New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to take action on the "unacceptable" wage gap between Canadian men and women.
And it appears that message is resonating.
UPDATE: The motion was adopted Wednesday after Liberals and New Democrats voted in favour.
Sheila Malcolmson, the NDP's status of women critic, introduced an opposition-day motion Tuesday urging the creation of a special parliamentary committee to tackle a problem they say discriminates against women and adds to income inequality.
"It's 2016, and there's no excuse for the fact that women in Canada continue to make substantially less than men," Malcolmson said in a statement.
"Canada is lagging far behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to pay equity."
NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson poses in the House of Commons. (Photo: Twitter)
The release states Canadian women who are employed full-time, year round, earn 77 per cent of what men earn for equal work. An NDP spokesperson said the figure comes from Statistics Canada.
Time to back words with action: NDP MP
"We want the Liberal government to back its words with real action," Malcolmson told The Huffington Post Canada by email.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his caucus will be pushed to "recognize pay equity as a right" and implement the recommendations from a 2004 pay equity task force. That report called on Parliament to enact stand-alone pay equality legislation.
In an email to supporters on Tuesday, Malcomson promoted a petition on the NDP website alluding to Trudeau's memorable quote about his gender-balanced cabinet.
"Tell the Liberal government you want action now to close the wage gap and deliver economic equality for women — because it's 2016," it reads.
Patty Hajdu, Liberal minister for the status of women, took to Twitter Tuesday to say the government welcomed the motion.
"Pay equity is a fundamental human right," she wrote.
Pay equity is a fundamental human right. We welcome today’s NDP motion on closing the pay gap between men and women.— Patty Hajdu (@PattyHajdu) February 2, 2016
The motion, headed for a vote Wednesday, is as follows:
That the House (a) recognize that the government must take action to close the unacceptable gap in pay between men and women which contributes to income inequality and discriminates against women;
(b) recognize pay equity as a right;
(c) call on the government to implement the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force Report and restore the right to pay equity in the public service which was eliminated by the previous Conservative government in 2009; and
(d) appoint a special committee with the mandate to conduct hearings on the matter of pay equity and to propose a plan to adopt a proactive federal pay equity regime, both legislative and otherwise, and
(i) that this committee consist of 10 members which shall include six members from the Liberal Party, three members from the Conservative Party, and one member from the New Democratic Party, provided that the Chair is from the government party,
(ii) that in addition to the Chair, there be one Vice-Chair from each of the recognized opposition parties,
(iii) that the committee have all of the powers of a standing committee as provided in the Standing Orders, as well as the power to travel, accompanied by the necessary staff, subject to the usual authorization from the House,
(iv) that the members to serve on the said committee be appointed by the Whip of each party depositing with the Acting Clerk of the House a list of his or her party's members of the committee no later than February 17, 2016,
(v) that the quorum of the committee be as provided for in Standing Order 118, provided that at least one member of each recognized party be present,
(vi) that membership substitutions be permitted from time to time, if required, in the manner provided for in Standing Order 114(2),
(vii) that the committee report to the House no later than June 10, 2016.
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