Ottawa – The Up for Debate campaign has released a selection of questions that it has crowdsourced for potential use in its upcoming federal election debate, scheduled to take place in Toronto on September 21st.
The campaign asked over 70,000 Canadians what they would like to hear from party leaders in a debate on women's issues – the first of its kind in Canada since 1984.
"In order to build a national conversation that truly reflects issues that impact women's lives, we absolutely need to consult them," said Julie Delahanty, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada and steering committee member for the campaign. "What is clear from the reactions of thousands of Canadian women is that Canadian women have questions and are challenging all party leaders to answer them."
A national non-partisan campaign, Up for Debate invited all major federal party leaders to commit to participate in a leaders’ debate focused on questions and issues that impact women’s lives. Questions like:
- How will your government encourage women to enter occupations that are typically male-dominated and ensure that they receive equal pay for equal work?
- What specific programs/actions will your government bring in to change the culture of violence against women in Canada?
- What will you do to make sure that childcare and senior care services are provided?
- What steps will your government take to support women’s rights organizations and the advancement of gender equality through international assistance?
Alliance member Lise Martin, of the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses, said: "Much has changed since Canada held its first and only leaders' debate thirty years ago. Yet, the many questions we have received only served to confirm what we already know – that women in Canada are still grappling with many of the same problems that they did back in 1984."
"From coast to coast to coast, Canadians expect to see women’s priorities, needs and realities taken seriously during the next federal election,” added Delahanty. "We’re up for the debate. My question is, are the party leaders?"
Notes to editors:
For interview requests:
The Up for Debate campaign is led by a non-partisan alliance of over 175 organizations – women’s groups and their allies across Canada. The alliance is comprised of very broad range of organizations: women’s groups in every region of the country, Aboriginal associations, unions, community groups, international development organizations, business associations and faith-based groups.
Women make up half the population, 47% of the Canadian labour force, and 52% of voters in the last federal election. Yet in the last federal leaders’ debates the word women was barely mentioned.
In Canada, women continue to earn 20% less than their male peers for the same full-time work, are more likely to be poor, and do twice as much unpaid work at home. Since 1980 over a thousand Aboriginal women and girls have been murdered, and each day more than 8,000 women and children seek protection from a shelter.
All 5 federal party leaders were invited to participate in the women's issues debate and have until July 31st to confirm their participation. As of July 17, 2015, two parties have confirmed – the NDP and Green parties.