing committee work dealing with the military.

    Perhaps the critics for the various parties can help with the military budget questions.

    Military spending is here for all Canadians, when catastrophic events happen like floods or ice storms.

    The women and men in the service are standing along side women and families in war-torn regions, right now.

    Would SWC prefer the army come back home to Canada, and just go back to practising war games?

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