While presidential committees collapse, Canada-U.S. council on women in business still active

A joint Canada-U.S. council on women in business formed earlier this year to consider the success of women in the private sector remains active, according to the Prime Minister's Office, despite resignations on other councils following U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks about the violence in Virginia earlier this week.

Prime Minister's Office says council continues its work

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, takes his seat at a roundtable discussion with Ivanka Trump, centre, and women business leaders at the White House in Washington in February. The council remains active. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

While three presidential advisory committees have disbanded in the wake of Donald Trump's comments about an "alt-right" rally in Virginia, the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders remains active, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Comprising 10 executives from the two countries, the council was launched in February when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Trump at the White House.

"The council continues its work, which remains focused on encouraging more economic engagement and advancement of women in business in both our countries," said Cameron Ahmad, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Office.

"‎A number of conference call meetings have taken place since the council's inception — and its members continue their discussions surrounding the five identified pillars and research remains underway on reducing barriers for women in the private sector."

In a separate statement, Tina Lee, chief executive officer of the T&T Supermarket chain and a member of the council, said, "The council plans to continue its important work for the advancement of women and looks forward to publishing recommendations for the business communities and governments in the U.S. and Canada, respectively."

Trump's American Manufacturing Council and Strategic and Policy Forum were disbanded earlier this week.

Several executives had resigned amid public and political outrage over the president's suggestion that "many sides" were to blame after a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., led to violence. One woman died after a car was driven into a crowd of counter-protesters.

On Friday, members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned en masse.

"Supremacy, discrimination and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values," the members wrote in their letter of resignation.

The Canada-U.S. council for the advancement of women was proposed by Trudeau's office and Ivanka Trump was involved in setting it up. Trump's daughter attended the first meeting at the White House.

The council announced in July that it would structure its study around entrepreneurship, access to capital, leadership in the private sector and the science and technology industry. The council said it would release its recommendations in the coming months.

Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar and Canadian chair of the council, was not available for comment this week.

Attempts to reach some other members of the council Friday were not immediately successful.

Initiative started by Donald Trump's adviser, his daughter Ivanka 1:37

With files from The Associated Press