Respected Women's Group Forced to Close after Being Refused Funding from Conservatives

Monday, July 26 2010

OTTAWA - Another respected women's group was forced to close its doors after being refused funding by Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government, Liberal Status of Women Critic Maria Minna said after meeting with the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) today.

"Women's groups that promote equality in Canada and around the world are fighting for the right to exist under the Harper government," said Ms. Minna. "NAWL is just the latest victim of the Conservatives' narrow-minded, right-wing ideological policies."

NAWL has been in existence since 1974 and promotes women's equality through action, legal research and education. It lobbies for change to federal and provincial laws and regulations to further advance women's equality. The organization is now being forced to close its doors because the Conservative government has refused funding to any women's organization that does research and advocacy work, or promotes equality.

"NAWL has been instrumental in many areas of women's advancement including Sections 15 and 28 in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; amendments to sexual assault laws; positive changes to family law and to the Divorce Act; rape shield legislation; and criminal harassment legislation," said Ms. Minna. "I would like to know why Mr. Harper is against an organization that protects women's rights."

Ms. Minna noted that many other women's groups that rely almost entirely on federal funding are unsure of what the future holds for them. The Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), a promoter and clearinghouse for research and action to advance social justice and equality for women, had to lay off most of its already small staff earlier this year.

"Canadians must understand that the organizations that have fought for their rights in the past are under attack by this Conservative government. Mr. Harper's right-wing ideology is setting the women's movement back decades. If this is how the Conservative government feels about women, every group that has fought for equality rights or done research and advocacy work should feel threatened," said Ms. Minna.

For More Information:
Ryan Cotter Executive Assistant/Adjoint Principal Office of the Honourable Maria Minna, P.C., M.P. Bureau de l'honorable Maria Minna, C.P., députée, Official Opposition Critic for the Status of Women
t: 613.995.1578 f: 613.996.7942 www.mariaminna.ca

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