Monday, 22 November 2010

I hate women....apparently

It would come as quite a surprise to my sophisticated wife, my feminist daughter, my dear female friends, and the many female colleagues with whom I have worked closely over my long professional career, but apparently I hate women according to the geniuses who run (roughshod over, some might say) the Carleton University student society. My crime above all crimes? I don't believe that women have to be identical to men to be equal to men.

If truth be told, I believe (and I'm not being frivolous here), that in more ways than not women are, on balance, superior to men in meeting our society's needs these days. Men are excellent at starting wars (though not finishing them), painting themselves into rhetorical corners (which is why we also excel at blustering and prevaricating), setting up structures that artificially boost men's chances for success vis-a-vis women, hoarding power, failing to sense when another person is trying without success to articulate deep problems or confusion, taking credit, committing crimes, abusing people of the opposite sex, rape, coercing abortions, constructing glass ceilings, and exploiting the vulnerable generally.

For some reason, the people who ruin run the student society at Carleton University have set men as the standard by which women's rights should be measured. Unless women have the same rights to undermine the chances for a just society as men do, they fall short of the glory of God.

How do I know this? The Carleton intelligentsia has determined that suggesting that abortion is not in a woman's long-term best interests is hate speech. Better to view the incredible gift of life-giving, and the apparatus that goes with it, as an enormous obstacle for women inching their way up the mountain of male attainment than to do the hard work of removing the artificial barriers to women being fully women and fully equal.

[And look what we've attained!! Stalin. Hitler. Pol Pot. Al Qaeda. The My Lai massacre. China's one child policy. The Taliban's 70 virgins promise. The Indian Act. Honour killings. Female circumcision. No wonder the Carleton bunch are so jealous!!]

Well, the Carleton brain trust may prefer women who are merely men in skirts, but the world would be a much worse place were it to actually happen. But for now, what these fearless proponents of a bitter better society should really do is continue to respect freedom of expression and test their theories in a court of law. If being pro life is legally hateful (and I don't believe it is), then they can pass their draconian laws to their little hearts' content.

It won't happen, of course. If they went to court they'd lose. So they will just go on suppressing legitimate protest, and otherwise acting like, er, men. And if they ever get bored with the life issue, they can always nip over to York University and squelch the concerns of the Jews over what they perceive to be discrimination on that campus. It would be the manly thing to do.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Plus ça change...

I have thought for a long time that we, the great unwashed electorate, vote with everything but our brains and the fruits of our research. How else does one explain the benches lined with dolts that get sent to Parliament without a significant thing to commend them.

At times I wondered if I was just too arrogant or too demanding to make a valid judgment of our elected representatives, although the Lord knows that I have had personal acquaintance with enough of them to retain my long held view. But then this letter appeared in a recent edition of the National Post:

Re: Repelling The Best And The Brightest, editorial, Nov. 5. I was struck by the words "the duds kicking around the backbenches of many political parties." It seems the Canadian electorate at federal, provincial, and civic levels tends to elect more "duds" than "the brightest" from among the choices. How else to explain the large doses of silliness that masquerade as intelligent discourse in provincial parliaments, city halls, and in Ottawa. The few bright ones are overshadowed by the duds who seem to make more noise and attract more attention. I base my comments on 35 years of participating in politics, seven years as a ministerial assistant (National Post, Nov. 6, 2010, p. A21).

This "silliness" has come to the fore again with Rod Bruinooge's private member's bill called Roxanne's Law. To give you the gist of the bill, here is an excerpt from a fact sheet put together by my colleague Andrea Mrozek of ProWomanProLife

1. What is Bill C-510?
Bill C-510 is a private member’s bill that aims to add coercing or attempting to coerce to have an abortion as an offense to the criminal code.

2. Why is it also called Roxanne’s Law?
Bill C-510 is named after Roxanne Fernando, a Manitoba woman whose boyfriend viciously beat her and left her in a snow bank to die because she would not have an abortion. She died in 2007 at age 24.

3. Why do we need this bill?
This bill offers support for women who want to keep a pregnancy to term in face of intimidation and violence. The bill also identifies  threatening a pregnant woman as a unique form of intimidation, one we should expressly identify is wrong. Faye Sonier, legal counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada explains in one media interview: “You could compare, for example, to the crime of assault. In the criminal code it’s broad; it includes all forms of assault. So one could easily ask why do we have a section dealing with assault with a weapon, or sexual assault or aggravated assault? It’s because the legislator and Canadians want to single out some crimes as being specifically worthy of condemnation. So for this case we want to make it clear that it is wrong to try and force a woman into aborting a child she wants to keep.”

4. Who brought it forward?
This bill was brought forward by Conservative Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, Rod Bruinooge. He is also chair of the parliamentary pro-life caucus. Mr. Bruinooge does not have the support of Prime Minister Stephen Harper for Bill C-510.

5. What is a private member’s bill?

A private member’s bill is a piece of draft legislation brought forward by a Member of Parliament who is not a Minister of the Crown or a parliamentary secretary. The order in which they are debated is subject to a random lottery. Following introduction in the House of Commons, there are two hours of debate on two separate occasions and then a vote. If the vote passes, the bill progresses to the committee stage where it is studied and changes are suggested. Once through the committee stage, the bill returns to the House of Commons for a final vote. It is then introduced in the Senate.

6. What stage is Bill C-510 at?
It has just had its first hour of debate in the House of Commons on November 1, 2010. The second hour of debate will likely be December 6 or 7, followed by the Second Reading vote on December 8. If it passed on December 8, it would go to committee.

7. Is there precedence for Bill C-510?
Germany, Italy, France and 13 U.S. states have similar laws; e.g., in Texas, a 16-year-old pregnant girl obtained a restraining order against her parents, who were trying to force her into aborting her child. The girl’s mother had taken her to local abortion facilities, but the daughter refused to comply with the mother's wishes.

The Prime Minister of Canada, who deals fearlessly with all issues save one (abortion) has recommended that the Conservative caucus vote against this bill--a bill that does not address the appropriateness of abortion or threaten a woman's right to choose in any respect. It simply attempts to allow for real, uncoerced choice for pregnant women who have considered their options, made their choice, and now want to follow through on that choice without fear of reprisal.

Daniel Petit, Bruinooge's Conservative caucus colleague and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, chimed up from the government benches. Clearly his lips brushes are not far from the Prime Minister's butt shoes:

Bill C-510 proposes making an offence out of certain conduct that is already prohibited under the Criminal Code and other acts—again, already prohibited under the Criminal Code and other acts—by way of offences such as assault (section 265 of the Criminal Code), uttering threats (section 264.1 of the Criminal Code) and intimidation (section 423 of the Criminal Code). It also proposes prohibiting interpersonal conduct, which is generally outside the traditional domain of criminal law—again, outside criminal law—such as non-violent disputes between spouses or between parents and their children where one of the parties is opposed to the continuation of the pregnancy and favours abortion. I am talking about non-violent conduct and discussions between various parties.

The usual suspects from the opposition, Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP), Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.) and Nicole Demers (Laval, BQ), among others, immediately pounced on the bill as a way of weakening a woman's right to choose rather than an honouring of choice. Here's a typical remark:

They can try to dress this bill up and manipulate people in all kinds of ways, but the fact is that it would restrict access to freedom of choice. (Demers). That this is utter nonsense does not stop these intrepid representatives of the people (except for the coerced pregnant women, of course) from ranting on like morons.

In contrast, consider the speech given by Ujjal Dosanjh, former NDP premier of British Columbia and federal Liberal Minister of Health, who mused that South Asian and other woman should not be allowed to practice gender-specific abortion of female fetuses because of a cultural preference for male babies. Not a word of objection emanated from the opposition benches. Bruinooge wants to buttress choice--he's savaged. Dosanjh suggests limiting choice--no problem. c'est la meme chose.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

One kind of death culture is much like another

Last week I attended the International Pro-Life Conference 2010 in Ottawa. Like all such gatherings, it seemed to this Protestant a little bit like Pope Benedict Bible Camp. All that was missing were Gregorian chants around the campfire.

I do wonder about the strategy of Campaign Life Canada to not only make the conference primarily a religious event, but to root it in one of the Christian denominations. One got a little weary of hearing about the twin evils of abortion and contraception.

But what really got up my nose (to use that old but still emotionally stirring analogy) was a speaker named Bill Saunders of Americans United for Life. He identified himself as a former Democrat who was driven from the party, I gather, because of its pro-choice ethos. He gave us his take on today's American elections and was elated because the move to the Republicans was great news from the pro-life perspective. His enthusiasm was matched by the audience, which applauded vigorously.

I didn't.

Every time I hear a Republican or a Tea Party member talk about the twin virtues of being pro-life and pro-gun I want to scream. I consider the NRA to be a truly evil organization. If somebody wants to own a .22 for target practice, or a gun for hunting (animals that is), my response is "It's not for me, but fill your boots." But the NRA moves to protect the most heinous of behaviours through their insistence that virtually any kind and number of guns is acceptable. In my view, they aid and abet widespread death in the United States.

Voting in the Republicans, who genuflect by and large before the NRA altar, means trading one culture of death for another.