An interesting piece of information came my way on Thursday evening from a Conservative friend of mine. Thursday was, of course, International Women's Day and the Conservative government used the occasion to right quite possibly its greatest tactical error while in office: they restored the $5 million that had been cut from the budget of Status of Women Canada.
The full press release can be found here.
Says Bev Oda, the Minister for the Status of Women and also for Canadian Heritage: "Canada's New Government is proud to enhance the Women's Program in order to make a real difference in the lives of Canadian women facing challenges."
Also from the press release is the following information: The budget of the Women's Program has been increased by 42 percent, bringing it to its highest level ever of $15.3 million. As of April 1, 2007, the Women's Program will have two components: the Women's Community Fund and the Women's Partnership Fund. The Women's Community Fund will support projects at the local, regional and national level in order to enable the full participation of women in all aspects of Canadian life. The newly created Women's Partnership Fund is an enhancement to the existing grant program and will facilitate the engagement of eligible organizations and public institutions through joint projects designed to address issues pertaining to women.
What is most interesting about this maneuver is that the media has been relatively silent on it. This is all the more intriguing given the volume of press and anger that was expressed--from this quarter included, as seen here--when the initial cuts to SWC were made. I wonder, will Stephane Dion continue to use the rhetorical line about this government being anti-women, anti-equality, etc? Will those who refer to this government being the "most woman-hating government in history" (actual quote I read somewhere a few months ago...can't remember where, though) now rescind that comment because things are now at the status quo ante? Are the groups that protested the cuts now going to give the government its due for restoring the funding to a very valuable entity? Will the media report on the story and inform the people of new programs that may come into existence because of the restored funding and its new mechanisms?
Bear in mind, I'm not one for giving out cookies just because they've atoned, but I do give credit where credit is due. The silence from opponents of the original cuts, however, is pretty deafening right now.