Commentary from REAL Women of Canada Reality magazine, March 2008

  OTTAWA, March 27, 2008 ( – The Canadian federal government Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Josée Verner, appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women on February 5, 2008, to testify about what wonderful things the Status of Women was doing for women in Canada. She referred to the fact that the funding for the Status of Women has been increased by $8 million to $20 million (a 75% increase) in the 2007 budget, and that the funding was the highest ever received by the agency.

  It is significant, however, that even though the Conservatives have poured such generous funding into the Status of Women, a traditionally feminist government agency, the strict guidelines for making grants by the agency, established in September 2006, prevent any funding going for advocacy work (lobbying) or for “research” for feminist groups.

  As well, the government has changed the wording of the agency’s mandate so that “equality” rights will not predominate. The promotion of “equality” as the major objective on the old mandate was used to prevent organizations, such as REAL Women, from receiving funding because we are not, supposedly, an “equality” seeking organization, since we do not accept feminist policies.

  Now, funding is to go only to hands-on projects. The Minister for the Status of Women, Josée Verner, stated at this hearing of the Status of Women Committee, on February 5, “We do not provide funding to groups on the basis of what they are, but rather, on the basis of the types of projects that they propose.”

  The reason the Conservatives have poured so much money back into the Status of Women is that the feminists have planned to widen the voting gap between men and women (10% less women vote for the Conservative party than do men), by arguing that the Status of Women cutbacks and the cancellation of the Court Challenges Program were examples of the government’s lack of concern for women in Canada.
  Hence, the Conservatives gave the Status of Women more money than ever.

  However, at the same time, this government has continued to restrict the use of these funds for the promotion of feminist organizations and their policies. Now the funding is open to all women’s organizations, regardless of their perspective, providing that such groups are proposing useful projects to assist women. Just how “useful” these projects are is now the question.