Women’s issues: a breakdown of Canada’s election promise

Collage by Abby Wiseman

By Sarine Gulerian

Here at Loose Lips, we wanted to know what the party leaders, if elected, will do for the women of Canada when the campaigning is over and there are no more babies to hug.


There has been a lot of debate about the missing and murdered Aboriginal women throughout the country.

This is a pretty big issue considering that, since 1980, nearly 2,000 Aboriginal females have been murdered or reported missing. All parties agree that this problem must be solved. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair promised that, if elected, a public inquiry would be launched within 100 days of taking power. The Liberals and the Greens have made similar promises, but the Conservatives haven’t taken the issue entirely seriously.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said most of the cases had been solved and that the issue “isn’t really high on our radar,” in an interview with Peter Mansbridge on CBC’s The National.  

Speaking of debates, there were none on women’s issues because Harper declined to attend. Without the PM there, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair also pulled out. Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May agreed to step up to the podium for women, but without enough leaders, the Up For Debate event was cancelled.  


Sandwiched between returning home-mail delivery and funding disadvantaged youth in sport is the NDP platform’s promise to end violence against women. How are they going to accomplish that lofty goal? With an action plan.

In the meantime, they promise to increase funding to shelters and launch the Missing Aboriginal Women investigation. They also promise to improve funding to Status of Women Canada.

Liberals aren’t so bold to say they will end violence against women, but they do also promise make an action plan and increase funding to shelters. They also state intimate partner violence will be made an aggravating factor in sentencing and they’ll increase the maximum sentence for repeat offenders.

The Conservatives plan on passing two bills, including Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, which vows to protect girls and young women from early or forced marriage. The bill has been criticized for being anti-Islamic. The second is Protecting Victims from Sex Offenders Act, which allows authorities to use the national database in investigations and forces offenders to partake in a DNA analysis.  


The NDP and Greens promise to take up the challenging task of eliminating the pay gap between women and men. The NDP want to close the gap by following decade-old recommendations from the Pay Equity Task Force and require all public sector employees get equal pay for work of equal value. The Greens state they will end the gap, but don’t suggest how that will be accomplished.

Rather than judicial changes, the Greens are focusing on workplace equality and convenient childcare. They promise affordable childcare facilities within the parent’s workplace. Arguing that mothers will be able to breastfeed and access their children throughout the workday, as well as eliminating the daycare commute before and after work. They also promise tax breaks for employers who allow such a program.  

The most important thing to remember is we can’t be heard if we don’t vote, so make sure to get out there on Monday and VOTE.

What do you think? Are our politicians out of whack when it comes to women’s issues?   

SarineSarine Gulerian is a Vancouver journalist and wizard of words. She hopes to one day win the Pulitzer Prize.