Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Challenging Guergis locally and nationally

Minister of State Helena Guergis on the defensive in her riding:
Anita Neville, the MP for Winnipeg, South Centre, had been booked for a three-hour roundtable on women's issues at the Collingwood Public Library more than a week ago by local Liberal nominee Andrea Matrosovs. Over the weekend came the sudden announcement that Guergis would hold a news conference at Collingwood Town Hall at the same time that Neville's seminar was underway.
The announcement by Guergis? Funding in the order of $220,000 to a women's shelter, sprung suddenly. One of the local papers reports having received the formal notification for the event at 9:11 a.m. yesterday. Interesting how it all came together. The funds these Conservatives have at the ready when they need it, very intriguing.

The pressure on Guergis in her riding comes as a report is to be released at the UN next week, authored by the CLC and labour and women's groups in Canada on gender equality setbacks under the Harper government. For example:
The report criticizes the Conservatives for eliminating a $5-billion national childcare program proposed by their Liberal predecessors and for closing 12 Status of Women offices across the country while cutting funding to advocacy organizations.
Guergis, in response, keeps pushing the line that such moneys previously going to Status of Women have been re-directed to "front-line programming." Meaning that the Conservatives do what Guergis did in her own riding yesterday. Doling out funds on an ad hoc basis and in Guergis' case, under political pressure and for political benefit. Someone should really do an analysis of the funds distributed by her ministry to groups across the country to see what interesting patterns arise, along the lines of the infrastructure spending. Just a hunch, based on the hobbling together of Guergis' announcement, but I suspect an analysis of that "Women's Community Fund of Status of Women Canada" would produce similar skewed results.

On the daycare issue, as we know, the Conservatives' choice to fund $100 a month, before tax, is a joke when you read about looming losses of daycare spots and reports on the high costs.

So it's good to see Guergis getting some pressure in her riding and by groups at the national level. Apparently John McCallum visited Simcoe Grey on Saturday too.

(h/t East End Underground, DH)

More on that report on women's rights in Canada here.