Maternal & Child Health

Canada’s Maternal and Child Health ‘signature initiative’ for the G8

The Canadian government’s maternal and child health initiative is highly contradictory. Social spending cuts and spikes in unemployment will be the result if the Canadian government’s push for global economic austerity at the G20 becomes a reality. This will dramatically increase poverty for women and children around the world.  The Conservatives would then be simultaneously promoting (yet unknown) G8 initiatives to improve the health of these same women and children. Wouldn’t the more direct (and honest) route to improved maternal and child health be to eliminate the austerity, and support strategies to deal with the economic insecurity that causes ill health?  Without this reorientation, Canada’s ‘signature’ issue becomes window dressing and propaganda.

Further, the Conservative government is ill-equipped to fight for women’s health and rights around the world when it has systematically eroded those same rights and opportunities in Canada. The Conservatives eliminated the national childcare program proposed by the Liberals, they have closed Status on Women offices across the country, and they have gutted numerous women’s organizations through funding cuts.

Canada has also stated clearly that is will not be including abortion in its maternal and child health plans at the G8 meetings.   Many have speculated that this is the real reason the Harper government has championed maternal health – to indirectly bring abortion back to the political forum, while still claiming that it is off the agenda.

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