National Council of Women of Canada - Blog

A Blog gives you current information and items of inerest. The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) has done two blogs on the meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women, 2010, and 2011. We are continuing now with a blog, on a range of topics of interst to members and the public. The NCWC has a very complete web site where you can learn more about the history and members of Council.

A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Most blogs (including this one) are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pates, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

As of 16 February 2011 (2011 -02-16), there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.

The above from Wikipedia!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Parliament gets a makeover; An influx of young women could help change Canadian politics for good,

Parliament gets a makeover; An influx of young women could help change Canadian politics for good, writes Nancy Peckford
Ottawa Citizen
Fri May 6 2011
Page: A15
Section: Arguments
Byline: Nancy Peckford

Image makeovers - large and small - in the world of politics have a long history: Preston Manning worked on lowering his vocal register; Hillary Clinton lost the headband; and Jack Layton abandoned his trademark orange tie. But this week's election has arguably resulted in a radical makeover in the House of Commons.
The last Parliament boasted only 22 per cent women (68 women versus 240 men). Only five of these female MPs were under the age of 40, compared to 25 men, and Canada ranked 52nd in the world for its representation of women, the lowest in its history. The only female leader of a national party, Elizabeth May, held no seat and was virtually invisible on the national scene.
Oh, what a difference one election makes.
When Parliament re-convenes later this month, Canadians will see a distinctly different House. While the overall number of women elected has only risen by eight, the diversity and age range among women in Parliament will dramatically change.
Some Canadians may argue such change is unnecessary because MPs are elected to represent the interests of all of their constituents, regardless of gender. Yet, 90 years after the first female MP was elected, women indicate the perspectives they bring to Parliament -whether in committee, during debates in the House or at the cabinet table -are important.
The demise of the Bloc Québécois and Liberal parties has meant that many seasoned female MPs who had made their mark over several terms won't be returning. The radically reduced caucus of the Bloc now includes only one woman, down from 14 in the last House. The Liberal party re-elected six women from last Parliament's total of 19.
The Conservatives, on the other hand, have succeeded in electing eight more women, including two mothers of young children, a real estate agent and an orthopedic surgeon. They will join a small but strong contingent of female Conservatives MPs such as former ministers Lisa Raitt, Gail Shea and Rona Ambrose.
Green Party leader, Elizabeth May will finally have a voice in the House as the only female national party leader. Her commitment to change the tone of the House could certainly help to create an environment that many Canadians will welcome.
But the real story is the women of the NDP. More than half of their caucus is from Quebec (57), and of these newly elected MPs, 27 are women, many of them under the age of 30. This represents the single biggest influx of young women into the House of Commons in Canada's history. It also represents one of its biggest opportunities, not to mention challenges.
Over the past decade in Equal Voice's work with young women, we have continually heard them point to a significant disconnect between the issues they care about and what's happening on the Hill. Many have a difficult time conjuring up the names of female MPs who have made a positive difference. Further, the heightened media scrutiny applied to younger female politicians such as Ruby Dhalla, Belinda Stronach and Ambrose, remains etched in their collective memories as a reason women should think twice about getting involved. Few tell us they want to stand for election.
With so many young women now about to sit in the House as representatives for their ridings, it's likely that these impressions are about to change. Despite their young age, most have postsecondary degrees and a number are committed community activists. All of a sudden, not only has the face of the House got much younger, but the issues that motivate many women, young and old -including safer communities, the environment, the global gap between rich and poor, child care and education, to name just a few -are about to get more frequent play on the Hill.
American academic and former congressional candidate Jennifer Lawless has written extensively on what it takes to successfully recruit women into political life. Her findings reveal that women are much less likely to self-identify as candidates for fear that they lack sufficient experience, expertise or networks to succeed. The domination of men in the political sphere has meant fewer women see elected office as a place where they could make a real difference and one where their talents and skills are welcome.
The 41st parliament could change these notions for good. It may not only re-frame the game for younger women but serve to inspire many mid-career women, not to mention our daughters and nieces, to aspire to political life. To which Equal Voice would say, it's about time.
Nancy Peckford is executive director of Equal Voice, a political junkie, and the mother of two young daughters.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Important information you should read about the gun registry

On May 2nd, Harper won his sought-after majority government. Out of the 153 MPs who had voted to save the gun registry last September, 81 were defeated, including certain long-time gun control advocates who have defended it vehemently, such as Gilles Duceppe (Bloc Quebecois), Michael Ignatieff (Liberal), Mark Holland (Liberal), Marlene Jennings (Liberal), Tony Martin (NDP), and many others. They will be missed greatly. We know that the gun lobby has actively helped Conservative candidates, and targeted MPs who supported the gun registry using NRA-inspired campaigns. In spite of tremendous pressure, all six NDP MPs who switched their vote to help save the gun registry last September were re-elected. (A complete list of defeated Members of Parliament is available on request)

The election results are a major setback, and although we do not know exactly what will happen next, there is no doubt the Conservative government will try to repeal the long gun registry. You can count on us to do everything possible to stop them, or at least slow them down. We will continue our fight to defend the integrity of our gun control laws, and to save the long gun registry.

We know that the gun lobby will not be satisfied until gun control is dismantled. Conservative politicians and gun lobby groups are already in the media mentioning plans to dismantle the registry and even more .  

Urgent Action is Needed
During the election, it became clear many candidates were ill-informed about the issue. Parliament is scheduled to return on May 23rd, and we need your urgent aid in: 
  • Contacting your newly elected or returning MP to share your support for the gun registry and for gun control. An unofficial list of MPs and their contact information can be found here
  •  Helping to educate your MP and your friends and family. The gun registry is an important public safety tool, and should be maintained. If dismantled, there will be no turning back. Please distribute our Myths and Facts Handout within your network. You may also link to it on your website or social network. 

Gun Registry: Just the Facts
The evidence is clear, the gun registry is effective, efficient both in cost and function, and most importantly, saves lives.
  • Most firearm-related deaths in Canada are caused by rifles or shotguns. All guns are lethal, and any gun in the wrong hands is dangerous. We need controls on ALL guns.
  • Although there is more opposition to gun control in rural areas and in the Western provinces, there are also higher rates of gun death in those areas.
  • Gun control works: firearm death and injury have declined with stronger laws.
  • Police, public safety, crime prevention, women's organizations, and others support the existing law, and maintain that it contributes to public safety.
  • Registration is a one-time procedure, and it's free. The system is in place, and 6.9 million rifles and shotguns are already registered. Once the registry is scrapped and the data erased, there will be no turning back.
  • The gun registry is consulted over 14,000 times per day by police, including when intervening in domestic disputes.
  • The cost to administer the long gun registry is less than $4 million annually.

Why is the registration of all firearms essential?
  • Registering all firearms assists police in removing ALL guns from dangerous people, enforcing prohibition orders, and taking preventative action when there is a risk of suicide or domestic violence.
  • While screening and licensing firearm owners reduces the risks that dangerous people will have access to weapons, registration is essential to enforcing licensing, as it holds gun owners accountable for their firearms and reduces the chances that their guns will be diverted to unlicensed owners
  • The gun registry aids police investigations. For example, two men were identified and convicted as accessories to the murder of 4 RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, in part because a registered gun was left at the scene of the crime.
  • All illegal firearms begin as legal firearms. Controls over legal guns are essential to preventing diversion and choking off the illegal supply.

Parliament overview
While the election results remain unofficial until May 23, the current breakdown in the House of Commons is:
Conservative: 167 MPs
Opposition: 141 MPs
  • NDP: 102
  • Liberal: 34
  • Bloc Québécois : 4
  • Green Party : 1
The current breakdown in the Senate is:
  • Conservative Party of Canada: 52 Senators
  • Liberal: 42 Senators 
  • Progressive Conservative: 2 Senators 
  • Independent: 2 Senators 
  • Vacant: 3 seats  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Women Win One-Quarter of Seats in Newly Elected House of Commons May 3rd, 2011

Women Win One-Quarter of Seats in Newly Elected House of Commons May 3rd, 2011

Ottawa: Canadians will welcome 76 women to the House of Commons when it re-convenes later this month, an increase of eight from the last Parliament. With last night's election results, women now make up 25 percent of Canada's Members of Parliament, a notable increase over the 22 percent representation in the 40th Parliament.

The New Democratic Party leads the way with 40 women elected, or 39 percent of its successful candidates. The Bloc Québécois elected one woman of the four remaining BQ Members in the province. Women in the Conservative and Liberal caucuses comprise 17 and 18 percent, respectively. For the Conservative Party, this represents 28 women elected. For the Liberal Party, it is a total of 6.

Further, the Green Party made history in electing Elizabeth May, its national leader, who will now serve as the sole female leader in addition to being the only elected Green Party member in the House.

"Equal Voice is pleased to see that women now constitute a quarter of all federal Members of Parliament. This is a historic high. In fact, it is the single largest increase Canada has seen in over a decade," said Donna Dasko, National Chair.

"It signifies that Canada is moving forward," noted Dasko.

Canada now ranks in the top 40 countries in terms of women's representation in national Parliaments.

"Although only 17 percent of the Conservative caucus is women, we urge Prime Minister Harper to maintain his commitment to appointing a cabinet with strong female representation," added Nancy Peckford, Executive Director.

Equal Voice takes the opportunity to applaud all of the women who ran in this federal election.

"It takes a tremendous commitment to the democratic process, considerable tenacity and significant work to stand for election. No one should unde-restimate the sacrifice that women make to put themselves forward," said Peckford.

"While twenty-five percent is a significant achievement, Equal Voice is working towards the day when women comprise a minimum of one third of the House, " underscored Vicky Smallman who oversaw EV's candidate tracking.

Equal Voice will be releasing more detailed breakdowns throughout the day. 

National results (# of women elected of total seats - by party)

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For more information:

Nancy Peckford, Executive Director, Equal Voice - 613-292-7941 or

Donna Dasko, National Chair - 416-920-9010 or

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Child care takes centre stage

Child care takes centre stage

‘My agenda is to see child care in Orillia addressed’

By MIRANDA MINASSIAN Special to The Packet & Times

A 37-year veteran of the child-care industry went to bat for families
at an all candidates' debate held at the West Ridge Early Education
Centre Tuesday night.

Despite the moderator's attempt to halt her, centre director Lucille
Desjardins took centre stage in an attempt to get all five North
Simcoe candidates to focus on early education.

"I may not be a Harper supporter. I may not be an Ignatieff supporter.
I may not be a Layton supporter… What I am a supporter of is someone
who is going to speak about this issue for this area in Ottawa," she

With 125 clients on a year-long waiting list, Desjardins is passionate
about this country's child-care strategy.

"There are 20 spaces in all of Orillia for babies — kids from zero to
18 months old.  That is shameful," she said.

Recognizing that education falls under the provincial government's
jurisdiction, Desjardins believes it is up to the feds to ensure that
quality child-care spaces are available countrywide.

"It is the federal government that can make conditions attached to the
money they give to provinces," she said, vocalizing her support of a
national child-care strategy. "High-quality care should be available
to all children, regardless of where they come from or move to in this

The Liberal, NDP and Green candidates were in agreement with
Desjardins' vision for a federal solution to the child-care issue.

Calling Stephen Harper's current Universal Child Care Benefit — which
provides families with $100 a month per child — grossly inadequate,
Liberal candidate Steve Clarke supports Desjardins's stance regarding
a nationwide strategy.

"This election, I believe, is a referendum on values. Do we need to be
spending $13 billion on mega-prisons or should we be investing in a
national child-care strategy?" Clarke asked. "Politicians and
political parties need to understand the differences between
investments and expenditures."

Valerie Powell sees early childhood issues as part of the larger issue
of sustainability — something she believes the Green Party addresses.

"You have to look at everything, the entire environment of supporting
people that can lead to ecologically sustainable lifestyle," she said.
"We need to build strong communities so that needs are met throughout

Integrated policies that meet the Green's six core values — ecological
wisdom, non-violence, social justices, sustainability, participatory
democracy and respect for diversity — is the approach best suited to
meet community needs, Powell said.

"It shouldn't be a matter of how wealthy or educated your family is,"
said New Democrat Richard Banigan. "All children should have

The two parties against a national child-care strategy had differing
views on how the federal government should deal with the issue of
early education.

"Provinces have the lead in child care," said Conservative candidate
Bruce Stanton

As a provincial responsibility, Stanton remained heavily critical of
the Ontario's child-care spending record.

"The ongoing frustration with us is that any kind of agreements we
have with the province is that the accountability isn't there, " he
said. "There are set dollars earmarked for programs within the
province. We just can't find where the spending is happening. The last
report they did on day-care spots was 2006."

Christian Heritage Party candidate Adrian Kooger sees women staying
home to take care of children as a win-win scenario for families. Core
family values would be retained while job opportunities would be
created when working mothers vacate their current positions, he said.

"We would redirect money spent on unemployment and welfare to
strengthen families," said Kooger, whose party pledges $1,000 a month
for a stay-at-home parent. "Our position is that kids should be raised
by their parents and not by day-care employees."

Though vocal about her criticisms of the Harper government's move away
from the national health-care strategy before the meeting, organizer
Desjardins insists that the debate was a non-partisan event.

"I know that Bruce Stanton supports us. He is as capable as anyone to
take this issue to Ottawa," she said. "My agenda is to see child care
in Orillia addressed. Period."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Don’t Play Politics with Women’s Lives Says Equality Coalition

Don’t Play Politics with Women’s Lives Says Equality Coalition

Women Tell Leaders to Support the Gun Registry and Women’s Safety

Ottawa, April 28, 2011 ­ Women across Canada are endorsing an open
letter to party leaders urging them to preserve the long gun registry
to prevent an increase in gun deaths of women and children. The Ad Hoc
Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights, representing 42
women’s groups, unions and human rights organizations, is calling on
women to sign on to support the long gun registry as a tool for
women’s safety.

“We issued this letter to say to party leaders, don’t play politics
with women’s lives,” said Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada, the
nation’s single largest provider of shelter for women and children
fleeing violence, “the registry is here to stay. That was confirmed
when Bill C-391 failed. And it failed because Canadians understand the
long gun registry is a modern database that police use every day for
their own safety and always before they go on a domestic violence
call. People got the message that ending the registry is not in the
best interests of women living with violence.”

 “Women across Canada know the gun registry works,” said Barb Byers,
Executive Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Women know
it makes our communities and our workplaces safer. It’s that simple.
Doing away with it would make women less safe. It would make our
workplaces less safe, and it would make the jobs of police officers
and first responders less safe.”

Long guns are the guns most commonly used in spousal homicides,
especially when women are the victim. The Domestic Violence Death
Review Committee found firearms to be present in 47% of domestic
homicides in 2007. Since the registry’s creation, gun deaths in Canada
have fallen significantly. In 1995, 1125 Canadians were killed with
guns. In 2007, the latest year for which figures are available,
Statistics Canada reported 723 deaths due to firearms. By 2009, the
rate of murders with rifles and shotguns had dropped by more than 62%
from 1995.

Police and physicians on the public record in support of the long gun
registry include the Canadian Association of Police Boards, the
Canadian Police Association, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of
Police, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians and the
Canadian Paediatric Society.

Supporters are invited to sign on to the Open Letter at

Right to Water

Assembly of First Nations, Amnesty International and Council of Canadians urge political leaders to recognize the human right to water

OTTAWA, April 28 /CNW/ - The Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Amnesty International Canada and the Council of Canadians are calling on all political parties to recognize explicitly the human right to water and sanitation and to commit to ensuring that Canada meets its obligations in upholding these rights for people in Canada.  
On July 28, 2010, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution recognizing the right to clean and safe drinking water and sanitation. Canada and a small number of other countries abstained from the vote while the resolution was strongly supported by African, Asian and Latin American countries. On September 30, 2010, the UN Human Rights Council affirmed that the right to water and sanitation is already established in international law under legally-binding UN human rights covenants.  Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians chairperson and former Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the UN General Assembly, says, "The United Nations has already recognized water and sanitation as a human right, which means that every government must now come up with a plan of action based on the 'obligation to respect, protect and fulfill' these rights. I call on the next federal government to explicitly recognize these rights and for all political parties to outline what they will do to ensure that Canada meets its obligations." 
AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated, "We have made health and safety one of our priorities in this federal election with access to safe and potable water as a basic human right. Unfortunately, we still have over a hundred communities operating under boil-water advisories. First Nations have inherent rights to water in their traditional territories and these rights were never given up. First Nation leaders have called for Canada to respect the Aboriginal and Treaty right to clean drinking water and want to work in partnership with the next government on this priority, consistent with the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.''  
Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve says, "Canada has lost its standing as a world leader in pressing for human rights. One of the most blatant failings has been in respect to the situation of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Canada should recognize that clean, drinkable water and sanitation are basic human rights. Canada should also act to ensure that these rights are respected, protected and fulfilled in Canada by working with First Nations communities to address their urgent water and sanitation needs."  
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  
Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Media Release - Campaign 2000

Three out of four cross-Canada parties commit to reduce poverty; Conservatives ignore poverty reduction and inequality

Toronto - Citing the persistence of poverty and growing gap between the rich and poor across Canada, national anti-poverty coalition Campaign 2000 today expressed satisfaction that three out of four parties have committed to a poverty reduction plan.

Reducing poverty and inequality is not just a moral issue, but an essential element in managing the economy. Poverty and inequality drive health care and crime control expenditures, lead to skilled labour shortages through poor educational attainment, and generate social conflict.

Poverty persists across Canada with nearly one in ten people, including
610,000 low-income children and their mothers, living in poverty (2008 LICO after-tax). These most recent statistics do not reflect the current situation or the full impact of the recession and continuing economic disruption. These families still feel the double burden of job loss at the workplace and increased economic stress at home.

"We've analyzed the party platforms and found that all parties except for the Conservative Party have plans for poverty reduction in their platforms. The Liberals, New Democrats and Greens have all agreed to develop a plan to address poverty, to establish a system of universally accessible, high quality early childhood education and care services and to develop a national strategy for affordable housing including funds for social housing. The Bloc Québécois also supports a plan to make poverty history in Canada that recognizes Québec's particular role in social policy," said Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator of Campaign 2000. "These commitments are essential to an effective strategy to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty in Canada."

"We do know how to reduce and eradicate poverty - northern European countries have child and family poverty rates below 5%, without sacrificing vibrant economic growth or prosperity. Those countries invest in people throughout the life cycle and everyone in society benefits. In Canada, the majority of provinces have adopted or are all working on poverty reduction plans. But the missing link is an active federal government role," said Sid Frankel, University of Manitoba and Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. "That's why this federal election is so important - we need Canada's next federal government to commit to a plan to reduce poverty levels by at least 25% over the next 5 years and enshrine that in legislation."

To view a full copy of the Campaign 2000 Election Statement and the grid summarizing party platforms on poverty, visit <> .

Campaign 2000 is a non-partisan cross Canada coalition of over 120 organizations committed to ending child & family poverty in Canada.


For further comment please contact:

Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator, Campaign 2000.Tel: 416-595-9230 x 228 or 416-575-9230

Sid Frankel, University of Manitoba and Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.
Tel 204-295-3749

or 204-474-9706.

National Council of Women of Canada Urges Women to Vote May 2nd

Media Release

Thursday April 28th, 2011

For Immediate Release: National Council of Women of Canada Urges Women to Vote May 2nd

It has never been more important than right now for women in Canada to vote and make their voices heard according to Mary Scott, President of the National Council of Women of Canada.  The Council represents over 500,000 women and more than 40 organizations across the country.    With 21 percent of women undecided as reported by a Nik Nanos poll, women’s votes matter in deciding this election. 

Women’s votes are crucial if they are to show their impatience with the lack of a clear plan for poverty reduction;  a system of accessible, affordable and quality early childhood education and child care; affordable housing; equal pay for work of equal value; funding to support advocacy; defense of  the long gun registry; neglect of the environment; elimination of violence against women and otherwise encourage factors  that  promote the equal participation of all women in Canadian society.  Disregard for issues that matter to women must be stopped.

 It’s time to follow in the footsteps of women like the Famous Five and those who insisted that women be included in the Constitution and let everyone know we will not be silenced says Scott.

Women must think for themselves and ensure that they make the best use of their vote.  Every vote matters.  There’s no time like the present to give those in power a strong message. Women count. 

Get out to vote and organize your friends and family to join you.

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For further information:
Mary Scott, President
1 204 888 2996


Monica Cullum, Vice President
1 613 567 0958 or 416-250-7575

National Council of Women of Canada
Election Blog:

Aboriginal Women and Girls

Aboriginal Women and Girls

Aboriginal Women (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) in Canada experience multiple layers of discrimination and hardships. These include the impact of Canada's historic government policies (especially residential schools), and double discrimination based on race and gender. The undermining of Aboriginal culture and social fabric has taken a high toll on Aboriginal women.


Aboriginal women experience alarming rates of violence. Aboriginal women are eight times more likely to be murdered, and three times more likely to be abused by their partner than non-Aboriginal women. For Inuit women, the rate of violence is 14 times the national average. Symptomatic of this is the high number of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Racism, sexism, poverty, historic government policies, substance abuse and marginalization contribute to this violence.


Aboriginal women experience high levels of unemployment, low wages and receipt of social assistance. As a result, they experience high rates of poverty-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity and poor nutrition. The unemployment rate for Aboriginal women is 13.5%, compared to 6.4% for non-Aboriginal women. In 2005, Aboriginal women received a median income of $15,600 - $3,600 less than non-Aboriginal women. Aboriginal women are concentrated in low-paid jobs. 59% work in sales, service, finance or administration jobs. Adding to the marginalization of Aboriginal women and children is the underfunding of child welfare services on reserves.


Despite multiple challenges, Aboriginal women are strong and resilient. This is reflected in Aboriginal women's education levels. Aboriginal women attend school at higher rates than both non-Aboriginal women and Aboriginal men. Aboriginal women are nearly twice as likely as Aboriginal men (7.1% versus 4.5% respectively) to have a University certificate, degree or diploma. This is despite the fact that many Aboriginal women are raising children alone and in poverty. High fertility rates (2.6 children versus 1.5 for non-Aboriginal women) mean Aboriginal women require family, social and economic supports to achieve education and career goals.

Consider asking your candidate the following questions:

Q. Does your party support policies that will recognize and restore the role of aboriginal women and girls in society?

Q. Will you party stop the persistent underfunding of programming and services delivered to First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls?

Law and Order Agenda -

Despite media attention and Government claims to the contrary, crime rates have fallen. In 2009 nearly 2.2 million crimes were reported to police, which is 17% lower than ten years ago. The law reforms introduced recently will not prevent crime, and they will cost tens of billions of dollars.

Women are the fastest-growing prison population. The so-called "Law and Order Agenda" will not make women safer, and it will drain resources from services necessary for women's substantive equality. Depending upon the prison and the needs of women, it costs anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 per year to keep a woman in prison. If she has mental health issues, she will likely be held in segregation and subject to high security.

Under-protected Women in Canada are under-protected. Women experience the highest rates of poverty in Canada. This is compounded by victimization, substance use, mental health issues, racialization and disabilities. Women commit crime, in many cases, to survive.

Over-policed Crime rates are down, yet women are the fastest- growing prison population. Aboriginal women are overrepresented in the prison system. An expensive prison complex will not address the economic and social issues that women in Canada face. Prisons do not guarantee rehabilitation or health care and education programs that meet women's needs.

Unaffordable The "Law and Order Agenda" is expensive compared to alternatives. The planned changes to the prison system will cost taxpayers an estimated $9.5 billion by 2015-2016. It costs on average $185,000 per year to imprison a woman in Canada.

The "Law and Order Agenda" Displaces Children When you imprison women, you imprison mothers. 60% of children whose mothers are in prison live with grandparents, 17% with other relatives, and 25% live in foster care or group homes. Interestingly, almost 90% of children whose fathers are in prison continue to live with their mothers.

The inaccessibility of social programs, combined with increased imprisonment, are not resulting in any increased safety or equality for Canadian women and children. Women in prison experience high rates of depression and self-injury. 80-90% have survived sexual and/or physical abuse. 34% of women in federal prisons are Aboriginal. When they leave, they deal with trauma, violence, poverty, and lack of access to good jobs, health care and mental health services.

The Government of Canada needs to make Canada safer for women and girls by:

* Ensuring access to participation in a knowledge-based society.
* Creating access to decent work.
* Increasing rehabilitation programs and supports in prison and the community.
* Implementing a national strategy with specific policies and resources dedicated to ending violence against women and girls.
* Creating equal access to health, mental health and education programs.

Implementing the recommendations of the Arbour Report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

To find out where your candidate stands on the "Law and Order Agenda" consider asking the following questions:

Q. If elected will you work to repeal the unnecessary criminal justice reforms and reallocate resources to develop social, educational and health services?
Q. Will you reinstate the Court Challenges Program?