Tag Archives: press releases

International Women’s Day

Green Party calls for renewed focus on equality on International Women’s Day

OTTAWA – The Green Party is celebrating International Women’s Day and calling for a renewed focus on achieving equality for women in Canada.

“The situation for women has improved immensely over the past century, but there is much work to be done. Women still earn only about 70 percent of what men take home,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “Unfortunately, the situation has been made worse by the regressive actions of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has done more damage to issues important to women in two years than many of us thought possible. Last year, Canada slipped from 14th to 18th place in terms of women’s equality.”

Ms. May noted that the Harper government has eroded progress towards women’s rights in Canada by eliminating the word “equality” from the mandate of Status of Women Canada, prohibited advocacy activities of women’s organization funded by Status of Women and canceled the Court Challenges program, which was accessible to promote Charter rights. The Harper government has also killed federal-provincial child care agreements and failed to create new child care spaces.

“The Green Party considers it crucial to implement the recommendations of the Federal Pay Equity Task force, something the Conservative government has failed to do,” she said. “We also recognize that women’s access to education and participation in the workforce is necessary to achieve equality. But equity will never become reality unless we can ensure adequate maternity benefits and full access to affordable childcare, among other measures.”

Ms. May also said Canada must work toward increasing the representation of women in Parliament.

“Women represent over half of the population of Canada, yet less than 21 percent of Parliamentarians are women,” she said. “We rank a dismal 50th in the world in terms of women’s representation in Parliament. In countries with fair voting systems, more women are elected and the Green Party will continue to support electoral reform as a way to better represent women in Parliament.”

“The Green Party is proud to have a woman, Elizabeth May, as leader,” noted deputy leader Adriane Carr. “We are currently the only federal party with a female leader. On behalf of all Canadian women, we urge legislators of all stripes to renew efforts to attain equality.”

Greens denounce support of veiled voters bill

Crossposted from greenparty.ca

For Immediate Release
November [28], 2007

OTTAWA – The Green Party today condemned the NDP for propping up the Conservative government by supporting the Conservative bill that will force Muslim women to show their faces at the polls.

“It is immensely disappointing that the NDP has joined with Prime Minister Harper in pandering to fears of Islam,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “The Green Party stands alone in strongly opposing this shameful and cynical piece of legislation.”

Democratic Reform Advocate Chris Tindal said that the bill sets a double standard, as Canadians who live abroad are not required to provide visual identification to vote and will still be allowed to vote by mail-in ballot.

“This bill has nothing to do with voting security, as the parties claim,” said Mr. Tindal. “It is about exploiting xenophobia and grabbing votes at the expense of Canadian Muslims. The opposition parties should be ashamed that they have allowed themselves to be drawn into this needless hysteria.”

Mr. Tindal added that the true intent of the bill is to hurt the credibility of Elections Canada and distract voters from the alleged “in and out” Conservative election spending limits scandal.

“This attack on Elections Canada was clearly designed by the Conservatives to distract from the investigation into whether or not they broke election spending limits, and the law. Why the NDP would want to aid them in that effort is beyond me.”

The Green Party has consistently opposed any move to force Muslim women to remove their veils before voting and first issued a statement to this effect on September 11th, 2007.

NDP must reaffirm commitment to fair voting, Green Party says

Crossposted from greenparty.ca

For Immediate Release
November 8, 2007

TORONTO – NDP leader Jack Layton’s abrupt decision to support Stephen Harper by making the Senate his democratic reform priority raises serious questions about the NDP’s commitment to Proportional Representation, Green Party of Canada democratic reform advocate Chris Tindal said today.

“Since Parliament can realistically only deal with one democratic reform issue at a time, Mr. Layton’s out-of-nowhere proposal to abolish the Senate is at odds with the NDP’s traditional support for reforming our voting system,” Tindal said.

“It’s an open secret in Ottawa that Mr. Layton’s goal is to displace the Liberals and become leader of the opposition under the current First Past the Post system. During the 2004 election campaign, Mr. Layton made electoral reform a priority. Since then, we’ve heard almost nothing from him about fair voting. What has happened to his priorities and his promises?”

Fair Vote Canada, a multi-partisan organization that advocates for electoral reform, insists that the necessary discussion about the future of the Senate must come after citizens have determined how their MPs are elected. “At the federal level, the first and most urgent priority is beginning a citizen-driven process to determine the best electoral system for electing MPs,” said a July 2006 statement by FVC. “Job one is to create a truly representative House of Commons and legitimate majority government.” Under the current voting system, majority governments are often elected with less than 50 percent of the vote, leading to “false majorities.”

Tindal said that even if Mr. Layton’s proposal for a snap referendum on abolishing the Senate was constitutional – and it isn’t – it is both premature and too narrowly defined. Instead, he should immediately reaffirm his party’s commitment to Proportional Representation and push for a federal Citizens’ Assembly to explore that issue.

The Green Party recognizes and supports the need for Senate reform but believes it must explore all options and happen within the context of public involvement and study, and not until after citizens have had a chance to reform the federal voting system.


Government delivers PR, but it’s the wrong kind

The following press release was just released, and is also here.

OTTAWA – In public opinion polls, provincial referenda and the recent Citizens’ Assembly in Ontario, Canadians continue to make it clear that they have one priority for democratic reform: scrap the current antiquated and inequitable first-past-the-post voting system and replace it with PR – Proportional Representation.

This week, in its much-heralded “Week of Democratic Reform”, the federal government has delivered PR – public relations.

“It would be laughable if it wasn’t so worrying,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “What we are seeing is a government so deeply committed to deflection and avoiding the real issues that they are starting to believe their own spin.”

Ms. May said that the so-called Week of Democratic Reform was really a week of gimmickry and housekeeping: new rules on loans to political parties; more seats in parliament for growing provinces and an extra day of voting.

“Meanwhile, the government happily stands by and watches our electoral system teeter on the shaky foundation of an unpopular and fundamentally unfair voting system that most countries abandoned years ago.

“On the occasion of Democratic Reform Week, I call on all parties in the House of Commons to stand with the vast majority of Canadians who believe that our current electoral system produces unfair results and that proportional representation needs to be explored.”

Green Party democratic reform advocate Chris Tindal said that any conversation about democratic reform that does not include proportional representation is a joke.

“Does [minister responsible for democratic reform] Peter Van Loan really believe that adding another day of voting is going to arrest the slide in voter turnout?

“People have stopped voting because they’re disillusioned with politicians, and because they don’t think their vote makes a difference. Real democratic reform would make every vote count.”

Ms. May repeated her call for an open and transparent nationwide consultation on the issue of proportional representation. “Ontario’s Citizens’ Assembly is a great model,” she said, “and the fact that it has come out overwhelmingly in favour of the change to proportional representation proves that this is an idea whose time has come.”