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Five Arrested for Protesting Cuts to BC Women's Centres

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Issue: 16 Section: Canadian News Geography: West British Columbia Topics: police, Women

March 16, 2004

Five Arrested for Protesting Cuts to BC Women's Centres

Five representatives from the British Columbia Coalition of Women's Centres were arrested last weekend after refusing to leave an office in the province's legislature.

Prior to the refusal to leave, the representatives had a meeting with Minister of State for Women's and Seniors' Services Ida Chong concerning the Liberal government's cuts to the province's women's centres.

According to the Lower Mainland Coalition for Social Justice, 100 per cent of core funding to BC's 37 Women's Centres will be cut as of March 31, 2004, resulting in widespread closures.

The representatives had two main requests during the meeting with Chong. First, they wanted a commitment to re-open the agreement between the government and the centres, thereby continuing the funding. Secondly, they wanted to arrange an emergency meeting with Finance Minister Gary Collins before the end of March to discuss the issue. The representatives refused to leave the Legislature until Chong came back to the table to have an "open and honest discussion about the realities for women in BC."

The funding that will be ceased has provided crisis intervention, as well as referral and emergency response services. The coalition warns that cutting the funding will continue the BC Liberal government's trend of subjecting women to "starvation, harassment, violence, homelessness, addiction, unemployment, loss of their children, and isolation, with no legal aid and nowhere to turn."

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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