The New Brunswick Women’s Council released their breakdown of recommendations for whatever party forms government after the upcoming election.
Health care and economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic are the top priorities.
For some voters that means expanded access to pediatric care.
“I had both my children in Ontario and in Ontario I never hesitated or thought that I wouldn’t have health care or that my kids wouldn’t have health care, it is really difficult here,” said Sasha French, a Fredericton resident.
In its issues brief, the council is highlighting the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the most vulnerable and marginalized women in the province.
“It’s meant to capture all the different ways that people’s identities, lived experiences can mean that they are going to experience the impacts of policies, funding decisions, legislation differently than other groups,” said Beth Lyons, executive director of the New Brunswick Women’s Council.
The council wants increased support for midwifery services and for pharmacists to be able to prescribe hormonal birth control.
“We are concerned about the potential impending closure of Clinic 554 and governments continued refusal to fund surgical abortions that are performed in the community as opposed to in hospitals,” said Lyons.
PC Leader Blaine Higgs has been adamant that his government has not violated the Canada Health Act by withholding funding for Clinic 554.
The Government of Canada has disagreed with the argument.
French said she’s unhappy with the PC’s response on abortions.
“It’s unacceptable and it’s really heartbreaking to see the lack of response from our representatives in New Brunswick,” said French.
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The council’s brief also addresses pay equity and raising social assistance rates and minimum wage to increase economic security
“I’m really proud with what our government has done with minimum wage. It gives predictability to small businesses who are affected by every increase that we have,” said Andrea Anderson Mason, who served as the New Brunswick Attorney General and is the PC candidate in Fundy-The Isles-Saint John West.
The council also wants the government to start an inquiry into systemic bias and racism against Indigenous people in policing and justice systems.
“We also lift up the calls to action from Black Lives Matter Fredericton that are around education,” said Lyons
“Everybody has women and people at risk in their life and even if you’re in a place of privilege where that doesn’t affect you it’s a really good reminder of all these aspects that are currently plaguing our community,” said French