Posted: Friday, 1 April 2011
The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is disappointed by the New Brunswick government's decision to eliminate funding for the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women (ACSW), an important advocate for women's issues. CLC President Ken Georgetti has written to New Brunswick Premier David Alward to express his disagreement and to urge the Premier to reinstate funding to the ACSW.
The Honourable David Alward
Province of New Brunswick
On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), I am writing to express our strong disagreement with your government's decision to eliminate funding for the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women (ACSW).
The New Brunswick ACSW was created by provincial government legislation in 1977 as an arms-length agency for consultation and study on the matters relating to the status of New Brunswick women. Since then it has provided valuable advice to governments on legislation, policies and practices; educated the public on women's issues, programs and services; and promoted networking among women's groups. Its research and policy analysis has been invaluable to labour unions in New Brunswick, and to grassroots women's groups who do not have much capacity or resources to conduct this work themselves.
Its arms-length status allows the Council to provide independent advice and information to the Government of New Brunswick. This role cannot be absorbed into the work of a government department, as a government department is not able to freely criticize or objectively assess government policy.
A strong civil society is fundamental to a healthy democracy. While gender inequality persists – while women continue to suffer disproportionate levels of poverty and violence, and while women in the workplace continue to experience barriers like unequal pay, harassment and lack of affordable, accessible child care – there will always be a need for a strong, independent voice like the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
I urge you to reconsider your decision and reinstate funding for this valuable organization.
Kenneth V. Georgetti