Monday, January 04, 2010

NB Women's News – January 4, 2010

NB Women's News – January 4, 2010

- A service of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women
To unsubscribe, reply to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE in text.
(Défilez vers le bas pour la version française)

Best wishes in the new year - Nopal petakiyin Wolitahasuwakon Nipayimiyamk naka Pilikotok - Nos meilleurs voeux en 2010 - Oltasi Ag Oleieen ola Noeleoimg

A few decades ago, we changed our policies, our attitude and our language to stop calling certain children “illegitimate”. It remains incredible that, until so recently, we could treat children differently based on their parents’ status. There remain a few instances where children are treated differently based on their parents’ situation, according to arguments put forth recently.

Over 13,000 families with children in the province include a common-law couple. The breakdown of their parents’ relationship affects the children of unmarried parents as much as it does the children of married parents. Law professor Robert Leckey wrote recently that, “most provinces restrict their matrimonial-property laws to married couples… The protections of marriage - chief among them the possibility of one spouse securing exclusive possession of the matrimonial home - indirectly benefit the children of married parents.” This may result in disadvantages for children whose parents are not married. Several provinces now provide the option for partners who are not married to register their union for this protection. Also, by ending a common-law relationship, a person loses their claim, for instance, to a survivor’s pension under CPP. For the sake of children, we need to put some order in these laws that manage unions…
In other instances, it can be children of the formerly married that are disadvantaged. This year, as a result of budget cuts, the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission decided to no longer provide services to people requiring anything under the Divorce Act, even relating to support, custody, access and other issues. Evidently this creates a distinction between families and between children. Children of divorce will not be treated the same as children of parents who never married or never divorced and some will not benefit from the adjustments that are needed to support, custody or access orders.

- From a column by Chairperson Elsie Hambrook, 24 Dec. 2009.

*******NB Women’s News *******


Read past editions of NB Women’s News
Or search them using the search box on

St-Valentine’s Day is National Day of Action - Girls Action Foundation invites female youth to create projects that raise awareness about issues affecting them. Subsidies to network members. Register by 10 Jan 2010: ;

*******NB Women’s News *******

65,040 females; 57,500 males (total, 122,540)
0 -4 yrs: 170 females; 380 males
5 -14 yrs: 1,420 females; 2,710 males
15 -24 yrs: 2,500 females; 2,500 males
25 -44 yrs: 10,400 females; 8,400 males
45 -64 yrs: 24,200 females; 23,000 males
65 -74 yrs: 10,600 females; 10,300 males
75+ yrs: 15,700 females; 10,300 males.

- 2006 Participation & Activity Limitation Survey: Disability in Canada, StatsCan.

*******NB Women’s News *******

"The family court system (in N.B.) is in chaos. It has been brought to screeching halt," says Sheila Cameron, a Moncton family lawyer & co-author of the province's last report on legal aid. She says courtrooms are clogged with cases once resolved through mediation. "They fired all the mediators and now those cases that were once settled out of court are clogging the system." In Moncton alone, nearly a dozen cases were mediated each week before the cuts. "Now there are even cases where the judge steps down from the bench and becomes a mediator. So we've got our most expensive person in the entire legal system sitting down and mediating what could have been worked out 6 months earlier.” Cameron said courtroom delays are rampant because people who don't qualify for legal aid and can't afford to retain the services of a lawyer often choose to represent themselves, which can slow down the court process. "Private family lawyers in New Brunswick charge between $200-$300/hr. Most cases don't see the light of the courtroom for less than $5,000. Mothers with children who are looking for child support can't afford that." Cameron said the wait for legal aid is currently 6 months. This means parents whose children have been taken into care by the government through the child protection system face lengthy delays.

Cameron was part of the Access to Family Justice Task Force… which made 50 recommendations aimed at relieving the pressures on family court … Cameron says she is shocked to witness legal aid "going backwards". "It's completely baffling to watch the department and court system get slashed and burned.”

- Court 'in chaos', Brett Bundale, Telegraph-Journal, 29 Dec 2009.

*******NB Women’s News *******

The Government of Nfld has developed the Nfld & Lab. Market Basket Measure of Low Income - the first of its kind in Canada... It’s specific to the realities of the province, compares the incomes of families to the cost of a basket of goods & services necessary to live a socially inclusive life, using tax-filer data. This allows for the reporting of low-income levels in communities and groups, including lone parents, etc. “Part of what's interesting is that they've got gender analysis embedded in the NLMBM data being developed - not a claim that can be made about any of the other poverty measures."

The Nfld poverty plan monitors 15 indicators to assess the extent of poverty (gender differences for the indicators are also being tracked).

The accepted national gauge of poverty is Statscan’s Low Income Cut-Off. But LICO is cumbersome to explain, it ignores absolute needs, and Statscan discourages its use as a poverty indicator… Ontario has unveiled the Ontario Deprivation Index, calculated by 2 social-policy groups & based on a similar list in Ireland: 10 items necessary to an acceptable Canadian standard of living (incl. fresh fruit & vegetables daily, a home free from cockroaches, access to transportation and ability to buy small gifts for family members once a year). If a household cannot afford at least 2 entries, they are considered poor. Ireland goes further and combines it with a relative income measure for a comprehensive view of poverty. Those who cannot afford at least two items on the Irish deprivation list and fall below 60% of median income are considered in consistent poverty.

- Excerpts, Defining necessities, Editorial, Globe & Mail, 4 Dec 2009. See also:

*******NB Women’s News *******

New Brunswick's high-income groups have the most to gain in Year 2 of the 4-yr provincial income tax reduction plan, which begins Jan. 1… A single person earning $25,000 will save $174 (in 2010); someone earning $500,000 will save $12,421. "It makes us a very attractive jurisdiction for entrepreneurs and investors," said Finance Minister Greg Byrne. Overall tax cuts will total $143.5 million in 2009-10, increasing to $380.2 million in 2012-13.

- N.B. tax-cut, 30 Dec 2009, CBC News

*******NB Women’s News *******

Women’s history challenges us to think differently about what we consider historically important... Important turning points in history… have typically been defined by military or political events: pre- or post-Confederation, World War 2. What if historians highlighted those events which altered the lives of women? The introduction of the birth control pill, the right of women to own property... Thinking this way reminds us that the ways in which we mark time are always artificial.

The power differentials between women sometimes outweigh the ties that bind women together… Can we argue that winning federal suffrage in 1918 was a crucial turning point for all women when aboriginal women waited for that same right to be fully extended (to aboriginals) until 1960…
Traditional histories of work often omitted women because women’s domestic labour - housework and caregiving - was unpaid and not understood as work… While formal politics excluded women, women have had a long history of political activism. From Jewish housewives in Toronto in the 30s who boycotted grocers for selling over-priced milk and meat, to rural women in 19th-century PEI who fought off landlords with pitchforks and occasionally guns, women have long protested injustice, argued with authorities, or fought to feed their families. Women’s historians who remind us that the everyday event is of cultural value. Mothering, domestic life, childbirth rituals, and friendships are worthy of study and historical reflection... Those who claim that it is natural for women to “stay at home” and men to go to work conveniently ignore the long-standing labour of poor, working class women in the labour force …

- Excerpts, The continuing importance of women’s history, Lara Campbell, Simon Fraser Univ.

*******NB Women’s News *******

Life is like giving a concert on the violin while learning to play the instrument.

- British author Samuel Butler.

Subscribe to this weekly e-newsletter by emailing with "SUBSCRIBE NB Women's News"; or visit our site, click on Sign up for email news.
BILINGUAL? Read on! Not all of NB Women's News is translated. Unilingual events or resources are described in that language only.
Nota: The distribution list for this email is under "bcc" in order to avoid displaying a long list of recipients.
Visit our internet site for news, events and documents on New Brunswick women:

Monday, December 07, 2009

YWCA of MONCTON - 'The Power of Being a Girl' conference on December 10

35 Highfield Street
Moncton, NB E1C 5N1

35, rue Highfield
Moncton, N.-B. E1C 5N1

506-855-3320 Fax

December 7, 2009

Press Release


YWCA Moncton is proud to announce the second annual 'The Power of Being a Girl' conference. This national YWCA signature event targets developmental needs in order to prevent violence against girls and women by creating awareness while building self esteem. Workshops this year address topics such as: self esteem, healthy relationships, and bullying. The Power of Being a Girls Workshops are being created and facilitated by young women from the College Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick. The conference will be held at Evergreen Park School on December 10 and will be offered to all female students in grades 7 and 8.

The YWCA of Moncton would like to thank our major sponsors for this event: United Way of Moncton, The City of Moncton, YWCA-Canada and Caisse Populaire Beausejour. We would also like to thank the many local businesses whose contributions are sure to make this event a success.

Resource Manager / Program Coordinator
YWCA of Moncton | A Turning Point for Women

35 Highfield St
Moncton, NB
E1C 5N1
(tel) 506-855-4349
(fax) 506-855-3320

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Elsie Hambrook, Chairperson of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Is there anything more to be said about the December 6 Montreal Massacre, 20 years later?

I think so.

The murder of 14 women at L’École Polytechnique is an emotional touchstone for Canada, but there is resistance to seeing it and crimes like it for what they are, femicide - the killing of women because they are women.

Was the gunman in the Montreal Massacre a deranged individual? Absolutely—but this does not mean that his actions aren’t telling.

“In cases of lynchings and pogroms, no one wastes time wondering about the mental health of the perpetrators or about their previous personal experiences with African-Americans or Jews.”

That quote from an article nearly 20 years ago makes an important point that should have made its way into our thinking about violence against women by now.

In many murders of women, they were singled out because of their gender - a hate crime.

We may wish that events such as the Montreal Massacre were not at all reflective of attitudes toward women. This would be comforting - it would place blame solely on the perpetrator and leave the rest of us blameless. But the Montreal gunman was not a stand-alone aberration.

A number of mass shootings have specifically targeted women. That fact is often neglected when we – or the media - discuss them. The Amish school shooting of 2006 left five girls and the shooter dead – he had excused the boys from the classroom. This year, a man walked into a Pittsburgh gym and killed three women and wounded nine more before killing himself.

But mass murder by strangers is the rarer form of femicide. It is far more common for a woman to be murdered by a current or past intimate partner. Every year, four times as many Canadian women are killed by their spouses as were killed in the Montreal Massacre.

The United Nations estimates that 70% of women will face physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetimes. Women aged 15 to 44 are more at risk from rape and partner violence than from car accidents, war, malaria and cancer.

In the same seven-year period, from 2000 to 2006 when 101 Canadian soldiers and police officers were killed by hostiles or by accident, more than 500 women were killed by the intimate males in their lives, as journalist Brian Vallee points out in his book, The War on Women.

Where is the outrage that we usually reserve for such violence and loss?

The fact that the victims are women isn’t incidental. Rather, it’s the point.

The toxic environment in which violence is able to take place is illustrated in attitude surveys about violence, about women and about violence against women. One recent such survey showed that a majority of New Brunswickers said it is not a crime for a man to slap his wife after an argument. Over a quarter of New Brunswickers thought it was not a crime for a man to rape his wife.

As The Physician's Guide To Intimate Partner Violence And Abuse says, "It's unreasonable to expect that people will change their behaviour easily when so many forces in the social, cultural and physical environment conspire against such change."

The United Nation’s Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, calls violence against women a pandemic - you might have heard that word a lot lately. One women’s publication recently asked what would happen if we looked at sexual violence against women as a pandemic in the same way we do H1N1. States of emergency declared, accurate and up-to-date statistics kept, massive public education efforts made.

Imagine if we discussed violence against women in general with the passion we discuss the availability of the H1N1 vaccination. Imagine if every employer posted information on preventing violence as ubiquitously as they post information on hand-washing practices. Imagine if the media reported on femicide as doggedly as they report on swine flu hospitalizations. Imagine if every time we witnessed inappropriate behavior toward women, we spoke up with the same sense of duty we do when we indicate we expect someone to cover their mouth when coughing.

Imagine if we treated violence against women like the ravaging pandemic that it is.

We in New Brunswick have done wonders in the last few decades to change our reaction to violence, especially to violence against women and children. But we need to be more outraged. When each act of violence is seen as an attack on our collective security, like a virus - we will know what to do.

- Elsie Hambrook is Chairperson of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women. She can be reached at



- Elsie Hambrook, présidente, Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme au Nouveau-Brunswick

Y a-t-il encore quelque chose à dire au sujet de la tuerie à l’École polytechnique de Montréal dont le 20e anniversaire sera commémoré le 6 décembre?

Je crois que oui.

Le meurtre de 14 femmes à l’École polytechnique de Montréal marque un moment de l’histoire canadienne qui suscite beaucoup d’émotion chez le peuple canadien, mais nous sommes réticents à reconnaître qu’au fond, cette tragédie, comme d’autres crimes semblables, est un femicide : le meurtre d’une personne simplement parce qu’elle est une femme.

Peut-on dire que l’auteur de la tuerie de l’École polytechnique était un individu détraqué? Tout à fait, mais ses actions sont néanmoins révélatrices.

« Dans le cas des lynchages et des pogroms, on ne perd pas son temps à émettre des hypothèses concernant la santé mentale des auteurs des crimes ou leurs expériences personnelles antécédentes avec les Afro-Américains ou les Juifs. » [Traduction]

Cette citation tirée d’un article écrit il y a près de vingt ans fait valoir un point important qui aurait dû depuis bien longtemps s’être introduit dans notre façon d’envisager la violence faite aux femmes.

La plupart des meurtres de femmes sont des crimes haineux qui visent leurs victimes en raison de leur sexe.

Nous pouvons espérer que des événements comme la tuerie de l’École polytechnique ne reflètent pas du tout les attitudes envers les femmes. Il serait réconfortant de penser ainsi, de pouvoir blâmer exclusivement l’auteur du crime pendant que la collectivité reste sans reproche. Mais le meurtrier de l’École polytechnique ne représente pas une aberration.

Au cours des dernières années, plusieurs fusillades ont spécifiquement visé les femmes. Souvent, nous passons outre à ce fait lorsque nous en discutons ou lorsqu’en parlent les médias. La tuerie des écolières amish en 2006 a coûté la vie à cinq petites filles et au tireur. Ce dernier avait laissé sortir les garçons de la classe. Cette année, un homme est entré dans un gymnase à Pittsburgh où il a tué trois femmes et blessé neuf autres avant de se tuer lui-même.

Toutefois, dans le contexte du femicide, il est moins commun qu’un étranger soit l’auteur d’une tuerie.

Les femmes sont bien plus fréquemment tuées par un conjoint actuel ou passé. Chaque année, quatre fois plus de femmes canadiennes sont abattues par leurs conjoints que le nombre total de femmes tuées à l’École polytechnique.

Selon les Nations Unies, 70 p. 100 des femmes subiront de la violence physique ou sexuelle aux mains d’un homme au cours de leur vie. Les femmes âgées de 15 à 44 ans ont une plus grande probabilité d’être violées par leurs conjoints ou victimes de violence conjugale que de mourir d’un accident de la route, d’une guerre, de la malaria et du cancer.

Durant cette même période de 2000 à 2006 au cours de laquelle 101 soldats et policiers canadiens ont été tués par des agresseurs ou par accident, plus de 500 femmes ont été abattues par leurs partenaires intimes masculins, affirme le journaliste Brian Vallée dans son livre The War on Women.

Où est l’indignation habituelle des citoyens devant de tels actes de violence et de telles pertes?

Ce n’est pas par hasard que les victimes sont des femmes. Au contraire, c’est le nœud de la question.

Les enquêtes d’attitudes portant sur la violence, les femmes et la violence faite aux femmes révèlent l’environnement toxique dans lequel sévit la violence. Une telle enquête récente a permis de constater que selon la majorité des Néo-Brunswickois et Néo-Brunswickoises, un homme qui gifle sa conjointe au cours d’une querelle ne commet pas de crime. De surcroît, plus d’un quart des Néo-Brunswickois et Néo-Brunswickoises croient que le viol d’une femme par son conjoint ne constitue pas un crime. Selon le Physician's Guide to Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, il n’est pas raisonnable de s’attendre à ce que les gens puissent facilement changer leur comportement puisque tant d’éléments sociaux, culturels et physiques militent contre ces changements.

Le secrétaire général des Nations Unies, Ban Ki-moon, a qualifié de pandémie la violence faite aux femmes. C’est un terme que nous entendons de plus en plus souvent. Récemment, une publication pour femmes se demandait ce qui arriverait si nous traitions la violence faite aux femmes comme une pandémie au même titre que la grippe A (H1N1). C'est-à-dire : déclaration d’état d’urgence, collecte et mise à jour des données sur la situation et prise de mesures importantes pour sensibiliser la population.

Imaginez ce qui se passerait si nous discutions de la violence faite aux femmes en termes généraux avec la même passion que nous réservons aux discussions sur la disponibilité du vaccin contre la grippe A (H1N1). Si tous les employeurs affichaient des renseignements sur la prévention de la violence aussi communément que les renseignements sur les techniques de lavage des mains. Si les médias rapportaient les femicides aussi fidèlement que les cas d’hospitalisations causées par la grippe A (H1N1). Si chaque fois que nous étions témoins de comportements inconvenants envers les femmes, nous dénoncions ces actes avec le même sens du devoir qui nous pousse à indiquer aux autres qu’ils devraient se couvrir la bouche lorsqu’ils toussent.

Imaginez ce qui se passerait si nous traitions la violence faite aux femmes comme la pandémie ravageuse qu’elle est réellement.

Au Nouveau-Brunswick, nous avons accompli des merveilles au cours des dernières décennies pour modifier notre réaction à la violence, notamment celle faite aux femmes et aux enfants. Mais nous devons réagir avec plus d’indignation. Lorsque nous accepterons que chaque acte de violence constitue une menace à la sécurité de la collectivité telle un virus, nous saurons comment agir.

Elsie Hambrook est présidente du Conseil consultatif sur la condition de la femme du Nouveau‑Brunswick. Vous pouvez la joindre par courriel à