To commemorate this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling on Premier Doug Ford to take a stand against violence towards women and girls by focusing on positive measures to stop this crisis.
“We know that violence against women and girls is a global crisis,” said Thomas. “But it’s also a crisis right here at home – one that warrants serious attention and action. It’s why we need a government that recognizes this urgency, and puts meaningful measures in place to address it.”
According to recent statistics, 50 per cent of the femicides in Canada this year took place in Ontario – that’s fifty-three women who’ve died due to femicide in this province between January and August.
“The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have opened important channels for dialogue,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “But they’ve also shown us that there is still so much work to be done to bring the issue of violence against women and girls out of the dark, and to break down the barriers experienced by the survivors of violence.”
Just last month, Ontario’s PC government announced it was scrapping the expert roundtable to end violence against women; a panel of non-partisan, grassroots volunteers providing strategic advice and working with the previous government to advocate for policy and program changes to end violence against women in Ontario. Thomas has been calling on Premier Ford to change course and focus on positive actions immediately.
“This government’s actions are ignorant and quite frankly, dangerous,” said Thomas. “This government’s repeal of the labour laws, cuts to social assistance rates and the repeal of the updated Sex Ed curriculum, with its focus on consent, will all affect women and girls most of all. We’ve got rape crisis centres still awaiting promised funding, while the demand for these services is on the rise. This is not the sign of a government that cares about women and girls.
“So to Doug Ford I say this: as we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, your actions speak louder than your words. Ontarians are watching as your rhetoric runs dry. It’s time to listen to the people, and take a meaningful stand against violence towards women and girls.”