Question Period: Who is Denying Funding to Womens Organizations?

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, this year a record number of organizations that have previously qualified for funding from Status of Women Canada have been denied this essential funding for the first time in their histories. This includes groups such as the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, Womenspace, the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity and CIAFT, among many more, whose projects meet the qualifying criteria.

Could the minister tell us who is responsible for the arbitrary allocation of funding and why has funding been denied to these eligible groups?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to inform the member, in fact, that our government has increased the funding to the women's program to its highest level ever.

However, when it comes to women's rights, I would like to ask the member why members of her party get up and ask questions about our troops in Afghanistan all the time, but never ask about women in Afghanistan. I was recently there. Before we went into Afghanistan, zero women were going to school. Today, over two million little girls are going to school and that is because our troops are there.

The next time members in the NDP get up and ask about our troops, I would like them to recognize all the good work they are doing on behalf of women.

**Note: the Minister failed to address the question in any manner, chosing to hide behind the troops rather than address a domestic policy issue. The Minister's response is also selective in what she chooses to call assisting women in Afghanistan. MP Mathyssen has met with Afghanistan women, including female Afghani MP Malalai Joya. Afghani women consistently report that conditions are NOT much improved for women (Ms. Joya herself has been exiled, and is not able to sit in her duly elected seat in Parliament. Joya has been threatened in the Afghani Parliament itself with rape and murder, for speaking out on the true conditions facing Afghani women.