OTTAWA, October 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Status of Women Minister Patricia Hajdu has just indicated it is open to funding women’s advocacy groups from a diversity of perspectives—as long as they are all pro-abortion.
Hajdu said in an interview that, “I think that's a very clear indication of our government's willingness to hear from sometimes opposing voices — people that push us towards more progressive policy, people that are not afraid to criticize the government or criticize our approaches.”
But when asked if this openness to “opposing” perspectives extended to those of pro-life women, she beat a hasty retreat. “The work still has to happen within values and evidence and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, so what we want at Status of Women is to empower women and to ensure the protection of women's right to choose,” she said. “So, it would have to still fall within the realm of feminism.”
Joanne Brownrigg of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews, “There’s nothing revolutionary or particularly women-centred about this funding of so-called opposing voices. There’s nothing opposing the culture in this funding. It's the same-old, same-old. It would have been radical to actually fund pro-life, anti-abortion groups who also have the woman at the centre of their cause.”
Brownrigg also took a shot at the government’s commitment to subject all proposals to cabinet to “gender-based analysis” to assess their impact on women’s equality, which is Hajdu’s responsibility to oversee. “I hope that gender-based analysis itself is subjected to analysis to see that it truly benefits women,” she told LifeSiteNews.
The funding of feminist advocacy groups was widespread under the previous Liberal regimes but was discontinued by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper from 2006 to 2015. The ministry’s funding for women’s groups grew, but went instead to those offering programs providing material aid, such as those combating violence against women.
“It was discriminatory then,” said Diane Watts of REAL Women of Canada, referring to the funds that went to advocacy groups under the previous Liberal governments, “and it is still discriminatory. Not all women in Canada are feminists. These advocacy groups do not represent all women.”
REAL Women applied for funding under the earlier Liberal regime, “but they turned us down,” reports Watts, “because they said we were against equality. But REAL Women promotes a more profound equality than the superficial equality of feminist groups.”