This should be enough evidence to demand Bev Oda‘s resignation from her responsibility for the Status of Women in Canada. First, examine this, from her opening statement to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on the Status of Women:
…Canada’s new Government fundamentally believes that women are equal.
As this New Government of Canada has demonstrated, it is very good at ignoring the facts. Now, get a load of this load of dung:
…As far as capacity building goes, we believe there are a number of organizations that have had many years to establish themselves. On a going forward basis, we’ve made a commitment. We made a commitment prior to coming into office, and we’re fulfilling the commitment that we will make sure taxpayer dollars…. They’re hard-earned dollars.
They are not vulnerable and weak; they are taxpayers. They work very hard for their taxes, not only as women but as citizens of this country. Consequently, we believe and we know they support more direct action to help overcome the identified barriers. After years of identifying the issues and the problems, we are now committed to doing something.
First, what does it mean for organizations to “establish themselves?” Is she suggesting that women’s groups should be self-sufficient, even though women continue to earn less than their male counterparts and even though more women than men live in poverty in their senior years? Is she suggesting that women’s groups should cosy up to the corporate sector that needs that cheap labour pool and that feeds off women’s inequality?
Second, who said that women are vulnerable and weak? Not a single feminist I know or have read calls women vulnerable and weak. It is only the Conservative supporters and (un)R.E.A.L. women who use that language. So, why is the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women in this country using such discriminatory language? Why is she pitting women as taxpayers against women as equality-seekers? Is it that she’s trying to divide women, just as Bush & Co. divided U.S. citizens? Is this yet another attempt to win that Harper Majority? It smells desperately like Bush’s, you’re either with us or you’re against us rhetoric.
Third, Status of Women Canada is doing something. Or was until the New Government of Canada took office. The research and programming within SWC and collaboration with women across the country brought gender-based analysis to the federal government. SWC’s response to our nation’s grief after the Montreal Massacre brought the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The work SWC does to highlight statistics on violence against women, for example, is crucial to making our society a safer place for all.
To suggest that SWC does nothing is to ignore its almost 30 years of working to improve the status of women in Canada. It is also a lie. And, worst of all, it degrades the work that women and women’s organizations in this country have done to improve the lives of women living and working here.
I suggest Canadian women are too smart to fall for Oda’s kind of nasty politicking. Canadian women know there is a power imbalance in this country and though we desperately want to feel equal and to be treated as equals, we know we are not.