If women feel at risk with the Conservatives in power federally for four more years let's draw strength from the women of Ontario in 1990 - and with luck again in 2011.
A New Democratic Party government reigned at Queen's Park. Here's a description from p.16 of the book Women, Power, Politics - The Hidden Story of Canada's Unfinished Democracy, by Sylvia Bashevkin:
"Among the highest percentages ever of women in a government caucus or cabinet were those in the Ontario NDP, between 1990 and 1995. Caucus included 20 women (out of 74 members or 27%) at least half of whom had been active in second-wave feminist organizations."
Add to that the fact that 11 women were appointed to a Cabinet of 26, which meant women held 42.3% of the portfolios.
"What did the Ontario NDP government accomplish? It widened childcare provision, increased funding for shelters for battered women, raised the minimum wage, strengthened pay equity laws, and legalized midwifery."
So much for 20 years ago. Now the NDP has a constructive, articulate, and smart woman leader and lots of women candidates.
I say we can't lose.
from Edna Toth
Chair of Peel Poverty Action Group
Mississauga-Streetsville NDP exec
Mississauga Citizen of the Year 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
In the Mississauga – Erindale debate on Rogers TV the statement I made was reported by the Mississauga News in the April 12, 2011 Editorial as follows: In another poignant moment, Mississauga-Erindale NDP hopeful Michelle Bilek turned away from the camera as she told viewers, sadly, that “(Prime Minister) Stephen Harper doesn’t care about you or your family.” (http://www.mississauga.com/opinion/editorial/article/979965--future-looks-bright)
After decades of Conservative and Liberal governments it is clear neither party is focused on supporting you or your family. The fortunate have full-time jobs providing a reasonable wage. However, wages have been stagnant for years with people taking home less today than 10+ years ago while working hours, cost of living and taxation have increased. There is significant poverty in Peel with over 15,000 on waiting lists for 20+ years for cooperative housing. Another hidden demographic prevalent in Mississauga are the mortgage/rent poor – families with little or no disposable income remaining after paying for housing. And child care costs for the working poor can be as much as the mortgage/rent.
The current social structure is clearly broken as it does not provide for all Canadians in a fair and equitable manner! Canada is one of the wealthiest countries in the world yet we tolerate real hardship and inequality for significant portions of our population – youth, women, seniors, single parents, two+ income families, first nations, etc. – a percentage that is growing every year. Whenever these issues are raised, no matter what the government of the day, the response is we can’t afford it. This response is seeing things through the existing “lens”. In my view this is not about just spending more – it is about Governments raising revenue and spending differently – targeting the existing money on programs that build the society we want, providing tax incentives based on real metrics of job creation or services provided, etc. We must strive for a society and economy that provides for all members of society in Mississauga, Ontario and Canada. A strong economy is fundamental to improving the standard of living for all Canadians. To achieve this we must show a holistic approach to redefining Canadian society with innovation in four key areas:
· in society to ensure all have a liveable wage and health care, our seniors live in dignity, the services required to support our changing demographic
· business, education, labour and government working together for technology innovation, education reform focused on required job skills, and creating jobs in a world-leading new economy
· management of the environment sustainability
· and Canada approaching the world with peace and understanding.
When the Mississauga News endorsed the Conservatives in the April 26, 2011 Editorial they said: The Conservatives must work with the other parties — and we believe the country will benefit if the New Democrats form the official opposition — to prove that Mississauga-Erindale NDP hopeful Michelle Bilek was wrong when she said that, "Stephen Harper doesn't care about you and your family." (http://www.mississauga.com/opinion/editorial/article/998443--tory-majority-means-strong-jobs-economy)
After five years of Conservative government there has been no demonstrable program or initiative to create the Canadian society we all want. Throughout the election campaign there were promises made but no track record so it is difficult to believe the promises will be delivered. So my plea is: For the sake of all Canadians, prove me wrong Mr Harper – PLEASE!