Post-conversation with Ray Boughen, MP for Palliser

the regina mom received a call from her Member of Parliament, Ray Boughen, this afternoon.  He said it was in response to her call about two University of Regina international students facing deportation but she had not, in fact, called.  She had emailed but didn’t press that fact with him.  In hindsight she suspects he must be feeling some heat over the issue since it hit the front page of the local daily.  When asked about his silence over it he said it is not his place to speak to that issue, that the Speaker, MP for Regina Qu’Appelle, Andrew Scheer, has spoken to it. He said he waits for his turn to speak and will be speaking on Aboriginal issues next week.

That led to a conversation about democratic process, the lack of political will for democratic process, followed by a tirade on trm‘s part.  She began with the lack of a national childcare strategy, filled the middle with the lack of support for single parent women and increased poverty in Canada and ended with a few stats on the increased numbers of people using food banks. That’s about when he accused trm of being a partisan and she defended herself claiming her feminist activism of more than 25 years and her being a mother of two young adults as the basis for her statements.  But still, he tried to dismiss her concerns as being partisan ones. trm suggested that he should read her blog.

When he attempted to blame the SK NDP government for the social problems she had mentioned, trm really let loose, informing him that yes, from time-to-time she has supported the NDP but did not support Roy and the boyz and their debt and deficit-cutting measures.  She also reminded him that she is a writer and as such, a researcher, one who bases her words on what she reads in books and on fact-based evidence.  His response was that we’re using different facts in our discussion.

So she switched her tune to the China-Canada FIPA and compared it to the FTA with the USA, mentioning how the former locks us in for 31 years and the latter allows us to give 6 months notice if we choose to break the agreement.

By that time he was really bumbling and went back to the earlier piece about democracy so trm mentioned Motion 312 about which he seemed to have no clue, suggesting it was a Bill, obviously not hearing what trm was saying. She reminded him that it was a Motion put forward by MP Stephen Woodworth as an attempt to reopen the abortion debate and noted that he supported it in spite of what his colleague, MP Gordon O’Connor, had said. He couldn’t recall what O’Connor had said so trm suggested he look it up on YouTube.  He said he didn’t have time so perhaps trm could tell him.  She did. Then he proceeded to parrot Woodsworth, saying that it wasn’t about reopening the abortion debate, blah-blah-blah. trm laughed and reminded him that he really needed to read her blog.

Seeing that she was on a bit of a role, trm then brought up the other F-word, fascism. She noted that even the right-wing Liberal, Michael Ignatieff, is using that word these days. He bumbled some more and wouldn’t listen, kept interrupting her and soon thereafter she told him this conversation was a waste of her time and his and hung up. As she pulled the receiver from her ear she could hear him saying another call was coming in and he had to go. A likely story. There were no phones ringing off the hook in the background; he said that to save face.

Though there’s much more that went on in the conversation, trm knows without a doubt that she has a useless excuse for a representative in Ottawa and maintains her adoption of MP for Churchill, Niki Ashton, as her MP.


Opening a space for women

the regina mom posted this on Ryan Meili’s ideas page, in response to a call for ideas about building gender equity in SK.  Ryan is the candidate trm is supporting in the SK NDP Leadership race.  She is overwhelmed by and grateful for the positive support the idea is receiving.




In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the Saskatchewan women’s movement was a force to be reckoned with. Feminist organizations within the province had built a solid base from which to act and continue to build.

The Saskatchewan Women’s Agenda* was the result of an intense, two-year, participatory process that brought more than 50 Saskatchewan women’s organizations together to determine what women needed to live full and equitable lives in this province. The Agenda addressed a broad range of issues, established goals and directed our work and the work we hoped to see a new government take on.

But then came the feminist backlash. As a result, debt reduction gave way to creating a better world for women. Most feminist organizations faced slashed budgets from federal and provincial sources. Some groups folded. Others managed to hold onto shoestring funding and find other sources and stay alive.

Feminists in Saskatchewan have not come together in a real and meaningful way since the mid 1990’s. Key organizers within the women’s movement have left the province or worse, passed on. Generational change is afoot in the organizations that managed to stay afloat and a key piece of our Saskatchewan women’s history, the Saskatchewan Women’s Agenda, is difficult to find, let alone study and pass on.

In mid-October, Niki Ashton, Member of Parliament for Churchill and Opposition Critic for Women, hosted the Women’s Forum des Femmes which brought together a diverse community of women from across the country. Ms Ashton created a “space for women to share experiences, ideas, and shape collective plans for re-igniting the women’s movement in Canada.” Women who hadn’t connected since the 90’s were able to share their stories, many heart-breaking and anger-making, to reconnect with sisters in the struggle, to re-invigorate each other and younger feminists taking leadership in the movement and yes, to re-ignite the Canadian women’s movement grounded in wisdom, a passion for change and a commitment to make a better world.

This is what the Saskatchewan women’s movement needs. Ms Ashton’s model can be easily adapted to the provincial level. The new Leader of the Saskatchewan NDP can make it happen. He can make it happen because he knows we are better together.

Respectfully submitted,

Bernadette Wagner

*Note that I will upload the Saskatchewan Women’s Agenda as soon as a scanned copy is available.

Women’s groups criticize anti-coalition organizers

This just goes to show how much the Cons care about violence against women, eh?

*Conservatives wrong to call for protest against coalition government on day
to end violence against women, say women’s groups*

OTTAWA, December 2, 2008 – Women’s groups are indignant that protests in
support of the Harper government are being scheduled on December 6th, which
is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
“This is a timely reminder that a coalition government will be better for
women,” said Jessica Notwell of the Canadian Women’s CED Council.

December 6th marks the murder of fourteen young women at l’École
Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989 by a man who targeted “feminists.”
Established by Parliament in 1991, December 6th represents an opportunity to
reflect and act against violence against women in our society.

The Conservative plea to support Harper on this day leaves many women
shaking their heads. While the majority of rallies in support of the
proposed coalition are taking place on December 4th, pro-coalition events
are also planned for December 6th in Montreal and in Toronto. However, women
say there’s no conflict with the coalition. They have a problem with
attempts to prop up a government that has deliberately and methodically set
out to derail equality rights for women.

“This is the government that gutted Status of Women, eliminating all funding
for women’s advocacy and removing the word ‘equality’ from the Women’s
Program mandate,” said Gisele Pageau of the Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers Union of Canada. “This is the government that scrapped a
universal child care program and now intends to roll back pay equity when
women still earn an average of 71 cents on the dollar. They don’t deserve
our support.”

“If we’re serious about ending violence against women, let’s recognize that
we need strong advocacy, affordable housing, fair pay and a child care
system we can depend on,” said Rhonda Roffey of Women’s Habitat. “And we
know Stephen Harper just won’t do that.”

The coalition composed of the Liberals and NDP, with support from the Bloc,
has committed to support the implementation of the Pay Equity Task Force’s
recommendations as well as access to EI for women. Furthermore, the accord
signed by the parties specifically mentions the need for further government
intervention to improve child care.

“We believe a coalition will take steps to repair significant damage caused
by the minority Harper government,” said Aalya Ahmad of the Ad Hoc Coalition
for Women’s Equality and Human Rights. “That is why you will see women’s
organizations out in favour of the coalition this week. The prospect of a
coalition government means that things are definitely looking up for women.”

For more information, please contact Aalya Ahmad, co-coordinator of the Ad
Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights at 819-503-6969.

Les Conservateurs ont tort de demander des protestations contre le
gouvernement de coalition le jour marquant la revendication de mettre fin à
la violence faite aux femmes, selon les groupes de femmes*

OTTAWA, le 2 décembre 2008 – Les groupes de femmes sont indignés que les
manifestations de soutien du gouvernement Harper soient prévues pour le 6
décembre, qui est la Journée nationale de commémoration et d’action contre
la violence faite aux femmes. « C’est un rappel en temps opportun qu’un
gouvernement de coalition sera plus favorable aux femmes », a déclaré
Jessica Notwell, du Conseil pan-canadien du développement économique
communautaire des femmes.

Le 6 décembre marque l’anniversaire du jour, en 1989, où un homme qui disait
haïr les « féministes » a abattu quatorze jeunes femmes à l’École
polytechnique de Montréal. Déclarée journée spéciale par le Parlement en
1991, le 6 décembre est une occasion de réfléchir et d’agir pour mettre un
terme à la violence faite aux femmes dans notre société.

Le fait que le gouvernement demande d’appuyer M. Harper ce jour-là laisse de
nombreuses femmes incrédules. Bien que la majorité des rassemblements
d’appui de la coalition proposée soient prévus pour le 4 décembre, des
événements pro-coalition doivent également se dérouler à Montréal et à
Toronto le 6 décembre. Toutefois, les femmes disent qu’il n’y a pas de
conflit avec la coalition. Cependant, elles trouvent à redire aux efforts
d’autopromotion d’un gouvernement qui tente méthodiquement de faire
dérailler les droits à l’égalité es femmes.

« C’est le gouvernement qui a affamé Condition féminine Canada, éliminé le
financement des activités de défense de cause et retiré le mot ‘égalité’ du
mandat du Programme de promotion de la femme », a indiqué Gisèle Pageau, du
Syndicat canadien des communications, de l’énergie et du papier. « C’est le
gouvernement qui a mis au rancart le programme universel de services de
garde à l’enfance et qui entend maintenant faire marche arrière en matière
d’équité salariale alors que les femmes gagnent encore en moyenne 71 cents
par dollar que gagnent les hommes. Il ne mérite pas notre appui. »

« Si nous voulons vraiment mettre fin à la violence faite aux femmes, nous
devons reconnaître qu’il nous faut de forts services de défense de cause,
des logements à prix abordable, l’équité salariale et des services
appropriés de garde d’enfants », a dit Rhonda Roffey, de Women’s Habitat. «
Et nous savons que Stephen Harper ne nous donnera pas cela. »

La coalition composée des Libéraux et du NPD, avec l’appui du Bloc, s’est
engagée à appuyer la mise en œuvre des recommandations du Groupe de travail
sur l’équité salariale. De plus, l’accord signé par les partis améliorerait
les options en matière de services de garde d’enfants et l’accès des femmes
à l’a.-e.

« Nous croyons que le gouvernement de coalition prendra des mesures pour
réparer les dommages appréciables causés par le gouvernement minoritaire
Harper », a dit Aalya Ahmad, de la Coalition spéciale pour l’égalité des
femmes et les droits de la personne. « C’est pour cela que vous verrez des
organisations de femmes se prononcer en faveur de la coalition cette
semaine. La perspective d’un gouvernement de coalition donne nettement de
l’espoir aux femmes. »

Pour obtenir de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec Aalya
Ahmad, coordinatrice de la Coalition spéciale pour l’égalité des femmes et
les droits de la personne, au 819-503-6969.

Ad Hoc Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights / La Coalition
spéciale pour l’égalité des femmes et les droits de la personne