Archive | April, 2011

Andrea Mrozek Gets Owned on CTV

28 Apr

I admit that I don’t have much patience for the self-professed “new faces of feminism” who advocate that motherhood should be women’s only and greatest calling. At first, it was baffling to me that in spite of their pro-natalist principles, they oppose any type of national daycare plan. You’d think that people who believe that a woman’s primarily is that of a mother would be in favour of it, but they don’t. Why? It’s expensive and women should be chained to their homes and kids anyway.

I’ve never seen Mrozek being challenged on her views on women. Thus, it was inspiring to see Ann Decter, the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at YWCA Canada, to take a tough feminist take on Mrozek and her unenlightened opinion. Mrozek appeared uncomfortable, and tt was obvious that Decter thought her ridiculous. Extra points for rolling her eyes at her opponent at the end of the discussion!

Mrozek and her social conservative lot at the Institute for Marriage and Family constantly bemoan the ever-decreasing birth rate (which, by the way, started in the 1920s and is not a recent phenomenon at all, even if they claim otherwise. Just read The Bedroom and the State: the Changing Practices and Politics of Contraception and Abortion in Canada, 1880–1997). However, they don’t make it any easier for women to combine kids and work in their daily lives. It’s always easier to blame feminism for dissuading women from motherhood than to actually do something about the current lack of affordable, adequate childcare. I think that this lack is one of the myriad of reasons why women are having fewer children or none at all.

As for her argument, it is entirely non-existent. The question of “Who’s going to pay for it?” is the usual consumerist approach from which the mainstream media present social issues. I don’t even have kids and I don’t even want any, and the least I can hope is that my taxes go to something more socially important that fucking fighter jets.

Childcare should not even be an issue, but it is, since it is largely perceived as women’s problem. After all, they are still the primarily caregivers of children. I know I’m speaking in broader terms, and I think that Catherine Porter’s column illustrates well the reality of women and lack of childcare:

“This brings me to the Conservative plan for child care, which is no plan. It does not make the party’s priority list of jobs, troops, sovereignty and victims of crime. It is mentioned only once in their platform, with a reference to the ‘Universal Child Care Benefit’ that the Tories created after axing the Liberal program. The benefit is a cheque for $100, sent every month to parents of children under six. It is meant to ‘support all parents,’ the platform says, ‘and to respect their right to choose the form of child care that’s best for their families.’

This might sound good to you. Who doesn’t like cash? Except with $100, you can’t choose any child care. I hire a 12-year-old down the street to look after my kids when I’m in a bind. She charges $5 an hour—for both my kids. The Conservative plan covers five days of child care by a 12-year-old, as long as she skips school and I leave work early.”

What is interesting is that the Tory scheme is already costing $2.5 billion per year and who is paying for it, Ms. Mrozek? And how is this any better that the proposed program, as outlined by the Liberals? (By the way, their proposal, which is estimated initially at $500 million, is much less expensive). The monthly “allowance” does nothing to help families who juggle full-time jobs and young children.

Update: Any publicity is good publicity, but I’ve received enough hate mail and inane comments over the last few days (not to mention traffic). No new comments will be approved concerning this post; I’ve wasted enough time on arguing with Mrozek’s followers.

Women Can Defeat Harper: Press Conference on Harper and Abortion

27 Apr

It appears that the conference organized by the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics and attended by several women’s groups was quite successful. Here is a brief video and media coverage.

In the news:

Choice quotation:

“We feel there’s been just a number of very significant examples where Conservative Party has been step by step trying to change the abortion policies of the Canadian government, and this really contradicts Stephen Harper’s pronouncement of not reopening the debate.”
—Carolyn Egan

It is very touching to see feminists from different waves and backgrounds working together to uphold the rights of Canadian women.

If you were wondering whether you should vote Conservative or not, I think the augments presented during the conference clearly show that while Harper is vowing not to open the abortion debate, this does not mean that his MPs won’t.

Of course, Harper was quick to remind voters of his previous assurances, as mentioned in the last article.

A Harper Government Will Put Abortion at Risk for Canadian Women

23 Apr

“In spite of proclaiming that he will not reopen the abortion debate, his actions speak louder than his words.”
—Judy Rebick

Looking at the record of the federal Conservatives, a woman’s right to abortion could be in real danger if there is another Harper government.

Organizations such as International Planned Parenthood, which provides sexual health programs, now find their federal funding in jeopardy, with Conservative anti-choice MPs taking credit. Over twenty national women’s groups also have been defunded.

What: Media conference on Conservative threat to women’s rights.

Who: Pro-choice advocates including representatives of the Morgentaler Clinic, Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and university students.

Where: Morgentaler Clinic, 727 Hillsdale Ave. E., Toronto, ON [map].

When: Monday, April 25, 2011, 10:00 a.m.

“Harper’s G8 maternal health initiative explicitly refused funding for abortions for women internationally, even though a Leger Marketing poll showed that 61% of Canadians supported this,” said Carolyn Egan of the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics and the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. “He ignored the advice of his own experts at CIDA and went forward with this unpopular measure,” she said.

After the 2006 election the Conservatives stopped the arbitration process which would have enforced the Canada Health Act and allowed for the funding of clinic abortions in New Brunswick. Women have to pay out of pocket for a procedure that should be covered by the provincial health plan, and have been denied the right to choose.

“Anti-abortion private members’ bills have been routinely introduced by Conservative MPs. At least 68% of Harper’s caucus is anti-choice, and if they won a majority such bills could easily pass,” said Ayesha Adhami of Women Working with Immigrant Women.

Please note: Media please bring photo ID and media credentials.

Contacts: Carolyn Egan, 416-806-7985 or Shayna Hodgson, 416-932-0446, ext 234.

Harper and Abortion, Yet Again

21 Apr
"Careful honey... he's anti-choice!"

Courtesy of Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clincs

Sometimes I’m tempted to think that Stephen Harper might be pro-choice. After all, he’s repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to leave the issue as it is. It seems reassuring, especially when I read something along these lines:

“Very clearly I am against reopening that debate. That is my position, now and in the past five years as well, and as long as I am prime minister, we will not reopen the debate on abortion. We will leave the law as it stands.” [source]

On the other hand, I realize how profoundly naive is to think that Harper is actually pro-choice. The clever person that he is, he has never stated his own position on the issue. He always manages to dodge the question, even when he is being aggressively pinned down by the media. He also knows that extreme, religion-based views are not popular in Canada, with the understanding that any politicians that professes to be religious and pro-life at the same time is a done deal.

Moreover, recent comments from back bench MP Brad Trost reveal that the pro-life movement has gained considerable influence among politicians under the previous Conservative government. Which pretty much contradicts what Harper has been preaching ever since he became Prime Minister. The International Planned Parenthood Federation never received any funding under the G8 initiative, as it did not meet criteria set out by the government. Referring to efforts of pro-lifers, Trost has stated that

“I cannot tell you specifically how we used it, but those petitions were very, very useful and they were part of what we used to defund Planned Parenthood because it has been absolute disgrace that that organization and several others like it have been receiving one penny of Canadian taxpayers dollars.”

If you weren’t convinced before that Harper represents the anti-choice interests, here you have it. Saving women in the developing world from botched abortion is apparently a “disgrace,” according to his MPs. Well, I think many Canadians would agree with me that this statement is a disgrace to our country.

And let’s not forget about the two private members’ bills, Epp’s Unborn Victims of Crime Act and Bruinooge’s Roxanne’s Law.

I am glad to see that abortion remains as one of the key discussion in light of  upcoming elections. In spite of Harper’s annoyance and assurances, it is obvious to me that he and his party are anti-choice.

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