Black Thursday Not the Only Bad News for British Columbia Women

Wednesday, July 28 2010

Black Thursday Not the o­nly Bad News for British Columbia Women

The news delivered to women's services and many other groups January 17, 2002 was o­nly the tip of the iceberg. The three year plan announced last year included cutting 100% Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services to women's centres March 2004. For many we thought we had two years before the cuts began - we were wrong.

In the last 12 months, Women's Centres have had a range of provincial funding contracts cancelled and/or not renewed from a host of Ministries - the latest blow has been the Direct Access Gaming funding.

Women's Centres have either not received Gaming funding or received less
than half, 4 months late.

For the majority of Centres this current slash in funding means that Centres have already cut staff, services and programs and some are in jeopardy of closing altogether.

A plea for help made by the BC Coalition of Women's Centres to Minister Lynn Stephens months ago has been ignored. o­nce again Minister Stephens committed to "look into" the Gaming funding crisis and after doing so referred us to the Minister responsible for gaming who is yet to respond. Minister Lynn Stephens made it clear to the Coalition and its members that a crisis in Women's Centres is not a priority for her.

Every women's centre in BC has reported to Minister Stephens an increase in service requests. Women's Centres are busier than ever as a direct result of cuts to income assistance, legal aid, disability benefits, employment standards, human rights, health, education and jobs. Women's centres are overwhelmed by the fall out of the provincial cuts.

The BC Liberals have been swift and effective in launching an attack o­n women and women's services across the province- women in communities are going without food and shelter, women are being trapped into violent relationships, women are giving up their children because they can't feed them, women are turning to survival sex, women are at extreme risk and the BC Liberals don't care.

On the anniversary of Black Thursday, the BC Coalition of Women's Centres o­nce again calls o­n Minister Lynn Stephens to resign.

This year has clearly demonstrated that Minister Stephens not o­nly refuses to stand up for women, she has in fact actively and silently betrayed women across this province. Minister Stephens performance in the last twelve months has been shameful.

BC women cannot trust or count o­n Minister Stephens to be effective in protecting women's services or advance women's equality in any way.

Media Committee
Debra Critchley 250-542-7531
Benita Bunjun 604-255-6554
Dodie Goldney 250-376-3009

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