FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 21, 2004
Ottawa, July 21, 2004
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN OF CANADA
"This is a Cabinet meant to offend no one too much and likely to have a safe shelf-life of at least a year or more! But it will not likely be the government that can initiate Electoral Reform, or undertake other innovative programmes" said Catharine Laidlaw-Sly, president of the National Council of Women of Canada.
Once again, women are seriously under-represented in the Cabinet (21%) and with a slightly better showing among the Parliamentary Secretaries (28%). This situation was inevitable due to the low numbers of women candidates standing for election. All parties need to do a great deal better recruiting and supporting possible female candidates, starting now.
It is a positive step to have a full minister responsible for the Status of Women provided that the Status of Women department has not been rolled into and made a part of the Canadian Heritage Ministry. Women are more than 50% of the population, not cultural artifacts and institutions.
It was encouraging to hear the Minister of Health, Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh make a clear statement about his intentions to support the Canada Health Act, rather than move to more privatization.
Democratic reform has been assigned to a Minister with several other responsibilities. This does not bode well for progress on this whole dossier of issues which includes electoral reform.
It is not clear exactly what the Social Development Ministry will undertake. Is this the long-awaited realization of a National Child-care programme?
It is hoped that, given the high cost of each election, this cabinet will be able to make progress on all the issues that were high-lighted during the election before there is another campaign. The Canadian taxpayer deserves that at least. And the government would be well-served by consulting the Stakeholders especially all those involved in the maintenance of Canada's social fabric.
- 30 -
Catharine Laidlaw-Sly, President NCWC 450 - 689-1418