Open letter to Larry Bagnell:
When speaking about the recent Liberal Leadership Convention on CBC Radio One, you identified pay equity as a priority of the Liberal party.
On behalf of the Young Feminist Movement of Canada, I would like to express our confusion at this statement due to the fact the Liberals recently allowed Bill C-10 to pass in Parliament.
What is ironically called the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act portion of Bill C-10 is our primary concern.
This legislation not only prohibits unions to assist members who want to put in a human rights claim for pay equity, but will cause the union to be fined $50,000 for doing so.
Under this act, ‘pay equity’ and its definition under human rights legislation has been changed to ‘equitable compensation,’ which will now be a negotiable item to be dealt with during contract negotiations.
Making the right to equal pay ‘negotiable’ undermines all the hard work it has taken to establish the right to pay equity in the first place.
In a country that prides itself on being a model for equal rights, this is appalling.
If pay equity is a priority of the Liberal party, why did you allow this change in legislation to happen?
The Liberal party supported Bill C-10 unanimously, even when it was suggested to divide the bill and debate those portions that don’t directly offer financial stimulus.
Was it simply because it made more sense strategically to remain silent?
You stated that the Liberal party would be sure to respond to any particularly hostile actions by the Conservative party government.
Does this direct and bold, stealthy attack on women’s rights not qualify?
We would like to remind you that Canadian women have gained our current set of rights one small battle at a time.
To see those rights being eroded piece by piece now should be alarming to us all.
Please do not disappoint those you represent by allowing changes like these to bring us any further back in time than they already have.
If the Liberal party really values women’s rights, then please demonstrate these values rather than sitting silent when our rights are challenged.
Jodi Proctor, the Yukon RebElles