Read it, weep, then do something!

the regina mom thinks that Andrew Nikiforuk has summarized the Stephen Harper Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project bullshit quite beautifully, if anything about this shitstorm can be said to be beautiful, that is. Go. Read. Canadian Democracy: Death by Pipeline.

Have your emotional moment then message the PM, just a short message is fine, to let him know what you think.* the regina mom provides the PM’s contact info, for both his Ottawa and Calgary offices, below.

IN OTTAWA

Landmail:
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Telephone:
613-992-4211

Fax:
613-941-6900

E-mail:
pm@pm.gc.ca

Twitter:
@pmharper

IN HIS CALGARY CONSTITUENCY OFFICE

Landmail:
1600 – 90th Avenue SW, Suite A-203
Calgary, Alberta
T2V 5A8

Telephone:
403-253-7990

Fax:
403-253-8203

*Note that trm does not believe that our messages will move Mr. Harper to stop the pipeline project. They will let him know that we’re still watching his every move.

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Sex Stereotyping @ Industry Canada

the regina mom is blogging this from an email message she received this afternoon.  She should never be surprised by the HarperCons, but yet again, she is.

—–

This past weekend the Corporations Canada website was down for upgrading/maintenance.  The new website has a spiffy new video introduction.  The text is innocuous:

Screen 1:  Start a business.  Be your own boss.  We can show you how.

Screen 2:  Find Permits & Licenses.  Get what you need to run your business.

[Naturally, they use the American spelling of “licence”.  In Canada, we
issue licences to entities we have licensed.]

Screen 3:  Business Finance.  Ready to grow?  We can help.

Not to get too wound up in semiotics, take a look at what the images linked
to these screens portray:

Screen 1 – young white male, very happy.

Screen 2:  young black male, very focussed on the horizon.

Screen 3A:  “Business Finance” – young white male, standing doing nothing.

Screen 3B:  young white male, being asked if he is ready to grow?

Screen 3C:  Young white male now joined by young non-white female, who
declares “we can help”.  (Could this really be an innuendo-laden joke?)

Then at the bottom of this page, there is another picture.  What do we see
here?  Seven people, of which four appear to be women, and the one who
appears to speaking from a position of authority is – again – young and
white and male.  It looks good to see that there are so many women, until
you realize that only two of the six people who are presumably taking
instructions from the young white male are also male – so more woman than
men need guidance?

So how far have women in Canada come ..

– 41 years after the report by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women
(whose current federal website declares, “As we look back on these decades
of change in the status of women, and mark the 40th anniversary of the Royal
Commission report, it’s important to consider how far women have come.”
http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/dates/roycom/index-eng.html), and

– 26 years after the CRTC’s policy on gender portrayal in broadcasting (and
recall that the internet is a form of broadcasting, that the CRTC has
exempted from regualtion).

The answer is that we have come to the point where young men are still seen
as being in charge of launching and financing businesses in this country,
while women are still viewed as existing only to serve or service them.

Considering how much the Conservatives need the female vote, it is
interesting to see how the Industry Minister’s staff thought this was the
best way to reach that vote.

#M312’s birth into Parliament and a personal response

the regina mom knows that Mr. Harper clearly stated, numerous times, that a Conservative government would not re-open the abortion debate. Yet, on Thursday, April 26, she watched Members of Parliament debate Motion 312, which ultimately seeks personhood rights for fetuses which would enable the re-criminalization of abortion, as well as deny the constitutional rights of all pregnant women.  In other words, it is yet another backdoor attack on women’s Charter rights.

And, the regina mom knows that the Prime Minister is not a stupid man, well, not unless power has gone to his head, that is. He must have known that Motion 312 was an attack on women’s rights. And, contrary to what some in the mainstream media and elsewhere have said, there are at least a couple of ways the Harper government could have stopped the abortion debate from being re-opened.

The blogger, Dr. Dawg, has clearly described how the Prime Minister and the all-party Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs could have stopped Motion 312 from making it to the floor of the House of Commons.  Basically, there was not political will within either the Conservative Party to either further investigate it or stop it.  And so it proceeded.

A harsher way of stopping it could have been for the Prime Minister to expel MP Stephen Woodworth from the CPC caucus when he first got wind of Motion 312. Doing so would have sent a very strong message to Canadians, a message which would have indicated that he really meant what he said when he said, “No debate.” But the Prime Minister did not do that.  He lacked the conviction to demonstrate that strength.

Granted, when under pressure in the House of Commons he did say that he would oppose Motion 312. That, to the regina mom, was a small relief.  She was a tad more relieved when the government whip, MP Gordon O’Connor, Minister of State, spoke very eloquently against Motion 312.

Perhaps the greatest relief to the regina mom came when she was reduced to tears.  Perhaps it was not relief, but sadness, anger, appreciation, respect or perhaps a mixture of all.  But when  Niki Ashton, the NDP Critic for Women, delivered her speech in opposition to the motion the regina mom‘s tears started to roll. Perhaps upstaged by O’Connor on some points, Ms Ashton spoke to the heart of the issue for the regina mom.

The reality is that the issue of abortion was settled in 1988. In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law, ruling that it was unconstitutional. The justices found that the law violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because it infringed on a woman’s right to life, liberty and security of person. That was 1988, almost 25 years ago, a generation ago.

This decision came about after years of work from women who, from across the country, sent the message that women ought to have the right to choose, that women ought to have the right to decide their future, that women ought to have the ability to define their destiny.

That fight also took place in the House of Commons. Our leader in 1987, Audrey McLaughlin, spoke out clearly, saying:

—limiting the right to the “personal care and control of one’s body” is a violation of a most “basic and fundamental right”, that of “reproductive choice.

As Ms. McLaughlin and others have pointed out, abortions, if they are not performed legally in medical facilities under the direction of a physician, will happen in much less favourable circumstances. As ugly as it may seem, women must not be forced to return to those ugly circumstances of using coat hangers, vacuum cleaners or putting themselves in the hands of quacks. “It is an ugly reality”, Ms. McLaughlin said, “but it is a reality.”

There were caravans, protests, lobby meetings, speeches and debates, and the issue was settled in 1988. When Canadians have been asked, time and time again a majority have supported a woman’s right to choose. Here we are in 2012, seeing the government reopen the debate on abortion. It has not been truthful about it either. Time and time again the Prime Minister and members of his party have said that they will not reopen the abortion debate. The Prime Minister declared:

As long as I am prime minister we are not opening the abortion debate…The government will not bring forward any such legislation and any such legislation that is brought forward will be defeated as long as I am prime minister.

That comes from an article in the Globe and Mail, from Wednesday, December 21, 2011.

An article written around that same time quoted the Prime Minister as saying, “As long as I’m prime minister we are not reopening the abortion debate”.

This is the Conservative Party’s Trojan horse agenda. During an election, and even here in the House of Commons, the Conservatives tell Canadians one thing. Then, as a minority government and now as a majority government, we see what they truly mean.

If the Prime Minister did not want a woman’s right to choose to be debated, we would not be here tonight. What is interesting is the Conservatives felt the need to tell Canadians something else so those same Canadians would vote for them. They waited until they won a majority to then uncover their hidden agenda.

Indeed, the hidden agenda is hidden no more.  the regina mom saw it right here on her computer screen.  She watched Members of Parliament debate a motion about abortion, a motion that was introduced by a Conservative Member of Parliament.  Perhaps it could be called the No Debate Debate.

The prochoice poem I read last night

Preamble

Tonight I wear red in support of my feminist sisters,
the Radical Handmaids, who gathered today on Parliament Hill
in opposition to Motion 312 which re-opens the abortion debate
tomorrow afternoon in the House of Commons.
And I share this poem.

 

Birthing change

1

Once upon a time his blue eyes dazzled her
maiden dreams           led her down dirt
roads, onto prairie trails, into abandoned
houses, churches, barns, unwittingly
preparing her for an entry that quivered her world,
sent her solo, pink-slipped, and with a growing belly
to face family, to seek and not find
solace in a religion she turned upside-down and inside-out.

2

His greenbacks, her choice:
law-breaker.  One little lie dupes doctors, the system.

How can she live knowing sin in so many ways, knowing nothing
will ever be the same?

3

She clings to the shiver of ecstasy
builds another world      in her mind other
possibilities, dreams.  How she clings, still.

4

He drove her to the streets.

5

She found circles of women singing
bread and roses, chanting in the streets
The personal is political!

Community, like a blanket, receiving,
bearing witness, holding,
keeping faith.

c. Bernadette L. Wagner

Radical Handmaids

Today, on Parliament Hill, the Radical Handmaids  gather in opposition to Motion 312, the anti-choice motion that seeks to redefine when human life begins. The Motion will be debated in the House of Commons on Thursday.

The Handmaids’ action, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is sure to be an interesting one.

Sporting red garments and “Flying Nun” hats in an allusion to Margaret Atwood’s classic novel The Handmaid’s Tale, the Handmaids are protesting Bill M-312 as a regressive attack on women.

 

“The Handmaid’s Tale shouldn’t be an instruction manual,” said one young woman, who identified herself only as “OfStephen” (“Woodworth or Harper, take your pick”).

 

In Atwood’s novel, set in a futuristic America transformed by religious fundamentalists into the Republic of Gilead, women are judged by whether or not they are capable of bearing children and, if fertile, are enslaved to men of the ruling elite who forcibly impregnate them.

 

“We’re watching what’s going on in the United States with the war on women and we know the Conservatives are trying to sneak it up here,” said another OfStephen, standing in front of a display of brightly-coloured knitted uteruses.

Supporters across the country have been sending the Handmaids knitted wombs and vulvas, using patterns available on the Internet. When they have enough, the Handmaids say they will deliver the woolly parts to any MPs who vote in favour of Woodworth’s bill.

 

“If they want to control our uteruses so badly, they can have a womb of their own,” said OfStephen.

the regina mom applauds the Handmaids on their radical action.  Oh, if only she could be there to join in! (Read their full news release here.)

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.

—–

*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.

Canada creeps toward becoming a closed society

Nick Fillmore asks a question the regina mom has been grappling with for years: “Is Stephen Harper displaying fascist-like tendencies?” Ever since Naomi Wolf published “Ten Steps To Close Down an Open Society” at the Huffington Post in April, 2007, an essay has been brewing on trm‘s computer.  (Yes, trm admits to being a slow writer.)

Wolf’s research for that article became the book, The End of America, which documents “how open societies become closed societies.” Her family’s friends, Holocaust survivors, urged her to explore a few texts and the result was what she called a “blueprint” that has been adapted by several societies when making a shift from an open to a closed society.  In the HuffPo piece she named ten significant pieces of the blueprint and showed how they were at work in the USA at that time.

To complement Nick Fillmore’s work, trm thought she’d finally share, in point form, what she discovered by placing Wolf’s blueprint on Canada.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

  • What’s more terrifying to a parent than ‘child pornographers’?  According to Vic Toews, the regina mom’s opposition to Bill C-30 — the Snoop and Spy bill — means that she stands with “the child pornographers”.  How does that make a mother feel?
  • Women should be used to it, perhaps.  Years ago, the Prime Minister suggested women’s groups are of the “left-wing fringe.”
  • More recently, as trm has noted, on the eve of the Joint Energy Board’s hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver had choice words to describe those in opposition to the proposed pipeline.  He painted “environmental and other radical groups” as those wanting to “block this opportunity to diversify our trade” regardless “the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth.” The groups have a “radical ideological agenda” and will “exploit any loophole they can find” to “kill good projects” with “funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug caste

  • The Fifth Estate‘s documentary, Out of Control, about the suicide of Ashley Smith when she was improperly incarcerated in a penitentiary and allowed to die. [Warning: It is difficult to watch.]

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

  • Since 9/11 Canadians have witnessed an alarming increase in surveillance measures.  Are the new airport scanners and procedures are part of the scheme?

5. Harass citizens’ groups

  • Forest Ethics supports its former employee in his allegations that the PMO is trying to “to silence and intimidate non profit organizations like ForestEthics, and the thousands of citizens and civil groups who, like us, are concerned about the direction this country is taking and are speaking out.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

  • G20 protests were an exercise in arbitrary detention and release and suspension of civil rights, as pieced together by CBC’s The Fifth Estate.
  • Saskatoon’s “Starlight Tours” as highlighted in the NFB film Two Worlds Colliding, about the freezing death of Neil Stonechild at the hands of Saskatoon police officers.

7. Target key individuals

  • Franke James is a visual artist with a strong ecological leaning whose federal government funding for a show in Croatia was “suddenly cancelled by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa, with the words, ‘Who was the idiot who approved an art show by that woman, Franke James?‘”  She has asked and is currently awaiting a meeting with her MP, Joe Oliver, who announced he would meet with environmentalists if asked.

8. Control the press

  • Early on in the Conservatives’ mandate the PMO set in motion new ways of co-ordinating and disseminating of news and information by the government of Canada.

9. Dissent equals treason

  • Item #5 above identifies ForestEthics as a harassed citizens’ group. It’s former employee Andrew Frank maintains that he and other employees were told the PMO considered them to be enemies of the state.
  • Recently, Canadians were advised that they may be placed on counter-terrorism watch lists if they are involved in “the promotion of various causes such as animal rights, white supremacy, environmentalism and anti-capitalism” activities.

10. Suspend the rule of law

  • The conservative government has twice prorogued Parliament while critical debates and actions were underway that may have toppled the Minority government.

 

 

As you can clearly see, dear Reader, Canada is active in every area of the blueprint Wolf found.  And, up against Nick Fillmore’s piece, there is definitely overlap.  Canada is creeping towards closing down as a society, to becoming a fascist state.

Our democracy is very fragile.  Hold onto her tightly.

The Internet v. Vic Toews: Score one for The Tweeps [Amended]

[Correction: Thanks to an observant commenter who noted that Hitler was misquoted in an earlier version of this post the regina mom posts this version with proper attribution.]

That the HarperCons might in any way be surprised by the public response to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ introduction of the “Snoop and Spy” Bill C-30 made the regina mom laugh! . The public responses to the HarperCons over the past while have been strong:

to name a few.  And, when placed against a backdrop of Canada as a Collossal Fossil at international climate talks, job loss such as that created by the Caterpillar plant closure in London, Ontario and the general outrage as evidenced in the unparliamentary language Liberal MP Justin Trudeau hurled across the aisle at Environment Minister Peter Kent, to name a few — how can anyone really be surprised?

Minister Toews must have felt significant pressure to ensure passage of the bill when he framed opposition to it as standing with the child pornographers.  Oh, my yes, think of the children, a tactic recommended by another fascist:

The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. —Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation. –Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Hitler Writes from the Grave

Oops!  Was that a failure of impression managers in the Minister’s office?  Did someone really fail to see the tipping point approaching?

From where trm sits, on the once-cold Canadian Prairies, something’s surely tipped.  In the middle of February on the northern Great Plains the temperature hovers around 0 degrees Celsius and have for a while now.  It’s a very early spring and the recently-revised digital revolution arrived in Canada, thanks to the Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews.

Three digital phenomena, the Twitter user @vikileaks30 (mirrored here), the hashtags #TellVicEverything and #DontToewsMeBro and the “hacktivist” group, Anonymous, brought international attention to the Snoop and Spy bill.  @vikileaks30 sent tweets (140-character messages) excerpted from public documents about Vic Toews rather seedy divorce proceedings, his spending habits as an MP and Cabinet Minister and challenged the Minister to open his browser history for all the world to see.

The hashtagging (assigning a label to a message) by Twitter users received notice world-wide for a moment and remained one of the most discussed topics on Twitter in Canada for several hours.  In the Twitterverse (world of Twitter) that’s a long time.  The Minister has asked the Speaker to investigate the vikileaks account, based on very bad computer sleuthing by the Ottawa Citizen.

Follow that up with Anonymous demanding the withdraw of B-30 and the resignation of Minister Toews with the promise to release additional information about him if he doesn’t has led to an interesting point.  The Minister now hides between a real (imagined?) cloak as a victim of public attack, and apparently, the recipient of threats on his family and his life after admitting he did not read Bill C-30 before presenting it to Parliament.

Yes, trm might go into hiding, too, if she’d presumed such arrogance, made a huge fool of herself and yet again muddied the idea of democracy.  It seems, though, that the PMO is trying to clean up the mess.  Good luck with that!  Canadians found Twitter and, apparently, know how to use it.

Together, we make a difference

Thank you, dear Readers, for the rapid response to yesterday’s call. Aaron Wherry’s coverage of the excellent elocutions by NDP Member of Parliament, Charlie Angus, in the House of Commons regarding the Snoop and Spy Bill C-30, suggests we’ve made a difference. Here’s Charlie.

 

And after Charlie’s lambasting of the Minister here’s what went down according to Wherry,

 

The Public Safety Minister turned to his script, finishing with a concession of sorts. “We will send this legislation directly to committee,” he said, “for a full and wide-ranging examination of the best way to do what is right for our children.”

 

It didn’t end there.  The 3rd-party Liberals rose in the House, first Bob Rae and then Ralph Goodale and they rammed it home.

 

Standing next, Bob Rae pressed the advantage. “Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the people who come forward with amendments will not be called Adolf Hitler,” he scolded from the far end of the room, “will not be called terrorists and will not be called friends of pedophilia by the minister when they come forward with reasoned amendments.”

 

Then Ralph Goodale stood to make clear the extent of the retreat. “The Prime Minister implied a few moments ago that he will entertain amendments to Bill C-30,” he lectured. “Do we have his guarantee that amendments will in fact be welcomed in the parliamentary committee?”

 

The Minister assured the House that amendments to C-30 would be entertained. Unable to let it go and, quite possibly to ram it home for Quebeckers,

 

…the NDP’s Francoise Boivin stood across the aisle from Mr. Toews and pronounced shame on the minister and the legislation. 

 

trm must say, Thank you, Parliamentarians, friends and colleagues.  Together we make a difference!