Statement by the Communist Party of Canada
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada met over the weekend of Oct. 4 - 6, 1996, for its third full session since the Party's 31st Convention in May 1995. The meeting took place in Toronto, the focus of massive organizing campaigns for the Oct. 22 - 27 Metro Days of Action, a huge series of protests by labour and community groups against the Tory government of Ontario.
The following is a summary of the CC Report delivered by Elizabeth Rowley and the main points raised during the discussion.
Across Canada today, the fightback against the corporate attack is growing but still very uneven, with the greatest militancy in Ontario and in Eastern Canada. The massive struggles against the Harris government should help to stimulate a broader fightback in other provinces, and to help raise the class consciousness of Canadian workers, but this will not happen spontaneously.
The last year there has seen some important working class struggles: the strike by Calgary hospital workers which won broad support and blunted Klein's health care cutbacks; the unrelenting struggle of workers in the Atlantic provinces against the UI cuts which hit that region hardest; the Women's March Against Poverty organized by the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, with the CLC's support; struggles by the women movement and the youth and student movement in Quebec; the B.C. grocery workers strike and the upsurge in strike actions in Manitoba.
The following discussion paper for the "Canada at the Forks" conference, was approved by the Central Committee for presentation in the name of the Communist Party of Canada.
For decades we have advocated new constitutional arrangements, to recognize the realities of the First Nations, Quebec, and the rest of Canada. The wellknown Marxist historian, Stanley B. Ryerson, authored important books on this question, such as French Canada , The Founding of Canada , and Unequal Union . Ryerson and other Canadian Communists helped pioneer the concept that Canada as a state comprises more than one nation a difficult idea for many in socalled "Englishspeaking Canada" to accept, even though there are many examples of such states around the world. Communists were among those who led the Canadian Labour Congress, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and other groups to recognize Quebec as a distinct nation within the Canadian state.
From the People's Voice, a publication by the Communist Party of Canada
NAC says "women's rights are human rights"
By Barbara Moore, Chair, CPC Women's Commission
The National Action Committee on the Status of Women celebrated its 25th Anniversary during its Sept. 19-21 annual general meeting in Ottawa. To mark the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, NAC is initiating a priority plan of action to assert that "Women's Rights are Human Rights."
NAC President Joan Grant-Cummings told delegates that Canada has failed to live up to many of its international commitments to eliminate barriers faced by women to full equality and advancement, and in fact, women's rights and equality are being eroded. In addition, Ottawa intends to further cut back and change the funding structure of federal women's programs to only project funding - a direct attack on the survival of women's groups, and an attempt to control their activities.
The NAC Plan of Action will include mobilizing national women's organizations and allies to ensure that the federal government keeps its commitments to Canadian women, and to press for ongoing, core and adequate funding to women's groups.
Other specifics in the Plan include:
Providing ongoing support to Aboriginal women's groups who are pursuing their human rights to rectify the problems brought about by Bill C-31, which replaced Section 12(1)(b) of the Indian Act in 1985, four years after the UN declared that the section violated the rights of aboriginal women. The controversial Bill C-31 has caused polarization between "Bill C-31" women and band members. "Bill C-31" women are seeking to regain their full status and band membership; many band leaders are resisting their efforts because of the scant resources available on their reserves. Unwed Bill C-31 mothers are being forced to provide affidavits attesting to the recognized "status" of the fathers of their children, so that the children can gain "status." Conservative Senator Walter Twinn is challenging the constitutionality of Bill C-31 in the courts; if he succeeds, this could leave many aboriginal women and children without status or protected rights on reserves.
NAC will begin a forceful public education campaign regarding Canada's failure to live up to its commitments to United Nations agreements. Particular focus on the impact of these failures will be on aboriginal women, women of colour, women with disabilities, lesbians, young women, and women living in poverty.
NAC will promote the second international "Women Against APEC" conference, November 17-18 in Vancouver, in conjunction with the People's Summit on APEC. NAC will also campaign against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI).
Women's economic rights will be targeted by NAC. Rights such as pay equity will be promoted together with PSAC and the CLC.
In partnership with the CLC and the Federation des femmes du Quebec, NAC will participate in organizing the International Bread and Roses Women's March, for equality, development and peace, initiated by the FFQ, in the year 2000.
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Communist Party of Canada Party Organization and Plan of Work
(d) An Action Plan for the Recruitment of Women
In order to improve the participation of women in the CPC, the Party should commit to increasing the membership of women to 40% (of total party membership) as a target goal by the 33rd Convention; the Women's Commission should produce a special pamphlet (by International Women's Day, March 8, 1998) for wide distribution and to be used as a recruitment tool by all Clubs; the CC should strongly encourage, where possible, provincial and/or regional committees to form women's commissions which would meet on a regular basis and forward recommendations on party policies to these bodies, and work in conjunction with the Central Women s Commission; all Clubs should be encouraged to include in their plan of work concrete proposals to increase the recruitment of women, and organize at least one educational on women s struggles each year; the Party works to strengthen its involvement in the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) at both the Canada wide and regional levels, and work to further the aims and objectives of women working for socialist transformation in Canada and globally; gender equality will be a main criteria in the election and appointment of party leadership including cadres and staff within the CPC.
Meeting of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada Feb. 2-4, 1996
35. This movement finds reflection in growing support for a democratic process to resolve the crisis, and specifically around the call for a Constituent Assembly (CA). Several organizations, including the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC), and Constituent Assembly Now (CAN) have come out in favour of the proposal, an idea long advanced by our Party. Numerous academics, constitutional experts and political commentators have also taken up the demand, all of which is helping to advance this alternative into wide public debate.
41. We should actively explore as well whether it would be possible to convene a broadly based conference or forum, bringing together the labour movement, native organizations, NAC, ACN, CFS, and a host of other democratic organizations and movements in both Quebec and the rest of Canada to discuss the "Political, Economic and Social Future of Canada." We believe that such a bold initiative, which (among other things) could serve to broaden support for the campaign for a Constituent Assembly, as well as a coordinated fightback against the corporate assault, would be enthusiastically received by the broadest democratic circles.
The affiliation with the Social Development Network and Trillium
The Latest News
SDN has been approved for a $25,000 development grant from the Trillium Foundation. This funding will be used to:
broaden participation in voluntary sector network development,
examine the current state of networking initiatives in Ontario.
identify leading and innovative organizations
invite these organizations to participate formally as collaborators in the Social Development Network.
NAC is listed as one of the affiliated organizations
If you ever wondered why so many ideas by local women's organizations seem to be in synch with those of other localities:
The United Nations Development Programme
The Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) began work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 1980 and has grown steadily. Its scope has expanded to provide Palestinians with infrastructure, large scale training projects, and technical assistance for institution building.
Initiative 1: Estimated Cost: $800,000
Community-Based Training and Awareness
Palestinian rural women have been disadvantaged in receiving access to information. UNDP, through the expansion of on-going outreach projects implemented either by UNDP or civil society organizations, will facilitate the establishment of a network of women's fora to promote information and knowledge-sharing. Issues to be addressed through these community-outreach fora include:
Enhancement of school enrollment for girls and access to social services including physical and mental health care.
Counselling and education on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.
Advancement of the legal status of women.
Skill training in specialized areas to enable Palestinian women to become better leaders, managers, and income- generators.
These community-outreach fora, which will be implemented in close cooperation with UNICEF, UNIFEM, ILO, UNRWA, UNESCO, and any other relevant UN agencies, are intended to raise awareness of women and stimulate community discussions on key issues, so as to expand women's choices in general.
Initiative 2: Estimated Cost: $450,000
Improving the Image of Women in the Media
This project aims to promote the production of gender-sensitive media material through training of media personnel in the Palestinian Broadcasting body, concerned ministries and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Activities will also be conducted to increase awareness of the negative representation of women in various forms of media, and encouragement of advocacy activities
Another instance of government bias and expenditures in favour of women through the interference and influence of Secretary of State Status of Women Hedy Fry:
Finding Data on Women:
A Guide to Major Data Sources at Statistics Canada .
HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE
This document was produced by Statistics Canada for Status of Women Canada to give women's groups, organizations, policy analysts, and other data users a comprehensive overview of the scope and diversity of data available on Canadian women, as well as an indication of the ways in which these data can be used. While not exhaustive, the report highlights the wealth of information on women that Statistics Canada collects and disseminates.
[There is no comparable resource available for Canadian men no comparable "wealth of information on...[men]...that Statistics Canada collects and disseminates." There is no funding for men's issues, no battered men's shelters, and there is little funding for research into men's health issues. There is only funding for the promotion of the vilification of men. There is, however, and always has been, liberal funding by the Liberal Party of Canada for the National Action Committee for the Status of Women and a special government department of the Secretary of State, Status of Women. It is closely aligned with NAC and eagerly promotes the same agenda as NAC, the vilification of men. WHS]