Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Posters yes, substantive answers? Not so much

The irony of the coming International Women's Week, which is to be supported, being led in Canada by Ms. Guergis on behalf of our government:
The Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women), today announced the theme Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World: Equality for March 8, International Women"s Day (IWD) and International Women's Week (IWW), which runs this year from March 2 to 8, and unveiled the poster celebrating IWD/IWW.
When here is the reality of Ms. Guergis' "strong" leadership:
Hon. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of State for the Status of Women appeared before the committee, she was unable to answer the urgent questions of concern to women today. On employment insurance, she indicated she was not the lead minister; on pay equity, again she was not the lead minister; on child care, once again she was not the lead minister.

Other than carrying what she calls “a little big stick”, can she tell the women of Canada and the House if she is indeed the lead on any issue of concern to the women of this country?

Hon. Helena Guergis (Minister of State (Status of Women), CPC): Mr. Speaker, let me say that this government takes equality very seriously. Not only have we increased the amount of funding for Status of Women Canada by 42%, but we also have seen an increase in the number of organizations across the country by 69% that are now receiving funding. Forty-one per cent in fact are new organizations.

What one recipient recently had to say about the positive changes this government has made for women was that its project had been pending for nearly a decade and without the financial support from the current government, “the project would still be sitting on my desk”.
Transcript for the above referenced Standing Committee on the Status of Women hearing, here. It really is a shame that these committees are so pressed for time, that hard and fast and minuscule blocks of time are hived off for each MP to question and little exploratory discussion can occur. Ministers like Guergis can skate and deflect responsibility for their ministerial role, as she does here, repeatedly, to other departments.

Nice poster, though.