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B.C. activist optimistic about federal budget initiatives geared towards women

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. Al Coen, Global News

“It’s astounding that in 2018 we’re still talking about women not being paid the same wage for same work.”

Samantha Monckton, a Vancouver organizer with the group March On Canada, says she’s optimistic following Tuesday’s federal budget.

One of the hot topics was gender equality, with the government initiating legislation to help bridge the 12-cent hourly wage gap between full-time working men and women.

READ MORE: Liberals introduce new paternity leave, plan for pay-equity law

Monckton says she’s just hopeful that a year from now, we won’t be having the same conversation.

“It has to be, you know, not mid-way through an election cycle and has to be a sincere attempt. And we’ll see that in a couple years and see how the money rolls out, see how the panels work out, but you know, talk minus action equals zero, right.”

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READ MORE: B.C. government looking for federal budget money for public safety, transit

The federal government is also initiating a new paternity leave specifically for new fathers and non-birthing parents.

Right now parents can share 35 weeks of paid leave however they want, but the new rules would enable families to take up to 40 weeks of leave as long as the second parent claims at least five weeks of it.

READ MORE: Federal Budget 2018: Some (lesser-known) highlights, from Pharmacare to service dogs

But Monckton is questioning if those parents will sacrifice that time.

“Who’s going to make that transition? Especially when we don’t have a national daycare program that’s sincerely being put into action, where are people going to take the risk to do that? To make that… actually be… a positive move for women and also a positive move for men being more involved in their kids’ lives,” she said.