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Ontario Votes 2003

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Election Day: Oct. 2, 2003   

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Letters from Sept. 19

I am completely and utterly dismayed by the lack of political discussion and media coverage concerning gender inequity in the province of Ontario.

Within each of the "hot topics"—health care, housing, poverty, victims, transportation, insurance rates, and education—there has been no discussion on gender inequity. It is as though we have achieved equality, when it couldn't be further from the truth.

Take for examples the following Canadian statistics (most of which come from Statistics Canada's report Women in Canada 2000):

  • Two-thirds of those on minimum wage are women.
  • Women continue to disproportionately shoulder the responsibilities of caring for children and extended family members.
  • About 85 per cent of single-parent homes are lead by females, and are the poorest in the province.
  • Single-parent homes lead by men make, on average, $13,000 per year more than female-lead single-parent households.
  • Since 1998 in Ontario, male ex-partners have killed at least 99 women, nine children, and seven others who were family or friends of women.
  • Women are the majority of users of social and health services. So any cuts to social services and health care hurt women more.

    Women make up 51 per cent of the population in Ontario. When will the community demand that our politicians reflect the reality of women's lives and make a commitment to ending gender inequity by making policy reflect the social realities of women's lives, and not harm or discriminate against women?

    - Clare Freeman

    The election campaign to date has been predictably boring. I hope the televised leaders' debate will usher us into a very active final 10 days of the campaign. I am most eager to see Dalton McGuinty without the protection of his handlers, or George Smitherman.

    So, what does Ernie offer us that Dalton doesn't? Experience.

    Eves has been serving the public since 1981, has been minister of finance, and is now premier. No one is perfect. Nor is any government.

    The recent performance of this government, with Eves at the helm, deserves another chance.

    - Mark Greenberg

    I have two questions I would like to see candidates respond to during this campaign, both have to do with the under-funded sector of children's services.

    I work for a children's mental health agency called the Child and Youth Wellness Centre of Leeds and Grenville. For 10 years it has received no additional funds, and continues to struggle with increasing demands for services for our most vulnerable children and their families.

    Recently there was a judgement requiring that the Ontario government cover the costs of its proxy pay-equity plan for publicly funded (but not public service) employees.

    Originally the government had required that the affected agencies use one per cent of their operating budget per year to work towards addressing the gap (quite large) between what staff are paid, and what they ought to be paid. Our agency—like the organization where my children receive child care—complied with the government requirements of the pay equity plan.

    But it's not without cost.

    We have seen our ability to provide services shrink significantly due to this loss of operating funds each year. Our budget for services is now 5 per cent less as a result


    Now the government is saying that our good stewardship—that we did comply, and did not move into deficit—precludes us from being reimbursed for the monies already disbursed to meet the pay-equity requirements.

    Are any of the candidates prepared to set this right, and fairly reimburse all affected organizations?

    - Amber McCart
    L ansdowne

    I am curious as to why there is not more coverage of the Green Party candidates and platform. From what I have seen so far they are not the crazy tree huggers most people assume them to be.

    People are disenfranchised with the three major parties. It is time that we were informed about the alternatives that are available to us. It appears the media is more interested in telling the story about the latest mudslinging campaign, rather than reporting about all of the parties and their platforms.

    I, for one, would like to hear all the facts, and not the sensationalism.

    - Mike Kasunic

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