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Government faces criticism its budget shortchanges Quebec women’s shelters

Click to play video: 'Quebec’s 2021 budget leaves women out in the cold' Quebec’s 2021 budget leaves women out in the cold
WATCH: The Quebec Government is coming under fire for not setting aside enough money to help combat the recent wave of femicides that have plagued the province and for not investing more money in the industries mainly driven by women. Global's Raquel Fletcher explains. – Mar 26, 2021

Concerns about an increasing level of violence against women in Quebec are now being matched with worry the government isn’t investing the money needed to address the problem.

READ MORE: Seven women killed in 7 weeks has Quebec sounding alarm over domestic violence spike

Seven women have been murdered since the beginning of the year. Women trying to flee violent situations too often have nowhere to turn, say community groups and opposition parties. Shelters are full.

“In Canada, it’s one woman who dies every two days,” said Manon Monastesse, the director-general of Quebec’s federation of women’s shelters.

She said she was “stunned” to see Thursday’s budget only provides $4.5 million a year for more than 100 shelters in Quebec. She explained that’s about a quarter of what her organization was asking for.

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READ MORE: Conjugal violence advocates call on Quebec for help

“There are 14 children who’ve lost their mothers and it’s horrifying that we’re still asking year after year,” Monastesse said.

Finance Minister Eric Girard said the entire government is committed to stopping the tragic series of femicides in the province.

Click to play video: 'Montrealers gather to commemorate the 7 femicides in Quebec' Montrealers gather to commemorate the 7 femicides in Quebec
Montrealers gather to commemorate the 7 femicides in Quebec – Mar 27, 2021

“If we have a demand for more money, we will support it,” he said.

“If we need more money for women’s protection and shelters? What kind of proof does he need?” said Quebec Solidaire MNA Vincent Marissal.

“If you don’t put women at the top of your priorities, you’re missing the point,” he said.

READ MORE: Experts, Montreal mayor weigh in on Quebec’s 2021-2022 budget

The Liberal opposition also says the government forgot about women in its plans to invest in new job growth.

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“This pandemic affected women disproportionately,” said Liberal finance critic André Fortin.

Fortin said jobs lost during the shutdown were in front-line services, retail, and hospitality, which employ more women. However, the government is speeding up infrastructure projects which he said will benefit the construction industry.

“The one plan that they have to relaunch our economy is based on sectors of industry where jobs are mainly occupied by men,” he said.

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