Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Time to give Kennedy a little credit

I make no secret about my support for certain candidates. I also make no attempts to hide my dislike for others. But I also like to give credit where credit is due. Right now, Gerard Kennedy deserves some credit.

Over the years, there have been numerous discussions regarding the engagement of women in politics. Some countries using PR electoral systems mandate that there must be a certain number of women in certain places on parties' lists. Others find other ways to encourage more female candidates to run. In Canada, we've done rather little in terms of legislation to actively enfranchise women politically, and thus, only about one-fifth of our legislators are women.

Perhaps it's time for pro-active steps, or perhaps not. While such measures are clearly positive for gender parity, they are mixed when evaluated from a formal democratic standpoint.

While promoting active steps towards substantive equality may be mixed, the case for creating formal equality is clear. It is always a good thing to eliminate socio-economic and political barriers which prevent the full attainment of women's equality.

Thus, I give credit to Gerard Kennedy for certain components in his plan for improving the participation of women in the Canadian economy. The readjustment of tax rates so as to not penalize second income-earners is absolutely necessary. As is exceptionally progressive legislation regarding pregnancy leave (alla Sweden). And the creation of funded child-care spaces surely has a greater social return than does the handing out of $1,200 annually to parents.

All of these measures are absolutely vital to completely enfranchise Canadian women. Economic parity is vital. Social parity largely derives from economic parity, and true political parity cannot be attained except through complete socio-economic equality of opportunity.

Good job, Gerard. Parts of the plan were admittedly vague, but it was a useful contribution to the debate of an issue which requires much more analysis. Dion and Dryden's plans for political parity are good, but in the long term, plans which promote economic parity will be more effective.


Post a Comment

<< Home