Monday, December 11, 2006

Bev Oda Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

Yes I know that is Jim Prentices portfolio but I find it passing strange that every time the Minister in charge of cutting the Status of Women Bev Oda talks about funding women in need she leaps up in the House and says; We are funding aboriginal womens programs, aboriginal women in poverty programs, aboriginal womens marriage rights. Not that these are not laudible goals however......I thought that was Jims Department. But I guess like poverty programs, womens programs only will be funded if they are aboriginal. The Tories must be trying to make up for killing the Kelowna accord. Or else the only social problems they recognize that exist in Canada are aboriginal. Everyone else is doing fine.




Friday, December 8, 2006

Status of Women + -

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Mr. Speaker, during the election, the Prime Minister promised to protect the rights of women. However, the Conservative government has done nothing but turn its back on Canadian women. The court challenges program has been slashed. All but two of the Status of Women regional offices have been closed. In my riding, the Association of Women of Indian Origin in Canada depends on federal funding to do its important work.

Could the minister guarantee this organization's funding will not be axed?
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Mr. Speaker, we can guarantee that the $10.8 million for women's programs will continue to be there. It is there now and it will be there in the next fiscal year.

The good news is that all the money we found in streamlining the administration will be available in the next fiscal year, which is $5 million more to help the organizations that are actually making a difference in the lives of women in the community.

Mr. Speaker, I asked a specific question about a specific program and all I received from the minister was a repeated blah, blah, blah. I say shame on the minister.

Why will she not have some spine and admit that the $5 million that she axed from the budget is a cut? She does not understand math. It is not a reinvestment.

We now hear that the National Association of Women and the Law is concerned about the future of its funding. Why will the minister not have some courage and admit that she signed off on these cuts and is trying to camouflage the facts?
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Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that we have had meetings with immigrant women organizations that are actually doing work for immigrant women. They have been in to see us and we have told them that $5 million in additional money will be available. They indicated that they were not told that by the opposition party. Once they knew the true facts, they said that it was good news.

We have been very clear. As a result of savings in administration, this government is putting the money back into women, not into Liberal Party friends.
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Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's shocking cuts to Status of Women have huge implications for aboriginal women and their children. The Native Women's Association, which is largely funded by Status of Women, was before committee this week to raise the alarm that its funding may be next on the chopping block.

Could the minister guarantee that the funding for this organization will not be cut?
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Mr. Speaker, members of the opposition party, when they cut, they took the money and removed it from being accessible to women. This government found savings in government spending and the money will go to women. It is very simple. A cut is made when there is no money and an increase is when the savings go directly to women.
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Mr. Speaker, cancelling the Kelowna accord, cuts in the funding for aboriginal languages, cuts in the first nations stop smoking programs and $200 million in cuts to improve access to early learning and child care for first nations.

This Sunday marks International Human Rights Day. The theme is fighting poverty. Instead of cutting programs, why will the government not take real steps to address aboriginal poverty?
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Mr. Speaker, I find it quite alarming that the member opposite would ask that question. The Liberals had 13 years to ensure that the rights of aboriginal women would be there. In fact, it is this government that introduced matrimonial rights for aboriginal women, a fundamental right that every Canadian woman, including aboriginal women, should have recognized.

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Status of Women

Bev Oda

Tory Cuts

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berlynn said...

Good post, Eugene! Methinks she's backpeddling on Kelowna.

eugene plawiuk said...

I think its a matter of playing off Women and Aborginals. Every time the Tories announce a social program they have created it invariably is an Aboriginal program. Oda is not the only one. The Minister in charge of Day Care and social programs does the same thing. Whenever challenged over the Tories baby bonus program as not providing day care spaces she talks about providing child care for Aborignals. This government in having dropped Kelowna is now making Aboriginal programs their be all and end all of PR around their social programs.