The National Council of Women of Canada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE…

Fabruary 24, 2005

“Once again our Government has produced a balanced budget that offers something for everyone. The commitment to the armed forces and the tax relief measures for business are not the priorities of National Council of Women of Canada. It looks like an election budget,” said Catharine Laidlaw-Sly, NCWC President.

NCWC is dismayed that there is not any mention of improved programmes for housing the homeless. Canada still has a serious deficit of safe affordable housing for lower-income Canadians.

NCWC notes with approval the doubling of the maximum amount of medical and disability-related expenses that the unpaid caregiver can claim. However, since there is an arbitrary ceiling in place ($10,000/year), we need to know what analysis has informed this decision.

NCWC deplores that the Early Learning and Child Care programme is still no more than an initiative, but realizes that since this is a joint programme, both federal and provincial and territorial governments will have to co-operate and demonstrate the necessary political will to invest in Canada’s future citizens.

NCWC regrets that once again there has been no attempt to address the issue of maternity leave for women who are self-employed, even though the Minister evidently knows that they are an important contributor to Canada’s economy. This leave is still part of the EI system. Maternity is NOT unemployment! Ask any mother.

NCWC also is concerned that the biggest immediate benefits from the tax relief measures will go to wealthier citizens; low-income seniors get small immediate relief and it will take years for them to get the full benefit, time some do not have.

NCWC notes that commitment to the Kyoto Protocols has disappeared by name, that there are several positive moves but the approach is piecemeal. We anticipate more clarity in the Environment Minister’s plan.

For information:

Catharine Laidlaw-Sly,
NCWC President
Phone: (613) 232 – 5025
Fax: (613) 232 – 8419

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