Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rehearsing Our ABCs

Ahh, nothing says HAPPY NEW YEAR like a Conservative blunder. In this case, the fact that mere weeks after electing a new Parliament, and in the middle of a "prorogued" Parliament, right- wingers are already chanting the praises of reopening the abortion debate.

I've said many, many times before that this debate is as old as time itself and rarely, if ever, constitutes an actual debate. At this point, there's nothing left TO debate. That dead horse has been flogged for years.

Well it seems that the head cheese of the Conservative party, Canada's own PMO, had a brain wave once again and shot down the rumours of "re-opening" the abortion debate.

*phew*

There have been many, many outcries from the Left about this, but I wonder where they are were on election day. Didn't they hear the ABCs (Anything But Conservative) cries? Or maybe our numbers (ie: the lefty digits) are too low. Or maybe most of us, left, right and centre, are way too apathetic to care.

Can I blame them? Not really.

But truthfully, if there's a "debate" that could use re-opening, I say we attack capital punishment. Judging by the knee-jerk commentary on most news sites (CBC.ca and GlobeandMail.com in particular), "every-day" Canadians are wanting to go there. And those two sites are supposed to be bastions of lefty-thinkers, so imagine what the right-wingers are cooking up! And it's a debate that we haven't had in quite some time, so why not? Could be interesting. Maybe. Maybe not. But at least we're shifting the focus away from fetuses.

All I want for 2009 is to never have to write the words "abortion" and "debate" again. Let's see how it goes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Importance of Being Earnest

In case you and your cat haven’t heard, Oprah Winfrey weighs 200 pounds. Yes, that’s right. I said it.

Now I know this, not because I adore Ms. Winfrey but because it’s on the cover of her latest issue of O Magazine. It’s not just a sub-heading on her magazine but a full fledged screaming headline with a picture of her now, juxtaposed with a picture of her “then”. Then being when she wasn’t 200 pounds, I suppose. And the whole issue at hand is “how she let this happen again”. *cue horror music here*

Now let me start off by saying that I freakin’ love Oprah. Honestly. Genuinely. I’ve been watching her show religiously since I was a kid and although I don’t agree with everything she does or says or the people she endorses (I’m looking at you, Dr Phil), I still adore her.

So when I first saw that headline, and the subsequent stories about it, I thought WTF?! Who cares?! Oprah Winfrey is rich, successful, an incredible philanthropist and damn good at her job. So why does it matter what you weigh? And hasn’t she been flogging this dead horse for years?

But then I start thinking about what made her so successful in the first place. Mostly, her hard work and honesty. And she’s made an entire career out of being herself, being open about her faults and strong points and “self-improvement”. So in that case, I guess this plays into that quite well. She’s being honest about her weight problem (something she’s done from the start) and in many ways, just calling what everyone is saying.

Then I flip again and think that it’s so sad that someone as successful as Oprah Winfrey is constantly diminished down to her weight. As though what she weighs (or rather, how she looks) defines her success or lack thereof.

And this is reinforced by reading the Globe and Mail discussion boards, talking about this controversial cover story. Comment after comment after comment talks about how “She’s so rich and can afford all the trainers, self-help gurus and chefs in the world. Clearly she’s lazy and narcissistic” or “Wow, what a sloth” or “I hope she can afford all the medication she’s going to need” or my favourite, “She ONLY weighs 200? She looks way heavier than that!”

Which not only shows the lack of intelligence from most online posters, but also the real stigma and fixation that this society has on body weight and image. Oprah Winfrey made her career out of being “Just like every other womyn, just with better shoes” and yet we expect her to buy her way into a “perfect body”. While at the same time, hating on womyn who have gastric by-pass and/or cosmetic surgery because they’re “fake”.

So do I think that Oprah needs to be drawing attention to her weight again? I want to say no but she opened up that can of worms long ago so she can’t go back. Plus, according to her, the article is about demonstrating the realities of trying to maintain a “healthy” weight and that nobody, even the almighty Oprah herself, can succeed all the time.

I suppose this goes to show that she’s succeeded in being just like every womyn because even she can’t escape the wrath of impossible beauty standards.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Creeps and Cameras

Let us take a break from the chaos and confusion of Canadian politics to shift gears to..

Upskirting.

Ahh, “upskirting”. Which for the uninitiated, is when someone (typically a dude) uses a cellphone camera (or real camera, if they can manage) to take a picture up a womyn’s skirt/dress. Upskirting has become an umbrella term for also taking pictures down someone’s shirt, or just a general picture of their body in a sexual way.

The “key” to quality upskirting is going unnoticed, so these creeps pretend to send a text message or even just keep the thing hidden and snap away while you’re walking up the stairs, sitting on the bus, bending down in a store, etc.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Especially when they post it online for the world to see. Put “upskirt” into Google and you’ll see what I mean. Entire sites dedicated to the stuff.

A recent article in Salon magazine outlines the legal ramifications in the US of A and how the laws, like the pictures themselves, aren’t very clear.

Most places have laws allowing anyone to take a picture of anyone “in public space or domain”. But like the article says, its one thing to take an artistic photo of pedestrians crossing a bridge and it’s another to take a grainy photo of someone’s ass.

Upskirting is a HUGE problem. I know people who do it. I’ve seen people do it and I can guarantee that someone’s done it to me. But how will I ever know? There are millions and millions of these pictures online and I don’t have time to go through them all. And besides, how will I even know if it’s me? And then when I find the pictures, then what?

There are little to no legal ramifications for this type of thing in Canada.

My issue about upskirting goes beyond that, though. Upskirting is like construction-worker-harassment to a whole ‘nother level. When I’m walking down the street and some asshat yells something at me or honks, I see them, I flip them off and I get pissed off.

But in today’s world, womyn are walking around and being monitored 24/7. And often times, have no idea. Foucault is rolling in his damn grave.

The fact that this exists and is such a huge phenomenon is reason number 81789032 for why I’m a feminist. If you needed any more proof that womyn are objectified and commodified, then you’ve got it, Buster.

I’m not saying that dudes don’t experience street harassment or that someone isn’t taking pictures of their asses either. Hey, I’m sure it happens. But the numbers don’t even compare. And so it’s about more than just the fact that North American womyn wear skirts/dresses and men typically don’t. It’s about the fact that time and time again, womyn are viewed as ready for the taking and that if they don't like it, they have to do something about it.

So what do we do? Do we call a moratorium on dresses in the summer? Ban cellphone cameras? As the Salon article outlines, upskirting is such a problem in Asia that all new cellphones have a loud and distinct shutter noise that goes off with each click, to alert people that a picture has been taken. Should this be mandatory for all new phones?

Will anything really solve the problem? I’m sure there are things that can be done but until womyn are seen as human beings with all the rights and responsibilities allocated to you know… human beings, I don't think a whole lot is going to change.

UPDATE: Thanks to MH for the heads-up about this case. It's mentioned in the Salon article above but this article lists the details. I'm giving a major trigger warning to any readers of this article.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Canada, Communists and Cry Babies

As a political junkie, I'm a tad overjoyed by the sudden interest in Canadian politics. The left (ie: The NDP and Liberals) are wanting to join together to overthrow the Conservative Minority. They have the numbers to do it apparently and the Bloc won't join but have given their written approval. So it all comes down to a confidence vote next Monday and a decision by the always-elegant Michaelle Jean.

And Canadians are abuzz. For or against, they are abuzz. And I'm digging it, I really am.

And I could go on and on about this coalition business but everyone else has, so I'm gonna shift the focus. I'm gonna shift the focus to where I think it should of seen a hell of a long time ago.

Some Canadians are bitching and complaining that "We elected people for a reason and a coup wasn't it". Well last I heard, I also elected adults and yet all I get is a bunch of whiny children.

Let me demonstrate.

First: We have the hyper paranoid Conservatives who recorded a "secret" NDP meeting where they talked about this infamous coup. Of course, the recordings are now being considered illegal because well.. they are but bossy boots Harper is marching all proud that he really stuck it to 'em. Sure Bud, whatever you say.

Second: The Conservatives have begun referring to the "Left" as "power hungry", which you know.. is hilarious because it's Harper. Like, I squash-civil-liberties-for-breakfast Harper.

Third: The Conservatives are also referring to the "Left" as "communists" and "seperatists". How very 1950s of you, sir.

Especially since, as the Fourth example demonstrates, it's rather ironic that Harper played himself out as the Quebecor Prime Minister who recognized Quebec as a "Nation" and now that they're not getting along, he's throwing that old school label at them. Fancy.

Fifth: Well Harper flat out outdid himself today. This one really makes me happy. Not only did he call this new Coalition the "Alliance of communists and seperatists", he also made a comment about they are so anti-Canada that they were photographed signing this agreement without any Canadian flags in the background. Which you know, is pretty fucking immature and very "well...well.... I know you are but what am I?" to begin with. But then add on the fact that there were actually two Canadian flags in the background and you've just made my day.

Stay classy, Canada. Stay classy.

Instead of focusing on whether or not parties have a right to form this damn coalition, I think we should be questionning some people's ability to even be an MP in the first place. Most of the behaviour these people demonstrate isn't even acceptable for kindergarten kids.

I think it's time we learn to play together in the sandbox.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Has Anyone Checked Hell's Thermostat?

Canada might have a united Left.
The US will have Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

*and the peasants rejoice*

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Actually, God Hates Assholes

You know things are newsworthy when this badass feminist is agreeing with Stockwell Day.

Reason being?

Apparently it wasn’t enough for the Westboro Baptist Church to protest the actual funeral of Matthew Sheppard. For those of you who don’t know, Matthew Sheppard was an American man who was fatally beaten for being gay. The murder was a tragedy and the case now stands as one of the most high profile gay bashings in North American history.

So these rightwing assholes from Kansas decided to protest his funeral because apparently God Hates Fags. That’s their big slogan because you know, Jesus loves hate speech. They got tons of notoriety for that protest and so now they take their caravan of freaks on the road and protest at the world’s most inappropriate times.

(Which brings me back to my discussion of Engage or Ignore).

Well it seems that Libby Davies, NDP MP for Vancouver and Mr. Stockwell Day himself have said enough is enough. See there’s a play based on Matthew Sheppard’s life that is due to show in Vancouver. The God-Hates-Fags crew have decided that they want to cross the border and protest it because well.. they have a real hate-on for Mr. Sheppard it seems.

Libby Davies, rightfully so, says hell no and is fighting with Public Safety to have them turned away at the border as their protests defy Canadian Hate Laws.

As I’ve said before, I am all about people’s freedom of speech. I think that peaceful anti-choicers have a right to exist even if I don’t like it. But these crazy idiots protested a man’s funeral and now want to do this? Hell no, indeed.

This particular event is rather timely considering a new report was released yesterday arguing that Hate Speech should be removed from the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Act. I’m not a legal expert so I can’t quite decipher much about what this will realistically mean, but it’ll be interesting to see how this particular report plays out.

All in all, you know that the Westboro Church is f-u-c-k-e-d u-p when Stockwell Day “I-believe-in-campaigning-at-Sunday-Schools” says back the hell off.

Friday, November 21, 2008

This sucks.

"Father killed wife, children in Toronto triple murder-suicide: Police"

News, Booze and the Law

So it seems that this little blog of mine (I'm gonna let it shine!) has a bit of a modest following. I say this because I've been getting requests from readers to discuss certain issues. One of which is the creation of a co-op brothel in Vancouver and another of which is the new proposed laws in Ontario regarding booze, passengers and driving. Fret not, I will get to both.

I had intended to discuss the brothel issue first but this lovely headline on CBC.ca made me shudder, so here it goes.

"Thousands join Facebook group opposing new driving rules in Ont."

Alright, so first things first. These new driving rules are two major things. First is that there will be a zero tolerance policy on any driver under 21. So if you're under 21 or have had your license for less than a year (I'll come back to this) you can't have a drop of booze in your system.

The second rule, the one that's got people really fired up, is that any driver who has had their license for less than 365 days can only have 1 passenger under the age of 19 in their car.

So that's the context.

First things first, I think that CBC.ca's use of Facebook as somehow this amazing statistical analyzer is problematic and quite frankly, lazy journalism. Facebook Groups exist on every topic under the sun and most people join a group without even thinking twice, so as far as I'm concerned, it's a non-issue. Facebook doesn't represent shit.

But as for the major issue itself, I'm of the mind to agree with the Liberal gov't. I can hear the audience now...

Sconroy, a commenter on CBC.ca sums up one of the biggest complaints against this new law

"I have been driving for nearly 4 years now, and I have earned my full G. The middle-aged mother whoever, who just earned her G2 can drive her teenager and 3 of their friends? Does that not pose the same amount of risk for distraction? Age does not automatically determine maturity or ability to focus on driving conditions. Ageism is NOT right."

Clearly Sconroy didn't read the actual law or hell, even the CBC.ca article properly because it also says
that anyone under 21 or who has only had their license for less than a year which means that if you're middle-aged soccer mom with her G2? She couldn't drive with her 3 kids either. Asshat.

And truthfully, one of the biggest complaints against this new law is that it will deter people from being designated drivers. If you can only have one passenger, then what about all the drunken bastards out there? How will they get home?

Which just goes to show that people just read the headlines on CBC. ca or on Facebook groups for that matter and don't actually comprehend it properly. The new law says that anyone under 21 or who has only had their license for less than a year can only have 1 passenger under the age of 19 in their vehicle.

Well.. considering that 19 is the legal drinking age in Ontario and "16- to 24-year-olds make up nine per cent of the population but account for 25 per cent of the fatalities and serious injuries on the roads" then it makes a whole lotta sense to me.

The truth is that young people get their license, are jacked up like crazy and drive around with the music blaring and 5 other people crammed in their parent's mini-vans or sedans. I know this because I was this person. In fact, I grew up in a house where I couldn't drive with anyone for the first 6 months that I got my license. Never mind the age limit. NOBODY. I drove alone, like the sad sap that I am, for 6 whole months. In a mini-van. Trust me, it sucked. But my parents knew that I was young, drove my parent's mini-van and loved to listen to my music loud and proud, so they put rules on me lickety split.

BUT! Looking back, I get it now. I'm an easily distracted driver and I've had my license for quite a few years now. So imagine being a novice and having a car full of people screaming, laughing, cranking the tunes, texting on their phones, etc. It's a recipe for disaster.

And the statistics prove this.

So the truth is, I hate to say it, but I agree with McGuinty on this one. I don't think it's ageism because what people keep failing to acknowledge is that it doesn't have to do with age necessarily but anyone who is in their first year of driving. So people who wait until they're 25 or 35 to get their license, it applies to them too. It's not about age but driving experience.

And since the 1 passenger rule only applies to people under 19, then it will not affect designated driving as much as people are saying. Under this new law, you can have your license for 3 months and drive 4 of your 20 year old drunken bastard friends home, no problem.

And so the hysteria surrounding OH BUT WHAT ABOUT DESIGNATED DRIVING?! isn't nearly as much of an issue as people claim. If you're under 19, you probably don't have a full license anyway which means that it's not like you're going to drive your drunk ass home by yourself. So it's easy to use it as an excuse but statistically speaking, it doesn't add up.

I think that the pros of this particular new law far outweigh the cons.

I also think that journalists need to stop being so lazy and actually do some real journalism while at the same time, critics need to know what their critiquing before they go on long ass rants and throw up their arms in digust with The Man.

The whole "Parents are just hating on the young generation! The youth generation has it so bad" schitck is often true but it's also overused.

When you're young, you are both amazing and stupid. Accept it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Engage or Ignore?

As someone who is not only a feminist but a social activist as well, I often contend with this question of whether to engage or ignore. (And for all you Trekkies out there, I'm not referring to that). Do I engage in a discussion or demonstration against a particular viewpoint or do I simply ignore and not engage?

An example that is often used is in regards to right-wing asshats like Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter spews anti-semitic, homophobic nonsense in both her interviews and her many books. She's a self-identified womyn with a background in law who thinks that womyn shouldn't be allowed to vote. Clearly, the womyn has lost her mind.

Her arguments are blatantly inflammatory but she has a wide audience. Because of her audience, some people who oppose her think that it's necessary to take her on, challenge her and debate her to the death. Others say that you are simply buying into her ways and giving her more publicity. If you just ignored her, she wouldn't have an audience.

In my own life, I think of ardent anti-choicers. I think that the pro-choice / anti-choice has been debated to death and I've found myself ignoring the "abortion debate" on University campuses year after year. I was invited to represent the pro-choice side in a radio debate and refused. Abortion is an issue that I feel has been debated to death and well... nobody's really gonna change their minds anymore. Not the people who come to those debates anyway. They're just there to tear down the other side, find a random loophoole and leave with their arms waving in victory. There's no real dialogue.

But yet when Silent No More holds demonstrations where they posit their "I REGRET MY ABORTION" signs and attempt to encroach on public space, I do engage. I truly believe that they have a right to exist and express their opinions just as I have a right to do the same. But do these demonstrations (which are often impromptu) really do anything besides buy into the antagonism surrounding the issue?

I don't know.

So it all comes down to, can you really debate with extremist organizations and/or individuals? Should you even try?

And the most important question for me is, how do we create meaningful discussions on so-called controversial issues?

I'm a smartass with an opinion on everything but this one still has me stumped.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Have We Learnt Anything?

Last week, a prominent sociology professor at St-Thomas University in New Brunswick was murdered by what police now believe was his son-in-law. The son-in-law was wanted by police but was found dead by an apparent suicide. This professor, who is a man, was well known at the university and was a respected sociologist, academic and overall human being. A real stand-up guy. His murder is an absolute tragedy and a loss for both his family and the STU community.

Information is now coming out that this professor “feared for the safety of his family” after receiving numerous threats from his then son-in-law. Sources say that the RCMP was warned about these threats, RCMP says they weren’t and so now we’re in a real shitty game of he-said, she-said.

Although the case was considered closed by RCMP, various organizations in New Brunswick and across the country are calling for a public inquiry into his murder. This inquiry would look into police protocol and the steps (or lack of) taken by police in issues of “family” violence.

I think this is amazing. I think there is an absolute dire need for a review of police protocol and I think that it’s about damn time.

BUT… I’m also disheartened by the eagerness of groups who are pushing for a public inquiry. The blogosphere has been abuzz with rumours about this professor’s life and experiences with the police and people are outraged over the lack of security he received. And rightfully so.

But the truth is that these things happen all the time to Canadian womyn. All the time. In fact a womyn's chances of being further assaulted or even killed, spike after a womyn leaves an abusive situation or reports it. And yet these particular cases are swept under the rug and with the exception of certain steadfast, dedicated, hardass feminist groups, are completely ignored.

I can’t help but think that if this sociology professor wasn’t well… a male sociology professor, there'd be a lot less outrage.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m deeply, deeply sorry for this man’s family and I’m glad to see that his murder was not in vain and will hopefully serve as a catalyst for major change, but I’m sorry to see womyn’s stories once again silenced. Especially this close to December 6th. Have we learnt nothing?

What's it going to take before Canadians are honest about the reality of womyn's lives?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh Pope, You've Got To Be Kidding Me

I've said it before and I'll say it again, sometimes the jokes just write themselves. This lovely headline is a perfect example

"Future priests should undergo psychological screening: Vatican"

Paging Captain Obvious!

Naturally, I think anyone who considers a life of priesthood, that is a life of poverty, celibacy and a whole lotta misogyny should be evaluated for mental stability. I mean let's face it, the job description isn't exactly enticing.

So when I first read this headline, I thought "WOOHOO! The Vatican is on to something!" and then I realized, surprise surprise, that they weren't.

You see, these "psychological tests" are the Vaticans response to the multitude of lawsuits they've received because of child sexual abuse. Let's be honest. The stereotype of a child molesting priest came from somewhere. So instead of examining the types of people who want to become priests or changing the rule of strict celibacy, they decide to "test" potential priests.

What exactly are these tests looking for?

In a nutshell, homosexuality. Yes, that's right - homosexuality.
"The Vatican, in a 2005 document, said men with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies shouldn't be ordained, but that those with a "transitory problem" could become priests if they had overcome them for three years. The Vatican considers homosexual activity sinful.

The new guidelines say priests must have a "positive and stable sense of one's masculine identity" and the capacity to "integrate his sexuality in accordance" with the obligation of celibacy."
Translation: They don't want child touching homos.

Which is ironic, you know, because I know lots of gay men and well none of them are child touchers. And every pedophile I have ever known, heard of or dealt with was a self-identified heterosexual man.

And of course, a man in a long dress with a gold hat who lives in a giant castle with a bunch of dudes is really the one to judge. (Cue Margaret Cho)

Naturally, gay rights groups are up arms for the way in which the Vatican is not only continuing their homophobic attitude of being anti-gay but also for conflating pedophilia with homosexuality.

Hey Pope, here's a lesson for you:

Homosexuals are people who are attracted to people of the same sex. They engage in sexual activities with similar, consenting adults. Pedophiles are people who are attracted to and engage in sexual activity with unconsenting children.

Let me just make this clearer for you. I know Pope, you're old and senile so sometimes you need a little extra help.

HOMOSEXUALITY = GOOD
PEDOPHILIA = BAD

Homosexuality and pedophilia DO NOT GO TOGETHER. Kinda like how Catholicism and common sense don't go together.

Get it? Good. Now go back to bed.

**Now I know that this picture is of the Old Pope, but I mean c'mon.. this picture is amazing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

If You Weren't Already Convinced...

... that the economy is going to shit, this headline pretty much seals the deal.

"Ten Cheap Ways To Be Happy".


That little sentence sums up the entire problem. The economy is going to shit and will continue to stay there until the idea that being happy doesn't require money is commonsense and not a headline.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Government Logic At Its Best

So Canada is going to “Help Poorer Nations Fight Climate Change” while also being an “avid cheerleader for asbestos”.

Climate Change = hip and cutting edge
Lung Cancer = so passé

Canada: A country that is really good at lookin’ good and not so good at being good.

We Don't Like Voting But We Do Like Boozin'!


So one of the many facets of moi is that I'm pretty much straightedge. There are a number of reasons why I don't drink. This is not to say that I haven't drank or that I don't have the occasional sip of wine and whatnot, but as a general rule, homeslice does not drink.

Well it seems that I am a rarity in the True North Strong and Free.

New statistics are coming out regarding the amount and types of alcohol that Canadians consume and presumably, enjoy.

These stats include the fact that people in Newfoundland pay the most for beer (21.27$) although they don't include the territories and they must pay the most. Other stats include the total amount that the average Canadian spent on booze in 2007: 667$.

Surprise, surprise, beer makes up 47% of Canadian alcohol sales in this country. What was actually surprising and optistimic, in my mind, is the fact that 71% of spirits sold in this country are Canadian. Apparently the economy is going to shit and jobs are being exported overseas but we still support our local boozers.

We're patriotic like that, I suppose.

What did make me sad though was that "Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates that there are between 1,280 and 1,500 deaths as a result of impaired driving in Canada every year, or about four every day."

Ouch.

And if that statistic doesn't have you crying your beer, this should. Under "Related Stories", CBC.ca links to the lovely headline

"Many Innu children suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome".

Damn.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wow.

So the purpose of this election was what exactly? Oh yeah. There was none.

Except, I suppose, to highlight how apathetic Canadians have become.

*sigh*

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ladyfolks and the Canadian Election


So as the Canadian election day gets closer, one can draw some serious patterns of this campaign.

1- Attack ads are all the rage with the Cons. Paging Stephen Harper: A little creativity never hurt. Ask Jack Layton.

2- Every party seems to have an obsession with the image of Stephane Dion shrugging.

3- The only mention of womyn is... wait...there's been mention of womyn?!

There is a complete and total absence of ladyfolk in this current election campaign. There are only a few days left and so I highly doubt we're going to be inundated with a load of womyn-friendly mention and discussion. Sadly I think it's safe to say that womyn have been completely written off the election.

Case and Point: During the French language debate, the word woman-women-girls-female was not mentioned once.

During the English language debate, at 9:19pm Jack Layton spoke of how lack of employment and poverty affects all sectors of Canadian society, specifically womyn. I nearly wet myself I was so excited. THEN at 10:57pm, a whopping 3 mins before the end of the debate, Stephane Dion mentions briefly that his party has put a universal day care plan into their platform.

Now don't get me wrong, I was impressed with some other things that didn't specifically discuss womyn. Layton went on a rant at one point about the plight of Aboriginal peoples in this country and went beyond tired metaphors to bring up real issues like crowded housing, high rates of incarceration and boil water advisories. That was mighty impressive.

And the zinger of the debates, in my opinion, went to Gilles Duceppe in the English debates when he said "You know what's really shocking? The only party that's pushing for a by-Canada plan for the manufacturing sector is the Bloc Quebecois!"

Oooooh the irony.


But beside the occasional mention in debates, there was a whole lotta nothing going on for womyn's issues during the election. Womyn were mentioned briefly at the beginning of the election campaign but only in the form of Harper repeating that "He will not re-open the abortion debate". Wooo.

So as we head to the polls on October 14th, try to think special thoughts about Canada's ladyfolk. Because if you don't, nobody will.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gangsters Versus Gangstas


According to a "news" article on CBC.ca, there's a marketing campaign underway for the new "Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement", also known as the "Mob Museum". But do not fret children, this museum won't "glorify criminal activity" but rather will "candidly explore [the mob's] influence on Las Vegas and the role they played in transforming the city into a famous gambling and entertainment destination."

The role they played in transforming the city into a famous gambling and entertainment destination sounds kinda like glorifying to me. "Hey, look at what the Mob did for us!"

This marketing campaign includes "cheeky" t-shirts with the expression "There is no such thing as a Mob museum nor have I ever been there."

So at this point, you're probably thinking: "Why are you going off about this? And lighten up would ya! This is hilarious!"

Don't get me wrong. I have an enthusiastic sense of humour and I was once a huge Sopranos fan.

But what we have here is a clear distinction between "good" criminals and "bad" criminals. Gangsters AKA the Mob = good, Gangstas = bad. I highly doubt that the "Chicago Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement" would get the same round of applause and "OMG, AREN'T THEY JUST SO DAMN CHEEKY?!"

And what is the difference between a gangster and a gangsta? Well not much really. Both have been involved in the drugs, arms and sex trade. Both have been linked to murder and theft. Organized crime is organized crime.

What we have here is a major racial and class divide. On one side we have white gangsters who are glorified in film and now their very own museum. On the other side we have people of colour who may be glorified in music and certain categories of film, but who are blamed for many of today's social ills, including high rates of violence in high schools and drive-by shootings, specifically in lower-class areas.

Why is it that the Mob has been elevated to this pseudo-glorified status of being Museum worthy whereas gangstas and I would even include Biker Gangs here to really bring in the class argument, are seen as the vile of society?

This is race and class privilege at its very best.

I say what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas.

Monday, September 29, 2008

White Privilege and American Politics

So I could write another biting and clever post about Sarah Palin and the tragedy that is the American election right now.

Or I could let Tim Wise do it ten times better than I ever could.

I'm going to stick with that.

Oh and do yourself a favour. When you follow the link to his article, DON'T read the comments. They just reinforce the need for these types of articles in the first place.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blogger Hates Me

I've been having some major issues with Blogger as of late. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that it's the Man trying to get at me, but I know I'm not that important.

Anywhoo, please stay tuned for an update soon as I think I might have the kinks worked out.

Keep on keepin' on!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who is Afraid of Elizabeth May?

I'll tell you who. It's three old white dudes from Canada.

Elizabeth May is the leader of The Green Party; a once marginal party that now has a seat in Parliament. You can thank the green agenda in general for that I’m sure. People are paying attention to environmental issues and the result is the Green Party slowly coming up the ranks.


So last election, May fought to be included in the televised debates. The televised debates are a big deal (well, as big of a deal as can be in a country with a shitty voter turnout, but I digress). But last time around, May was denied on the basis of the fact that she had no seats in Parliament. A slippery slope, they said. Let her debate then you’ll have to include the Marijuana Party, The Rhinoceros Party and every other fringe party out there. Makes sense.


This time, however, ole May’s got herself a seat in Parliament. But that ain’t good enough for three white dudes called Harper, Layton, and Duceppe. They fought her inclusion tooth and nail. They had different excuses, including the idea that May had talked to Dion and decided not to run a member in whichever riding he had. Basically a tag team against Harper. Whether or not that was true, we will never know. Either way, May fired back with the allegation that Harper and Layton said behind closed doors that if May was included, they were boycotting the debates.


Well now it seems that Harper and Layton are “willing” to include May in the debates. Thanks for your fucking generosity, boys.


It’s clear that they really don’t want her there. Why is that? Do they think that their overall dismal environmental records have steered voters to the Green bill? Are they worried that she’ll slam dunk them in the debate? Or do they think she’s just that pesky student in the corner who constantly waves her hand in the air, asking for their attention? Who knows.


But this is what I do know.


I think that not including May in the debates and then threatening to back out if she does join is a slap in the face to democracy. The democratic process is about letting people have their say and letting voters decide what they want. People want to know their options and as far as I’m concerned, leaders should have to attend these things. Question period is a joke and it isn’t until the leaders are on full display in a televised debate do real arguments come forward.


And lastly, how is it a big deal to let Elizabeth May debate but its kosher beans that the Bloc is there and have been since the beginning? They don’t even run any candidates outside of Quebec.


Let’s be real here. If anyone is running a fringe party, it’s Gilles Duceppe. (And this man is an ardent feminist, so it pains me to say this because I love the guy. But let's cut the bullshit).


Oh and as someone who bleeds orange, I’m disgusted with you Layton. Seriously, dude. Get with it. This whole debacle has you looking as childish as Harper and there’s nothing creepier than a kid with a mustache.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Why I hate Sarah Palin

So I’ve done my best to stay away from American politics because well… that shit is ugly. And complicated. And well, let’s face it, there are a bajillion other blogs out there that tackle it so I figured, why bother?

But this Sarah Palin business has got my La Senza’s in a twist, so I have to add my voice to the mix.

I want to love Palin, I do. She’s a SHE, she’s young, she’s a mother and she’s from freakin’ Alaska. Nobody cares about Alaska! But then, she’s also anti-choice, a homophobe, a creationist and pro-gun. Now I understand being pro-gun and from Alaska; I’m from Northern Ontario after all. I’ve been hunting, I know these things. But you can’t take a pro-gun attitude into the White House. Washington is nobody’s Alaska.

And when the shocking announcement was made that Palin was going to be McCain’s VP, Obama had plenty of opportunity to knock her down a few pegs by bringing up this anti-womyn, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-logic business. But no, he chooses instead to call her to task on having “no experience”.

Paging Obama: Don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house.

And now it seems that Palin has a 17 year old daughter that is *gasp* PREGNANT and of course, unmarried. Well this has sent the “journalists” into a frenzy now hasn’t it? Is she a good anti-choicer for having a daughter who kept the baby or is she coveting a slut? (Forgetting of course that this is the same womyn who cut funding to young mothers and who is a creationist and therefore anti-sex education).

I hate talking about Palin’s private life but I suppose that as long as we can cut up McCain’s rehabbing wife and Michelle Obama’s mothering skills, then everything is up for grabs, like it or not.

But of all the Palin talk of late, I could care less about her daughter, and not just because she has a horrible name (Bristol? Really?).

The latest Palin-ism is her speech at the Republican National Convention where she went on a tirade against Obama for having attacked her lack of experience. Admittedly, she had every right to. But the way in which she did it seemed so… childish. A very “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I” kind of attitude.

In response to being accused of lacking experience, she took a stab at Obama’s days as an activist. Her exact words

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

Really Palin? Honestly? That’s your response?

I’d give you my response but I will choose instead to let the delicious Jay Smooth to do it for me instead, because I couldn’t have said it better myself.

“The difference between a community organizer and a politician is that community organizers are the ones who take the responsibility upon themselves to help their fellow citizens without the benefit of a government budget behind them.”

Amen.


**Thanks to Feministing for the IllDoctrine heads-up**
Update: This Daily Show clip is a must-see.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Meat Slices and The Canadian Way

I spend a lot of time here sarcastically yapping about the "Canadian Way" of doing things. One of the big Canadian stereotypes is that we're awfully polite and apologize quite frequently.

Well, when it comes to Canadian politicians, as I've said before, they apologize alright but it's half-assed, scripted and completely insincere. So imagine my surprise at the latest developments in the Maple Leaf Foods recall.

The whole thing is a complete disaster, with over a dozen people sick and many who have died. Class action lawsuits are in the works and everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else.

Except for Michael McCain. Who is Michael McCain?

He's the president of Maple Leaf Foods. So, in following the Canadian way, he's the last person you'd see sincerely apologizing but he is. On Wednesday, he held a press conference where he took full responsibility for the outbreak and went beyond that to say that it was nobody else's fault but his own. That people are upset and they should be, because well.. they fucked up.

Not only is this an incredible example of accountability at its best, but it's also an incredible smart business practice. Maple Leaf is losing millions of dollars over this outbreak but something tells me that they will recover because he probably restored a lot of faith in the mind of Canadians by being outright about the whole thing.

You know, researchers and politicians have spent a lot of money and resources into finding out why few Canadians vote. And I bet you if what McCain did was the norm and not the exception, then people might have better faith in their leaders.

But something tells me we're not going to see Harper making a press conference of:

"War in Afghanistan? Cuts to Status of Women? Reopening the abortion debate? Keeping homophobes and misogynists on the payroll? Cutting arts funding? Yeah.. my bad."

Something tells me that's not happening anytime soon...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And The Feminists For the Win!

Today, a Canadian feminist rejoices.

Yesterday the Conservatives announced that they were revoking Bill C-484 and wanting to replace it with another more appropriate Bill after the (inevitable) Fall election. This new more "appropriate" Bill will be worded much more clearly and will place the focus on preventing violence against pregnant womyn as people and not as incubators.

BOO-FREAKIN’-YA

If you’ve been following my musings here or the news in general really, you will know that Bill C-484 hasn’t sat well with feminists, lawyers and the medical community alike. Well it seems that us rabble rousers scared the Neo-Cons just a wee bit, so they are backing down on this Bill in order to win some votes in the election. I guess they figured that if we can mobilize quickly around this, then we can mobilize people to vote, too.

This hasn’t warmed me up to the Tories one bit and I don’t think the battle is over, quite yet. I mean, the very root of a Conservative platform is anti-feminist, in my opinion. But I think it is safe to say that this is an excellent example of Canadian democracy in practice.

Let’s face it, politicians of all stripes (with the exception of the Bloc) dropped the ball on this Bill. The Liberal Party has a pro-choice platform and yet the party was divided on the Bill. But the pro-choice community mobilized and demonstrated that we know what’s what.

And now you can see the results.

Canadian Feminists: 1, Conservatives: 0

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Give Up.

The world in general is rather awful at times but Canada is taking the cake for me today.

We have Car Dealer Ownerships in Canada complaining that they have to close until 12:30pm on Remembrance Day.

And then we have someone posing as a murder victim's sister to solicit faulty donations. Tim McLean, the slain Greyhound bus passenger, was the target of con artists who posed as his sister and took money from people who thought they were assisting his family through economic hardship.

I realize that this is the ultimate Debbie Downer post and that there is a slew of fabulous things happening in this country (including, but not limited to, the fact that we now have Olympic medals under our belts!) But I just can't help but get downtrodden at times.

Humanity is pretty sick and twisted and when people are complaining that they're going to lose money because they have to close for 3 and 1/2 hours one day out of the year and other people are capitalizing on a horrific tragedy, it really makes you reconsider how you feel about your country.

Canada: Today I am ashamed to know you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympics Bahlympics

Ahh…. the Olympics. A time when a country puts millions of dollars and common sense aside to show the world the very best they’ve got to offer. Which in Beijing’s case, isn’t much.

And although in a perfect world, the Olympics would be about the athletes and the years of hard work they’ve undergone, that’s definitely not the case. The Olympics are like a giant marketing campaign where a country covers up its worst and plays up its best. Whether their “best” is authentic or not. (Paging Beijing)

Being a former athlete (albeit not a great one) and growing up in a sports culture, I wish I could say that I am a giant supporter of the Olympics. And in theory, I am. These people train their entire lives for a moment in the sun, for a moment to be the very best. And it is so disappointing to see that moment overshadowed by bullshit politics.

So as much as I’m routing for all those athletes, here is my list of reasons why the Olympics (in my less than humble opinion) suck:

1-Mud Slinging: Regardless of which country is hosting, it always turns into a “You suck and I’m so much better” childhood fight but at the international level. Canadians are talking shit about the Chinese government but you know what? Vancouver is going to get it too. Have they not learnt that you shouldn't throw stones?

2- Television Broadcasting: Let’s face it, if you live in Canada right now, there is nothing else to watch but the Olympics. And I’m all about supporting our athletes but give me some variety here, people. Seriously.

3- News Fabrication: Because Canadians are doing less than stellar (as of today, no medals yet) and because of the heavy censuring of journalism coming out of Beijing, people are making mountains out of mole hills. Exhibit A: Fencer loses, which ya know… sucks and so she *gasp* ADMITS that it sucks and compares it to “getting kicked in the nuts” and is then forced to apologize for her "ignorant comment". The only thing ignorant about this whole thing is making an entire news story out of the fact that an athlete lost and wasn't happy about it. Can't win for losing, I guess.

4- Anything-To-Win-Attitude: Forget doping. Underage athletes is the new black.

5- Misogyny: It is well known that female athletes get the short end of the stick in sports coverage. NBA coverage versus WNBA coverage, or lack thereof, being the most cited example. So although the Olympics typically give fairer coverage to all athletes, the misogyny still persists. Perfect example being the newest rules governing beach volleyball uniforms. Male uniforms? Shorts and tank top. Female uniforms? Bikinis.

6- Athlete Bashing: Canada doesn’t give a rat’s ass about their athletes, says Silken Laumann and yours truly couldn’t agree more. We fail to give them enough money and then we throw them under the bus when they don’t perform well. Canadians are really great for touting the whole “Our Canadian Athletes” and putting mountains of pressure on them without actually giving them any kind of boost to get good in the first place. Then we kick them when we’re down. It’s the Canadian thing to do, apparently.

And finally

7- The Cost: Hosting the Olympics is so incredibly expensive that it is truly mindblowing. The creation of stadiums, arenas and event platforms, the “cleaning up” (read: sweeping under the rug) of negative imagery, the media, etc is definitely not cheap. Yeah it’s a temporary boost to the local economy but then it all comes crashing down when the Olympics are over and nobody gives a damn anymore. Couldn't the money be better spent elsewhere?

And that list is just the tip of the iceberg.

I'm not a total grouch and I will admit to getting teary eyed at all the commercials featuring profiles of athletes who are giving it their all. And if we're going to have the Olympics, then the existence of the Paralympic, Special Olympic and Out games is also mucho importante.

But the only real thing I love about the Olympics is when they're over. Okay, okay, the satire is pretty good, too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stay Classy, Ottawa

The maturity of Canadian politicians is often less than desirable. (See Exhibit A). Combine the immaturity of politicians with the sexist environment that is North America and you get this lovely little gem.

You get a Liberal Member of Parliament (man) telling a Tory Senator (not a man) "Marjory should go back to making tea for Brian Mulroney and stay out of serious people's business."

Real mature.

Now he has since apologized and even expanded on what he said to note that he wasn't intending to be sexist but merely to point out that Marjory does Mulroney's bidding and acts like his gopher.

In the sexist environment in which we live, I don't buy it. And quite frankly, as a freakin' Member of Parliament, you'd think he'd use grown up words.

But I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, since I live in a country where the Prime Minister uses such eloquent metaphors as "[Opposition's Green Plan will] screw everybody across the country."

And we have a Liberal staffer who insisted that "[You] Don't give people $25 a day to blow on beer and popcorn." speaking in reference to Government issued refunds.

And a current Tory with a history of homophobic comments that he so deliciously said on tape because well.. he thinks ahead like that. And when the tape went public, he said he was sorry and kept his job.
Moral of Today's Story: It's okay for politicians to act like total jackasses as long as they end it with a half-ass apology.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rita MacNeil: Feminist Terrorist?!

When RCMP documents go from being classified to declassified, few people even know let alone get excited about it. From time to time, there’s a big stink made about certain information that becomes public; juicy tidbits of political fodder. But some recent documents that have become declassified are mighty, mighty important to note, folks.

“RCMP spies infiltrated Canada's women's movement in the early 1970s, monitoring meetings and rallies to keep an eye on feminists, including the popular Maritime singer-songwriter Rita MacNeil, new research into declassified documents shows”.

Take a moment. Breathe that in.

And we’re back.

Yes, that Rita MacNeil, the one with the Christmas specials and always doing duets with the Rankin Family? Her and a whole slew of other feminist activists were once viewed as possible terrorist threats.
This information and subsequent news story is definitely hilarious. Rita fucking MacNeil? A terrorist threat? Jeebus people. Really?!

But it’s also really, really interesting. Feminists carry around a lot of baggage in this country and I don’t think it’s simply a coincidence that the CBC chose to reproduce the select quotes that it did. The CBC article quotes the secret documents as having noted that “The memo on the Winnipeg conference describes one session as "consisting of about 100 sweating, uncombed women standing around in the middle of the floor with their arms around each other crying sisterhood and dancing."

Mmmm…. Sweaty feminists.

So what to make of this news? I’m not surprised that the government would have viewed feminists as possible communist terrorists. Let’s face it, as the article itself states, feminist organizations presented a radical new way of mobilizing and rejected notions of hierarchy and dominance. Seems rather communist to the untrained eye.

I never thought I would say this, but I long for the days when feminist groups were viewed as terrorist organizations. It seems much better than the way they are viewed today which is quite frankly, not at all. Feminist groups are seen as a nuisance, an annoying mosquito in the Prime Minister’s ear at best and they are never given a seat at the table. At least when we were deemed as some sort of “threat”, we got their attention.

I’m not advocating that us feminists do anything to merit ourselves the lovely badge of terrorist but some attention to the issues would be nice. Because let’s face it, the word feminist leaves such a nasty taste in people’s mouths that the CBC didn’t even dare include it in the title of it’s article.

Maybe I should change my name from Feminist Catalyst to Feminist Terrorist and I could start a Dream Team with Rita MacNeil at the helm. It could happen.

Friday, August 1, 2008

No Shit, Sherlock

The Obvious Article Of the Day Award Goes To....*drumroll*

THE NATIONAL POST! for their winner of a headline: "Witnesses on bus could be traumatized for years: experts".

If you haven't heard about the horrific, horrific incident in Manitoba on Wednesday, I'm not going to be the one to direct you to articles about it. They are graphic, horrific and unnecessary.

I am disgusted that news reports are giving such vivid and gruesome details of the incident without prefixing their articles with a loud GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING or something of the like.

In the case of the National Post, they seem to at least give a damn about the mental health of the witnesses. But why do they need to release such details in the first place? What benefit do Canadians have by knowing the exact and precise details about the incident? Does it change anything?

I don't think so.

Either way, I hope it goes without saying that my heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim and all the witnesses. This is fucking horrible.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CBC: One baby step at a time...

It appears as though researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island are having a hard time recruiting womyn to participate in research regarding domestic violence. The researchers, who received funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Research, have found it nearly impossible to recruit participants as womyn on the Island fear for their privacy and confidentiality.

As someone who works with survivors, this doesn’t surprise me in the least. Womyn who are experiencing abuse or who have experienced abuse are incredibly aware of their boundaries and their privacy. Imagine living with an abuser who then discovers that you’ve been telling others about what it’s like to live in your house. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Now take those womyn and place them on a province as small as PEI and you’ve got a serious issue. The issues of privacy are exacerbated in small or rural areas as everyone knows everyone’s business.

So if this is common knowledge to moi or anyone who knows anything about working with survivors, why am I bothering to write about it here?

Because I’m really freakin’ impressed with the fact that this made the news. CBC.ca in particular has been incredibly bad as of late for writing about pointless shit and essentially making up the news. Of course, I’m not so impressed with the internet trolls who deem it necessary to bring out the ole “But what about the men? Men get abused too!” bullshit but you know, baby steps.

I'm still incredibly impressed with the CBC's ability to still talk about news items from time to time. Now if they'd just quit writing about goddamn Maria...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Smooth Criminals

Being the raging lefty feminist that I am, I make it a general rule to reject prison sentences as the ultimate answer to crime. The prison industrial complex is a reality and there is very little if any rehabilitation in prison and the makeup of the current prison system is appalling.

At this point in my life, I wouldn’t call myself a prison abolitionist as I am not 100% decided on what I think an alternative would be. But I do know that the prison system is messed up and a microcosm of the racism, sexism and overall discrimination that exists in this country. Not to mention our archaic beliefs about sexuality, drug use and definition of “crime”.

Exhibit A: We have two young womyn in New Brunswick who made “A poster-like image of a young boy accompanied by writing that said he had been sexually abused and killed” and left said poster on the grounds of a traveling carnival. A full blown homicide investigation ensued which involved a forensics lab in the US of A.

Turns out, the whole thing was a scam and there was no young boy. In fact, the whole thing was the harebrained idea of a couple bored teenagers.

Talk about horrific. These are the kinds of people who make youth look bad. These are the bad apples that ruin it for all the others. And these are the kinds of people who should be punished harshly. They’re young, they did this for fun and they wasted precious police time and resources.

And their punishment? Well, there is none. According to police Constable Stephane Roy

“The teens, who are older than 12 but under the age of 18, received a verbal warning. They haven't been in trouble with the law before and won't be facing criminal charges, he said.”
But, grow some weed and you’re in hella, hella deep. (Speaking of which, shut the hell up, Margaret Wente).

I’m not saying straight up jail time for these young womyn but something needs to happen here. Otherwise we’re setting people up to think that it’s okay to pull stupid pranks like this because “Hey, all you’ll get is a visit from the cops” which I’m sure makes for a great story at your next party.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Seriously people.

Can someone, somewhere not do something about this taser business?

Jeebus..

Enough is enough.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Culture For Sale

So I’m sure most of you can deduct by now that I’m a really shitty person to watch television with. I comment on everything and there is very little that doesn’t irk me in some way. Last night was no exception.

Last night was The Miss Universe 2008 competition. Obviously this is just a cesspool of misogyny, objectification, racism, capitalism, etcetera. Don’t preach to me about a “scholarship” program and all that jazz. Sure, the Miss Universe gig is prestigious and you get a lot of free swag, but you also get the same by being voted Playmate of the Year and nobody calls that a goddamn scholarship program.

They are grown womyn called “Miss” who strut around in their underwear, wanting world peace and if that wasn't enough, Donald Trump owns the franchise. And to quote David Letterman, why is it called Miss Universe? Shouldn’t it be Miss World? I haven’t seen anyone competing from Jupiter.

But I digress.

My issue last night was not with the competition per se, as I knew what I was getting into when I flipped to it, but with the “National Costume” portion of the show. This year, each contestant strutted in a “costume” that represented their “nation” and online voters decided which was best. Ironically enough, I made a guess before that part of the show even started as to what Miss Canada would be dressed as. And it turns out, yours truly was correct.

Miss Canada was dressed as... an Aboriginal.

Now, on the surface, that’s pretty damn stellar. Samantha Tajik, Miss Canada, was born in Iran and raised in Canada and was representing Canada in Aboriginal garb. Diversity as its best!

Except of course for the fact that it's example number 871267234 of Canada appropriating Aboriginal identity for its benefits and completely negating their existence as human beings (and yeah, I’m bitter that the costume was also incredibly inaccurate. But I’m a stickler for details).

At Disney exhibits demonstrating “Nations Around the World”, you go to Canada and you get totem poles. You go to tacky tourist traps in Canada, you can buy headdresses for your rearview mirror and little totem pole statues.

I’m all about the celebrating of aboriginal cultures but the commodification of cultures does not do this. It homogenizes them and keeps them somehow frozen in time, denying them the ability to actually you know… exist. There's no dialogue, no celebrating. There's this "Aww, aren't they cute?" quality to the whole thing that is gagalicious.

But what can you expect from a competition that places equal weight on your bikini strut as your ability to answer a question on the spot.

(For the record, Miss Venezuela won).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

BREAKING NEWS!

The Quebec Cabinet is quite possibly revoking their 21 year ban on yellow margarine. Woo!

Quebec still doesn't like the mocking of poutine, the spread of bilingualism, or reasonable accomodation, but they are now down with butter-looking-margarine.

Soon, we will hear Quebecors all across La Belle Province exclaiming "I can't believe it's not butter!"*

* Oh yeah, I went there.

Monday, July 7, 2008

This Ain't a Scene; it's a Goddamn Arms Race

So as the ole adage goes “You learn something new everyday”. And today is proving right for this raging blogger.

Did you know that the company that is paid to process the Statistics Canada Census Information goes by the lovely name of Lockheed Martin?

I didn't until today. But yup, Lockheed Martin.

Yes. That Lockheed Martin. The American arms dealer company. You know, the people who makes shitloads of money from the killing of others overseas and nationally as well?

Yeah, those classy bastards.

And well, two Canadians found this out and refused to fill out their census sheet as a form of protest. Very Ghandi-like, don’t you agree? Well in Canada, we take our censuses very, very seriously. No Ghandi for us. We take censuses so seriously in fact that these two Canadians are facing up to 3 months in jail and a 500$ fine.

Do we not have better shit to do with our times? Are we really going to go through the process of prosecuting these people who quite frankly, have an amazing point. Reknowned Arms Dealers should not be given Canadian contracts. Period. Especially when they are companies which fall under the Patriot Act and therefore allow the American Man to check their records if it fits their fancy.

And you know what? As a Canadian, I’m really saddened that this contract would go to an American company at all. Even if it were a kickass one. But you can thank NAFTA for that one, as the rules of NAFTA dictate that the contracts must be open to any company in North America.

Lesson for Today: Canada loves gun toting American corporations and hates passive-aggressive Canadians.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oh Canada...

Around the same time as Canada Day, comes a major victory for pro-choice advocates in this lovely country of mine. Henry Morgentaller was awarded the Order of Canada this week, which is a huge dropkick to the anti-choice crowd. I say HUZZAH! The man is a Concentration Camp survivor who performed abortions and advocated for their availability, knowing it would get him jailed (which it did, several times). He fought the good fight and he’s getting some serious recognition for it.

The awarding of Orders is usually pretty quiet and only when bigwigs like Morgentaller get one do people pipe up and have an opinion. And of course, on this one, the opinions are just rollin’. CBC.ca has this great PRO – CON thing on their site which I love. Mostly because Heather Mallick *swoon* actually writes about the pros of giving him the award whereas batshit crazy Stephanie Gray (I’m not linking to her, feel free to Google her yourself) goes on about the perils of abortion and how Canadians need to answer whether “It is right to do what is wrong”. She makes the ABORTION IS MURDER argument but is smart enough not to follow that line of reasoning and flat out call Morgentaller a murderer because well… he isn’t one.

But quite frankly, without calling Morgentaller out his so-called murdering ways, her entire article is ridiculous and out of place. Mallick states the pros of his award and Gray goes on a rant about… zygotes. Smooth move, sister! But I gotta give Gray some credit because she at least follows through on her crazy logic. She thinks that abortion is wrong in all cases including rape and incest. I’ve seen her speak at a campus “debate” and she came out and said it there, too. It’s a ridiculous line of argument and it’s not often spoken because it’s so contentious so I honestly give her credit for stickin’ to her guns. Even if her guns are way, way, way off.

But you know what, the fact that Morgentaller is in need of constant security and the opposite equations like Stephanie Gray are not just goes to show who the crazies really are.

And while we're on the topic of crazies, check this guy out. A Priest who is returning his Order of Canada because he does not want to be associated with Morgentaller. Like Gray, I say word up on stickin' to your convictions. But the guy is a priest. Who is associated with Catholicism. Yeah. Okay.

So this Canada Day, I say congrats to Morgentaller and his hard work and constant dedication. And boooo to Stephanie Gray and her desire for “Bio-Ethical Reform”. Oh and while I’m at it, word up to CBC.ca for creating a forum on the issue and booo at the same time, for the lovely heading “Missing Escort Found Buried in Yard”. Do you people know nothing by now?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Get Off your Ass AND Save a Tree!

Sticking it to the Man can get quite exhausting. In fact, paying attention to the world AT ALL is exhausting and not to mention, a huge downer. So it’s awfully refreshing to read a good piece of news, proof that there are some people in the world that are taking things in a good direction.

If you know anything about Canada, you know about the big boom that is Alberta. (If you don’t, you haven’t been reading one of the best blogs around). Either way, the place is booming and there are constant new developments. The Calgary City Council made a pretty stellar move recently when they disallowed a new business complex to have drive-thrus.

Their reasoning is that they are trying to build a sense of community and by having people stay in their cars to do pretty much everything these days, the chance of actually running into your neighbour and stopping to chat are slim to none.

There’s actually a really strong movement to outright ban drive-thrus in many municipalities and many are fighting for it to be law from coast to coast. The reason most often used is that drive-thrus are HORRIFIC for the environment. Think about it. You’re just sitting there, idling away with your arm out the window like a toddler, waiting for your pre-fab food. Or bank money. Or prescription. Yes, some pharmacies have drive-thrus now.

So I say, down with Drive-Thrus! Let's get off our asses and walk a few feet, shall we?

Alright so by positive news, I didn’t exactly mean world peace and candy for all, but! it’s a start, people.

**For those of you wanting to take action, there is an online petition here asking for the banning of drive-thrus. Online petitions are generally pretty inaffective but you can add your voice to the debate nonetheless.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Things that Make You Go Hmmm....*

A report released today found that Toronto’s population of homeless womyn face high rates of assault, both physical and sexual, and almost every participant in the study had a major physical health problem. Not to mention depression, anxiety, stress, etc. The report found that homeless womyn face overwhelmingly more issues than homeless men.

In fact, the report finds that “Homeless women in Toronto are 10 times more likely to be sexually assaulted and twice as likely to have a mental illness as homeless men”.

Now for anyone working in social services or in the area of social justice, this is pretty obvious stuff. Sad and upsetting but not shocking. But this report is important for policy issues and for a general wake up call to Canadians as a whole.

Reading comments on CBC.ca, there were a lot of “How can this be happening in Canada?” “We can send money to Afghanistan, but not to Toronto. What’s wrong with us?” Stuff that I would completely agree with. Homeless is not a cut and dry issue but it is embarrassing than in a country like ours, that this is happening, especially in Toronto or Ottawa or Northern regions where the winters are deadly. It’s deadly and a really sick reflection of Canadians talking the talking but not wanting to walk the walk.

Especially when you read the majority of the comments on CBC.ca You know, the ones who spew age-old bullshit about how homeless people are lazy and violent bastards who aren’t to be trusted because DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THAT HOMELESS GUY WHO BUSED HERE FROM CALIFORNIA?! YEAH, HE WAS TOTALLY RICH AND HE CAME HERE TO STEAL FROM US BECAUSE WE’RE ALL SUCKERS. You know, those classic lines.

BUT!

Click on over to a story about a dog that was found badly beaten on a beach in Newfoundland and you get a flood of “We really need to do something about animal abusers.” “We need stricter laws and direct action”.

I’ll admit. The dog story is horrific and incredibly sad, but so is the fact that 84% of homeless womyn surveyed in Toronto had at least 1 serious health condition. And I’m not advocating one or the other. You can advocate for the homeless and for animal rights. In fact, I highly suggest it.

But I think we also need to question why people are so quick to defend animals but downright spiteful of the homeless.

To me, that’s the saddest part of all.


**In honour of my 50th post, a cookie to whoever can figure out where the title of this post is from...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hello? CBC? Is that you?

So CBC.ca published a story as part of their front page rotation with the wonderful title: “Pregnancy pact alarms officials at U.S. high school: reports”

**cue horror movie music**

According to “reports”, 18 teenagers in a school of 1,200 are pregnant. All of which are under 18 and at least one of them got pregnant by a 24 homeless man. The reason? Well according to “reports”, it’s because they made a pact to get pregnant and raise their children together.

Yes, the Canadian Broadcasting Channel “reported” this delicious story, based on “reports” that blamed the “pact” on such things as the “glamorizing [of] pregnancy with movies such as Juno and Knocked Up, plus Nickelodeon star Jamie Lynn Spears becoming a mother this week at age 17.”

Alright, first things first. This “pact” is quite possibly a rumour. No one has actually been able to “confirm” this so-called pact, but it sure does make a sensational headline.

Secondly, CBC’s “reports” are an article in Time Magazine.

Thirdly, if you’re going to go all parent-like on people and accuse Hollyweird of putting ideas in people’s heads, then get it right. Knocked Up was about a mid to late 20s, employed womyn getting pregnant. Not even close to being in the same category as Juno.

Fourthly, they spend most of the article essentially blaming Hollywood and then toss in the little line that is, in my opinion, the right one. “The U.S. has traditionally had the highest teen birth rate of all developed countries.” And you can thank the gagrule and the other great, Bush endorsed abstinence education people for that one.

And finally, this story also appeared on PerezHilton.com, Dlisted.com and FOX. Seriously CBC, get your shit together. I can’t recognize you under all your sensationalized, ass-pulling, made-up “news”.