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Dear Editor-

 

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), Owen Sound and Area, took the time and made the effort to bring to our M.P.'s attention that the 2015 Federal Budget did not have much content that addressed the needs of women.

CFUW's mandate is to improve the lives of women and girls, especially through making education, job opportunities, contraception and child care financially and physically accessible.

Concerning education, CFUW explained the need for more Transfer Payments to the Provinces, earmarked for post-secondary education, resulting in lower fees for students. The M.P.'s office did not reply to this request but skirted the issue by describing the amount of money that the federal government is transferring to the provinces and that 'it will continue to grow moving forward.'. Not a satisfactory or relevant reply. The other measures, including the Red Seal and Blue Seal Apprenticeship Certification deal with heavy equipment training, the trades, and are mostly male oriented. Not a good example.

There was no specificity in the reply to our request for measures to ensure the economic security of women.

We had a very specific request concerning public housing, that Housing First's (a program to provide housing for homeless people) financial support not decrease funding for Women's Shelters. The response was 'allowing social housing providers to repay their long-term, non-renewable mortgage without penalty.'. Makes one wonder whether or not the writer had read the request; he/she certainly didn't understand it.

There was no reply to our questioning the 'Family Tax Cut'. Our learned federal employee (whom we pay) described the Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit and the Home Accessibility Tax Credit. I am sure that these are worthwhile programs but they have nothing to do with the Family Tax Cut.

We are especially interested in Child Care and noted that the increase of federal largesse from $100/mo. to $160./mo. does not 'cut it' when child care costs run from $680./mo. in Owen Sound and over $900./mo. in urban centres.

We ended our critique by asking for 'a significant funding commitment to develop and implement a comprehensive, cross-jurisdictional National Action Plan on violence against women and girls with a significant focus on Aboriginal women.'. The writer responded by stating '70% of aboriginal women who are murdered in Canada met their fate at the hands of someone of their own race.'. Yes, women, statistically speaking, are murdered by someone they know. Does the writer wish to suggest that we, as non-Aboriginal people, should not concern ourselves with this national disgrace?

Overall, the reply CFUW, Owen Sound and Area received was insulting in its cobbled, pre-prepared points from some Conservative document, its irrelevant responses and its dismissiveness of our concerns about how the federal government can improve the lives of women and girls in Canada. We are appalled that this material purports to represent an official, informed response to the CFUW, Owen Sound and Area, emailed from the office of our Member of Parliament.

 

Judy Gay
Past President
CFUW, Owen Sound and Area.


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