NDP Caucus holding premier accountable to social justice commitment
Members of the NDP Caucus say it is about time that the premier talks about social justice and the need to support women. They are taking the premier’s comments seriously, and plan to hold government accountable for her public commitment to social justice.
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) and NDP Status of Women critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre), both longtime social justice, feminist activists, attended the Ovations event last night. They say that celebrating the achievements of women is important, but it is equally important to ensure we are supporting women as they continue to struggle for equality.
“The easy cynical thing to do today would be to ask how much money was spent, and condemn government for wasting it on a glitzy event in a time of fiscal restraint,” said Michael. “However, we are prepared to give the premier the benefit of the doubt and will hold her to her word.
“She talked about a social justice lens at the event – I am here to assure her that my caucus will apply that lens to every step the government takes.”
“It is good to celebrate how far women have come, but it is vital that we remember there are issues crucial to women’s equality and women's ability to fully participate in society that have never been seriously addressed by this government,” said Rogers. “Housing, home care, and the issue of poverty among senior women are crucial issues I am constantly getting calls about and raising with the government. It's not enough to simply have women in positions of leadership, it's what they do while there that is important!"
Child, Youth and Family Services Critic Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) points out that lack of child care is another barrier often holding women back from full participation in the workforce. “The cost and non-availability of child care in this province significantly impedes parents from working,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many people – and they are almost all women –have told me they have stopped working because the cost of child care is prohibitive. This includes women in responsible positions with government.”
“Issues of equality and social justice are basic to NDP policy and always have been,” Michael said. “I sincerely hope that the premier’s commitment is a genuine one. I, and my caucus members, will certainly be watching to ensure that her actions in the future match her words last night. She has a long way to go.”