OTTAWA – New Democrat leader Jack Layton is urging his three federal counterparts to find enough common ground to make women and children a priority in the next session of Parliament.
Mr. Layton’s invitation follows Prime Minister Harper’s pledge to make maternal and child health a priority at the G8 summit in Canada this June.
“I’ll take Mr. Harper’s interest in impoverished mothers at face value, but leadership always starts at home. If Canada wants to lead or lecture the world on anything, we’d better start by filling the gaping holes in our own backyard. Let’s make this the Women and Children First session of Parliament,” Mr. Layton said at a press conference on Monday.
According to the Global Gender Gap Index, Canada now ranks behind Mongolia, Latvia and Sri Lanka on gender equality. The Conference Board of Canada says that one in seven Canadian children lives in poverty. And just last week, Northern leaders reminded reporters that mortality rates among Inuit babies are three times the national average.
Mr. Layton invited Mr. Harper, as well as Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe, to cooperate in 2010 to improve the lives of Canadian women and children. He outlined a series of concrete New Democrat proposals that, if embraced by the other parties, would mean real progress for women and children. Those proposals include:
“If Canadians are tired of the old politics of division, let’s see if we can’t find common ground to get something done. Let’s put women and children first in the upcoming session of Parliament,” Layton said.
Official NDP Source
See also the NDP's action plan: Fairness For Women.
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