|Protesting violence against aboriginal women|
By Helen Kennedy
As we celebrate International Women's Day this year, let's take a look at the Stephen Harper's continuing agenda to roll back equality rights. How much more damage have the Tories inflicted in the first year of their new majority?
The anti‑woman policies of the Harper Tories have been well documented since they came to office as a minority government in 2006. The first move was to back‑pedal on the national childcare program and offer a stingy $100 a month tax credit. Dismantling support for advocacy around legislative and constitutional change was next, with the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program, the closure of most Status of Women offices across the country and cancellation of research and advocacy funding for women's organizations.
Despite statistics showing crime rates are flat or declining, the Harper Conservatives declared law and order a top priority. Legislation supported by both the Liberals and the NDP introduced mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes. Bill C‑10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, is currently in Senate hearings. If passed, C‑10 will greatly reduce and/or eliminate rehabilitation programs and recast the criminal justice system towards punishment and vengeance.