Monday, December 11, 2006

SWC funding slash and M. Dion's Plan

The Star reports today that M. Dion intends to stick to his plan to hand-pick (if necessary) 33% women to run in the next election, which could come as soon as early spring. While I have never been convinced that pure quota systems are best to address any type of underrepresentation, it's certainly a positive step forward and a promise kept. Of the Quebec ridings where someone could be hand-picked, Compton-Stanstead comes to mind, should Mr. Price not choose to run ;)

There are many reasons why quotas can be counter-productive; hybrid methods of recruitment are more sustainable and therefore preferable. In any case, ANY type of plan to increase women's representation is at risk due to the funding cuts to Status of Women Canada. Projects funded through SWC such as Equal Voice, among other NFPs aimed at increasing women's representation at all levels of government, will suffer from the ideological funding cuts to women's organisations. Obviously, the CPC would have more women in the house than in the House, but it's very disturbing that NFPs working to empower women will be on the frontlines of the cuts.

How will this immediately affect any gender parity plan? Campaigning is hard work, whether it is a 'safe', 'winnable' or 'poteau' riding. Candidates must be ready and armed with a lot of critical information. Equal Voice provides an invaluable on-line campaign school for women, which it had intended to expand with increased funding from SWC. Other organisations use similar funding to host 'live' campaign schools. What will happen to these multi-partisan projects?

Perhaps I'm just being paranoid, but it seems that these cuts, coupled with the scrapping of Mr. Dryden's national child care plan, have the sole purpose of limiting the way women can find expression in public life. Shameful.

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