Stephen Harper is Killing Canada – the ‘we only serve some Canadians’ edition

It seems like the Harpercons are on fire recently. Hot on the heels of the demise of Motion 312[1] we have Rob Anders infering that all transwomen are pedophiles. Oh and then the lovely gem from our Minister of Non-Public Safety cancelling all the contracts for non-Christian religious personnel in Canada’s prisons. Yup, if you are white, cisgendered, straight and Christian you will love Harper’s Canada.

Even though Harper pledged that he was not interested in re-opening the abortion debate in Canada, we have a second motion concerning abortion in 2012. Now, either Harper has lost control of his caucus or he is giving these motions his blessing. He knew he would never get his majority if he appeared like a whack-job who wanted to role back reproductive rights to the 1960s. Instead I suspect he mollified his Christian socially backward MPs by telling them they would deal with it one he got his majority. He is trying to do through the backdoor what he couldn’t do through the front door. We need to tell him to shut the fucking door – that it is over and decided and we will not stand idly by while he tries to criminalize control over our bodies. We also cannot let the Liberal Party of Canada off the hook either. They allowed a free vote on this issue rather than enforcing party discipline. Newly minted leadership candidate, Justin Trudeau, tweeted how proud he was of his party’s ‘enlightened’ decision. Someone had better school Justin quickly on women’s issues! The NDP are to be commended, even with their large Quebec, some Catholic for sure, they all voted against the motion. Oh, and last time I checked, it is usually female fetuses aborted in favour of sons. I wonder who is really making that decision?

Now on to the clusterfuck that is Rob Anders. In 1990, I sat behind him and one of his minions in Poli Sci 201 at the University of Calgary. They were not big fans of Professor Dickerson. They were rude and obnoxious. Then there was the incident where threats were posted on the door of the GLASS (Gay, Lesbian Association for Staff and Students) office in Mac Hall. So it is not surprising that Mr. Anders still does not understand anything outside of his sphere of straight[2], white privilege. A private member’s bill, Bill C279, which seeks to amend to amend Canada’s Human Rights Act to include gender identity. It would also add gender identity and gender expression as grounds as areas where hate crime charges could be pursued. Anders has now dubbed this the ‘bathroom bill’ and states that giving men (which transwomen are not) access to women’s bathroom facilities puts children in danger. Anders is an expert at pandering to the lowest common denominator. I have news for Mr. Anders: almost all pedophiles are straight men.

Even worse, Anders also accused current NDP leader Thomas Mulcair of hastening Jack Layton’s death. One doesn’t even know where to begin and nor should we. Harper needs to kick this idiot from caucus. He has no business representing any Canadians. Even when the riding Association tried to replace him as their candidate through a nomination vote, the party intervened and Anders was the Conservative candidate. I am beginning to think that he has something on Stephen Harper. At least Olivia Chow, ever the calm, professional, chose to not react. Good for her.

Next up we have Vic Toews who seems to have decided that all inmates in Canadian federal prisons are Christian. Citing the fact that the military uses non-denominational chaplains, he argues if it is good enough for the military then it is good enough for Corrections Canada. A one-size fits all approach to spirituality, and to be sure it is Christian, gave us things like residential schools. We have all seen how devastated our First Nations people are as a result of losing their culture, language and religion. In fact, great strides have been made with First Nations inmates through elders reintroducing these very important cultural touchstones. First Nations are overrepresented in Canadian prisons, however they are not the only other religious groups represented in Canada’s prison population. What are the Jews, Hindus, and Muslims supposed to do for spiritual guidance? And, if there is ever a time someone needs the support of their religion, it is when they are in prison.

In Harper’s Canada, life is good as long as you can check off certain boxes. If you are a person of colour, a woman, gender-variant, non-Christian, gay or lesbian, you are a second-class citizen. You will not be afforded basic human rights and you will be mocked viciously should you dare to stand up and complain. I fear for my Canada under this regime.

Stephen Harper is Killing Canada: Part One


[1] Although it now has a cousin – a motion to criminalize sex-selective abortion.

[2] Presumably although 40-something unmarried…

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Republican Assholes

Not a day goes by that I am thankful I live in Canada and not the USA. Consider this lovely quote from Todd Akin who is running for the US Senate, in Missouri:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.

“Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”H/T Shakesville

So in Akin’s narrow little world, us women-folk have the ability to know when we are being ‘legitimately raped.’ And, our bodies, the wonders they are, can discern the difference between legitimate and illegitimate sperm! Does the cervix just close up shop? Does the egg scream ‘no, you can’t impregnate me you legitimate raper!’ Let’s take this a step further. What defines a ‘legitimate rape.’ Clearly it depends on the victim. Given many of the Republican’s beliefs one can guess that the victim of a legitimate rape would be white, Christian, and virginal. Not a virgin – your rape is bogus even if you have all the signs of a legitimate rape; a sex-trade worker, you weren’t raped, you just didn’t get paid; college student taking birth control, you weren’t raped you planned for it.

Now let’s talk about the no abortion for rape victims even when the woman’s body fails to recognize the sperm of a ‘legitimate rapist.’ No abortion for you! Instead, we are going to protect that child and make you give birth to it – which, I am sure, would feel like being raped all over again. The thing about how these regressive pricks view women means that at some level all women are harlots and asking for it. It is as though the mere presence of our vaginas makes us want to have sex. And those men in Washington are bound and determined to control women’s vaginas!

Now, you may ask, why I am getting all upset about this little gem. After all, it is not as though Todd Akin is going to come up here and get all up in our Canadian vaginas. He doesn’t have to. Our Canadian media covers enough American politics to ensure that his message is spread here. Canada’s abortion debate has been closed since the 1980s. Yet, this year, Motion 312 came to the floor of the House of Commons to further ‘clarify’ when a fetus becomes a human being. Up until this point, it was at birth. Even though Stephen Harper assured all of us women that he had no interest in re-opening the abortion debate, he has, nonetheless, allowed this motion to come to the floor brought by one of his MPs: Stephen Woodworth. So even though Akin and his ilk can’t make policy here they can sure influence it. This is even more so when Conservatives are in power in Canada. With a Liberal government, social conservatism really does not gain much traction here on the policy front. We can only hope that this motion is ultimately defeated. The fact that it saw the light of day is still so disturbing.

Published in: on August 20, 2012 at 9:44 am  Comments (1)  
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Opening up the Abortion Debate in Canada

Well, sadly, it would seem that I was prescient when I wrote Reproductive Rights Discourse on March 18, 2012. In this post, I explored how Canada is affected by political discourse coming out of the United States. In the last 2 years, there has been an assault of biblical proportions on not only abortion but also contraception in the US. Even though Stephen Harper has said he is not interested in opening up the abortion debate he seems willing to let his backbencher Stephen Woodworth do it for him.

Motion 312, put forward by Woodworth, seeks to change the definition of when a fetus becomes a child. Referencing Subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, a fetus becomes a human being once it is born. Woodworth is asking the following questions:

  1. what medical evidence exists to demonstrate that a child is or is not a human being before the moment of complete birth?
  2. is the preponderance of medical evidence consistent with the declaration in Subsection 223(1) that a child is only a human being at the moment of complete birth?
  3. what are the legal impact and consequences of Subsection 223(1) on the fundamental human rights of a child before the moment of complete birth?
  4. what are the options available to Parliament in the exercise of its legislative authority in accordance with the Constitution and decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada to affirm, amend, or replace Subsection 223(1)?

The questions Woodworth is seeking to answer in Motion 312 would fundamentally change how abortion is viewed and provided in Canada. If passed, this motion could mandate all sorts of restrictions on access to abortion.

Now, one might want to ask why Stephen Harper has allowed this motion to go forward. There is no way that Harper the Control Freak would allow anything to go forward without his approval. So even though he says he does not want the abortion debate opened he is allowing just that to happen. He says he will vote against the motion but what does that really mean? By allowing this motion to move forward he is adding to the discourse that seeks to impose severe limitations on a woman’s right to choose. And, as students of discourse theory know, the more we talk about something the more powerful the discourse becomes and before we know it trans-vaginal ultrasounds are the norm prior to abortions in Canada.

Now, lest you think it is only the Conservative party of Canada who is seeking to oppress women let’s take a look at the Liberal Party of Canada. Justin Trudeau has been tweeting, quite proudly, that the LPC will have a free vote on this issue. That’s right folks, the LPC is also prepared to allow their MPs to vote their ‘conscience.’ This pisses me off. A quick scan through the list of MPs indicates 5 of 35 Liberals elected to Parliament are women. When Liberal MPs are allowed to vote their ‘conscience’ 30 men will get to have a say on what women do with their bodies. This is an excellent example of why the LPC is doing so badly in Canada: there is no leadership, no ideology to which people can adhere. It is in these really tough decisions that leadership makes a difference. Bob Rae has an opportunity to show he can lead. Sadly, I think we will all be disappointed.

What I find even more disturbing is the lack of leadership from Justin Trudeau. This is a man who grew up in a political house with one of the best leaders Canada has ever had.[1] He should understand how important ideology is to politics. Did he not learn lessons from his father? He is also of a younger generation than Bob Rae. This does not bode well his future in politics.

Now onto the NDP; Nikki Ashton announced “In Canada, in 2012, a woman’s right to choose is not up for negotiation.’ She confirmed that the NDP would vote unanimously against the motion. Don’t forget that the NDP now has over a hundred members from Quebec where Catholicism still runs deep. Tom Mulcair, unlike the wimpy Rae and Harper, is not allowing his MPs to a free vote. He understands that to do so would be to muddy waters about the real issue, which is safe access to abortion for all Canadian women.

Living in a society where men are the overwhelming decision makers about women’s access to reproductive choice is so incredibly disturbing. This makes it clear that women are still second-class citizens in this country. When men are able to carry a child to term, then perhaps they can have a say. Until then they have no right to force their or their god’s[2] will on women.


[1] I can never decide who was the best leader: Trudeau or Chretien.

[2] Don’t forget, most people who are anti-choice are doing it because of religious doctrine.