Trudeau tar­gets Tories in gen­der equal­ity re­marks, say­ing they don’t get it

Truro Daily News - - CANADA - By Paola Loriggio

The strong­est op­po­si­tion to in­clud­ing is­sues such as gen­der equal­ity in dis­cus­sions over the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment has come not from the United States but from within Canada, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said Mon­day.

Speak­ing dur­ing a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion at the first Toronto edi­tion of the Women in the World con­fer­ence, the prime min­is­ter said his gov­ern­ment has faced hur­dles in adding a gen­der chap­ter to NAFTA as it did in a free trade deal with Chile.

“The push­back we’re get­ting is ac­tu­ally not from south of the border, the push­back we’re get­ting is from Cana­dian Con­ser­va­tives, who said ‘Oh no this is about eco­nomics, it’s about jobs... it’s not about rhetor­i­cal flour­ishes of be­ing good on en­vi­ron­ment or be­ing good on gen­der,”’ Trudeau said.

“To see that there is a sup­pos­edly re­spon­si­ble po­lit­i­cal party out there that still doesn’t get that gen­der equal­ity is a fun­da­men­tal eco­nomic is­sue as well as many other things, that en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity is fun­da­men­tally an eco­nomic is­sue high­lights that we do have a lot of work still to do in Canada.”

Trudeau has po­si­tioned him­self as a cham­pion of gen­der equal­ity since tak­ing of­fice, when he ex­plained his de­ci­sion to ap­point a half-fe­male cabi­net with the head­line-grab­bing quip, “be­cause it’s 2015.”

But he told the con­fer­ence Mon­day that de­spite his gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to bol­ster the ranks of women in pol­i­tics, re­ten­tion has proven a chal­lenge, in large part due to the vit­riol aimed at fe­male politi­cians.

Trudeau said it is his goal to tackle the “hid­den at­ti­tudes” that lead to in­equity but stressed the mat­ter won’t be re­solved dur­ing his ten­ure – rather, it will take gen­er­a­tions.

The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment re­cently tabled a fed­eral bud­get that promised to con­sider the way pro­grams and poli­cies im­pact dif­fer­ent gen­ders in dif­fer­ent ways. But the gov­ern­ment is also fac­ing crit­i­cism over the trou­bled na­tional in­quiry into miss­ing and mur­dered In­dige­nous women and girls, with some fam­i­lies call­ing for a com­plete re­boot of the process.

When asked about the con­tro­versy dur­ing Mon­day’s talk, Trudeau ad­mit­ted there were some dif­fi­cul­ties but said the process was “on the right track.”

“The push­back we’re get­ting is ac­tu­ally not from south of the border, the push­back we’re get­ting is from Cana­dian Con­ser­va­tives …”

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau

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