Only four months after its formation, the Saskatchewan-based Victorious Women of Canada mounted an impressive convention and formalized its informal steering committee into an elected executive. Victorious Women’s rapidly growing membership has impressed prominent American pro-family activist, Beverly la Haye, founder of Concerned Women of America. Her organization, she told convention delegates, did not have even one quarter the membership of Victorious Women after four months. Today, Concerned Women of America has 600,000 members.
Victorious Women’s convention consisted of a full day of workshops, centered on the theme “Education for action.” It featured Calgary East Tory MP Alex Kindy, who gave the opening address, and Mrs la Haye, who spoke at the closing banquet.
Mr. Kindy traced the growth of left-wing public policy in Canada. A growth that has not been halted by the Mulroney government because of its inability to prune the civil service bureaucracy. Kindy also criticized the peace movement as dominated by anti-Americanism and detailed the extent to which government continues to fund a host of radical feminist organizations whose philosophy is totally opposed to conservatism.
Workshop sessions the following day reflected the family issues which are a top priority for Victorious Women: day care and pornography legislation; parental choice in education; pay equity; homosexual rights; and state control over the family, inherent in provincial child abuse registries.
Universal day care is “the golden cow of the feminist movement” and will harm the family, says homemaker, teacher, and freelance writer Rita Wolfe. The tax system today discriminates against homemakers, and gave figures to prove it. A double-income family earning approximately $40,000 a year, using child-care services, pays $3,000 a year less tax than a family with a fulltime homemaker at the same salary level.
Proposed changes to the tax system will give $3000 annually per child to double income families using day care services, she points out. Single income families, where the mother works in the home, will receive a tax credit of $200 for the first child, $100 for the second, and $50 for each subsequent child. Not only is this an insult to homemakers, Mrs. Wolfe says, it somehow insinuates that “a later born child apparently depreciated in value.”
This discrimination against the “traditional” family will be added to by the need to pay for the proposed child care system. This is estimated as costing at least $11 billion, the goal being to provide an institutionalized tax-funded daycare space for every Canadian child under the age of 12. Many families who prefer to have their children cared for at home by a parent will find it economically impossible to do so, Mrs. Wolfe charges, when income tax is increased to pay for universal daycare.
Professor Chris Gerrard, head of the economic department at the University of Saskatchewan, explained that the concept of pay equity (“equal pay for work of equal value”) is economically unsound, and unnecessary government interference in the market place. The lobbyists behind pay equity are “pink collar workers,” Prof. Gerrard says, above average educated women, who stand to gain the most from such legislation. Although Ontario is the only province to bring in pay equity legislation to date, it is an important feminist principle being demanded across Canada. Wages of white and pink collar workers will increase, Prof. Gerrard says while those of blue collar workers will decrease.
“Since relatively well-educated people tend to marry similarly well-educated people, this redistribution of income will be regressive,” he points out. “It will make the personal distribution of income in Canada more un-equal.”
Women enter the labour force for two reasons, he notes: out of personal preference or from economic necessity. Pay equity will make it more difficult for males, particularly blue collar workers, to support a wife and family and thus, Prof. Gerrard concludes, it will force more women into the labour force.
Recent attempts to enshrine “sexual orientation” as a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Act was the focus of a panel discussion. Vonda Kosloski, of the Committee to Protect the Family, began the session by defining the concept of the family as understood in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Insurance agent, John Caswell, discussed the AIDS epidemic and why homosexual activists are blocking the publication of correct information about AIDS. Weyburn lawyer, Tom Schuck, discussed the implications of endorsing an immoral lifestyle in law.
All three speakers stressed that objections to sexual orientation legislation should not be seen as condemnation of individuals. “Truth is not opposite to love and compassion,” Mr. Schuck said. “We must remember that is was misguided love and compassion that we liberalized our divorce laws and now have all sorts of pain in families. It was misguided love and compassion for the pregnant woman that we liberalized our abortion laws, and through misguided love and compassion that we are soon to have euthanasia for our old people.”
Mr. Schuck is pessimistic, he thinks the battle against sexual orientation is already lost. He also disagrees with the need to set up pro-family groups such as Victorious Women. He sees the pro-family movement as diverting energy away from the pro-life movement. Although he thinks that the pro-life movement should stick to the abortion issue, he believes that if MPs come down on the right side of the abortion issue, “they usually come down on the right side of a whole host of other issues.”
Without a doubt, the most moving moments of the convention came during the emotional presentation given by Agnes and Lucien St. Hilaire. They described how their son was falsely accused of abusing his baby sister and how they began a legal battle with the Manitoban child abuse registry programme. Victorious Women is raising a legal defense fund to help the St. Hilaires in their ongoing court case, which has cost $32,000 to date.
Many pro-family supporters do not realize the extent to which the goals of the feminist movement militate against the family. The more than 150 delegates to the Victorious Women conference were left with no doubts about this following Gay Caswell’s description of the feminist agenda. Mrs. Caswell described the feminist agenda as the socialist agenda. It has nothing to do with speaking for women or enhancing women’s rights, she said. ‘Feminist is not a sex-linked word but an ideology term. Some of the best feminists are men,” she pointed out.
Beverly La Haye, speaker at the closing banquet, described how her organization, Concerned Women for America, has successfully fought for the pro-family public policy in the U.S. She also addressed the need for Christian women to become involved in the issues.
Elections were held to form a working executive. Gay Caswell. President. 1st vice president is Bernardette Mysko, 2nd vice president is Sally Johnson. Irene Friesen becomes the Manitoba representative, Kathleen Bryan is the British Columbia representative and Jean Robertson the Saskatchewan representative. Although much of the organizational work done so far has centered on Western Canada, Victorious Women is a national organization, with members across Canada.
Anyone interested in more information (tapes are available for all convention speeches), should write to Victorious Women of Canada, 32-20th St. W., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7L 0M1.