Women's and families' issues in Canadian politics: Part II

Posted by Saraline , Sunday, September 21, 2008 6:18 PM

A doctor's point of view about children's issues in this election.

It would be wonderful if, over the next few weeks, serious, thoughtful proposals would emerge from all parties, particularly the Conservatives, on the issues that matter to children. It would be great if, rather than simply being the background to another announcement, children became an election issue in and of themselves.
But, as there is no magic wand in my pocket, I really don't think I will get my wish. Instead, I will be satisfied if, perhaps, I could convince Harper that, while I appreciate that a Conservative government would stop candy flavours from being added to cigarillos, maybe there are bigger fish to fry.
Dr. Brett Taylor discusses issues that effect children in his opinion piece. These issues include child care, access to medication for poor or working class families, and access to pediatricians and child psychiatrists. I really like this quote about why child care is important:

Competent daycare decreases the incidence of child abuse and neglect in our communities, and is an enabler, allowing parents (very often women) to seek employment and thus escape from the trap of poverty that so often accompanies single parenthood.
Something else worth checking out is Code Blue's Child Care report card. They've graded the political parties' child care plans. (The Bloc Québécois was left out). The Conservatives, who I discussed the other day, received four Fs and one D-. Let's move on to a party that received two As.

Liberal Party of Canada

In their brand spanking new platform, just released today, the Liberals have a section called "A Fairer Canada."

Includes: The 30-50 plan, Investing in Our Children, Health Care, Women's Equality, Immigration: Welcoming New Canadians, EI Changes, A New Relationship With Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis, Minority Language Rights, A Safer Canada, Respectful Federalism

The Conservatives accused the Liberals of promising new child care spaces for 13 years and not fulfilling their promise. However, as was pointed out in a comment on my blog entry the other day, the Liberals had a plan for child care set in motion when the Conservatives came into power. The Conservatives promptly scrapped it, even though the Liberals had already signed agreements with the provinces to implement the new plan. Here's some more information about the child care plan that Paul Martin's Liberals had ready to go in 2006.

The Liberals want to bring this plan back:

The provinces will find a new partner in a Liberal government as we will work with them to rebuild what was torn down by the Conservatives.
Our long-term goal will be coast-to-coast high-quality, universal, community-based, early education and child care. In pursuit of this objective, we will allocate substantial new federal funds. This investment will increase over a four-year period and at full implementation in the fourth year, the will climb to $1.25 billion annually.

It's a lot better than the Conservatives' plan, but I wonder how long it would take them to "rebuild what was torn down by the Conservatives." Another thirteen years?

As for their plans for parental leave, it sounds rather similar to what we currently have in Quebec:

To give families the flexibility they need to bridge to quality child care, a Liberal government will introduce the choice to take a shorter parental leave at a higher benefit level, or a longer leave (up to 18 months) at a lower benefit level.

In Quebec we don't have parental leave for as long as 18 months, but the concept is similar. It's good to have more than one option available when it comes to parental leave.

Unlike the Conservatives, the Liberals provide the heading "Women's Equality." The fact that they included this already tells me that the Liberals care more about women's issues than the Conservatives do.

While the Conservatives claim that law and order is their biggest priority, they have taken no real measures to combat violence against women. A new Liberal government’s efforts to fight this problem will begin with an amendment to the Criminal Code to include “gender” in the hate propaganda provisions to help end societal acceptance for those who would incite hatred against women.

It's appalling that the word "gender" isn't already there. The Liberals also promise to repair the damage made to Status of Women Canada, and to create an independent Commissioner for Gender Equality. They also point out other areas of their platform that would be beneficial for women, including their affordable housing plan and their plan to combat poverty.

It's an appealing platform and the Conservatives did undo some of the good things that the Liberals had in place while they were still in power. If our only choices were the Conservatives and the Liberals, the Liberals would be by far the better choice for women and families. However, we have more parties to choose from than just two. Are the Liberals the best out of the bunch? Keep checking back to find out.

1 Response to "Women's and families' issues in Canadian politics: Part II"

Psketti Says:

I applaud your determination to bring up your child in tune with your feminist principles. Good luck!I am interested to see how it goes...will you have to make rules for family and friends about gift-times...no sexist toys allowed, nor ones that promote violence. Are you going to avoid much of what Disney has to offer...woman as princess in need of saving by a strong man? I hope so, and more. Try to find stories that do not follow the old stereotypes on men saving women. I wish you luck and can imagine myself in your shoes in the future, hopefully you'll have lots of experiences to share by then!