REALity  March 2010

Status of Women Canada was established in 1973 to advance women’s equality and to provide the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of Canada.

Since that time, the Status of Women’s annual department expenditures, which had reached $16 million by 1996, rose to $24 million in 2006 and to $32.5 million in 2009. Helena Guergis, the current Minister for Status of Women, stated before the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women, on December 3, 2009, “Right now, our government proudly boasts that the funding for Status of Women Canada is at its highest level in Canada’s history.”

About half of the Status of Women budget goes to its division, the Women’s Program within the Status of Women, whose purpose is to provide funds for feminist organizations. In the last three years, the Women’s Program budget under the Conservatives, has doubled from $11.5 million in the fiscal year ending 2007 to $22.0 million in the year ending in 2009, the greatest leap since it was established. In total, the Women’s Program has handed out $294 million over the years to feminist organizations.

Also a significant portion of the Women’s Program budget goes toward administrative costs. Status of Women receives an additional $ 2 million a year from the public treasury for Professional and Special Services, according to Public Accounts Canada.

Conservatives Attempt to Modify Grants

In 2006, the Conservative government did make some significant changes to the Women’s Program regarding the funding criteria to stop funding for advocacy or lobbying purposes. This eliminated funding for several especially radical feminist groups, but these funds were unfortunately then applied to more recently established feminist groups such as Equal Voice (whose object is to have more feminist women elected to Parliament) and the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA).  Equal Voice received a grant of over $1.2 million for 3 years from the Women’s Program last year, FAFIA has received $1.8 million since 1999, falsely claiming they represent “women and girls” in Canada (see REALity, May/June 2009, “Feminist “Equal Voice” Balloons”).

FAFIA, together with several unions, submitted an angry report in February 2010 to the UN Beijing Conference Review, organized by the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The report bitterly complained that the Conservative government was denying equality for women – of course, as interpreted in accordance with their own left-wing, NDP agenda.  FAFIA’s report was paid for by the Canadian taxpayers by way of its huge grants received from the Women’s Program.

The massive increase in funding to the Status of Women in the last few years under the Conservatives is incomprehensible – especially in view of the independent professional evaluation of the Women’s Program in 2005, which paints a very poor picture of the agency.

Evaluation of the Women’s Program – 2005

A professional program evaluation of the Women’s Program and Status of Women was not initiated by the Treasury Board, was published in 2005 by an organization called Prairie Research Associates Inc. The evaluators used interviews and responses to questionnaires provided to staff and recipients of funding and obtained an astonishing assessment of the agency.  The report can be found at:

http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1622471&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=38&Ses=1

The evaluation disclosed the following:

  • There were missing documents, and a failure of final reports to establish a clear link to the original application, in order to determine if planned activities had been carried out, or whether some progress toward outcomes had been achieved.
  • The Women’s Program suffered from poor internal communications and information sharing, along with poor relationships with Status of Women, stemming from a fundamental philosophical difference regarding the best way to achieve women’s equality.
  • Program staff pro-actively approached favourite organizations and assisted them with proposal development and funding applications, the latter usually being approved.
  • Accountability was poor since recipients were not required to justify their receipts of government funds, to submit any kind of strategic plan, or to demonstrate progress toward or success in achieving some goal.
  • There was an absence of any strategy or tool for analyzing and reporting on program impact.
  • Final reports were included in only one half of files studied, and information on these final reports consisted largely of self-assessments by the funded organization.

According to the responses received in the evaluation, it was claimed that it was virtually impossible to isolate the net contribution of the Women’s Program to women’s equality due to the “equally significant role of external factors” in social change. Many fund recipients felt that “reporting expectations were not consistent with the nature of social development work.”

Consequently, only 5% of those who provided responses, thought that public policy and legislative change had occurred as a result of their initiatives, only 2% found increased financial independence for women, 4% felt that there was increased self-confidence and self esteem among women, and only 3% reported that more women were leaving abusive relationships.

As a result of these responses, the Evaluation Report stated: “The Program was unable to report in any systematic way to Parliament or to Canadians on the results it has achieved.”

In other words, taxpayers’ hard earned dollars were spent carelessly with no consideration given to basic accountability to evidence of results. Despite this report, the program continues today as an always-full pot of gold for feminists in Canada.

That is, despite the revealing evaluation of the individual projects funded by the Women’s Program, faith in feminist “social development” work is apparently unshaken since there was a “broad general consensus

[93%] among stakeholders that the Women’s Program has had a positive impact” and 90% felt the Program was “still relevant.” The feminists perennially demand more money to achieve these immeasurable objectives and Status of Women continues to provide lucrative but meaningless employment for selected women’s studies graduates and professional feminists.

This occurs because the bureaucracy within the Status of Women simply ignores government policy (much like the Department of Foreign Affairs: see article “Foreign Affairs a Law Unto Itself”, p.   )

Feminist groups regard government funding as their “entitlement”. Feminists and liberal/socialist bureaucrats obviously believe that it is the function of government to financially sustain leftist social movements, which are unpopular with the general public.  Without government funding, feminist activism in Canada would cease to exist.  Unlike REAL Women, they have no grass roots support and have only top down, paid executives to carry out their work, paid by the taxpayers by way of government funding.

Gender Based Analysis

Another example of government waste due to feminist ideology is the policy of gender-based analysis.

In 1995 after the UN Women’s Conference in Beijing, the Liberal government implemented a five-year plan to carry out a gender-based analysis of public policy decisions agreed to by Canada at that UN Beijing Conference.

Gender analysis, briefly stated, is a method of reviewing all government policies, programs and legislation to determine their differential impact on men and women. Its practical effect is to serve as a feminist tool to ensure the government adheres to feminist ideology.  The Status of Women was to oversee this process.  One Liberal plan, called Agenda for Gender Equality (AGE), provided an extra $20.5 million to the Women’s Program to fund a total of 122 new groups.  However, when the evaluation of the women’s program was carried out in 2005, it was discovered that neither the women’s program staff nor its managers were certain about the purpose of AGE.  As a result, the additional funds of $20.5 million were simply invested in the overall Women’s Program feminist funding.

In April 2008, the feminist opposition which dominates the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women, recommended that the Auditor General examine the implementation of gender-based analysis in the federal government as had previously been established by the Liberal government.

The Auditor General did as requested, and in her report, released in the spring of 2009, stated that the review found the tool of gender analysis was not being properly implemented in the seven government departments audited.

The Auditor General’s report recommended that the Status of Women, in consultation with the Treasury Board and the Privy Council Office, clarify, establish and communicate to all government departments and agencies their responsibilities on gender issues by applying gender based analysis to all department programs, policies and legislation. This was the conclusion even though the Auditor General’s report found that the great majority of departments saw no need to intrude gender analysis into their work.

In light of the Status of Women’s track record, a gender-based analysis in every government department, with staffing and training, is one venture that belongs on the chopping block to bring government program spending under control.

The Status of Women, a Picture of Mismanagement

The above independent evaluation of the Women’s Program within the Status of Women, has uncovered a picture of gross mismanagement and abuse of taxpayer dollars. Along with incompetence, the survey reveals the staff’s unbounded enthusiasm for feminism as a worldview and insistence that feminist women are entitled to hundreds of millions of tax dollars to propagate their leftist ideology. While feminist members of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women from the Liberal, Bloc and NDP parties insist on “accountability, tracking and paper documentation” to provide evidence that all government departments are applying gender based analysis, they do not, however, appear to expect the same standards of professionalism from “women’s groups”, who have been allowed to fritter away millions of tax dollars with abandon.

Another Evaluation of the Status of Women in 2010

Another evaluation of the Status of Women and the Women’s Program, at a cost of $130,000 will be carried out no later than September 2010. Heritage Canada, through which the Status of Women is funded, like all government departments, is obliged to evaluate, demonstrate outcomes, measure and report results as a consequence of the 2006 Federal Accountability Act.  After this evaluation, hopefully Canadians will see an end to the Women’s Program unaccountability.

Please write to the following requesting that the outdated and biased Status of Women including its Woman’s Program, be eliminated.

Please write to:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2

Fax: 613-941-6900

Honourable Stockwell Day
President of the Treasury Board
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Fax: 613-995-1154

 

Your MP

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6