Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Federal Cuts Undermine the Progress of Women and All Canadians

Despite the $13.2 Billion surplus, the federal government just went on a slash-and-burn rampage, cutting funding for all kinds of things. The choice of programs that bore the brunt is very telling. Many are progressive programs that help some of the most vulnerable among us, and those who run, and those who benefit from these programs were given no opportunity to defend them.

Somehow there's enough money to increase defense spending, such as $30 million for an "acoustic weapon locator system", but not enough to help Aboriginal youth and pregant women stop smoking ($10 Million)? It isn't surprising at all, really, simply confirms the Conservative Party's values.

The news today tended to blanket the cuts without giving enough details, which I think is one of the reasons opinion tends to favour the cuts. People feel debt repayment is more important than "special interest" funding.

Even the CBC, tells little about WHAT was cut, summing up into 4 categories:

  • Programs that are not delivering value for money.
  • Programs that didn't spend all the money allocated.
  • Work that could be done more efficiently outside the government.
  • Programs that don't meet the needs of Canadians.
But these are value judgements made by the Conseratives, often with no basis. I think everyone can agree that spending money foolishly is a baaaad thing, but so many of these programs are very important and effective despite already being severely underfunded and operating on a shoestring budget.

The complete list can be found here, and includes adult literacy, youth employment, public diplomacy, and several Canada Heritage programs.

A couple of good examples are the Court Challenges program (“This Program has provided Canadian women with their only access to the use of their constitutional equality rights,” said Shelagh Day. “Equality rights have no meaning in Canada if women, and other Canadians who face discrimination, cannot use them.”) and the Status of Women Canada, whose budget is already one of the smallest of any department at the federal level, and has now been halved. This isn't "trimming the fat". Likewise should an obese person cut off an arm in order to improve her/his BMI? Good op-ed here.

More on women's issues, politics

1 comment:

Olaf said...

Hi there,

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I am trying to get as many comments as possible from progressive bloggers, largely for my own edification, and am therefore shamelessly providing a link on progressive bloggers sites to my post. Please consider checking it out, and voicing any objections to my position that you may have.