The New Brunswick government is defending their decision to cut off all funding to the radically feminist N.B. Advisory Council on the Status of Women, which has been described as a “hub” for abortion activism in the province.

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women Canada, praised the funding cut, saying these councils are an “anachronism” with an “inward-looking, narrow agenda” that portrays women as “victims in a patriarchal society.” Landolt asked, “They serve no purpose, so why should the New Brunswick taxpayers have to fund these extreme activists?”

In the provincial budget put forward in March, Premier David Alward’s Progressive Conservative government cut the council’s $413,000 budget in an effort to reduce the province’s deficit. The council’s funding ran out March 31, but two of its full-time staff will be moved to the women’s branch of the government.

The premier has stood by the decision despite a failed motion from the opposition Liberals, as well as some small protests and online petitions. “Not every decision will be popular, not every decision is easy, but we have full intention to continue to improve the conditions for women in New Brunswick just as any other of our society,” Alward said.

Peter Ryan, executive director of NB Right to Life, said they’re pleased the Council will be “less of a force” because it has been “kind of a hub for women’s advocacy for abortion rights” in the province.
Ryan said the council has been an “ardent opponent” of their work at times, by advocating restrictions on pro-life activity around Morgentaler’s Fredericton abortion facility, for example. “It was quite reprehensible the kind of posture that they took, using government money to run us down,” he said.
Alward says the government would rather spend the funds on direct services than advocacy. He has also maintained that the council could continue operating with private funding, noting that most organizations in the province are not taxpayer-funded.

But Rosella Melanson, the council’s executive director, has complained that it would be difficult to raise funds.

Interim Liberal leader Victor Boudreau complained that by cutting the funding the government is “essentially muzzling every woman in the province of New Brunswick.”

But Landolt said these feminist advisory councils advocate radical views that most women would never support. “They represent nothing and their resolutions are irrelevant because they reflect no one but the personal views of the people sitting on the council,” she said.

She said they perpetuate the idea that women are “victims needing special care and treatment.” Landolt added: “times have changed. Women on the whole are very competent and capable,” explaining that “over 60 per cent of university graduates are women. We’re quite capable of making our own minds.”

The Progressive Conservative government, elected last fall, has continued the province’s seven-year effort to oppose funding of Henry Morgentaler’s private abortion facility in the province. New Brunswick is the only province in Canada with a private abortion facility owned and operated by abortionist Henry Morgentaler that is not publicly funded.

A version of this article originally appeared April 5 in and is reprinted with permission.