OTTAWA – Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said opposition members in the House of Commons today demonstrated a commitment to true equality of opportunity for every Canadian after supporting his Private Member’s Bill on pay equity at second reading.
Unfortunately, the Conservative government voted against the bill, which further demonstrates their opposition to pay equity for women.
“This bill is about fairness,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “All Canadians, regardless of gender, deserve equality in the workplace and the full protection of their government. The Conservatives are not interested in fairness for women, as demonstrated with their rejection of my bill and their cuts to women’s groups.”
In Budget 2009, the Harper Conservatives attacked the rights of Canadian women by undermining pay equity. Mr. Ignatieff’s bill, supported by opposition MPs in a vote in the House of Commons this evening, 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.
“My bill is about putting pay equity back into the realm of human rights, and not leaving it subject to negotiation at the bargaining table. It’s unfortunate that Stephen Harper and his Conservative caucus want to take this right away from women,” said Mr. Ignatieff.
Liberal Status of Women Critic Anita Neville said despite the Prime Minister’s best efforts to make pay equity go away, Liberals will continue the fight until the human right to equal pay for work of equal value is recognized.
“Liberals want to strengthen the voice of women so they may enjoy more equality and opportunity, while Stephen Harper wants only to silence the voices of women,” she said.
Just one day after the international development community heard threats to “shut the f— up” or face “more backlash” from the Harper government, women’s groups yesterday learned the price of opposing government policies – they had their funding cut.
“Cutting funding to women’s groups who have been providing service to women for years is part of a pattern of ideologically-driven punishment against feminist groups, particularly those who support funding for reproductive rights,” concluded Ms. Neville.