Minna Challenges Government to Respect Women by Reversing Cuts

Monday, July 26 2010

December 6, 2006

Ottawa - The Conservative government must reverse its devastating cuts to programs that advocate women's equality as a step toward reducing the incidence of violence against women, Liberal Status of Women Critic Maria Minna said today.

"It is time that Stephen Harper realizes that this is the 21st century and we must move forward with working towards equality and eliminating violence, not backwards," said Ms. Minna.

Ms. Minna made her comments on National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which commemorates the December 6, 1989, killing of 14 women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. They were killed solely because of their gender.

Two years later, in 1991, Canada's Parliament declared today - December 6 as National Day of Remembrance and Action to give Canadians the opportunity to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society, to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence and to consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

"This is a day of remembrance and action not only for those 14 young women, but for all women and girls who face discrimination and violence on a daily basis," said Ms. Minna. "It is time for us as Canadians to stand up and say together we have had enough."

More than 650,000 women aged 15 and over have experienced spousal violence in the past five years. Women are still six times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than men and continue to be victimized.

"This minority Conservative government is ignoring these chilling statistics and has made it clear that the equality for its citizens is not a priority," said Ms. Minna. "Closing 12 of the 16 Status of Women Canada offices and eliminating funding for groups that advocate women's equality is a shameful, backwards policy.

"It is time that this government admit their betrayal to Canadian women, apologize and reinstate the funding for Status of Women Canada."

According to the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, there is a link between stable affordable housing and women's safety and economic participation, Ms. Minna added.

"Because of this government's callous cuts to affordable housing programs, many women have to stay in physically and/or sexually abusive relationships just to keep a roof over their heads, and their children's heads," she said.

"This government needs to respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and admit that women have not yet achieved full equality in every aspect of Canadian society," said Ms. Minna.

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