So y'all probably know that I live in Toronto these days, and you might also know that I'm originally from Halifax, NS. So really, I technically have no reason to care about what is happening in New Brunswick - except that my family lives there, a lot of my friends live there, and I spent twelve years of my life there. And while those twelve years might not have been the best ever, and while I may have been in a great hurry to escape NB, I still care about what happens there. And right now I care a lot about the defunding of the NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
Oh what does this have to do with abortion, you might ask. Well, a lot. The ACSW was one of the few avenues through which women's concerns could reach the provincial government, and in a province like New Brunswick, women have a lot of concerns. Abortion access is abysmal in NB. So is access to sexual health and education, and health care in general. This is a feminist issue. Getting rid of the ACSW serves only to silence the women of New Brunswick. It is a HUGE step backwards for the feminist and progressive movements in NB. The ACSW not only provided research, resources, events and networking opportunities, it was a tireless advocate for women and a link between disenfranchised people and their government.
If you are pissed off about this, good. You should be. Here are some things you can do:
- Write about it. Facebook notes, emails, blog posts, tweets, letters to the editor, etc. etc. If you're not sure what to write, ask. Email email@example.com to offer your help or find out who to contact.
- Join the photo project! Self identified women, take a picture of yourself with tape over your mouth with "Alward" written on it, to symbolize the people the Alward government is silencing. Post it to Twitter, Facebook, etc. but don't forget to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and post it to the Facebook group.
- Email or write to David Alward (email@example.com) and/or your MP. Send your photo!
- Sign the petition.
- If you are in Moncton or can get there, join the rally.
- If you're not in Moncton or can't make tomorrow's rally, organize one in your own city.
So far the mobilization around this has been amazing. I've always been impressed with New Brunswick's activist community, who manage to make a big noise with small numbers. If you live in New Brunswick or have ties to the province, please step up and help out with this. It is a big deal and we need to fight back.
Edited to add: ARCC's statement on the issue.