Tuesday, May 04, 2010

McCoy On Ruth

I suspect the Senator's colorful intervention yesterday really was intended as friendly advice rather than a threat, and the evolution of Liberal Status of Women Critic Anita Neville's response to this advice, from understanding to condemnation, tracks the LPoC's realization that they had come upon a politically exploitable moment. But whatever.

Senator Elaine McCoy has indentified the deeper significance in Ms. Ruth's outburst:

Senator Nancy Ruth (ON) has never in her life shied away from a fight. When women stormed the barricades in 1981 to insist on including gender equality in the new Charter of Rights and Freedoms, for example, she was right there. Ever since then, she's dedicated herself to supporting women, and even maintains a website called Section15.ca which helps keep the Charter success alive. Now, thirty years later, she's reduced to advocating silence for fear of escalating backlash against women's rights.

I've been hearing countless anecdotes of how this government is systematically quelling any activity that does not support its own point of view. Groups have been told to remove any reference to gender equality in their application for funding, for instance, and all advocacy funding has been eliminated. But so far, no collective and sustained public protest has emerged. In fact, it would seem to me that many non-governmental organizations have been following the senator's advice for several years now.

Oddly enough, Senator Nancy Ruth's impassioned plea to keep quiet may have the reverse effect. A member of yesterday's audience told me that one panelist responded to her by saying their silence over the past few years has only served to make matters worse. Could it be that this very public event will galvanize them into organizing a collective response? Let's hope so. At the very least, it gives us one more testimonial to the insidious way in which the Harper government is doing its level best to change the DNA of our nation.

As to Ruth's suggestion that Harper might make abortion an election issue, I doubt it. The whole point behind the Liberals' poking and prodding the government over this for the past couple of months has been to encourage just such an outcome. The result has been that the Tories rapidly distanced themselves from Rod Bruinooge's no-hope private member's bill, and their endless squirming over whether to include contraception and/or abortion in the G8 Maternal Health initiative. And the end-game of all this squirming (I suspect) will likely be that abortion is included in the final plan, but (as I've explained here) some means will be found by which the Canadian government's financial contribution to that portion of the plan can be disguised.

In any case, they've been playing defense on this issue for weeks now. It's definitely not something they'd want to campaign on.


Holly Stick said...

The Liberals and Ignatieff had better stand up for women's rights, damned fast, often and consistently until the next election and beyond.

The men advising Ignatieff may not have noticed how many women's programs Harper has cut; but they had better get smart fast.

Southern Quebec said...

I think we should take up a collection and buy Mr. Ignatieff a clue. This is one pathetic group of people -- both parties!

Holly Stick, why do you think they could get smart fast?

sharonapple88 said...

Elaine McCoy's response is very thoughtful, and some of the points she makes reminds me of the classic sci-fi story by James Tiptree -- The Women Men Don't See.

Anyway, another thing could be read into the fact that Nancy Ruth said, "This is not about women’s health in this country." We're not suppose to care what happens outside our borders.

. This is one pathetic group of people -- both parties!

Just two?

Holly Stick said...

BCL, tell Warren and the other Liberal morons to quit attacking Nancy Ruth and attack Harper. Apparently she thinks he will vindictively slash funding to anyone who criticizes him; but he has been slashing funding to many women's groups anyway:

I believe she is right. Groups such as UNICEF have been asking people not to rock the boat about the G8 maternal health initiative.

It's rather like telling a battered woman to be quiet so her husband won't beat her again. It doesn't work: he will find an excuse to beat her again and will then blame her for it.

Sounds like Harper...

Holly Stick said...

I mean that Ruth is right about how Harper will behave; not that she is right in telling women to shut up.

Tof KW said...

Despite growing up in a family where the women greatly outnumbered the men, then moving out and eventually marrying one; there are very few absolutes I've learned about women. But one I do know is telling women to shut the &%*! up is generally a very bad idea. Oh, and if it happens to be a woman saying it to other women, that doesn't necessarily make it a better move.

bubba said...

Who would nominate such a loose cannon to the senate surely their judgement should be questioned . Can PMSH be blamed for inheiting a doofus senator or for what the doofus sais? And how much wait do you give the Liberal appointed doofus's comments. I guess thats up to you but how she got there may have some significance.

Gene Rayburn said...

dont worry bubba. PMShitHead has a wealth of catamites like yourself. All ready to serve with the promise of a free lunch.

I guess the opposition can owe up to the mistake of appointing Sen Ruth. I guess that's what you get when you try to be non-partisan amongst dickheads. Maybe a free lunch would have helped eh bubba?

Gallahad said...


Would you like a side order of fries with that?