I mean seriously. Shouldn't there be some kind of warning, like 'We interrupt this program to warn Canadians to run, and just keep running.' They are both such a disgrace.
The Status of Women critics from the Opposition parties protested Helena's hypocrisy over the ceremony to mark the l'École Polytechnique massacre, saying they couldn't stand alongside Guergis, the Conservative status of women minister. I don't blame them. I couldn't stand to be in the same room with that woman.
The Reformers record on women's issues is abysmal. They are trying to take us back to the stone age, and some one's got to speak up. Guergis voted in favour of scrapping the long gun registry, so she gave up her right to speak for these young women.
Critics boycott Tories' Polytechnique ceremony
December 1, 2009
The Canadian Press
Opposition critics boycotted a non-partisan ceremony Tuesday marking the 20th anniversary of the Dec. 6 l'École Polytechnique massacre, saying they couldn't stand alongside Helena Guergis, the Conservative status of women minister.
Liberal, NDP and Bloc Québécois MPs who sit on the House of Commons status of women committee argued that Conservative policies have rolled back the fight for women's equality and safety.
They pointed to the government's elimination of the court challenges program and to the move to abolish the gun registry — something that some Liberal and NDP members also support.
"We consider this [ceremony] a hypocritical gesture because her government has shown itself from the beginning to be hostile to all women's demands," said Bloc MP Nicole Demers.
'I would just like to think that there are some things in politics that are above partisan games.'— Helena Guergis, status of women minister
Liberal MP Anita Neville said: "I find it difficult to stand beside a minister who chooses not to advocate for women, who chooses to follow the party line, who chooses to endorse the elimination of the long-gun registry."
The sombre ceremony in the House of Commons foyer was led by a senior bureaucrat at Status of Women Canada, and Guergis did not speak.
About two dozen parliamentarians and staff, including NDP MP Libby Davies and Liberal MP Judy Sgro, placed 14 white roses in a vase to represent the 14 women gunned down in 1989.
House Speaker Peter Milliken and Senate Leader Noel Kinsella made brief remarks. The Bloc did not send a representative.
Tension on women's issues
The boycott by Guergis's critics was a sign of the tensions that have built up over the past three years between the government and the opposition on the status of women committee.
Within months of coming to power in 2006, Harper redirected $5 million from the administrative budget of Status of Women Canada, closing branch offices and stopping funding for women's research and advocacy groups.
The funds, plus an additional $5 million, were instead earmarked for programs that more directly serve women, such as immigrant integration initiatives in major Canadian cities.
The mandate changes did not sit well with the other parties, who argued that while front-line programs are important, women's advocacy groups still need support to bring issues forward into the public domain.
In 1991, Parliament declared Dec. 6 as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.