Demand an Apology from Senator Dagenais

the regina mom is pleased to see that at least the NDP are taking the misogynistic and ageist personal attack by Senator Dagenais against MP Charmaine Borg seriously.  In the House of Commons on Monday, MP Charlie Angus asked if the PMO was involved.  Not surprisingly, the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary, MP Paul Calandra, gave a  non-response. [Beginning at 1:00]

MP Charmaine Borg, who is regarded as a good and hard-working MP, has lodged a formal complaint with the Speaker of the House.

In the letter, which was copied to all MPs, senators and their staff, Dagenais characterized Borg as a whiny, ignorant, useless Quebec MP who was elected by fluke and stands little chance of being re-elected.

Dagenais’ letter was sent in response to a flyer Borg sent out in her riding advocating the NDP’s long-held belief that the Senate should be abolished.

Borg says she was particularly insulted by Dagenais’ suggestion that she should get some books from the parliamentary library to inform herself about the Senate before criticizing the institution.

Borg, who is just 23 years old, says that’s the kind of “old-school mentality” that discourages young women from entering politics.

“The overall tone of this letter suggests that I am simply a little girl who does not take her work seriously,” Borg told the Commons on Monday.

Ms Borg also spoke out to reporters today:

“I think if I was an old, white man, he would not have attacked me,” Ms. Borg, 23, told reporters. “We’re not doing any favours to young women who want to run in the future by having this type of behaviour in Parliament.”

Ms. Borg said the letter was “condescending,” pointing out that she took political science classes at McGill University and is well-versed in constitutional matters.

“If his letter contained real facts, had a real debate about ideas, then I wouldn’t be here having a question of privilege in the House,” Ms. Borg said.

She added it’s “very ironic” that the attack originates from an unelected senator.

“He was a failed candidate, and then a year later, was named by the Prime Minister as a senator,” Ms. Borg said. “I don’t think he has any place to challenge my legitimacy.”

And, Ms Borg appeared on CBC’s Power and Politics.

trm was very happy to see that; it takes a lot of courage to stand up to a bully!  trm particularly loves that Ms Borg challenged Dagenais to step down from his Senate seat to run against her in 2015!  Oh, that young woman has spunk! trm looks forward to more from Ms Borg!

Demand an apology from Senator Dagenais!

Advertisements

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.

Who’s Who in the Religious Right?

A friend has done up a couple of excellent lists based on her reading of The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada by Marci McDonald.

The first is a names index filled with names familiar to those who have read McDonald’s book or who have been watching the rise of fundamentalist xianity in Canada:  McVety, Landoldt, Manning, Harper are but a few of those listed.

The second list is the organization index with info about such organizations as the Canada Family Action Coalition, the Centre for Faith and Public Life and the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.  (Sorry, no links from me to them!)

These should prove to be useful lists for my research needs.

.

What Harper’s Done to Canadian Social Programs

I wrote this for rabble.ca some time ago but never did blog it.  I’ve been trying to find it for some time because it’s in need of an update. Here it is.  Please feel free to use the comment box below to add the other places Harper’s axe has landed since this was written.

What Harper’s Done to Canadian Social Programs

by Bernadette Wagner

In September 2006 our boy, Steve Harper, pulled out his axe. Here’s a little review of where the axe fell.*

Aboriginal Programs

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada “operational efficiencies” = $3.5 million cut

“Unused funding” (re: Nunavut) = $50 million not re-allocated or otherwise made available

Elimination of funding for First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Strategy = $10.8 million cut

Status of Women Canada

“Administrative savings” = $5 million cut (40% of budget), job layoffs, offices closed, organizations unfunded, their offices also closed.

Skills and Literacy Programs

Literacy division of HRSD under one banner = $55.4 million cut

Youth employment subsidies for businesses and organizations = $17.6 million cut

Elimination of the Canada Labour Business Centre

Statistics Canada

“Organizational efficiencies” = $15 million cut & reduced ability to collect vital data

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

Social economy research program (community outreach) = $2 million cut

Health Canada

Policy Research Program eliminated = $7.5 million

“Health portfolio efficiencies” = $28.1 million was cut through

Foreign Affairs

Youth International Internship Program eliminated = $10.2 million cut

Delays and cutbacks on international postings and outreach programs at Canadian embassies = unknown but substantial cuts

Law Commission of Canada

Eliminated = $3.2 million cut, including two large scale projects on indigenous law and vulnerable workers

Court Challenges Program

Eliminated = $5.6 million cut and no legal assistance for equity-seeking groups who do not have the resources to take forward a legal challenge.

Treasury Board of Canada

Training programs for civil servants = $82 million cut

“Unallocated funds across all departments” = $18 million cut

Elimination of advisory panels in Revenue Canada and Agriculture Canada = unknown amount cut

* This information was culled from a Canadian Association of University Teachers Commentary

Iggy the Idiot, Part I

When my daughter was young, she watched a CBC-TV show called Under the Umbrella Tree which featured Holly and her three puppet roomies, Gloria Gopher, Jacob Bluejay and Iggy Iguana.

Perhaps our own Iggy the Liberal leader watched too much of that show.  Or maybe it’s just part of the attributes that attach to that name but the iguana Iggy was characterized as “thinking too highly of himself and unwillingly making mistakes.”

Iggy the Liberal has certainly been thinking too highly of himself and too little of others.

His support for Harper’s budget bill is a slap in the face to Canadian women.  Of course we shouldn’t be too surprised at this given the Liberal Party’s record with women.  Wasn’t it Paul Martin as Finance Minister who began the federal attack on women’s organizations funded through Status of Women Canada?  So, to see Iggy and his ilk support an attack on pay equity and infrastructure solutions that exclude women while still denying Canadian women a national childcare plan is really to be expected.

But Canadians have some kind of sick idea that the Liberals are better than the Cons.  Not me.  Liberal or Tory, it’s the same old story.  Tommy Douglas was right about that in his story of Mouseland.  Not that the NDP or any partisan organization will be the savior of Canada or Canadian women, for that matter.  But at least the NDP get it when it comes to women’s issues.  Mind you, it’s not quite to the extent that the Bloc Quebecois get it, but it’s good.

About Iggy the Liberal unwillingly making mistakes, well, I’m not sure.  It’s looking to me like he’s willfully making mistakes at the expense of Canadian women and children.

Ken Epp’s Phony Act

As promised, here is the article that appeared in the May 22 issue of the prairie dog. Btw, the editor has suggested I invite my fans to “write SHORT letters to the editor praising [my] last column…otherwise how will the dumb editor know anyone reads it?” So, ah, any takers? The address is at the end of the article!

Ken Epp’s Phony Act

Tory member’s legislation is a sneaky attack on reproductive rights

by Bernadette Wagner

“The intent of this law is to give rights to fetuses so that abortion can be re-criminalized.”

Not surprisingly, Ken Epp’s introduction of the Unborn Victims of Crime Act met opposition from pro-choice groups like the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) when it was introduced last fall.

That opposition has continued as the bill slimed its malevolent way through second reading and into committee this past March.

“The intent of this law is to give rights to fetuses so that abortion can be re-criminalized,” said Joyce Arthur, ARCC’s coordinator.

Epp claims the bill provides protection for pregnant women by allowing for two sets of charges to be laid should a pregnant woman be assaulted. While this may sound good, it isn’t. For starters, it attempts to separate a woman’s body from the fetus she carries — hardly a practical notion.

It’s useless in any case — even if two charges could be laid, incarceration time would remain the same. In Canada, sentences are served concurrently.

Many were shocked to see the Conservative MP from Edmonton-Strathcona’s private members bill pass second reading March 5. A Conservative-Liberal anti-choice vote was enough to edge it through the House and on to the Justice Committee for review.

Conservative shenanigans have stalled the Justice Committee from conducting any business so the NDP who, except for one MP, opposed C-484 along with the Bloc, now propose it move to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Fears around C-484 are justified. It contradicts the definition of “human being” already established in Canadian jurisprudence — namely, that a fetus is part of a woman’s body until it is born.

And — despite Epp’s claims to the contrary — this bill would indeed legally establish the fetus as a human being.

Here’s the problem: if the fetus a woman carries has rights, what happens to her rights? This is why, according to ARCC, the bill would endanger reproductive freedom. Any moderately astute anti-choice activist would cite it as a precedent when pushing for re-criminalization.

That Epp did not consult with anti-violence advocates in drafting this legislation should not be a surprise. The membrane of C-484 is thin; it is clearly about establishing fetal rights. “Pregnant women don’t need Bill C-484. They need the men in their lives to stop being violent,” wrote Coalition Against Violence coordinator Vyda Ng in the Western Star.

In the U.S., laws like this are being used to police, arrest and jail women. And the rates of violence against women, pregnant or otherwise, are not dropping.

Epp’s claim to “protect women” is paternalistic at best and disingenuous at worst. “There is something seriously wrong with our system when the so-called ‘right’ to end a pregnancy takes away another pregnant woman’s right to have her wanted baby protected in law.” he said in a recent newspaper commentary. But Canada has laws which prohibit assault against women, men and children. And as part of a woman’s body, a fetus is protected.

Epp’s legislation “would not protect pregnant women, and would do nothing to respond to violence against women,” says Arthur on ARCC’s website. “The Criminal Code already recognizes that spousal violence is an aggravating factor in sentencing. Judges already do recognize pregnancy as an aggravating factor in sentencing,” she says.

Epp’s suggestion that women’s reproductive rights trump pregnant women’s rights makes no sense. His attempt to pit the one idea against the other is spin which detracts from the real issue: good old-fashioned intolerance of women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies.

A Facebook group in support of C-484 states that the bill is “a key step in recriminalizing abortion.” A social-conservative blogger dubbed C-484 the “Kicking Abortion’s Ass bill”.

Clearly, this bill is part of an incrementalist strategy, typical of the Harperites, to attack women’s reproductive freedoms. As Harper struggles to win favour with women voters, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to wipe the blood from his hands on the matter of women’s reproductive choice.

Feedback@prairiedogmag.com