The pro-life women’s movement in Canada has recently made significant gains. Readers of The Interim will recall I have written before about the R.E.A.L. (Realistic, Equal, Active, for Life) Women of Canada which is a nationally incorporated organization recently formed to give pro-life, pro-family women a voice which had not been able to them before.
It is perhaps necessary for me to admit here that I have a total bias in favor of R.E.A.L. Women as I am an executive member of the founding board…
Over the past few months, the organization has been growing rapidly, developing strong policies and strategy and working towards the time when we ‘go public.’ While these have been exciting, stimulating and tiring months, they have confirmed our original belief that the time is ripe for our organization and our perspective as enthusiastic supporters of the family is desperately needed.
Perhaps the most exciting and encouraging development in recent months has been the warmth with which our aims and objectives have been in the provinces.
The Alberta Federation of Women United for Families invited Gwen Landolt, our legal counsel, and myself to attend their annual convention in Calgary at the end of October. We were extremely impressed by the vibrancy and dedication of the AFWUF women and encouraged by the organization’s achievements since its birth two years ago.
AFWUF, the province of Alberta and indeed our entire country should be proud of the fact that it was this group, which had the courage and foresight to form the first pro-family, pro-life organization in Canada.
At the convention, Mrs. Landolt enumerated the problems facing pro-life women on the national level in the immediate and near future. “No-fault” divorce legislation was announced this month in the Throne Speech in Ottawa; this proposal has enormous implications.
Rubber Stamp Divorce
Should we accept that marriage breakdown is inevitable and should, therefore, be ended legally as quickly as a rubber stamp can move? Should we not be concerned about the impact of divorce on all members of the family? After divorce, men frequently abdicate their moral and financial responsibilities for their families.
It is widely recognized that divorced women have the lowest income in our society, while at the same time they are struggling to raise their children alone. Surely we must all be concerned that it is the children who frequently suffer long-term ill effects following their parents’ divorce.
These children with divorced parents are the parents of the future: will they accept divorce as the inevitable resolution of marriage?
Universal Day Care
All of us are being threatened by the National Action Committee’s brief on daycare. They have taken a platform to demand universal, government-subsidized day-care as a woman’s right. They explicitly document their belief that women are no longer willing to take the responsibility for taking care of their children.
As women who cherish their families we deny the validity of this position.
The Canadian ERA
Mrs. Landolt also documented the problems we will face when our equal rights section of the Charter of Rights comes into effect in April 1985. At that time, women will lose the minimal protection we now as mothers this will become discriminatory.
Numbers Are Important
At the AFWUF conference, delegates voted unanimously in favor of a motion, which affiliates their group to the R.E.A.L. Women. The motion allows AFWUF complete autonomy in provincial affairs, while giving the R.E.A.L. Women the added clout of their membership to work in the national arena. (We all know that numbers impresses politicians.)
It is important to note the separation of national and provincial levels. Provincial groups are vital as it is only they who can correctly identify the problems in their area. Groups such as AFWUF, who affiliate to the R.E.A.L. Women, will have a representative, on the national board so that different provincial concerns can be addressed from united position at the national level.
At the AFWUF conference, we met with delegates from Saskatchewan Federation of Women. The SFW is at this time considering the possibility of its national affiliation.
Since October, we have had discussions with women in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario. Prospects are encouraging for these provinces to form their own groups. Indeed, Ontario is now incorporating the Ontario Federation of Women for the Family (provisional name). We are also trying to contact people in the Maritimes.
The R.E.A.L. Women of Canada will be holding their first press conference in Toronto in January 1984. We hope to have representatives from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
All Are Welcome
All are welcome to add that none of these “women’s” organizations exclude men. We all welcome male members as the pro-life, pro-family women’s movement in Canada is concerned with the equal rights of all members of our society – men, women, and children, both born and unborn.
We need the support of all. Listed below are details of the various organizations now
formed. I urge you to send for further information and to join now. Large membership, both in the individual provinces and nationally, are vital if we are to have the impact when trying to back these important issues into their prosper perspective.