Thursday, November 30, 2006

Canadian Politics: Jerks

The Harper Conservatives are going to close down 12 of the 16 Status of Women offices in Canada.

Why you ask?

Two quotes from Beverly Oda, Heritage Minister:

"What these offices don't necessarily provide is the help directly to women. There was a lot of lobbying groups, there was a lot of advocacy."

"We don't need to separate the men from the women in this country... This government as a whole is responsible to develop policies and programs that address the needs of both men and women."

And when the opposition suggested that this action was reprehensible, Oda's reply was:

"I'm very surprised that the opposition would say, 'Put money back into inefficiencies,' when you can find inefficiencies and streamline the operations."

So, let's clear some things up.

First: Lobbying and advocacy directly help individuals. These actions allow individuals representation before the government that they would not have been able to afford by themselves. They also result in changes to unjust laws. It was lobbying and advocacy that gave women the vote.

Second: It is not removing inefficiencies if you shut down programs, because an inefficient program that helps people is more efficient than no program at all. Only when you replace a program with something better can you claim to be getting rid of inefficiencies, instead of just cutting programs to get rid of those you don't like. Like the Status of Women, or the One Tonne Challenge, or adult literacy, or job creation programs, or funding for museums.

Third: If you claim that your government is responsible for both men and women in this country, then perhaps closing the government office that is responsible for ensuring that women receive equal opportunities as men is hypocritical and stupid.


I hope everyone out there in the Blogosphere will join me in endorsing a 29% pay cut for Ms. Oda, to put her salary in line with the average Canadian woman, who earns 71 cents for every dollar earned by her male counterparts. After all, if Ms. Oda doesn't believe in improving the status of women, she may as well face up to the realities of not improving the status of women.

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