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September 15, 2008

Don't Be Seduced By Stephen Harper's Week of Promises to Canadian Families

Insertquotehere The word on the street is that Stephen Harper is going to be dishing out a lot of female favors this week (in the form of a lot of family-friendly promises). The reason is obvious: the man isn't doing as well with female voters as with male voters and it's almost vote-harvesting time.

So before you fall prey to the man's political charms and give up your voting virtue too easily, I just wanted to remind you that you need to exercise reason over passion at voting time.

Besides, Geri Hall was only kidding when she pretended that she couldn't resist Stephen Harper's seductive powers. Try to stay focused on the sweater.

If you find an almost bulldogged determination to tell the truth an essential trait in potential partners (political or otherwise), Stephen may not be your man.

After all, this is what he had to say to the women of Canada about the great things he was going to do for us all after election time. Know what? Not only did he not come through: he pulled a fast one on us in all kinds of other ways.:

"I am committed to supporting women's human rights and I agree that Canada has more to do to meet its international obligations on women's equality. If elected, I will take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women in Canada."
- Stephen Harper, January 18, 2006

That was before his government cut $5 million dollars from the $13 million dollar budget of Status of Women Canada (SWC), forcing SWC to close 12 out of 16 regional offices.

And before his government announced that SWC's Women's Programme (WP) would no longer fund research or advocacy activities designed to promote women's rights. "When questioned by opposition MPs of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women, the Minister for the Status of Women, Bev Oda, stated that women’s equality had been achieved in Canada," noted Andrée Côté, Directrice of Legislative Reform, National Association of Women and the Law, in a report written in January 2007 (.pdf) ("The Broken Promises of Stephen Harper").

He wasn't done with his nasty business at that point either. As Côté points out, he was just getting started:

  • The Harper government refused to give female workers pay equity. "In September 2006, the Harper government announced that it would not adhere to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Working Group on Pay Equity by adopting federal legislation on Pay Equity. Yet after more than three years of research and consultation, the Working Group has noted that the protections within the Canadian Human Rights Act have been a dismal failure, and that a major overhaul is needed to better protect female workers within the postal services, telecommunications, banks, etc. and other areas that fall under federal jurisdiction."
  • The Harper government got rid of the Court Challenges Programme. "In September 2006, the Harper government abolished funding to the Court Challenges Programme (CCP), which has funded important legal challenges to laws affecting women’s equality, gay/lesbian rights, disability rights, the status of immigrants and detainees, as well as the rights of francophone minorities within Canada....It is not just women’s equality that is being threatened, but the very functioning of democracy in our society and the preservation of hard won gains in human rights protections for all."

If Stephen Harper was serious about wanting to win the hearts and minds of Canadian women, he should have started taking us seriously a long time ago -- like back in January 2006, when he was elected.

Talk is cheap, and a woman can spot a promise in the dark a city block or a country mile away.

We've also got the kind of memories that can come back to haunt a person who hasn't kept his promises.

Wait and see.



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Actual crisis can break his neck, because few weeks before elections there is not much time to do anything, so no wonder Harper is trying to do some counteraction. Diesel fuel tax change, tax break for first-time home-buyers and I believe there are more to come. People are listening to these promises, if we like it or not...
Take care

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