PSAC statement on International Human Rights Day

Today is International Human Rights Day and the Public Service Alliance of Canada condemns the Harper government for continuing to undermine and attack human rights, both at home and internationally.

Since 2006, the Conservatives have chipped away at democratic institutions and practices, compromising Canadian’s fundamental human rights.

Since the Conservatives took power, we have seen cuts to essential programs, the de-funding of human rights organizations and ongoing attacks on evidence-based research.

The Harper government has undermined human rights in Canada by:

  • Cancelling the $1 billion-per-year early learning and child care agreements that would have made child care affordable for low-income women.
  • Eliminating funding for the Court Challenges Program, which enabled people from marginalized communities to take human rights cases to court.
  • Closing Canadian Human Rights Commission offices in Halifax, Vancouver and Toronto – the three cities that registered the highest number of complaints.
  • Removing the “equality” mandate from Status of Women Canada and denying funding to organizations that engage in research.
  • Eliminating the Mandatory Long Form Census, which will make it nearly impossible to obtain accurate data on equity-seeking groups in Canada.
  • Refusing to fund organizations that help women access safe abortions as part of the G8 maternal health initiative.
  • Slashing funding to organizations such as Kairos, Alternatives and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, in retaliation for groups’ criticism of the federal government’s international human right record.
  • Appointing conservative board members to Rights & Democracy, compromising its human rights work and destroying its reputation.
  • Using the Conservative-dominated Senate to quash the Climate Change Accountability Act, even after a majority of MPs voted to enact it into law.
  • Introducing bill C-49, which purports to punish human smuggling, but will actually jail refugees and deny them their rights.

Despite the mounting attacks on human rights, PSAC members have stood strong and fought back. We recently celebrated a major victory, helping to save the federal long gun registry. PSAC women are continuing to fight the government’s attacks on pay equity and are lobbying for a universal early learning and child care system.

Support Bill C-389

PSAC is supporting Bill C-389, a private member’s bill from the NDP’s Bill Siksay that represents a major step forward for trans human rights. The bill would add gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act and federal hate crimes laws. Send a letter to your MP now and show your support for trans human rights!

PSAC stands in solidarity with members of racialized, Aboriginal, LGBT and other people who are fighting for their rights. On this International Human Rights Day, we commit to continue exposing and challenge the actions of the Harper government – standing up for human rights and defending public services in the process.