Brian Topp declaration for the International Women's Day
Dear New Democrat,
Canadians first marked International Women’s Day in 1977. Much has changed for women in 35 years. But far too much has remained the same.
Throughout the world, women are still subject to hatred, attack, poverty, and violations of basic human rights.
In Canada, the Harper government is turning back the clock on women’s rights through the dismantling of programs and services that support women and policies designed to transfer wealth and power to those at the top.
The Harper government’s record on equality for women is part of a conservative agenda that is fueling rapidly growing inequality throughout our society.
Today in Canada, levels of income-inequality have reached levels not seen since the 1920s. For women, the impact of this inequality is felt most acutely, particularly for First Nations women and others who also subject to systemic racism and poverty.
Full and equal rights for women must be a first priority of our party in Opposition and in government as part of our agenda to create a more equal and humane Canada.
To that end, we must speak with courage and conviction on the need for income equality. We must fight racism, sexism and homophobia in all its forms. And we must take it as our duty not just to say it’s a good thing to have more women in politics, but to insist on it.
From the very beginning of this campaign I have made those commitments. I have put forward a plan that asks the wealthy to pay their fair share. I have pledged that half the positions in my cabinet will be occupied by women. I have said it’s time we have a cabinet member responsible for LGBT issues. And I will continue working, as I have always done, to ensure we have strong women candidates in winnable ridings, that our platform speaks powerfully to issues important to women, and that a gender-lens is applied to every decision we make.
I am very proud of the support I have from leading members of our caucus --veteran caucus members, new MPs, and strong feminists. MPs like Francoise Boivin, Isabelle Morin, Libby Davies, Jean Crowder, Chris Charlton, Jinny Simms, and Charmaine Borg.
And I am proud that the party I have belonged to for close to 30 years has a long record supporting women's rights and equality. From Agnes MacPhail’s election as the first women member of Parliament under the Progressive Party banner in 1919, to Dawn Black’s bill establishing December 6th as a National day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, New Democrats have helped blaze a new trail for women in our society. We’ve led the way supporting women's reproductive rights, economic rights and social rights. And we will never allow these rights to be relinquished.
On this International Women’s Day, I invite all Canadians to join us in speaking out forcefully for human rights, peace, universal social justice and equality.