National Council of Women of Canada - Blog

A Blog gives you current information and items of inerest. The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) has done two blogs on the meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women, 2010, and 2011. We are continuing now with a blog, on a range of topics of interst to members and the public. The NCWC has a very complete web site where you can learn more about the history and members of Council.

A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Most blogs (including this one) are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pates, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

As of 16 February 2011 (2011 -02-16), there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.

The above from Wikipedia!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Important questions asked of the political parties

The following questions have been sent to the five main Candian political parties - and their responses will be relased on the web site of ACPD, and Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, and here on this Blog!

Election 2011: A questionnaire for the five main Canadian political parties

The Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

In September 2010, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, launched the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health at the end of a global summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).   The global strategy specifically calls for “a comprehensive, integrated package of essential interventions and services […] including family-planning […and] safe abortion services” when addressing women’s and children’s health.  Access to family planning will improve the empowerment of women and girls and will reduce maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS transmission, infant mortality and adolescent pregnancy. Satisfying the unmet need for contraception in developing countries would prevent 52 million unintended pregnancies annually, which, in turn, would avert more than 1.5 million maternal and child deaths.  

Furthermore, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) expert opinion obtained by ACPD in the 2010 G8 lead-up: “the use of effective contraception reduces but does not eliminate unwanted pregnancy and the demand for induced abortion.  Women suffering contraceptive failure require access to safe abortion services, if they cannot access safe services, they are likely to seek unsafe services.”

The government’s position excluding the funding of safe abortion services from the Muskoka Initiative is at odds with what both the Secretary-General and the WHO suggest is needed. Access to safe abortion, when and where legal, is a critical piece of women’s healthcare.

Q. What will your party do to ensure that funds committed under the Muskoka Initiative are used for a full range of sexual and reproductive health services and supplies, including those related to family planning and access to safe abortion services where legal?  

Official Development Assistance (ODA)_____

In March 2010 Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that there will be a freeze of up to four years on the International Assistance Envelope at $5 billion. The next federal budget provides an excellent opportunity to announce a long term plan for the future growth of Canadian aid to achieve the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015.

With an expected freeze on Canadian aid, it is expected that ODA for 2011/12 will be approximately $5.4 billion or 0.32% of Canadian GNI, down from 0.33% in 2010/11. By 2014 the performance ratio is expected to be 0.28%, among the lowest of 22 official donors.

Q. What steps will your party take to ensure that Canada meets its commitments to deliver ODA at a level of 0.7% of its GNI by 2015, a goal endorsed in June 2005 by all four political parties in the Canadian Parliament?

Aboriginal Women and their Sexual and Reproductive Health__

In comparison to the Canadian population, Aboriginal people face both lower quality of health and lower quality of health care.  Aboriginal women, in particular, are at an even greater disadvantage.  The consequences of receiving a lower standard of health care are many and the situation is becoming more and more complex with each new generation.  A review of the social determinants that influence the provision of health services to Aboriginal women, as well as the creation of culturally sensitive programs focused on Aboriginal sexual and reproductive health, are necessary in order to restore balance and build healthy communities.

Q.   Is your party prepared to consult with Aboriginal women, elders, traditional healers, midwives and youth regardless of residency, in order to develop and implement a plan that would ensure that sexual and reproductive health programs, services and research are available for all aboriginal persons?

Domestic Implementation of Canada’s International Human Rights Obligations

Since at least 2001, United Nations human rights bodies, Parliamentary Committees and many organizations in Canada have repeatedly criticized the Canadian government for its failures in adequate domestic implementation of Canada’s international human rights obligations and commitments.  At the core of this problem is the lack of effective, transparent and inclusive mechanisms and processes in Canada for implementing and following up the recommendations of UN human rights bodies and for reporting to these bodies; this lack has been regularly criticized.  During a 2009 UN review of Canada’s human rights record, Canada accepted a number of recommendations to develop a more “effective, transparent and accountable” mechanism for implementation of international human rights obligations but has yet done very little to act upon this.

Q. What would your party do to fulfill this commitment that Canada has made to reform the currently inadequate and flawed domestic procedures relating to follow-up and implementation of its international human rights obligations?

Rights of Sex Workers in Canada__

While the actual exchange of sexual services for money between consenting adults in Canada is legal, a number of provisions of the Criminal Code make illegal many activities related to sex work and make sex workers more vulnerable to violence and potential exposure to HIV.  Three specific provisions make it illegal to keep a “bawdy house” (s. 210), to live on the avails of prostitution (s. 212(1)(j)), and to communicate in public for the purposes of prostitution (s. 213(1)(c)).  In a September 2010 decision (Bedford v. Attorney General of Canada), Ontario Superior Court Justice Himel ruled these three provisions unconstitutional as they violate the rights of sex workers as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms contributing to their increased risk of being subjected to violence and making it less likely for sex workers to report experiences of violence to the police.  In striking down these three provisions, Justice Himel wrote: “I have found that the law as it stands is currently contributing to danger faced by prostitutes” (at para. 536).  Sex workers’ organizations and others have long criticized these laws as adding to the discrimination and stigma sex workers face leading to increased risk of their experiencing violence and other threats to their health and safety.  The Ontario Superior Court judgment is currently under appeal.

Q. Would your party support dropping the government's appeal of the Ontario Superior Court decision and, in line with Justice Himel’s findings, move to fully repeal the unconstitutional criminal provisions found to violate the rights of sex workers? 

What further steps would your party take to end violence against sex workers and to ensure that sex workers can access police protection and health services without discrimination or stigma? 

How would you ensure that the government consults meaningfully with sex workers in making legislative or policy decisions that specifically affect their rights?

Accessibility: Abortion in Canada_

Abortion has been without criminal restrictions under Canadian law since 1988, yet only 15% of
Canadian hospitals provide abortion services. According to section 3 of the Canada Health Act the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to “protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers.” It is currently impossible for women to obtain an abortion in Prince Edward Island, and the provincial governments of New Brunswick and PEI refuse to fund abortions provided in private clinics. This directly contravenes the accessibility provisions of the Canada Health Act. Despite financial penalties and warnings from previous governments, nothing has been done by the government to enforce the Canada Health Act.

Q. What will your party do to ensure that all Canadian women have access to abortion services without financial or other barriers, in conformance with the Canada Health Act?

Health Resources and Information__

Accessibility includes more than just access to services; it also includes life-long access to sexual and reproductive health resources and information.  Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) continue to be a significant and increasing public health concern.  Over the past decade, rates of Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and infectious syphilis have steadily increased.  Although we often think that only youth and younger adults are at risk of acquiring an STI, it is important to remember that all Canadians, regardless of age, are at risk. In 2008, the Public Health Agency of Canada released an updated edition of the Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health to help professionals working in the area of sexual health education to develop evidence-based comprehensive education policies and programs.  It is important to note that education means not only school- based programs, but includes all programs aimed at providing individuals of all ages with age-appropriate access to evidence-based sexual and reproductive health resources and information. 
Q.  What will your party do to ensure that all Canadians have access to age-appropriate comprehensive evidence-based sexual and reproductive health resources and information?

How will your party use the government-issued Guidelines to ensure access to sexual health education and services for all Canadians?

Collaborating Organizations__

Action Canada for Population and Development -

Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD)’s goal is to advance action by the Canadian government to meet the commitments that it made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994, and, in particular, to meet the financial targets and policy commitments made in Cairo.

Formed in 1997, ACPD is an advocacy organization that focuses on:
  • sexual rights and health,
  • reproductive rights and health
  • the right to health and related human rights,
  • the integration of sexual health and rights, and reproductive health and rights, and HIV/AIDS.

ACPD reinforces women's human rights as a core value in its work.

Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (CFSH)
Formerly Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada -

The Canadian Federation for Sexual Health is a national network dedicated to supporting access to comprehensive sexual health education, information and services in every community.

Thirty-four independent member organizations in more than 60 communities across Canada provide clinical services, education, and counselling to over 310,000 Canadians every year; the majority of these clients are under 30 years of age and most of them are women.  CFSH works in partnership with all levels of government, academic institutions, and other non-profit, non-governmental organizations.

No comments:

Post a Comment