Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff continued to champion the principle of equal opportunity for all Canadians by appearing before the Parliamentary Status of Women Committee today to present his Private Member’s Bill that would make pay equity an enshrined human right.
“The Liberal Party is leading the way in the fight for women’s equality,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “This bill repeals measures put forward by the Harper Conservatives that put pay equity on the bargaining table – because no human right should ever be subject to negotiation. All Canadians, regardless of their gender, deserve the full protection of their government, and equality in the workplace.
“This past May, despite government opposition, a majority of MPs in the House of Commons voted in favour of my Private Member’s Bill on pay equity at second reading. Liberals find it deplorable that the Harper Conservatives would deny women the right to receive equal pay for work of equal value.”
In Budget 2009, the Harper Conservatives attacked the rights of Canadian women by undermining pay equity. Mr. Ignatieff’s Private Members Bill calls for swift action to implement the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force, including a new pay equity commission to ensure pay equity in the federal public service, Crown corporations, and federally-regulated corporations.
“This prime minister is seriously out of touch with the beliefs and values of Canadians if he thinks that pay equity isn’t an important issue,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “We are a country that believes in equality and respect for all persons, yet we have a government that doesn’t acknowledge these important principles, and would rather focus their efforts on prisons and planes than making sure all Canadians are treated equally.
“Despite this government’s best efforts to make pay equity go away, we will not stop until the human right to equal pay for work of equal value is recognized,” concluded Mr. Ignatieff.
Pay Equity facts:
- Today in Canada, women on average earn seventy-two cents for every dollar earned by their male colleagues.
- Women with children earn fifty-two cents for every dollar earned by their male colleagues.
- Two-thirds of all minimum wage earners are women, and women are over-represented among part-time and unpaid workers, as well as those in the lowest income bracket.
- Among top earners, men outnumber women by more than 333 per cent.
Conservative attacks on women’s equality in Canada:
- Turned a woman’s fundamental right to pay equity into something up for grabs at the collective bargaining table.
- Cut the operating budget of Status of Women Canada by 43 per cent, while removing the word “equality” from the mandate of its Women’s Program.
- Banned the words “gender equality” from the lexicon of the Foreign Affairs department and embarrassed Canada on the world stage by excluding reproductive health from our G8 plans.
- Removed the Gender Equality unit in the Human Rights Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
- Eliminated funding for the Court Challenges Program that low-income women used to fight discrimination.
- Axed the $1-billion annual Liberal early learning and child care agreements that would have made childcare affordable for low-income women and freed up their time to work.
- Axed the Kelowna Accord which would have provided much-needed health, education and economic development funding to Aboriginal women.
- Eliminated the National Child Supplement.
- Failed to produce their ‘Action Plan’ – announced in Budget 2008 – to advance equality for women by improving their economic and social conditions and their participation in democratic life.
- Ignored a November 25, 2008 motion passed unanimously in the House of Commons to develop a violence against women prevention strategy.