Category Archives: Uncategorized

#appropriationprize (+ exploitation of stories)

Getting paid to be a journalist and/or writer is a hard task. It feels almost impossible sometimes. It is not just about finding your voice, learning to write well, having a strong sense of narrative, finding strong and interesting subjects – although those are all foundation to being considered good at the craft. It’s also about privilege.

Perhaps, consider, that the space one occupies is limited. That paid work for critical writing is fewer and farther. While we (yes, pejoratively) bemoan the death of print media, or critical journalism, or properly researched and fact checked news stories, often we leave out the inconvenient obvious that we are bemoaning the loss of a privileged class and space for privileged persons. A space that has traditionally been open to few. A space of critical thinkers, the fourth (bleeding into the fifth) estate, where voices were valued and actually paid for their intellectual contributions. But, a space where a few people were permitted to tell the stories of folks and communities they have no connection to. A space rich with appropriation, and no desire to change that.

Rarely, is it mentioned that largely and traditionally, mainstream media and the vast majority of well paid and sustained writers do not reflect the plurality of stories and experiences. Then, now, voices of those not traditionally reflected in MSM challenge the exploitation of story telling (and if you are profiting off of the experiences of others without opening space for them to also profit // experience value for their work it is indeed exploitation). The truth is that truly great reporters, editors and writers – people that change spaces and challenge the craft, are not all that common and are often considered auxiliary.

So, what is to say the Jonathan Kay is any better at the craft and the work than most of the folks working for much less then he. (This is a rhetorical question).

There is a quote about privilege, and how those being challenged are less likely to understand why they are being challenged. Or something about ivory towers. Or glass houses. I couldn’t find it.

Regardless. This conversation is as much about the loss of a traditional privilege to occupy these spaces as it is about appropriation and exploitation of others.

Writers are supposed to tell their stories, tell the stories of what is happening around them. Great writers do that by finding ways to understand, deeply understand, those experiences. The greatest writers have lived those experiences.

Perhaps, with the resignation of Kay and others who have traditionally occupied those spaces (and will, likely, find paid work that will continue a comfortable lifestyle) there will, maybe, please, be spaces for those writers and editors who better reflect our communities. Those lived experiences have been too often told through the mouths of (unintentional?) oppressors.

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Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day.

Today, like every day now, feels simultaneously thoughtfully purposeful and completely accidental.

This incredible human laughed at me, cried, shouted in my face, showered me with kisses, sassed me all day.

I love her like I couldn’t love anything else. I am constantly on the edge of worry that everything I am doing is wrong. The other edge is truly fog – I am so tired and so behind.

She is my own flesh and blood – kind of. Her own mother, my own sister, is gone. The kind of gone that never comes back. The kind of gone where grief overcomes reality and it is like waves that suck you under until you’re too tired to fight your way to the surface. The kind of gone that slowly filters out the pain of past hurts. The kind of gone that is so final, it seems unreal – still.

The day she was born I held her in my arms and cried. My whole being desperate to hold her forever. I felt her little heart and watched her little face. I felt the air leave my body. I understood a greater clarity. I felt more important seeing her look up at me.

She is 6 now. With two missing teeth. A wonderfully dark sense of humour. I know she is safe and healthy. I put her to bed, and wake her up for school. I kiss her face and her hands and her arms and I tell her she is clever and wonderful.

Being an auntie-momma is hard most of the time. But this human person I get to touch and listen to and watch grow into a bigger human with complex ideas is amazing.

The gratitude I have for my sister is enormous. She created the single greatest part of my life. I will spend forever in gratitude. Forever thankful for this.

 

 

Black, brown, and women’s bodies are not up for sale – not for all the pipelines in the world

To those fighting the Trump administration, and a right wing congress, for their rights and their safety – know that I and many others in Canada and around the world are in your corner. My silence cannot be bought with pipelines or promises of trade deals. I will not support an administration that openly, boastfully devalues Women, Muslim, Black and Brown, Queer and Disabled bodies.

I will not compromise my fight for equality, or the struggle to end white supremacy and colonization because it may not directly affect me today.

In only one week Trump has taken away language supporting civil rights, Climate Change policy and LGBTQ rights from the government’s websites. He has stripped funding from international organizations that provide family planning support, including abortion options. And this week, Trump will take action on immigration – including ending DACA and building a literal wall.

And yes, he has moved on Keystone and DAPL.

There are many calling for governments, federally and provincially, to stay out of Trump’s line of fire. To basically hide in our great-white-north’ness. Perhaps those folks are hoping our Prime Minister’s “sunny ways” will shield Canadians from the unchecked rhetoric of bigotry and hate coming from Trump.

Perhaps for some it will. If they carry enough privilege and enough economic security. If they can pass with male privilege, or white privilege, or class privilege then perhaps Trump’s administration and the international impact of Trump’s foreign and economic policy doesn’t scare them like it scares me.

If you voted for Trudeau because you believed in “sunny ways” and/or if you voted for a self-identifying progressive provincial government because you believed in economic equality for all – regardless of gender or race, I ask you to consider if you were voting for your advancement or the advancement of all. If you support a woman’s right to choose, if you support anti-racist immigration policy, if you believe climate change is a serious threat to our earth, if you believe in Indigenous rights, if you believe in end violence against women, if you believe that anyone should be free and safe to be in a public space, then how can you be so willing to stay silent in hopes of a trade deal or more pipelines.

Is the oil & gas industry more valuable than a rape survivor’s fight for justice? More valuable than the right of education for a kid born to undocumented parents? More important than the mass incarceration of black bodies? More important than safety for a family fleeing persecution? Is your privilege and comfort more important than those folks living in fear across a border?

We know that change is made through decades of work. The civil rights movement, suffrage, divorce, abortion rights, birth control, ending Jim Crow – that was work. Steady work by committed people. People who did not accept a compromise. People who would not accept that the life of a brother or sister was less valuable than the trade off they were offered. And when that became acceptable – when women agreed a white woman’s right to vote or work or live was more valuable than an Indigenous woman’s rights, that is when we lost. That is when we accepted the premise that some bodies are more valuable than others.

My comrades to the south, and across Canada – I am still with you. I believe our rights are worth fighting for and that standing up against oppression is important.

Black, brown, and women’s bodies are not up for sale.

Day 1: #educate

Yesterday we marched. In numbers unseen for decades. We marched in peace, love and solidarity. We marched in the streets, in public spaces, online and on government property. We marched with our children, our parents, our grandparents, our friends, our communities.
Now we continue the work. We educate, agitate and organize.
The Women’s March has put out 10 actions for 100 days. Worldwide, we can send the message that we will fight for gender equality everywhere. That no matter who you are, even the President of the United States, women have value and treating them as if they don’t is unacceptable. We must send a message to every government that women’s rights are human rights, and we will accept nothing less than action to improve the condition of women’s lives everywhere.
Action 1 / 10
THE FIRST ACTION
Write a postcard to your local councillour, MLA & MP about what matters most to you—and how you’re going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead. We’re offering printable postcards for you to download.
You can go it alone, or consider inviting some friends, neighbors and fellow Marchers over for a drink or dinner sometime in the next ten days to talk about your experience and fill out your postcards.
Suggestions on Canadian campaigns: 
Canadian Women’s Foundation // Taking Action
Send your pussy hat to your MLA! // Pussy Hat Project 
Knit a uterus, and send it to your representative asking them to take your rights seriously. (An oldie but a goodie).

Who are you fighting for?

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Alberta has always been “oil country”, so to speak. The pride of Canada – for our fortunate position to have our provincial boundaries atop of black gold. In many ways, Alberta’s political and social values have been crafted around a resource we have little control over, and despite that, we seem to be consistently willing to let it define us.

This rhetoric has achieved one thing. It has united those on the right and the centre-left of the political spectrum in a common fight against a perceived enemy: anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree that pipeline expansions are in the public’s best interest.

This editorial cartoon, following Jane Fonda’s visit to Alberta, demonstrates that so clearly. It follows an unhappy reaction from government members – a reaction that was flippant and dismissive. Annoyed is the best word I can think of. Annoyed at Fonda and dismissive of the Albertan’s who asked her here, dismissive of the First Nation Chiefs that shared a platform with her.

It is part and parcel of the growing division in our province. A political fission that opened up after the NDP won government in 2015. Suddenly, the debate became about partisan politics, not issues – and here we are now. Defending the pipelines are about the politics of a government – not about the issue of pipelines. It is no longer about respecting Albertans or respectful conversations about the best way to ensure economic growth.

The personal attacks against government members are hateful, and they are designed to cheapen the conversation. They are forged in anger and deliberate ignorance to achieve a political end. If we diminish a person’s existence enough, then regardless of what they do right or inline with our values they are still diminished.

The achievements of a government, an organization, or a person are no longer because their hard work, but because simply a byproduct of something else. An undefined something else.

The state of democratic engagement in our province is not good. Public consultations are increasingly becoming traumatic, for the attendees as well as the hosts. Staff who field the emails, letters and phone calls are constantly under attack. And if you’re a concerned citizen interested in a respectful debate, more and more you are turning inwards to safe spaces because folks with platforms are more likely than not to use that to gaslight you. To redefine your concerns. To put you in an “for or against” camp.

That is everyone’s problem. You can’t put out a hateful garbage fire by adding more garbage. You can’t expect respectful discussion when you directly contribute to a disrespectful environment.

It’s not funny to mock someone or shame them because they don’t agree with you. That response creates ideological walls – and it turns conversations into battles. It doesn’t educate, it doesn’t create communities, and it leaks out beyond that issue.

White feminism is not feminism.

It many respects, it was a monumental time for women in politics, with one major caveat: most of the stories we were hearing were those of white women. The public’s reaction perpetuated the idea that sexism and misogyny are experienced identically by all women in politics, but, to put it bluntly, they are not. That’s why it’s so important that we acknowledge intersectionality — in politics, and otherwise.
More women in positions of power is lovely, but it’s not equality if the vast majority of them are white and benefit from class privilege. It is the literal bare minimum in the business of governing.
 
When we talk about the experiences of women in positions of power, we also need to talk about who is still absent. What violence are they facing? How are you – you as a person in a position of power – making change so that others can rise up too?
 
It is wonderful, empowering to hear women speak about their experiences with misogyny and violence directly related to their position. It fills me with hope, compassion and commitment. But it is rarely done to include the many voices who never get that platform.
 
The folks that stand out are the ones who acknowledge the privilege they have from the very platform they are using to advocate from. They acknowledge the experiences of so many others. They acknowledge the support they have due to their position. They root themselves in a community and they offer support. They stand with other oppressed folks.
 
Then there are folks who speak about themselves with no acknowledgment of how incredibly privileged they are. No acknowledgment that they have state resourced protection. Further, no reflection of work done to understand the systemic and institutional discrimination.
 
Those women & men speak in code: “that women who look like me, act like me, carry the same class privileges as me deserve better. Because I deserve better.”
They use that code to wink at each other while they make passionate speeches in closed spaces. They use that code to form policy that actively hurts communities. They have used that code over and over again to celebrate women in power while keeping the majority of women poor and economically dependent. They used that code to fight for the right to vote – but not if you’re black, Japanese, Chinese, Indigenous, or poor. They used that code to implement forced sterilization and marry First Nations women to white men.
They use it today.
It’s time to break it.

The pressure to be fun

 
The writer’s genuine anger at the things that are genuinely anger-inducing, next to her observations of boozy everything, reminded me of how exhausting it is to try and be nice/fun/happy/cool/collected/organized … Truthfully, I am exhausted now.
I am exhausted because my body is screaming for a good old fashioned solo retreat into the woods, while my mind is reeling with the lists of things I need to do. All while telling me to keep a cool, calm, put-together demeanor.
 
Throughout experiencing all the injustices that women face because of gender based harassment and inequality, they are still expected to smile. Not just smile, but also plan that perfect birthday party, ensure basic necessities are available, do laundry, keep fit, cook meals, pack backpacks, pack work bags, and remember the thousands of little details that make up life. Women are expected to get up with the sick kid – loosing sleep, but still be ready to rock another day the following morning. They are expected to be joyful all. the. time. As if lacking sleep, stressing out about work/family/life and still going to the gym so your fitbit team doesn’t tease you about your lack of steps is a real gift. As if watching opportunities go to male colleagues is a thrilling challenge, and with the right pair of heels you can show them all. As if the constant news reports of abused kids or raped women don’t already keep you up at night.
 
Because being tired/ upset/ near tears/ not smiling/ stressed means you’re not having it all – and that seems to be an affront to so many people somehow. Like, admitting life is difficult somehow means you don’t love your job/kids/partner/community/home.
 
Being sober or not is a choice. Judging others for their lack of smile or tired eyes is a choice.
 
I don’t need to force myself to show happiness to be happy. I am happy, most of the time. But I am also tired, and stressed, and unsure if what I am doing at any given moment is the right thing to do.

That should be okay – but still it is not.

NOT WORKING 9-5: Women’s work in an unstable environment

Precarious work is a growing issue in the labour movement, as well as for legislators looking to understand this quickly growing segment of the working class in Canada. Over 2 million Canadians identify themselves as relying on precarious or temporary work—and more than half of new jobs created in the last decade are precarious. Between 1989 and 2007, “self-employed” workers increased nearly 45 per cent.

Contract, temporary, or unstable work is the reality for many households in Canada, and these workers are being asked to live on less. A 2013 United Way report stated that, “those in the precarious cluster earn 46% less than those in the secure cluster and their household income is 34% lower.”

In a 2005 report, Oxfam found that “women are disproportionately affected by precarious employment. In fact, women are faced with the ‘triple burden,’ including their roles as mothers, as workers, and as community advocates. Not only do women suffer the consequences of precarious work—so do their families and communities.” Women, particularly women of colour, make less than their male counterparts working the same number of hours.
Currently, some federal political leaders are creating a call to action. In the launch of her campaign on precarious labour in the millennial generation, #GenYAsksY, NDP MP Niki Ashton (Critic for Jobs, Employment and Workforce Development) commented: “the rise of precarious employment is driving growing inequality and threatens the future of an entire generation. The government can no longer ignore the challenges facing millions of young Canadians who lack job security and basic benefits.”

Precarious labour issues intersect with gender and race. The NDP campaign reports that, “rates of precarious employment are higher among already marginalized groups, including women (especially single mothers), racialized Canadians, new immigrants, aboriginal persons, and persons with disabilities.” People who traditionally face significant challenges finding stable employment are left with little choice but to accept precarious working conditions.

Stephanie Nakitsas is one of the co-founders of The Urban Worker Project. The project is aiming to build a community for urban workers to raise issues and advocate for a better future for urban workers. “A lot of studies have shown that more and more women are working freelance, or are working in a precarious way. Sometimes that’s by choice, but sometimes it is by necessity. Because affordable childcare is so hard to access in our country, with the exception of Quebec, a lot of women are choosing to do this work because by freelancing, they have the schedule flexibility you might not have in other work. The traditional office, 9 to 5, doesn’t always work for women because of these commitments—the work that they have in the home or the dependents that they have.”

Industries such as academia and social services, where in past decades women have found greater opportunities for stable income, are now employing contract workers at greater rates. Casual or part time work means no or few benefits and forces people, often young women trying to break into those places, to manage a short term plan that limits their ability to go back to school or care for dependents.

Canadian labour legislation is based in an era when many men were full time wage earners and women were full time house managers. Eroded social structures and policy have tipped the economic scales even further in the favour of large employers with little connection to the communities in which they operate. Cuts to Employment Insurance and assistance programs have resulted in a desperate workforce that has no choice but to rely on precarious work, and that precarious work ensures that employees are without benefits. With no legislation ensuring all workers have the ability to pay into EI or other assistance plans, many workers have no safety net should they be temporarily or permanently unable to work.

Workers are organizing and fighting back to level the field. The Urban Worker Project was formed in Toronto in early 2016 and is “calling on government to broaden who is covered under employment standards legislation so that solo self-employed, freelance and contract workers can access better pay, benefits and protections”.

Women have long had to balance economic precarity and gender inequality in their struggle. But with precarious labour on the rise, there is a growing solidarity with feminist economic asks like a living wage, affordable childcare, lowered post-secondary education costs and access to social infrastructure.

(This piece was originally published July 26th, 2016 in the GUTS magazine blog.)

C-210, a “pandora’s box” of equality?!

Don’t worry Conservative caucus, a gender neutral national anthem will not guarantee women equal rights.

(Nor will it open a Pandora’s Box where our national symbol, The Beaver, is no longer a just an animal with a wood problem. wink.)

Since 1980, there have been 10 private member’s bills (PMB) asking Parliament to change a single line in our national anthem, making it more inclusive. MP Mauril Belanger’s PMB is the 11th such attempt.  What these PMBs are presenting is simple. The modification of one line. The change being proposed substitutes “of us” in place of “thy sons”.

The National Anthem, as we sing it now, was changed once already in 1913 from “True patriot love thou dost in us command,” to “In all thy sons command”.

Bill C-210, “An Act to amend the National Anthem Act” is one of those bills that get tabled each session, and then (largely due to the governing party’s choice to blind parliament from recognizing gender inequality) either gets defeated or dies on the order paper.

(Quick note: when a bill “dies on the order paper” it basically means that time has run out in the session and that bill wasn’t considered important or timely enough to keep session going to debate it and/or vote on it. Imagine “dying on the order paper” to be the same thing as planning to leave for two weeks knowing there is a head of lettuce in your fridge. You could eat the lettuce, but you order pizza instead – because pizza. Then you leave for holiday and some poor soul comes into to clean your house so that you have a fresh fridge to fill with future rotting vegetables.)

It is certain that Bill C-210 will pass. Its sponsor, MP Mauril Belanger, is a member of the governing party and has the support of the NDP opposition. Moreover, MP Belanger is suffering with ALS. This is very likely his last parliamentary session, and as this bill has been his legislative focus for a number of years, it is being strongly supported by his colleagues to pass before he is no longer able to be in the House.

This bill is, like many PMBs are, a response to a grassroots campaign. The “Restore our National Anthemmovement celebrates the anthem, and has been a consistent voice for a gender neutral anthem.  Founders include former Prime Minister Kim Campbell and author Margaret Atwood, and has strong roots in political spheres. The site even provides direct action tools – making it easy for constituents to contact their MP and also to track their MP’s votes on this issue.

The bill was tabled for first reading in January and then saw second reading this past week. After the first hour of debate on second reading, in which MP Belanger introduced the bill and both opposition parties spoke to it, the Conservatives chose to put up enough speakers to fill the full hour.

In MP Belanger’s introduction of second reading, he commented that, “As Canadians, we continually test our assumptions, and indeed our symbols, for their suitability. Our Canadian maples have deep roots, but they also have continual new growth, reaching to the sky. Our anthem too can reflect our roots and our growth.” MP Belanger presented that no symbol should be so sacrosanct that we as Canadians cannot debate it’s suitability or it’s representation.

The original anthem, written in 1908, was changed in 1914 to incorporate the term “sons command” – often attributed to the effect of war on Canada’s fledgling nationhood. The current of opposition from Conservative caucus members argued that the change in language sets a precedent – threatening other national symbols. MP Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London) damningly  charged that, “changing the anthem would open up Pandora’s box”.

In many ways, this is a shared struggle in so many stories of feminist activism in oppressive spaces. Symbols and ceremony are only as good as the actions out of which those meanings are forged.

NDP Critic for Status of Women Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) commented that, “The things that are going to make the difference on the ground are going to be the measures that affect people in their everyday life, but symbols are important. To me, it is just such a given – it has come so to close to passing, even quite recently. Our allies in the labour movement, and feminists activist organizations, we’re talking about other stuff.”

This change, symbolic and hardly threatening to the male-dominated spaces of political power, isn’t particularly radical. It could be interpreted to acknowledge that women are just as valued in public spaces as men. It could be interpreted to demonstrate a commitment to equality in all spaces. At its most, it could wriggle its way into the young minds of children from coast-to-coast-to-coast that sing it every day at school, and perhaps the genderless nature may empower the next generation to see things differently.

That is putting a lot of pressure on the National Anthem.

In speaking to the office of Liberal MP Greg Fergus (Hull-Alymer), they expressed disappointed in what happened the day of second reading. Fergus is a long time friend of MP Belanger, and his office commented that both the Liberal caucus and the NDP caucus were working together to pass the Bill by moving second and third reading together, a procedural move that would hasten the bills passage into law in one fell swoop. MP Fergus’s office expressed a bitter confusion as to why the Conservative’s would use such procedural tactics to block the bill from being passed expediently, when it will be passed eventually regardless of how the Conservative caucus votes.

MP Belanger’s colleagues in the Liberal and NDP caucus are still working to bring it to the floor of the House before the end of this session in order to pass it before MP Belanger is no longer able to witness the act.

It’s a dainty step in the struggle for equality.

(Authors note: I did reach out to the office for the Official Opposition Critic to the Status of Women, MP Rona Ambrose, but MP Ambrose, nor her staff replied to the request at the time of publishing.)

WANTED: PAY EQUITY AND CHILDCARE

FEDERAL BUDGET DOESN’T GO BEYOND #BECAUSEITS2015 IN SUPPORTING WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EQUITY


While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has received international praise for his gender-balanced cabinets, the Liberal government has yet to propose any significant policy to ensure that women* not sitting in Parliament will be guaranteed the same pay as their male counterparts.

Rising concerns about unemployment have dominated Canadian headlines this year. The slow rate of growth has yet to meaningfully increase full time employment. Decades of cuts to public services have become self-fulfilled downturn prophecies—which means that benefit-holding, well-paying, full-time jobs are even less available than they were in the 1990s. And we don’t even have a re-vamped Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix to help keep our chins up with.

Economic stimulus has been a hot political topic for the last year in Canada—so hot that it gave the Liberal party an opportunity to tap into a public narrative that has been echoed through public demonstrations and online organizing: economic stimulus means public spending, public spending means jobs, jobs mean economic security. To complete this circle through a gendered lens, economic security can mean closing gender gaps. At least it’s supposed to.

An understanding of the intersections of gender oppression seems to be absent from Canadian government policy. Economically, the stimulus and job creation policies found in the federal budget are not going to move workplace equality forward, and are even less likely to benefit queer women, trans women, young women, women of colour, Indigenous women, and women with disabilities.

RESOURCE EXTRACTION AND THE WAGE GAP

The infrastructure spending that makes up the bulk of this Liberal government’s first budget is a large part of the federal government’s plan to stimulate the economy in hard-hit sectors and create employment opportunities. It’s an ambitious plan. The federal budget has set out to create 43,000 new jobs in 2016 and 2017, and an additional 100,000 new jobs for 2017 and 2018—primarily in infrastructure-related industries.

Resource-based industries have taken a hit, and as the low cost of oil seems to be a new normal for Canada, more people are facing unemployment and more unemployed are facing fewer options. People, mostly cis men, have come from all over Canada to work in Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

The decline in public sector employment and the rapid rise of resource extraction are at the core of the widening gender gap in some parts of Canada.

Men hold 88 percent and 76 percent employment in Alberta’s resource extraction and construction industries respectively. In regions with heavily resource-based economies, the gender gap on wages and workforce is higher than in places with strong public services. The federal budget’s job growth projection is for those industries in which women make up less than a quarter of the work force. Alberta’s gender wage gap is the highest of any province.

CHILDCARE

Despite campaign promises made by progressive parties that have recently formed governments, neither the NDP government in Alberta nor the federal Liberal government have made any serious moves to make childcare more affordable and accessible. Childcare policies meant to deliver affordable, high-quality, flexible, and fully inclusive child care for Canadian families”  were a campaign promise from both governments, and yet neither government has seriously signaled a coming comprehensive childcare infrastructure.

They both have increased spending for child tax benefits—opting to continue their predecessors’ policies on childcare and family supports.

PAY EQUITY

Nationally, those who get counted as cis white women continue to make 20 per cent less than their male counterparts. Yes, that is accounting for education and full time work. Women of colour, Indigenous women, and immigrant women take home even less. Trans women and non-binary people are still not even counted in workforce equality measures. This year the government voted for an NDP pay equity bill—but private members cannot attach funding to their bills and the government hasn’t implemented the two main asks in the private member’s bill.

Don’t worry, anyone holding it down in anti-violence and anti-oppression work: Status of Women received a $3 million boost, bringing it to a 10 year high of 0.02 percent of the total budget. I doubt that means a return to operating funding for women’s rights advocacy organizations, but it might mean more project grants that exploit unpaid skilled labour!

There was an $89.9 million investment for emergency women’s shelters, and that is good. (Solidarity fist bump to Kate McInturff for breaking these numbers down). But the national cost of domestic violence is 7.4 billion yearly—and that only captures reported numbers from the justice department. So, imagine the real cost if it included unreported, undocumented mental health services, rent support, emergency room visits, family supports and straight up emotional anguish.

#REALCHANGE?

The absence of pay equity, no sight of a national childcare plan, and an infrastructure investment that focuses on stimulating industries dominated by men make it unlikely that women will be better off in four years than we are now.

Despite promises of “real change” from the newly formed federal government, and the election of progressive governments in economic powerhouses Ontario and Alberta, it seems like very little real equality will actually be trickling down from the cabinet table.

(This piece was original published on the GUTS blog on March 20, 2016)

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