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.
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.
“It’s a shadow pandemic we’re not taking into account,” she said.
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.
“There are 14 children who’ve lost their mothers and it’s horrifying that we’re still asking year after year,” Monastesse said.
“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.
The Liberal opposition also says the government forgot about women in its plans to invest in new job growth.
“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.