VICTORIA— B.C. New Democrat Leader John Horgan and New Democrat women’s spokesperson Maurine Karagianis issued the following statement in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:
“Violence against women continues to be a major concern in British Columbia, and government isn’t doing enough to provide services and supports for women and families.
“The Christy Clark government is a lot of talk and little action on transition houses and other resources that would help women who are fleeing abusive and violent circumstances. We must do much more to address violence against women in our province with stronger education and awareness, prevention and community support initiatives.
“Action could start, for instance, with government expediting funding for a shelter for abused women and children in Delta. The federal government is providing $122,000 for renovations and the Corporation of Delta is providing the house, but the provincial government has not allocated any money to the operation,” said Horgan.
Karagianis added: “Province-wide, supports for women fleeing violence continue to be limited, and it’s appalling that some communities have little or nothing to offer women in need. What services do exist are often funded year-to-year, with no long term commitment from the B.C. government.
“West Coast LEAF’s annual report shows that the BC Liberal government is failing to meet its obligations under the UN convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The report gives B.C. failing grades when it comes to Women’s access to justice, poverty, employment, child care, housing, missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and women in prison. It issued a C+ for violence against women, noting that ‘services for women who have experienced violence continue to be at a high demand.’
“Sadly, when this government is given the chance to walk the walk, it too often fails. Earlier this year, I introduced a Bill to protect the job security of victims of domestic violence. The Christy Clark government refused to support it. The Employment Standards Domestic Violence Leave Amendment Act would guarantee that those fleeing domestic violence have the ability to take a leave of absence from work, giving them the time that they need to move their family to safety. The government refused to debate the bill, and it died on the order paper.
“The Christy Clark government’s stubborn refusal to implement a comprehensive poverty-reduction plan also disproportionately hurts women. Half of the children living in single-parent households live in poverty. Three quarters of single mothers in Metro Vancouver struggle to afford housing. We know that poverty binds women to dangerous relationships. Addressing poverty is critical to addressing violence against women.
“Elimination of violence against women takes leadership at the highest levels. And it demands commitment of real dollars and real resources in our communities, on the ground, where they are needed most,” Karagianis concluded.