Open Letter to Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau

Our idea of market balance
Our idea of market balance

We are writing to remind you to keep women – and particularly those living in poverty – top of mind as you make economic decisions for our country and for Canada’s leadership in the world

January 23, 2017

Dear Minister Morneau,

It’s 2017 and we want to see real change. Last week Oxfam revealed that just 8 men own the same wealth as the bottom half of humanity. There is no clearer sign that our global economic system is broken.

We are writing to remind you to keep women – and particularly those living in poverty – top of mind as you make economic decisions for our country and for Canada’s leadership in the world. As the cabinet meets to discuss the budget this week, we want you to know that thousands of Canadians support the idea of a more decent, more human economy.

In every province and in over 200 ridings Canadians have signed on to Oxfam’s call to make a federal budget that works for women.

The thousands of Canadians who signed on to Oxfam’s petition are longstanding Oxfam supporters and people new to our organization.  They are young workers and retired professionals. They are newcomers to Canada and third-generation immigrants. They are university students and minimum wage earners. They are families. And no matter what walk of life they’re from, they are calling on you to put equality first by making a federal budget that works for women. 

"As a proud Canadian (and a proud Liberal), I'm ready to see our country walk the walk on gender parity and take real action to close the wage-gap. Let's put our money where our mouth is because it's now 2017 and I want to see real change." – Sundeep Hans, Brampton

Today, there is not a country on the planet where women make equal wages. At current rates of progress it will take 170 years for women to be paid the same as men. That’s generations of women who will never have equal opportunities and will continue to be shortchanged by economic growth. We can’t wait that long.

 “As Canadians we need to foster a more socially responsible attitude of global citizenship. I believe that starts with a federal budget that works for women in Canada and abroad” – Jasmine Cheng, Vancouver

With so many crises around the world, there is no more important time for Canada to step up and show positive global leadership. We need to put forward economic policies that set an example, that show we can build an inclusive and just society. We must build an economy where quality public services are accessible to all, including education, childcare and eldercare; where taxation is progressive and corporations pay their fair share; and where work is valued and no one is rewarded with poverty wages. And we need to help poor countries do the same.

With a commitment to inclusive growth and a Feminist Prime Minister, this government has the opportunity to make a real mark by taking action to advance women’s rights here at home and overseas.

Oxfam’s petition calls on the federal government stop inequality from spiraling out of control by making a federal budget that works for women. A feminist budget would:

  1. Encourage living wages in Canada and regulate Canadian companies working abroad to ensure decent work standards for women
  2. Close the gender pay gap and make sure women are treated fairly at work no matter what their job
  3. Invest in public services, like child care and elder care, that reduce and redistribute women’s unpaid care work
  4. Increase the aid budget to tackle global poverty and advance women's rights around the world.

Thousands of Canadians have stood up to say now is the time to act. They have signed our petition at www.shortchanged.ca and set up meetings with members of parliament in their ridings to discuss solutions for a more decent, more human economy. They are making their voices heard. We can hear them. Can you?

Julie Delahanty                                                         Denise Byrnes
Executive Director, Oxfam Canada                           Directrice génerale, Oxfam-Québec
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