Just a Prochoice Poet Doing Her Thing

And more, perhaps.

As some of you may already know, the regina mom has taken to occasionally performing at the local slam poetry event in Regina, Word Up Wednesday.  This Wednesday, April 25, she will be there with new and old poems to share and be judged on.  She would love to see friends in the audience!

As well, watch this space — and others in the Canadian Progressive Voices blogosphere and beyond — for a blogburst on Motion 312, the motion put forward by a religious zealot in the House of Commons.  If passed M312 will re-open the abortion debate in Canada.

You can read more about the blogburst over at my friends’ place.

Starting today, all bloggers who support a woman’s right to choose can and should blog fiercely about this CONservative, regressive attack on women’s right to choose.

Rest assured, there will be many posts to read, covering many different angles on the issue — angles I hadn’t thought of before becoming active in the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada / Coalition pour le droit à l’avortement Canada and reading the multitude of materials available there.

If you haven’t already done so, please download, print and sign the petition in opposition to M312.  As signatures roll in the petition will be presented to the House of Commons by various prochoice Members of Parliament over the next while.  the regina mom managed to gather almost 20 signatures last night just by pulling it out of her purse!  Someone else did all the work getting her friends to sign.  Thanks for that, Karen!

And now I’m off to my sunshiny garden to contemplate what will be planted where this year.

On the same issue, 25 years later

In the 80’s, it was the Devine regime provincially and the Mulroney machine federally that moved the regina mom into political activism.  The issue of reproductive rights got her involved in the women’s movement of the day.  And here she is, more than 25 years later, again working on that file.

On Thursday, April 26, the House of Commons is scheduled to debate MP Stephen Woodworth’s Motion 312 which ultimately seeks to make abortion illegal.  If passed, the abortion debate in Canada will officially be re-opened.

never again coat hanger image

Never Again*

Yes, one year ago the Prime Minister said he wouldn’t re-open the debate.  But, do you trust him?  Does any Canadian woman believe him?  the regina mom doesn’t.

That’s why she’s been working with the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada to mobilize women across the nation.  Already, more than 11,500 have signed our digital petition. It’s heartwarming, really, to know that so many support the efforts of a few dedicated volunteers and, more importantly, the right of a woman to control her own body.

ARCC has now decided to initiate a signature drive on a hard copy of the petition. This will allow it be part of the public record via the House of Commons.  ARCC has contacted various prochoice Members of Parliament of different political stripes for assistance. the regina mom encourages you to contact your Member of Parliament to see where s/he stands on the issue of women’s reproductive freedom.

And, the regina mom  would love it if you would help out, too. Arm yourself with information. Then, take a moment to print out the petition (PDF) on 8.5 x 14 paper, invite your family / friends / co-workers to sign it and then send it to the ARCC.  We’ll make sure it gets to a prochoice MP for presentation to the House.

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*When abortions were illegal, women would use any means at their disposal to terminate a pregnancy.  Coat hangers were easily accessible and often used.  Women died as a result of botched abortions.  The graphic, Never Again, is the ProChoice movement’s statement that we will stand guard so that we will never again go back to those times.

Taking time to celebrate IWD

iwd poster

Celebrating the Arts on

International Women’s Day

7:30 pm Thursday March 8 @ The Artesian

Intercultural Grandmothers Uniting ~ Sacred Web Sask ~ Brenda Niskala ~ Susana Deranger ~ Mirtha Rivera ~ Cassidy McFadzean ~ Belle Plaine ~ Tara Solheim ~ All Beings Confluence Art Installation & more

All Proceeds to the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan

Tickets By Donation ($50 Suggested)

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Doors Open 7pm
Program Begins 7:30pm

Cash Bar

Produced by the regina mom
bprintink (at) sasktel (dot) net
306.550.7023

A political poetry break

the regina mom participated in the Saskatchewan Council for International Co-operation (SCIC) Global Justice Poetry Slam last week. This poem got her into the second round where a false start netted her a wicked time count violation that knocked her out of the competition.

This week, she gets to try again. SCIC recorded the performances in Regina and the ones in Saskatoon, too. You can see them at YouTube and vote for your favourites. Vote for trm by clicking the thumbs-up under her piece at YouTube.

 

thereginamom dot com

the regina mom feels wealthy these days. She was fortunate enough to be a recipient of an Emerging Artists Award from the Canada Council for the Arts last spring.  There’s no scramble for contract work and there’s a bit of extra money around her house.  So she got her hubby to blow twenty bucks on the thereginamom.com domain name.  And when the rewrite of the children’s literature manuscript is completed — which had better be soon because the end of the grant period is fast approaching — thereginamom.com will get a makeover.

the regina mom has spent some time over the past few months writing and contemplating her writing life.  Blogging is one place where various pieces of her life weave together.  So she’s looking forward to again crafting blogposts.

Be forewarned, dear Reader, the regina mom likes Niki Ashton.

Later today, Niki Ashton, the Member of Parliament for Churchill, will announce her candidacy for the Leadership of the New Democratic Party of Canada!  It’d be great to have a woman from one of the Prairie provinces as Leader of the NDP — as the next Prime Minister of Canada!

Niki’s from northern Manitoba.  Take a Northern woman from a Prairie province to the House of Commons and you’ll see more than a little bit of Amazing!   Niki has demonstrated that time and again and could do it in one of four or five languages.  Unafraid of standing up to speak Truth to Power, Niki Ashton has risen in the House to challenge the Harper regime on important issues such as healthcare and housing, infrastructure and transportation, education and economic development, support for residential school survivors and the North and its People.  American film-maker, Michael Moore, noticed her work.  As did The Huffington Post.

So, ya.  A Northern woman from a Prairie province!  Niki Ashton is sure to make the NDP Leadership race an interesting one!  the regina mom is watching.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Oh, the regina mom‘s been a busy woman this past year! Marketing a book takes time and energy in the planning and carrying out. Needless to say, this blog has fallen by the wayside.

However, I could not miss the opportunity to wish my readers a happy International Women’s Day and to share a piece I was asked to write for the Equity Issue the Prairie Dog published last week. The editor contacted me, requesting a rant and, of course, I could not say no. But, later that day, when I attended my meditation class and we talked about “wise speech” and were invited to practice it over the upcoming week I realized that I could not write this rant in my usual way.

It was a challenge, indeed, to say what needed to be said in a wise way. And so, I’m curious what you, dear reader, think.

And here’s the rant, as published in The Dog:

Beyond Despair

Women survive, against all odds.

Even though we women make up 52 per cent of the global population and we own only one per cent of the land, we survive.

Even though climate change impacts women around the world more harshly (try gathering wood, food, water in a drought zone or flood zone every day), we survive.

Even though we earn 73 per cent the wages of men and are over-represented in part-time, low-pay jobs, and even though the world economies once counted us as chattel and told us our work was not work, we survive.

Even though cooking, cleaning and caregiving, the three Cs of women’s work, are worth between $234 and $374 billion in labour that remains unpaid, and even though we never received the national childcare program we were promised and yet we still find time to fill the gaps when governments offload services onto communities and families, we survive.

Even though, right here in Saskatchewan, one child in five – a full 20 per cent – live without adequate food, shelter and clothing, and even though more than 43,000 of our children live in poverty and 60 per cent of children living in households headed by a lone woman live in poverty, and children around the world continue to live in deep poverty, we survive.

Even though governments dismally fail to acknowledge our inequality, respect our issues – or even hear our voices – and instead, privatize economic decision-making, grant corporations more rights and less taxes, doctor documents, cut funding to programs, close doors to our organizations, oppose same sex marriages, peel back our reproductive rights, ignore our human rights, spurn and deride us, tell us to “go slowly,” that we’re “too radical” and dismiss us as “dumb bitches” or “Feminazis,” we survive.

Even though violence against us is epidemic the world over – we are assaulted emotionally, psychologically, physically, sexually – even though 50 per cent of us will experience violence to our person in our lifetime and we have sisters, daughters, grand-daughters who are treated as illegal goods to be trafficked and sold into sexual slavery, and even though we are stoned to death, gunned down, disappeared or murdered, we survive.

Even though we live our lives in the global war waged against us right here and right now, as it has for centuries – even though we die daily, we survive.

We survive because we are strong.

We are strong because we are one community. We are one community with a diverse population: women of colour, Indigenous, Métis women, who have immigrated, emigrated, who are refugees, who are urban, rural, peasant, homeless women, are mothers, grandmothers, child-free, who are sex workers, waged workers, volunteer workers, who are lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, are religious, atheist, agnostic, spiritual, women with disabilities, healing powers, visions, who are older, younger, middle-aged…

We survive because we are coming to know the power of diversity, to know our power as women. And we know that our time to wield power is at hand.

c. 2011 Bernadette L. Wagner

Happy IWD!

Anti-violence work

I have been invited to be the guest speaker at the Moose Jaw Transition House event to commemorate The National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women. When I received the invite to this event I thought, Wow!  Yes! And then I thought, Why me? I’ve never used the services of a T-House or a shelter.  I’ve never been harmed, not really.moose jaw event poster

And then I stopped myself, because I realized that yes, I have been harmed.  I have been sexually abused and sexually assaulted and I have stories — poems — which relate to those experiences.  Yes, they’re embellished, but still, they speak truth, truths which hold true for many women, I’m sure.  We are victims of violence, yes.  And if we can live past the abuse and assault, we become survivors, too.  We can live rich and full lives.

And so, the focus of my talk will be on our survival and it will be a talk that is both personal and political, prosaic and poetic, as well as earthy and spiritual.  And who knows, I might even break into song!

I hope you can be there.

Here are the details:

A poetry reading and talk to commemorate
The National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women
with Bernadette Wagner

5:30 PM, Monday, December 6
Public Library Theatre
Moose Jaw SK

Sponsored by Moose Jaw Transition House

Sisters In Spirit Under Attack

The HarperCons have gone much too far now!  Apparently, the Sisters In Spirit Campaign, organized by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has been too successful in raising the awareness about murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada.  Or something.  They’ve done a lot, that’s for sure, including heightening awareness throughout the country, establishing a database of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and co-ordinating vigils in more than 80 communities across the country.  APTN reports that

Status of Women officials had asked the organization [NWAC]  not to use any government money for projects under the name Sisters in Spirit or for work on their vaunted missing and murdered Aboriginal women database.

Alison@Creekside has a thorough post addressing the many issues involved in that, as well as the Cons posturing around it.  Please go read her post!  And the links!  Then come back here and take action:

NDP MP and Critic on the Status of Women, Irene Mathyssen, says that

[D]espite the Conservative government’s praise of Sisters in Spirit (SIS), the recent $10 million announcement to address the issue of violence against Aboriginal women left SIS out. The main voice calling for action on how missing women cases are reported and investigated has been excluded. Many fear this means the end of Sisters in Spirit since the government made it very clear that SIS will not receive any more funding for this project.

Sisters in Spirit, a project under the umbrella of the Native Women’s Association of Canada since 2005, led the way in research regarding missing and murdered aboriginal women. Their April 2010 report, “What Their Stories Tell Us”, identified knowledge gaps that hindered the creation of effective policies and programming to address the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Problems such as different jurisdictions not communicating as happened with the victims of Robert Pickton, delays in starting missing persons investigations if the woman was Aboriginal or in the sex trade, lack of resources for family members to deal with the aftermath of murder, and not enough investments in anti-violence programs and front-line community workers, were all identified by SIS.

Since SIS didn’t receive any of the $10 million, the research they did may be lost as they cannot get funding from any other government department. The minister needs to make it known how this data will be protected and maintained. Sisters in Spirit is the voice for the most vulnerable in Canadian society. Shutting them down after they demonstrated how we are failing Aboriginal women is another example of Conservative bully tactics, and the common conservative practice of trying to cover up embarrassing truths.

She has prepared a petition she will present to the House of Commons. All we have to do is to get the signatories.  Here’s the text.

Petition to the House of Commons –“Sisters in Spirit”
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, draw the attention of the Government of Canada to the
following:
THAT for the past five years, the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) Sisters In Spirit initiative has worked to identify root causes, trends and circumstances of violence that have led to disappearance and death of Aboriginal women and girls;
THAT in March 2010, NWAC released the report “What Their Stories Tell Us” which provided evidence that 582 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered in Canada; and
THAT the fact that so many mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and grandmothers have been lost to violence in this country makes this the most pervasive human rights crisis facing Canada today.
THEREFORE, your petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to renew funding for the Sisters In Spirit initiative Phase II “Evidence to Action” and to invest in an “Action Plan for Aboriginal women”, which NWAC has developed, to stop the devastating number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.

 

It’s a paper petition, so it’s a bit more work that we digital activists are used to.  But, it’s a must.  It’s a must for more than partisan reasons.  It’s a must for the betterment of our country and, most importantly, it’s a must for demonstrating our support of and to Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.  Download it now!

Take it to work, take it everywhere you go and get folks to sign it.  Then send it to Irene, free of charge.

40 years post-Bird…

Need I really add more?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 28, 2010

FOUR DECADES AFTER ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN REPORT – WHAT DO WE HAVE TO SHOW FOR IT?
OTTAWA – Today marks the 40th Anniversary of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women Report, which was groundbreaking for women’s equality in Canada. Sadly, many of the recommendations still have not been implemented.

“Many things have changed for women over the past 40 years,” said New Democrat Status of Women Critic Irene Mathyssen, (London-Fanshawe). “Married women can now enlist in the Canadian Forces and the minimum wage for men and women is the same. But amazingly, four decades later, we’re still waiting for many of the recommendations from the Royal Commission to be implemented.

“New Democrats will continue to push forward policies and legislation that originally were recommended in the Royal Commission report – such as pay equity, equal representation in public office, improvement in the conditions in the lives of First Nations women and establishing a national Child Care Act,” said Mathyssen.

Mathyssen condemns the lack of action taken by the Harper government. Its outright opposition to women’s rights has turned back the clock on women’s equality. Whether it is cutting funding to women’s organizations, abandoning the court challenges program or ending real pay equity for federal workers, this government has shown a complete disregard for women’s rights.

“New Democrats have led the way in advancing women’s equality in Canada,” said Mathyssen. “We’ve been vocal and consistent in defending reproductive rights, breaking the silence on domestic violence, electing the first female federal leader of a political party and electing the highest proportion of women Members of Parliament.”

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For more information, please contact:
Rupinder Kaur, press secretary: 613-222-5048 or rupinder@ndp.ca

***

POUR DIFFUSION IMÉDIATE
LE 28 SEPTEMBRE 2010

40 ANS APRÈS LE RAPPORT DE LA COMMISSION ROYALE SUR LA CONDITION FÉMININE, QU’EN AVONS-NOUS TIRÉ DE CONCRET?

OTTAWA – Aujourd’hui marque le quarantième anniversaire du rapport de la Commission royale sur la condition féminine, un rapport innovateur pour l’égalité des femmes au Canada. Malheureusement, plusieurs des recommandations du rapport n’ont toujours pas été mises en œuvre.

« Beaucoup de choses ont changé pour les femmes depuis 40 ans, » a déclaré Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe), porte-parole du NPD en matière Condition féminine. « Les femmes mariées peuvent maintenant s’engager dans les Forces armées canadiennes, et le salaire minimum pour les hommes et les femmes est équivalent. Mais ce qui est surprenant, c’est qu’après quarante ans, nous attendions encore que plusieurs des recommandations de la Commission royale soient mise en œuvre. »

« Le NPD continuera à présenter des politiques et des législations qui étaient au départ des recommandations du rapport de la Commission royale, comme l’équité salariale, la représentation égale dans la fonction publique, l’amélioration de la qualité de vie des femmes des Premières nations et la mise en place d’une loi nationale sur les garderies, » a de plus ajouté Mathyssen.

La députée du NPD condamne le manque d’initiative du gouvernement Harper. Son opposition aux droits des femmes est un malheureux retour en arrière pour l’égalité des femmes. Qu’il s’agisse des coupures aux groupes de femmes, l’abandon du programme de contestation judiciaire ou la fin de l’équité salariale réelle pour les travailleurs fédéraux, ce gouvernement a démontré un mépris véritable pour les droits des femmes.

« Le NPD a mené la voie pour faire avancer l’égalité des femmes au Canada, » a par ailleurs expliqué Mathyssen. « Nous avons fait entendre notre voix de manière persistante pour défendre les droits reproductifs des femmes, pour briser le silence entourant la violence domestique, en élisant la première femme en tant que chef d’un parti politique fédéral et en faisant élire la plus grande proportion de femmes comme députés. »

– 30 –

Pour obtenir de plus amples informations, veuillez communiquer avec :
Rupinder Kaur, attachée de presse : 613-222-5048 ou rupinder@ndp.ca

Investing in the Future

The Regina Mom has just learned that she’s going here to work on her next book of poetry.  And so she needs to raise money–fast. As a result, she’s hosting a Sizzling Summer Salon and Silent Auction with writers, artists, and musicians of her acquaintance on Wednesday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m.

30 tickets are available and they’re $25 in advance, $30 at the door, providing there are some left by then. Note that a Paypal link will be in place by tomorrow.  Note also that any money raised over and above that necessary to attend the prestigious writing school will be used to buy the Regina Mom more writing time.

Here’s that Paypal link. The payment will go to hubby’s already established account and he’ll notify me.