Dammit Janet

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Updated: 23 min 51 sec ago

Barbara Frum on How to get women elected.

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 14:48
In the October 1971 issue of _Chatelaine_ Barbara Frum wrote a short piece in her characteristic irreverent, droll style.  It was titled: "Insiders' tips on how to get women elected."
The last paragraph:Marry a man who's already there and become his widowA third of all the women who've ever been in Parliament got there on the sympathy vote, as widows.  One hard-eyed pro, who dismisses the ability of women to get into politics on their own and has been cynically successful running widows on the black-crepe ticket, says: "The only way you'll ever see a hundred women in the House is to provide a hundred rifles to the wives of sitting members, and then teach them how to shoot."
Huh.  Imagine publishing that, nowadays...?

On the other hand, jerks like Peter MacKay should be very, very afraid.
Grand merci to mon copain, who spotted the vintage _Chatelaine_ on my bookshelf and perused it, much to our shared amusement.

Take Your Foul Postcards and Go Home, It's Over

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 17:04
There is plenty to say about the brand-spanking-new Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

But for now, I want to focus on one exhibit, entitled "The Safety of Women."

The default position of the museum is stridently progressive. That factor alone will lead many to conclude it is biased and ignores the sentiments of many Canadians.

For example, in one gallery visitors will view videos depicting forceful pro-life and pro-choice arguments. The videos appear on screens above a circular table with digital tablets that allow visitors, upon completion of the videos, to vote on the issue -- for or against.

It's all fair save for the fact the subject of that exhibit is called The Safety of Women. It is a reference to the 1988 Supreme Court decision that found using the Criminal Code to deny a woman's access to safe abortion services violates her rights to "security of the person" under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The exhibit is factually accurate, and unfailingly fair. Having said that, the title of the exhibit leaves no doubt the museum is celebrating the SCOC decision as a victory for human rights. That alone will be viewed as offensive by those who condemn abortion.Let's repeat that, shall we? "[T]he museum is celebrating the SCOC decision as a victory for human rights."

A new museum funded in large part by the Canadian Harper government celebrates abortion rights.

Oh, and look at this.

Once the CMHR is open, the operating budget will be provided by the government of Canada, as the CMHR is a national museum. The estimated operating costs to the federal government are $22 million annually.Yep, that's right, fetus freaks. Your tax dollars will continue to be handed over by your friends the Harper Government to CELEBRATE abortion rights.

It's all over. The fetus freaks have lost. Decisively.

And while all things ain't hunky dory in Lawless Abortion Land, there is clearly no going back now.

Even the Harper Conservatives, so willing to meddle in areas outside their jurisdiction or remit, dare not mess with this museum exhibit.

Because it is the only fitting accompaniment to the life-work of a true hero, Dr. Morgentaler.

Whose life-work is now properly commemorated for all time. At taxpayer expense.

Image source.

Harry Potter and the cauldron of STIs...

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:58
That headline doesn't quite capture all the cheekiness, humour, irreverence and tongue-twisting (at times!) facts overload (but in a GOOD way) of an Insight Theatre *show*.  

You must attend one to get their infectious (ouch!) jokes and insightful moments.  I won't give away any punchlines; suffice to say JK Rowling's penchant for quirky names is amply explored in the naughty bits... err, skits about Sexually Transmitted Infections.  Hilarious, inspired and clever! 

The lively and talented writers/performers are adolescents who work with Planned Parenthood Ottawa staff to produce this amusing and informative show.

Last evening I spoke with Catherine Macnab and Lauren Dobson-Hughes who are respectively director and board president.  Insight Theatre is a gem in a crown of multi-faceted education and community outreach programs. We spoke about advocacy, the challenges of reproductive justice issues, pro-choice and The March for Lies, since the event is one that DJ! mines shamelessly for its unintended humour.  

Since hundreds and hundreds of Catholic Schools students who are bussed to Ottawa for the March wander about downtown Ottawa afterwards, volunteers wearing PPO shirts show up to give out information packets with its own PPO branded condoms in the ByWard Market, on Elgin Street and around Parliament Hill. 

The range of programs offered by PPO can be found here.

Unfortunately there are no videos posted yet from this year's repertoire, but here's a golden oldie from 2013:

To book a performance: all the information.

No Country for Old White Men

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 05:28
Or, Point and Laugh.
A group of former Liberal backbenchers is blasting Justin Trudeau’s “discriminatory” decision to call on all party MPs to vote in favour of abortion rights in Canada.

Many (most?) of these pathetic old misogynists and homophobes are former members of Liberals for Life, aka the Gang that Prompted Jean Chrétien to Over-ride Riding Association Takeovers Nominations.

Chief among them, of course, is Tom Wappel, an execrable POS if there ever was one. (Really, check the Wiki entry.)

Here at DJ! we're no great fans of Justin Trudeau, but you gotta love this.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, faced with an open letter from seven former Liberal MPs denouncing him for his stance on abortion, tweeted that the days "when old men get to decide what a woman does with her body are long gone."
True that those days are long gone, but those who can't accept it refuse to give up. So, the fight continues. Rallies across Canada for expanded and improved abortion access are planned for tomorrow, Saturday, September 20.

h/t for illustration.


Wed, 09/17/2014 - 08:52

I am not normally a supporter of adding more countries to the world's list of nominally independent countries. Or at the very least, I am usually ambivalent about it. While localism is sometimes fashionable in progressive circles, there's lots of reason to doubt its merits. [looks pointedly at south of Canadian border.] But: there are sometimes some merits. [looks again pointedly at south of Canadian border.]

Montreal Simon is disappointed at Canadian progressive bloggers for not being as vocal as he for #YesScotland. I admit, I haven't said as much on the subject as I could have. Canadian bloggers outside Québec, particularly anglophones, would have a not-unexpected negative reaction to separatist campaigns, a tendency whose origins I will not go into too much here, except to say that the most recent incarnation of a PQ government, at precisely the moment when a progressive stand against Ottawa made the most sense, instead decided to shift with disastrous results into a more ethnoculturally-focused footing.

But despite my general reluctance towards these things, I am inclined to wish for a yes vote in Scotland, even knowing that a yes vote would bring out a host of unresolved risks and problems and is not guaranteed necessarily to be everything that the #YesScotland campaign might hope it would be, at least in the short and medium terms. The reason for me to give the crucial Vala endorsement of the yes side is thus:

The UK, and London in particular, is in some sense the epicenter of a political dynamic that started in the 70s and has now almost fully played itself out. Nowhere in the world is the neoliberal dead end more visible than in the UK, for all that it possesses a more comprehensive social state than e.g. the USA---now almost an accident of history, because unlike Great Britain, the US actually has had a recent if very flawed expansion of its social state. But the UK is at a dead end. Of all the countries in Europe that should be considering leaving the EU---itself a flawed institution that has slowly turned itself into a nightmare---the UK is the last to have something to complain about, as it is not suffering the effects of the Eurozone. And yet, the biggest pressure to leave comes from people whose primary objection seems to be the EU's social standards and human rights protections!

Something's gotta give. The situation and ideological paralysis epitomized by an unbreakable consensus in Westminster (reflected throughout the world, but it seems particularly present there) cannot last forever. There will be a rupture. And there as a choice as to which kind of rupture it is. It seems to me that the first stone thrown can either be the formal ascendency of an explicitly chauvanistic and regressive English nationalism, or it can be an optimistic and progressive-minded Scottish civic nationalism. I fully realize that even under the latter, there can be nodules of darkness hiding behind blue and white. But nothing is perfect, and there are few better opportunities. I suspect the result will be end up being a few percentage points for the "No", but whatever the outcome, the UK will never be the same. Which, at this point, is something to be hoped. I know it's not fair to place burdens on liberatory movements, but if Québec sovereigntism can adopt a similar spirit once again, I'm now less against it than I might have been, because Ottawa too is trapped in the same London paralysis.