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, 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 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.


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 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, and FOX. Seriously CBC, get your shit together. I can’t recognize you under all your sensationalized, ass-pulling, made-up “news”.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

People are People, So Why Should it Be?

In Canada, the federally funded collection of data tells us delicious stats such as the fact that womyn are more likely than men to be the victims of the most severe forms of spousal assault, as well as spousal homicide, sexual assault and criminal harassment. Or the fact that in 2004 alone, 52,127 womyn were admitted into shelters. This does not include the amount of womyn who were turned away from shelters. And well, in Canada, in 90% of the cases, the perpetrator is male.

I’m not a big statistics junkie and I refuse to play into the “BUT MEN ARE ABUSED TOO” rhetoric because yeah, you know what? They are abused. They definitely are. And definitions of masculinity often hinder men from being able to speak out about that abuse and that really, really sucks. BUT! That doesn’t change the fact that the numbers speak loud and clear about the fact that men are most often the perpetrators of violence, against womyn and men.

And although womyn as a whole are continuous targets of male perpetrated violence, marginalized womyn are even more vulnerable. This is rather common sense. And if it wasn’t common sense to you already, then the recent headlines screaming across Canada have made it abundantly clear.

Prostitute killer to serve 17 years in prison before parole (CBC)

Svelka Found Guilty of Murdering 1 Prostitute (CTV)

Prostitute killer Thomas Svekla sentenced to at least 17 years in prison (The Canadian Press)

Prostitute. Prostitute. Prostitute. If you aren’t 100% sure by now, the womyn who was killed? Prostitute. Not a plumber, a doctor, a cashier, an artist. Nope. A prostitute.

You mean to tell me that if an electrician gets killed, the headlines will scream ELECTRICIAN KILLER SENTENCED TO 17 YEARS?

I realize that it is not that simple and that often times, the occupation is associated with the person’s identity because their murder was somehow related to their work. NURSE KILLED BY PATIENT. You know, shit like that. But according to moi (which is what you get when you’re standing near my soapbox), this is part of the systemic nature of violence against womyn. A system that continuously perpetuates the idea that violence against womyn is somehow okay, normal, accepted. “She was a prostitute? Oh okay.” Like somehow that puts the pieces together and justifies it all.

She was a human being for Christ sake. Last I heard, so are all sex workers. For a country that is so adamantly against the death penalty, we still seem to pass judgement on who will live or die.

*For all you skeptics, all Stats info found on official StatsCan site.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Paging NeoCons Everywhere: Get with the Times

When “Cold, wet spring threatens B.C. pot crop” is a headline on a federally funded news site, the neo-cons on the Hill should probably perk up and pay attention.

I am a strict straightedge lady and I get it, so what’s Harper’s problem?

I was in Vancouver recently and I can certainly attest to the cold, soggy weather that they are having. It’s no wonder that their crops are dying off. This is certainly a concern for an industry that CBC grossly underestimates at being worth 1 billion. Truthfully, it’s worth 5x that or more. And as the article points out, it’s not like fewer crops mean that people are just going to stop buying it. Rather, the people who are able to make it grow nonetheless or who are hydroponics will up the price.

Economics 101 says: Supply and Demand. Less supply, higher prices. More supply, lower prices. Basic, basic, basic.

So get on the train, Harper. Legalize, monitor and tax. Then everyday folks can start benefiting from the profits, police services can be diverted and we can start focusing on agriculture as a whole. This article only chooses to focus on BC pot crops because it’s so risqué to do so. But the reality is that all kinds of crops are suffering and with the rising costs of food, Canada needs to be concerned about this.

So legalize it and have it under the banner of "agriculture" and then we can manage the industry like we do every other agricultural one.

Besides, a great plus side of legalization is that we won’t need to rely on asshats like Marc Emery to serve as spokesperson to the “cause”.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

If By "Entry Error", You Mean "Stereotyping", Then We're Talking...

A Winnipeg youth worker and rapper was pulled over in Winnipeg on Wednesday and accused of driving a stolen vehicle. The man and the youth he was mentoring, had guns pulled on them and were cuffed and thrown to the ground.

The vehicle was not stolen and did in fact belong to him. He never reported it stolen and was just leaving Starbucks with, did I mention, the young man he was mentoring?

The police say it was a "data entry error" and the man in question says it was "racial profiling" as he is a young black man who was driving a Chrysler 300.

You say "data entry error", I say "profiling". Semantics? I think not.

But remember, kids: Canada is not racist. Noppers. Not one bit.
* I used a nice old school picture of the Manitoba police force because they might as well be dressed as archaically as they act.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bling and Babies

Part 2 of my discussion on genitalia in the media looks at the funding of IVF or In-Vitro Fertilization.

I came across this article about a month or so now written be a medical ethicist who is lobbying the provinces to fund IVF for couples who want children. I went into reading the article with some pretty strong convinctions of my own regarding IVF.

I do not support the use of IVF as a general rule. Let me clarify here that I am referring to heterosexual couples, which is who this particular ethicist was referring to as well. Reproductive issues for non-heterosexual couples is a whole other can of worms that I won't get into here.

Nonetheless, in my undergrad, I wrote a paper in my philosophy course on my reasons for it and in a nutshell, I think it's selfish. I think people who choose IVF are less interested in being parents than in having small little versions of themselves. There are tons of children awaiting adoption and so why not choose that route instead? I am baffled by the morality of this society which looks down upon abortion (therefore supporting adoption) and yet is such a strong supporter of IVF. Where does these adopted babies go exactly?

Now I know couples who are seeking IVF and so I have been challenged directly by this, but I have yet to hear a solid argument in support of it.

HOWEVER, this article persuaded me that if we are going to have IVF, it should be funded.

Now I've heard peeps say "Hey, we fund abortions, so why not fund families who desperately seek a child but can't afford it?"

I don't support the funding of IVF because I'm all about the babies. I'm not. Babies are alright and all, I suppose but the reason I support the funding of IVF for couples in Canada is because, according to those in the medical profession, who presumably know what the hell they're talking about, when couples seek out IVF but do not have the necessary moola to acquire it, they find doctors who will prescribe them the drugs only, which results in triplets or more.

Basically, no moola + infertility + desire for baby = babieS, plural. Which in strictly economic terms, doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense.

I do not have a medical background and so in this particular case, I need to rely on those who do to lead the way. So if you want my opinion (which if you don't, why the hell are you reading this?!) provinces should fund IVF for couples who seek it out. Not because I support the use of IVF but because I don't support the idea of families having a bajillion babies they can't afford.

In this sense, I guess it's a harm reduction baby-making model.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Absence Really Does Make the Heart Grow Fonder

I am away on business and will have limited blogosphere access for a bit. Therefore please be advised that I have not abandoned the cause, it's just that a girl's gotta get paid, son.

A post on the pros/cons of funding IVF is on its way. Brace yourself!