Wednesday, 5 May 2010

'Defunding' Plan Canada, or, Not Shutting the F*ck Up

So. I wrote to Plan Canada -- a group I've been supporting for more than 20 years to the tune of now just over $400 a year -- to tell them I am defunding them. I also took Michelle at babble's advice and cc'ed the other pusillanimous and activist-chiding signers of the statement.
secretary @, info @, info @, office @, sccan @, info @

ZOOM! About four hours later, I got an email from Rosemary McCarney, Pres and CEO of Plan, offering to discuss the matter further and suggesting that I contact her assistant to arrange a time to speak.

I thought about it for quite a while then replied:
Dear Ms McCarney,
Thank you for your personal interest. But unless Plan is ready to back down from following Nancy Ruth’s STFU advice, I don’t see the point of further discussion.

I understand why Plan is doing this. You have been intimidated by the anti-woman Conservative government. In my Canada, citizens are not intimidated by their government. They stand up to such evil.

This government is merrily slashing programs that help the poor, women, children — almost everybody but their corporate pals. By shutting the fuck up, we give them the premise on which to spin: ‘See? Nobody is complaining. We know what Canadians want.’

I won’t be party to this charade.

It is time for me to sponsor less mainstream organizations than Plan — perhaps one of the groups whose funding was just cut off. Or one of the groups under threat like International Planned Parenthood.

You are making a mistake here, Ms McCarney, but I wish you luck.

Yours truly,
fern hill

By the way, there's another Facebook group to join: Canadians who want foreign aid spent on women's reproductive health, with membership last time I looked approaching 4,000.

1 comment:

Niles said...

“Let me tell members this,” Mr. Baird continued. “Canadians do not want to drag the abortion debate into the maternal and health discussions.”

He goes on...“This government and the Prime Minister are focused on how to make a positive difference in the lives of mothers and newborn children in the developing world,” Mr. Baird finished. “We want to find ways that unite Canadians, not divide them.”

I'm a Canadian.

Here's the response I received from my letter to UNICEF sent last evening, an organization I support in a variety of areas, telling them they needed to clarify their position as I was very unhappy with their joint declaration and my only influence appeared to be my monies.

I received a fast response too. Tonight's email response is as follows...

"Thank you for your message.
We believe in the great potential for the G8 Initiative to save the lives of millions of mothers and children. The flexibility that will be included in the initiative, as announced following the Development Minister's meeting in Halifax, will allow for the combined support of the G8 countries to provide a wide variety of health intervention to address all the major causes of death of women and children.

Our concern is that focusing too much on one issue (debate about abortion) will risk the potential for substantial new Government of Canada funding and in turn lessen the opportunity to save as many lives as possible.

The joint April 27 news release was is in no way meant to trivialize the beliefs of Canadians or any political party. We mean only to emphasize the urgency of implementing the G8 initiative as quickly as possible with as much new Canadian funding as possible to prevent the deaths and improve the health of millions of children and women.

Thank you for communicating with us.
Cathy Memah

Manager, Donor Engagement and Administration
Tel./Tél.: +1 416 482 4444 ext/poste 8805
Fax/Téléc. : +1 416 482 8035"

Let me highlight the portion I stared at for several moments. "Our concern is that focusing too much on one issue (debate about abortion) will risk the potential for substantial new Government of Canada funding and in turn lessen the opportunity to save as many lives as possible."

They've been threatened en masse. Period.

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