Archive | July, 2011

Fern Hill Unleashes More Online Hellfire

26 Jul

Way to go, Fern!

As you might remember, Fern Hill, the political blogger at DAMMIT JANET! was the instigator of what Chris Selley dubbed the “online hellfire” which was unleashed on Tim Hudak last week following Fern’s post on his questionable stance on abortion funding in Ontario. One of the sources that she used was the web site of the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada, where it states that “(Hudak) is pro-life and has signed petitions calling for abortion defunding and conscience legislation.”

Well, this week the saga continues. The Toronto Star published an op-ed written by Mark Penninga, the executive director of the ARPA, who whines about “dumbing-down impact on public discourse” of the Internet.

It’s rather unfair that neither of the whiners bothered mentioning Fern’s name or blog. But the bottom line is: voters have the right to know where each candidate stands on the issue and politicians should be prepared to answer questions.

Also, from the perspective of a media studies student, the entire fiasco points to the fact that the media do a piss poor job on informing people. It only follows that the Star, that bastion of progressive politics in Canada’s largest city, should have been all over Hudak for his comments. Instead, they allowed some idiot to attack a blogger who simply raised an alarm about Hudak’s pro-life stance, which I think is justified.

Fern prepared a letter to the editor, but upon contacting the Star, she was told that it won’t be accepted without her real name. However, she has posted it on her blog, so go over there and read it.

“Online Hellfire” Unleashed on Hudak

25 Jul

Thankfully, online reactions to Hudak’s 1995 comments on the topic of abortion have been swift. And, apparently, according to Chris Selley over at the National Post, merciless:

And there is a subset of Canadians that unleashes online hellfire against anyone who sees anything worth discussing about this country’s unique legal vacuum on abortion.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually admire Selley. He is one of my favourite columnists and I admit to reading his writing regularly, even though he shares space in the same paper as Barbara Kay, the “poor menz” advocate.

Onto the hellfire:

If I’m correct, it originated over at DAMMIT JANET!, when Fern Hill unearthed an e-mail written by Hudak’s staffer in 2009 during the leadership campaign to the Association for Reformed Political Action in which it is stated that “(Hudak) is pro-life and has signed petitions calling for abortion defunding and conscience legislation.”

Following up on the above, Warren Kinsella devoted two posts on his blog. In the first one, he writes, “So, will it become a campaign issue? I’d say it just did. ” In the second one, following up on the various posts about Hudak’s comments,  he lists the reactions of right-wingers to these posts and concludes that “[S]houldn’t people know that PC leader Tim Hudak has never renounced his stated  desire to defund abortion?”

Other notable online comments include gritchik’s More on abortion and Hudak and Paul McKeever’s PC Leader Tim Hudak Makes Abortion an Ontario Election Issue.

Finally, Jeremiah Sabadoz in Tim Hudak: Abortions? I Love Abortions! hits the nail on the head by stating that “Hudak is too big a pussy to actually stand up for his beliefs.  The Conservatives keep going on about how their ideology is becoming mainstream in Canada, but if that were the case, why do the work so hard to hide it?”

And on the opposite site of political spectrum, Andrea Mrozek whines that “Some chutzpah would be nice, please, to stand up to the bullies who insist everyone must drone-like repeat the same pro-choice mantras.”

Tim Hudak Would Seek to Defund Abortion Services in Ontario

24 Jul

Currently, women in Ontario who are in need of undergoing an abortion procedure have the “luxury” of having the services covered under Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP). 

As suggested in the press over the last week, this might not be the case if Tim Hudak, the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, wins the provincial elections in October. But, just like Stephen Harper on his campaign trail back in April, Hudak was quick to assure voters that he will not seek to re-open the debate in Ontario, even though he appears to have trouble recalling whether or not he signed petitions calling to end the abortion coverage under OHIP:

Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak said Monday he has no interest in reopening Canada’s abortion debate, despite being called ‘pro-life’ by a Christian political website.

Mr. Hudak was questioned by reporters at a news conference intended to promote a policy targeting convicted sex offenders. He said he ‘may have’ signed petitions in his riding calling to end abortion funding in the past, but would follow Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s lead and leave the issue alone if elected premier in the Oct. 6 Ontario election.

“Let me be clear: We are not reopening this debate,” he told reporters at Queen’s Park. “Just like the federal Parliament, we would not be reopening that issue.”

Furthermore, in 1995, he wrote to the Campaign Life Coalition that “I believe that it is the government’s role to promote the choice of life in child-bearing decisions, to encourage women to carry the babies to term and, if the child is unwanted, to give them up for adoption.” Hmm, I thought Conservatives were all about cutting the red tape and keeping the government out of the private lives of the citizens. Instead, this remark from sixteen years ago has come to bite the poor sucker in the butt and caught up with him barely four months away from elections.  

I anticipated that the topic of abortion would eventually come up in light of the upcoming elections, since it has become commonplace in Canada to grill politicians on this subject and rightly so. In the past, Canadian feminists have fought long and hard to secure women’s right to control their bodies and the younger generation of which I’m part of should not forget the struggle so easily. I never believed what Harper had said and similarly, and my opinion is not going to change when it comes to Hudak. Suffice to say, Hudak, as a candidate for the seat of Premier of Ontario, does not deserve the trust of Ontario voters on this issue.

A Pro-Life Voice That I Can Listen To

8 Jul

Today, I received a very interesting and thought-provoking e-mail from a person who knew Mary Wagner, (a more than willing candidate for pro-life martyrdom, it seems),  from her time as an undergraduate at the University of Victoria.

However, what is more remarkable about the message was that the person is pro-life, but s/he very well illustrates the common ground that the pro-life and pro-choice activist could achieve… in a perfect world, that is.

Before I lose any points as a feminist (since I don’t want to be perceived in the same light as Elizabeth May), let me reaffirm that I’m unapologetically pro-choice. At the same time, as someone who is actively involved in the pro-choice movement, I never claim that opting for an abortion procedure is an easy decision. I see it sometimes when volunteer at the clinic. Nonetheless, I still do believe that it should be an option and that women should not be forced to have children they don’t want to. I choose to trust their judgment when it comes to making a decision in this regard and I don’t think that their private matters are any of my business anyway. In addition, I would never, ever argue for re-criminalization of abortion, even if the two sides joined forces and were able to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies through the measures described in this message.

Anyway, onto the e-mail:

I know her from my days at UVic, when I was a member of the campus pro-life club.

Now even though I am pro-life, I am about as far removed from people like her as you can get, in that I believe in contraception and comprehensive sex education as a means of reducing abortion through reducing unwanted pregnancies, as well as through a social safety net that includes affordable housing and universal childcare.  I also felt that we should work with the pro-choice movement to achieve these goals.

Needless to say, my views were met with downright hostility from her.  The look she has on her face is an interesting combination of humbleness, arrogance and fear.  Fear that the way she lives her life will be threatened if anything that is different from it is allowed, and arrogance that her pre-Vatican 2 Catholic way of life is the only thing that is remotely acceptable.

The thing is, it is this attitude that drives progressives such as myself from the mainstream pro-life movement, causing it to become increasingly dominated by the lunatic fringe that you have described.

I’d like to thank him/her again for coming forward with his/her thoughts.

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