This post was inspired by a recent comment on another blog, which I now forget the name of.
Allegedly, one of the SoCon groups that Harper has enlisted to sell his new $1,200 per year baby bonus masquerading as a "Childcare Policy" came down against the portions of Bill C-53 which, back in 1984, criminalized marital rape (among other things). Well, after a long day of slogging through the Globe & Mail's free on-line archive, I have been unable to find evidence for this contention.
However, some of the stuff I was able to dig up turned out to be interesting and quite fun. Furthermore, it practically begged the question: just how mainstream are the people that Harper is ready to "unleash" in his attempt to convince the nation that a couple bucks per day for every kid under six (pre taxes) amounts to a "national, universal childcare program"?
It turns out, the answer is "not very".
Probably the most interesting character in the Tory cheering section on this issue is Gwen Landolt, the founder and current Vice-President of REAL Women of Canada.
Gwen Landolt's history of political activism is long and full. Previously a lawyer for the federal government, she founded The Right to Life in 1971, one of the first (if not the first) Pro-Life groups in Canada. In the early 80s, frustrated by the "radical feminist" agenda being promoted by the NAC (National Action Committee on the Status of Women), she founded REAL Women as kind of cultural a counter-weight. Through the latter half of the 1980s', REAL Women made a prolonged effort to secure government funding to match that of their "radical feminist" counterparts, an effort which failed when the Mulroney Tories decided that the group was not in fact advancing the "equality" of women. Since then they have surfaced in various battles in the Culture Wars, most recently in opposition to same-sex marriage legislation.
The public positions taken by REAL Women over the years have been fairly predictable--to the Right of the mainstream, but not entirely out of it. They have for a long time been advocating a kind of homemakers bonus not too dissimilar to the current $1,200 per year proposal that Harper is offering. They have opposed "abortion on demand", pay equity legislation, "socialized" daycare. Their anti-porn stance overlaps that of some more mainstream Feminist organizations (or at least their 1980s equivalent), although their past opposition to any material that portrays non-violent sexual intercourse between gays and lesbians puts them closer to the fringe. Furthermore, their opposition to the "homosexual" agenda has, according to some accounts, extended from the gay marriage issue to opposing equal workplace rights for gays.
So, if I were to sum Real Women of Canada up in a single sentence, I'd say: they are wrong, but not way past gone.
However, Gwen Landolt has also spoken and written for kindred spirits: fellow SoCons, in other words. And in some of these speeches the sensible shoes come off and Gwen lets it all hang out. There is, for example, an account here of a January 18, 2003 speech given to Witness, a Toronto Catholic group.
Gwen Landolt's presentation that day was entitled "The Homosexual Activists' Push to Change Canadian Society", and in it she makes a number of remarkable contentions.
1) About 300 people planet-wide (no mention as to whether or not they are Jews) are manipulating the United Nations to create the One World Government which, when it is formed, will be used to "attack the Catholic Church and all other religions", and replace them with "humanism, secularism, [and] materialism".
2) At the forefront of the One World Government's attack are "homosexual activists". Among other things, "homosexual activists" are "...very closely involved in the abortion battle... because they know it's deteriorating and breaking down the structure of society." So, homosexuals, serving as the "advance guard" for the United Nations, are promoting "abortion on demand" as a means to an end--to kind of soften everyone one up for coming of the One World Government.
3) Of course, the Canadian Surpreme Court has played a role here too, advancing the homosexual agenda by redefining the terms "Tolerance and Diversity" to mean an "unconditional acceptance" of homosexuality. Justice Beverly McLachlan comes in for some especially harsh language.
Remember Gwen's words when the Tories unveil the final details of their daycare package, for she and REAL women will be there at the table co-ordinating efforts with Conservative Party strategists.
PS: if anyone can point to definitive evidence that any of the SoCon groups that Harper is appealing to really did oppose Bill C-53, I would love to hear about it. Politically, the daycare plan is already proving to be a loser for the new government (up to 10,000 spaces will be lost across Canada). If the plan's supporters all prove to be far-right wingnuts for hire, the political cost will be greater. Who knows? Maybe the provinces that have already signed deals with the previous Federal government will be allowed to keep their spaces.
PPS: The Globe and Mail's on-line archive, stretching back every issue to 1844, is truly a wonder, and all you have to do (in Toronto at least) is have a library card. Absolute gold for anyone wishing to research national issues.