Cabinet to rethink cuts to women's funding

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 07/97) - The government has been forced to reconsider $58,000 in cuts to women's groups.

Jane Groenewegen and Yellowknife North MLA Roy Erasmus led the charge to turn back proposed cuts to cabinet grants and contributions for a variety of women's groups.

Most important among them are the Status of Women Council and the Native Women's Association.

"These women do a tremendous amount of work, very important work, and are already severely underfunded before you take the 10-per-cent cut into consideration," said Groenewegen.

The Hay River MLA also noted the cuts fly in the face of the government's empowerment initiative, since women's groups are an integral part of community health programs.

Erasmus amended Groenewegen's original motion to include the Native Women's Association.

"These groups are not just working to further women's issues, they're working in healing," he noted.

"It's not much good to offer all kinds of economic programs and education programs if the people are not healthy mentally," Erasmus said.

Ed Picco, chairman of the standing committee on infrastructure, said the government ignored three alternate recommendations that would have reduced the cuts to five per cent.

The motion was carried by a vote of 10-2. Inuvik MLA Floyd Roland and Thebacha's Michael Miltenberger were the only two members to vote against it. Seven Cabinet ministers abstained.