Important questions

Dear editor:
The questions I wish to pose publicly to the candidates—Mr. Ken Boshcoff, Mr. David Leskowski, Mr. John Rafferty, and Mr. Russ Aegard—are as follows:
1. In its response to Canada’s report on ending discrimination against women, the United Nations told Canada to step up its measures to combat violence against women and to increase funding for women’s centres and shelters.
As such, what concrete funding will your party provide to fund ongoing core programs within women’s anti-violence and equality seeking organizations?
2. 2006 will mark the 25th anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Canada ratified it in 1981 with the consent of all provinces and territories.
If you elected, will you and your party take concrete and immediate measures to ensure Canada fully upholds its commitments to women under this international agreement?
3. The “Sisters in Spirit” campaign on violence against aboriginal women asked the federal government for $10 million over two years to create a registry of missing women, do education and public awareness, and undertake policy analysis on how legal frameworks affect aboriginal women.
The federal government has provided half of this money ($5 million).
Will your party make a commitment to provide the rest, as well as to fund the recommendations that flow from this work?
4. Of all families with children in Canada, 21.4 percent live in housing where shelter costs are more than 30 percent of their total income. Among low-income families with children, 66 percent live in unaffordable housing.
Will your party dedicate one percent of the budget per year to social housing until all Canadians have a safe, affordable place to live?
5. The Canada Child Tax Benefit and the National Child Benefit Supplement are important income support programs for families. However, these funds are not enough to lift many families out of poverty, and the NCBS is clawed back from families on social assistance.
Will your party end the discriminatory NCBS clawback and increase the maximum benefit of the CCTB to $5,900 per child per year?
6. Legal aid funding has been decreased in recent years. What will your party do to increase legal aid funding, especially for civil and family law?
Please be advised that if you require transportation to the polls on Monday, Jan. 23, free rides will be available. In Atikokan, you may call 497-2868 ext. 21 or ext. 27 while in Fort Frances, you may call Peggy Loyie at 274-8541.
Women make up 51 percent of the population. Make your voice count. Vote!
Yours truly,
Donna M. Kroocmo
Executive director,
Atikokan Crisis Centre