BC women seem to be making a bit of headway with Minister Oda. Here’s the latest:
BC Coalition for Women's Equality and Human Rights in Canada For Immediate Release Minister Oda Agrees to Meet with Women's Organizations in BC (Vancouver, 19 January, 2007) Representatives of the BC Coalition for Women's Equality and Human Rights in Canada, an ad hoc coalition of women's organizations, met with Minister Bev Oda by teleconference for one hour this afternoon. This hastily scheduled meeting was convened as a result of a demonstration and a brief occupation of the Status of Women Canada office in Vancouver yesterday. Coalition representatives expressed disappointment with Minister Oda's explanations and defense of the Harper Governments decisions to: -slash $5m dollars from the SWC budget -close 12 of 16 regional offices of SWC -remove women's equality from the program mandate -make research, advocacy and lobbying ineligible for funding -cancel the Court Challenges Program -refuse to move forward on proactive pay equity legislation -cancel the Pan-Canadian child-care program -fail to move forward on its CEDAW obligations. In the face of Oda's defense of these decisions, the Coalition is determined to redouble its efforts to have them reversed. Minister Oda agreed to meet with representatives of BC women's organizations to discuss the Harper government cuts, the changes this government has introduced and its failure to move forward on women's human rights. No date has been fixed for this meeting. The Coalition asked that it take place as soon as possible as the government cuts take effect on March 31. Given that the House will be in session January 29, representatives advised Minister Oda that they were available to meet evenings or weekends in order to ensure that the meeting takes place as expeditiously as possible. Cecily Nicholson, of Vancouver Status of Women, noted that thousands of women across the country have expressed their dismay about these decisions. "And our concerns are shared." says Fatima Jaffer, spokesperson for the Coalition. "Provincial and Territorial ministers also highlighted their dissatisfaction with Minister Oda's leadership. They decided not to invite the Minister to their meeting early February in Toronto to plot a national strategy because they say she shows so little interest in women's issues." - 30 - For more information, please contact: Shelagh Day, 604.872.0750, Shauna Paull, 604.209.5776, Fatima Jaffer, 604.838.3599.