#BeenRapedNeverReported ***trigger warning***

This week has been something thereginamom never imagined but totally welcomes. Yes, she’s talking about the Jian Ghomeshi story.  But she’s taking it further.  Much further.

When the story first broke, trm was in community meetings so it wasn’t until the story of his dismissal from the CBC was all over social media that she saw it.  Quite frankly, she didn’t know what to think.  But then The Star delivered the stories of  anonymous women who had had remarkably similar non-consensual sexual experiences with Ghomeshi and things changed.  She wanted to believe the women. thereginamom is also a survivor of sexual assault and rape.

So much has happened in the intervening days.  Three anonymous women became eight women, six anonymous and two self-identified.  Their stories have brought on a flood of information on social media, including tonight’s Twitter hashtag, #BeenRapedNeverReported.  It’s also seen the CBC announce a 3rd party investigation into the allegations against Ghomeshi, the communications firm and PR company he used drop him as a client, and the Toronto Chief of Police issue a call for all victims of rape or other assault to come forward.  It says something significant about our society and system of so-called justice that women do not come forward to insist on justice after being raped.

thereginamom didn’t either.  In fact, it wasn’t until years later, when she found feminism and understood that no means no, that she stopped blaming herself for being raped.  trm doesn’t like that due process has not yet been served but she does like that people are listening, hearing, and believing the stories these women have told.  And there are so many more women with stories to tell, as evidenced by Twitter tonight.  When trm joined in the tweetfest she referenced a poem she’d written about her experience of rape.  She struggled with including it in her book but eventually decided to do so.  And so, on the occasion of #BeenRapedNeverReported, here is that poem.

Oktoberfest

She’s known eighteen ordinary autumns
that blow away summer heat and leaves.

She doesn’t know that tonight at the Agridome
where ein prosits empty glasses

one genuine German suggesting fun
will tease her into a party for two

snake her to a room, shed
charm, rough hands

around her belly,
fingernails

on breasts, scratching
her torso, ripping

at hair and skin.
He will toggle her

to the bed
cock poking

her
dry.

c. 2010 Bernadette Wagner, This hot place (Thistledown Press)

Politics over poetry again

the regina mom again steps away from poetry-writing and into political writing because she thinks it’s that damned important!  And who knows?  She might get a poem out of it, too, one day.

trm sees more and more rightwing, American-style politics crossing our border and the unFair Elections Act is certainly one of these instances.  Brent Patterson at the Council of Canadians has more on that, particularly the bit about fraud at the polls being virtually non-existent.  Yet, the HarperCons address it as though it’s a real problem.  Lead Now has a petition addressing that.

Alison@Creekside riffs and expands upon the Andrew Coyne article, What problems are the Conservatives really trying to solve with bizarre Fair Elections Act?, from which trm cited yesterday.  The problems Alison@Creekside thinks the Cons identified are these:

  1. Investigation into election fraud in 2011 Election 33 months ago being rushed along at dangerous breakneck speeds.
  2. Public trust in fair elections in Canada at all time high.
  3. Serially violate election law successfully but then lose court battles to election watchdog.
  4. Too many people vote – 61% in the last federal election – especially aboriginals, young people, old people, and poor people.
  5. Parties not spending enough time and money on elections.

trm loves the analysis and hopes you read Alison’s take on how the Act provides solutions to these so-called problems.  Michael Harris lends credence to Alison’s arguments with a doozer of an article at iPolitics!

How odd that the very people who were called “serial cheaters” this week by Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair are now rewriting the mandate of the office that runs elections and vouches for their integrity. The people who were the problem are providing the solution, which in normal language is called being judge in your own cause. A dubious principle in law and politics.

If you haven’t listened to the interview with Marc Mayrand, Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, on CBC Radio One’s, The House, you want to.  Also take a look at DAMMIT JANET! for a list of links to excellent pieces by Stephen Maher and Chantal Hebert, for starters, as well as to a commentary by Don Martin. His point that ramming a bill on democratic reform through Parliament is not very democratic is well taken by trm. Also of interest at DJ are tweets which fairly summarize the issue.

Another angle on this Act has to do with its constitutionality which is to say it may violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in that it stand[s] between Canadian citizens and our right to vote. Have a look at that, too.

So take a moment today to Call a Con! Support Maude Barlow and the Council of Canadians’ Hold the phone action to stop Harper’s new Elections Act!

Child Poverty

the regina mom lives in Saskatchewan where the rate of child poverty among Indigenous children is at 55%!  Disgusting!

From bad to worse: visualizing child #poverty in Canada #cdnp... on Twitpic

 

Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan is apparently not so good for Indigenous Peoples, is it?

thereginamom:

These Radical Handmaids are brilliant, I tell you! We can now organize M312 Debate-Watching Parties across the country!

Originally posted on radicalhandmaids:

You’re welcome.

 

Image

View original

OK! That’s it! I’ve had enough!

Stephen Harper is a disgusting excuse for a human being, plain and simple.  He has used and abused our Parliamentary democracy to give him more individual power in this country than we have ever seen.  And now he’s flaunting it on the international stage!

Coalitions of ‘losers’ don’t get to govern, PM says
Richard J. Brennan Ottawa Bureau

LONDON—A stern Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismissed thoughts of a coalition governing Canada as it now does in Britain, saying that “losers” don’t form governments.

This is a sick man, a man who needs help, help to be a decent human being, rather than one who name-calls, rather than being a bully.  On the playground, he would be disciplined.

It is my job — and all of ours, who care about democracy — to discipline this man in the strictest way possible at the polls, as soon as possible!  Push your Liberal and NDP MPs and riding associations, people.  We must have an election soon!  We must rid ourselves of this mean-spirited man, if we are to live within a compassionate and caring democracy.

The Book Is Here!

Some of you already know that I’m a poet as well as an activist.  My first book is now available.  This hot place cover image You should be able to find my collection of poetry, This hot place, at bookstores across Canada any day now.  I received my copies from  Thistledown Press a week and a half ago.

I begin a western Canadian tour in April with confirmed stops in Regina, Earl Grey, Prince Albert, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Gabriola, Calgary and Vancouver.  It’d be great if my activist, writing and family friends were able to make the events we’ve lined up.  The more the merrier, y’know?  Tour dates are here, at my book blog.

If your town is not listed just let me know and we’ll see what we can work out.  I ‘m open to sharing my work in a variety of places, from curling rinks to bookstores, art galleries to bars, living rooms to conference rooms — you name it!  I’ll try my best to work it into my schedule.

I’ll head east for a few gigs in Ontario and the Maritimes and then south, down the Pacific coast, after the USA release of the book sometime in September.

Hope to see you somewhere along the path!

Racist Screed by Con MP Peter Goldring

This racist screed was sent to Edmonton East constituents by their Conservative MP, Peter Goldring, in his householder in December 2009.  Yes, folks, your tax dollars paid for racist literature!

There are those today who want to change the historical record regarding 19th century Metis leader Louis Riel. Peter Goldring, Member of Parliament for Edmonton East says that such historical revisionism is wrong and sets the record straight on Riel and his crimes.

Concerned?

Wait, there’s more!

Revisionist “time travel” ignores the reality of human suffering. History is there to be learned, not to be revised or reinter-preted today by persons who do not like the outcomes of over a century ago. “Time travelling” back to the Riel era and erasing this judgement from our history books as if it were wrong, would in itself be wrong. How can we possibly know what was in the minds of people 100 years ago, to re-judge them today, years af-ter the fact. How can we obtain a true ap-preciation for those issues, without the sweat of fear and the odour of death that those events caused across the West in that era?

His prejudice certainly shows through in that paragraph, eh?  How about considering the suffering of the Metis, Peter?  Or is that to Peter Goldring, the Metis Nation is not part of humanity?

He also says that a pardon for Riel would mean Canada was insulting the soldiers who fought against Riel on behalf of Canada.

So many people today appear to know little of and care less for the sacrifice of those very first Canadian war veterans who fought against Riel and saved our country from disin-tegration, so long ago.

“Saved our country?”  Puh-leeze!  More like helped turn it into the racist country it is!

Apparently, admitting mistakes of the past is not something Peter’s into:

To “unhang” Riel today is illogical for those who remember the true history of Riel’s revo-lutionary role and who also respect the au-thority of historical jury decisions. To posthu-mously “pardon” Riel would amount to a ret-roactive miscarriage of justice.

But hey, folks, Peter wants to know what you think.  So how about you download and print this file, cut off that bottom portion and send it, free of charge, to the MP.  Tell him how you really feel!

Hey, even his boss man, PMS, has left him to fend for himself!  And that’s very interesting because the current PM has had strict control over messaging in recent years.

So, the immediate questions that arise for me are:

  1. Was the Prime Minister’s Office part of sending out this racist screed?
  2. Why hasn’t the Member of Parliament been charged with the publication and distribution of hate propaganda?

I asked the last question of Iggy, Jack and Gilles and await their replies.  I encourage you to do likewise.  And please let me know what questions I’ve missed asking.

Oh Canada, We Stand On Guard For Thee, Eh!

I don’t consider myself to be a patriotic person. In fact, patriotism is something I’ve never encouraged in anyone. I think it’s dangerous, quite frankly.

Democracy and participation in the democratic process, well, that’s something else entirely! What’s happening in Canada right now, with the surge of clicking on Facebook and the creation of this website, is something that should make our Prime Minister a little nervous.

Yes, Canadians are ticked that the Harper Conservatives have given themselves an extended Christmas break by proroguing Parliament. But I’m not convinced that’s the only reason Canadians are making the click. The majority of Canadians are not happy with the Harper government. And, in my experience, Canadians don’t like being dismissed as silly or not caring because really, compared to many, we are a heartful bunch. We have a social safety net and yes, it could be stronger. We have socialized medicine and yes, it could be better. We have a decent education system and yes, it needs work, too. We could do more and better in a lot of areas, certainly, but not with Herr Harper at the helm and Canadians know that.

And now it appears that Canadians are recognizing that our democratic institutions also need improvements. These are the conversations we can have while our MP’s are posing for photo ops in their constituencies and at the Olympics. And these are the conversations we can bring to the next election, whenever that may be.

I hesitate to say it, lest I sound patriotic, but, well, WAYTAGO, CANADA, WAYTAGO!

Taking Action on Climate Change

Several weeks ago I received an email inviting me to be part of an international action on climate justice.

 

Climate Justice Fast! aims to send a powerful message to members of the public who are as yet unaware of the urgency of climate action, as well as to inspire those who are already aware of climate change to become more politically active. In addition, our act will serve as a powerful reminder to our leaders of the importance, and moral consequences, of their decisions on climate change. We believe that hunger striking could not be more appropriate for the issue of climate change. We desperately need to bring attention to the enormity of its injustice, and to alert the general public to the urgency of climate action.

 

 

On Friday, the Climate Justice Fast! got started with a news conference in Barcelona, Spain and with 80 people in 13 countries signed up to fast.  A core group began a water-only fast on November 6 and will continue on through the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen from December 7 to 18.  The fasters are prepared to go beyond that date.  Talk about commitment!  I signed on early, almost immediately upon hearing about it, actually.  But I knew I could not commit to the full fast because of familial and professional commitments.  I did decide to fast for at least one day per week over the six weeks.  Today is the first of what I’m calling my solidarity fast.  I want to show support for the long-term fasters, demonstrate my commitment to the issue and be part of a long tradition, a tradition which in the past century includes determined British suffragettes, the amazing Mahatma Gandhi and, more recently, a Canadian grandmother, Donna Dillman.

 

As a feminist activist, my concern on the climate change issue focuses on the lives of women and children — people already treated as second class citizens the world over.  Climate change is making their lives even worse.  From Save The Children UK:

 

Quick facts: climate change and children
– In the next decade, up to 175 million children are likely to be affected every year by the kinds of natural disasters brought about by climate change. 1
– The percentage of the world’s population exposed to malaria, one of the biggest killers of children under the age of five, is expected to increase from 45 per cent to 60 per cent in the next 100 years due to climate change. 2
– By 2010, there will be 50 million ‘environmentally displaced people’, most of whom will be women and children. 3

The year 2010 begins 50 sleeps from today in my part of the world.  It is imperative that our world leaders take immediate action!  Even though the mild chills and hunger pangs I am enduring today seem so very small I know that I am support those who are doing something very big — risking their lives — in order to get those leaders not only to listen but also to act.  CJF!’s call for justice:

We, the participants of Climate Justice Fast!, are undertaking our international
hunger strike in order to call upon world leaders – and all people, everywhere –
to act with courage and good faith for our common, global good, by implementing
the most rapid possible transition to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gases

below 350ppm CO2-e
, and by committing to deliver justice for the global poor
and future generations
– who are the least responsible for causing
climate change, yet who suffer the most from its effects.

Climate Justice for the poor and for future generations can be delivered by
funding climate adaptation and mitigation activities in developing nations with
at least US$160 billion per year; by reducing and
rejecting over-consumption,
wherever it exists, and by
phasing out fossil fuels completely – starting with
the elimination of developed countries’ fossil fuel subsidies, shifting them wholly to
renewable energy and international climate finance.

We urge all people, everywhere, to make a commitment to
join the movement for climate justice,
and to not to give up until we succeed in these demands being met.


Feeling doubtful?  Well, let me leave you with Margaret Mead’s words:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Climate Justice Fast!

I am using today, Blog Action Day, to let readers know that in recent weeks I have become involved in an international action in regard to climate change and climate justice.  As part of the international group wanting to move our leaders to take climate change and climate justice seriously at the upcoming meetings in Copenhagen, I have decided to act in solidarity with those who will take on a 42-day Climate Justice Fast! in the spirit of Ghandi and others.  Though I am unable to commit to the full six-week fast for a variety of reasons, I am committing to 1 to 2 days per week.

Here is our statement:

We, the participants of Climate Justice Fast!, are undertaking our international hunger strike in order to call upon world leaders – and all people, everywhere – to act with courage and good faith for our common, global good, by implementing the most rapid possible transition to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gases below 350ppm CO2-e, and by committing to deliver justice for the global poor and future generations – who are the least responsible for causing climate change, yet who suffer the most from its effects.
.
Climate Justice for the poor and for future generations can be delivered by funding climate adaptation and mitigation activities in developing nations with at least US$160 billion per year; by reducing and rejecting over-consumption, wherever it exists, and by phasing out fossil fuels completely – starting with the elimination of developed countries’ fossil fuel subsidies, shifting them wholly to renewable energy and international climate finance.
.
We urge all people, everywhere, to making a commitment to join the movement for climate justice, and to not to give up until we succeed in these demands being met.

.

I invite you to join with us, be it for the full fast, a week or two, a day or two, or a meal or two or in spirit.

.

You can read more about fasting on our website.

.

Know that I do this out of a deep love for our planet and all its beings.

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