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On Mothers’ Day, A Note of Appreciation and a Call for Change

Mothers are amazing! Where would we be without them?

I have such warm memories of my mother. She was a stay-at-home mom who was always there for us. Loved to bake bread, buns and doughnuts and was always happy to have our friends over. Closest she ever came to swearing was to say, H-E-double toothpicks. She never drank or smoked - her dad, my grandfather, had struggles with alcohol when she was a kid and it made her never want to go near it. She really did make each of her five kids feel like we were special and we each said at her memorial service that we knew she liked us best! All of her 15 grandchildren loved her dearly as she made every one of them feel special, including Audrey and my 3 kids. I was very lucky to have Solveig Josephine Ingebrigston (Stetski) as my mother!

Times were simpler then. The COVID pandemic has been hard for families, and for mothers. They often have no affordable childcare. When schools are closed for quarantine, mothers often take responsibility for their children’s remote learning.

Many of Canada's essential workers are women and have been working unvaccinated in front line jobs, living in fear of the possibility of infecting their families. On average, women earn only 80 cents for every dollar that men earn. Many employers do not give adequate paid sick leave, or ‘caring-for-sick-children’ leave.

Of the 3.2 million people living in poverty in Canada, many are women and children, For a rich country, Canada has not addressed the inequalities and injustices that affect so many mothers.

New Democrats have always had a strong desire for fairness and equity that values the work of women at home and in the paid labour force. Some of the social justice issues that we fight for include: affordable, accessible not-for-profit child care and long-term care for elderly loved ones; paid sick leave and parental leave provisions; flexible rules to allow people to more easily qualify for employment insurance benefits; student loan relief; and more training opportunities for women in well-paid non-traditional fields, which would help close the wage gap.

We also want to tackle obstacles that stand in the way of women’s political participation. If more women were in government, in cabinets and in House of Common Committees where economic policy decisions are made, mothers would have a stronger voice in building a fairer economy and better safety nets for everyone. Electing more NDP representatives - and more mothers - at all levels of government would lead to a better Canada.

On this Mother’s Day, I want to send out my best wishes to all the mothers in the Kootenay-Columbia region. Thank you for who you are and for what you do, every day of the year!

Wayne Stetski

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