Status of Women Further Demoted by Harper Following Guergis Resignation

OTTAWA – The Harper Conservative government has once again shown it has no regard for the women of Canada”, says London-Fanshawe MP Irene Mathyssen, the New Democrat’s Critic for the Status of Women.

“This government has proven through its actions, time and again, that women in Canada simply do not matter” says Mathyssen. “The recent fiasco with Helena Guergis is just one more example”.

This Conservative government and this Prime Minister’s disregard for the women of Canada began with their first budget back in 2006. In that budget, $5 million of critical funding to Status of Women Canada was cut and 12 of the 16 SWC regional offices were closed. With these cuts came mandate changes to the Women’s Program making advocacy and research groups ineligible for funding.

“How can government possibly expect to meet the needs in the community, the impact of programs and services are effective, without advocacy? The whole point of advocacy is to inform the government about what needs to happen.” says Mathyssen.

Mr. Harper has continued to overlook the important role of women and of Status of Women Canada. He undermined the importance of the portfolio by taking it from a senior cabinet Minister when he appointed a junior Minister, Helena Guergis to the role. Error after error demonstrated Ms. Guergis was not up to the job. Following her decision to finally do the right thing and hand in her resignation today, Harper has further downgraded this portfolio by handing the responsibilities to a Minister who has other obligations.

“We need a competent, capable, dedicated Minister responsible for the Status of Women; not a junior Minister and not “post script” in someone else’s portfolio. The women of Canada deserve more! We are 52% of the population. Our advancements and successes are crucial to the prosperity of this country. When will this government understand that and stand up for the women of Canada?”