Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks: Democracy on trial?

The release of a new set of documents on WikiLeaks has prompted the US government to conduct an investigation of how the information got out. Sounds fair.

But the broader question remains: Do we have a right to that information?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Things You Should Know About Canadians

For those of you who read this blog and are not a Canuck, let me help you understand my people.

1- We come off as awful nice (and we are!) but we crack under pressure and well... cheat.

2- We're allergic to everything.

3- We're really good at satire. So good that we have this epic brain drain where our funny talent heads south. But our neighbours to the south often get this idea that because they've got Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, that they've got satire in their blood. No way, my friend. We do it right.

That is all for today's lesson.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"My Mic Sounds Nice"

As someone who grew up listening to a whole lotta music and who was always searching for a female artist to relate to, I am lovin' this BET documentary on female MCs in hip hop.

The whole thing is available online and I totally recommend it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Girl Crush!

I have such a huge crush on Jill Filipovic. I can't even deal.

Here she is, taking on a right-wing blogger about the building of a "mosque" at "Ground Zero".

*swoon*

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Too Many Amazing People for One Day

Usually when I make a blogroll of articles, it contains a long list of shitty news items that are incredibly depressing. Today, I'm happy to report that I'm compiling a list of must-read blog posts and articles. They're all so good that I couldn't possibly do the subject matters any justice on my own, so I'll leave it to them.

"No, I don't hate men. I distrust them". A classic blogpost from the blog "Shakesville" about this very statement. A must-read.

The epic (and let's face it, totally foxy) Jackston Katz discusses Mel Gibson's tirade against womyn, people of colour, queers, etc and how it speaks volumes about rape culture.

Salon takes on the new Rihanna and Eminem video for the song that I really, really want to hate.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Félicitations!

As a franco-ontarian and a proud Canadian, I can't love the Bloc Québécois. I just can't.

But I can love Gilles Duceppe and individual MPs from their party. And I do love Duceppe. I really do.

I met him in the context of abortion rights and dude knew his stuff. He admitted to being the first Bloc representative for Status of Women because, by his own admission, the Bloc started off with a crappy record on female representation in the party. He also called on his party to refer to the 'pro-life' movement as 'anti-choicers'. Dude was for real.

He is an also an impeccable dresser. FYI.

So I want to join in on those who are wishing Mr. Duceppe congratulations on 20 years as an MP. As one Globe and Mail comment states, love him or hate him, the other parties would do much better if they had a leader like Duceppe running the show.

Félicitations M. Duceppe!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fact Over Fiction

As you know, I'm one of the people who has been going on and on about how killing the mandatory long-form census is a bad, bad idea.

To recap, killing it is so, very, bad because we need quality, tried and true, statistics in order to make good public policy. You can't make sound policy based on wonky facts or worse yet, no statistics at all.

But I knew that the reasoning for smashing the mandatory form had nothing to do with the so-called desire to protect 'civilian privacy'. I knew they had something up their sleeve.

The conspiracy theorist in me thought it was that they could shoot down demands for social justice issues under the guise of "You need research/data to back up that so-called claim of yours, Missy". And since they're hacking away at the census and de-funding social justice research groups, a claim of injustice would be harder to 'prove'.

Now the truth has come out: The Conservatives just don't like facts. Nope, they don't like 'em one bit.

Proof: Treasury Board President Stockwell Day has said that despite crime statistics going down, they are going to increase spending on prisons. His reasoning? "crime statistics are not accurate".

Now, if this was coming out of the mouth of anyone else, I just might believe it. Anyone who works as a front-line worker will tell you that rates of sexual assault, criminal harassment (stalking) and domestic violence are way, way higher than any statistic out there. Crimes such as these are highly under reported.

But a group as misogynist and anti-womyn as the Conservatives saying this? Sounds to me like more hogwash in an attempt to push a 'law and order' agenda. Let's not for one second fool ourselves into thinking they care about putting rapists, wife beaters and stalkers in jail. Do yourself a favour on that one.

Yet again, I don't know why I'm surprised by any of this. Of course Stockwell Day doesn't believe in facts - he's a fucking creationist!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Why the Mandatory Long Form Census Matters

Reasons why cutting it is really, really stupid:

1- The "Leave-People's-Bedrooms-Out-Of-This" is less Trudeau-Chic as it is just plain bad policy making.

2- The "We Need to Trim The Bureaucratic Fat" argument is just... silly.

3- It screws over First Nations.

4- And well, the decision to cut it clearly didn't involve consulting with those who actually know what they're talking about.

This might seem like a ridiculously petty 'scandal' but it's very telling of the political climate that Canadians are living in.

If we keep cutting funding to organizations that the government doesn't agree with, and cutting important research and cutting important statistical information, then people won't know what they don't know.

And that's a serious problem.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vatican FAIL... again.

The Vatican has come out and said that child abuse in the Church is a major no-no. That is awesome.

Not so awesome? Equating the abuse of children in the church with ordaining womyn.

Yeah, apparently it's equally as sinful to ordain a womyn as it is to molest a child.

Oh, Church Logic. Isn't it grand?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No Honour in Misogyny

Rona Ambrose, the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, spoke on Monday about wanting to include 'honour killings' in the Criminal Code.

Me, and lots of other peeps, are opposed to this.

First and foremost, it's not necessary, from a logistical point of view.

"Three law professors said the first-degree murder provisions of the Criminal Code already contain all the tools needed to prosecute and punish those who commit "honour killings" and they knew of no Canadian judge or jury who treated cultural family "honour" as a mitigating factor in sentencing." (National Post)

So it's clear from the outset that this is ideological and in no way a real "Crime and Punishment" agenda. It wouldn't be necessary to get a conviction and it wouldn't change sentencing.

Before I move on though, none of this should matter. When discussing issues around a specific group (and let's be honest, this is targeting a specific group of people), how about discussing that issue with them?

In this case, it would be the Canadian Council on Muslim Women. And they don't agree with adding it to the Criminal Code for reasons that I 100% support.

"We as an organization don't want the term honour killing used in Canada because it's making it exotic, something alien, and foreign, and people are using that as a rationale to understand the murders. Let's not go that route. A murder is a murder. Let's not separate us as new immigrants or ethnic groups from the rest of Canadian women. It doesn't matter which culture, which religion or which ethnic origin we come from, the same laws should apply to us." (National Post)

The Conservative Government wants to appear as though they are tough on crime (which they are) but also that they do care about the lady folk. Everyone (except the Cons) knows that the party has been horrid to womyn in Canada and so they've turned the gaze 'elsewhere' and made it about 'saving the womyn of the world'. And in this case, womyn of the world who come to Canada.

It's total bullshit.

As a Canadian-born feminist, I must also say that it offends me to no end that people are up in arms about 'honour killings' but sensationalize or worse yet, barely discuss the murders of womyn as a whole.

In Canada, we have over 520 missing and murdered aboriginal womyn. Just today we heard about a 61 year old womyn who was sexually assaulted and almost died while visiting a friend's grave. (I would link to the story but it's really awful, so feel free to Google it yourself if you're wanting some salacious details). Eight womyn are sexually assaulted a day in Canada's capital city.

Womyn across the country are assaulted, kidnapped and murdered on a daily basis often because they have 'wronged' a partner, taken children away from abusers, or done something in some way that resists (or attempts to resist) someone's power. More often than not, womyn are murdered because they are womyn. And quite frankly, just existing for many womyn is an assault on some people's honour. But we don't call those honour killings. Hell, we don't even call them hate crimes. It's just - one more murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, battery, etc.

The root of 'honour killings' and the vast majority of violence against womyn is misogyny. Unless they're going to include that in the Criminal Code and start targeting the real roots of misogyny, which include an emphasis on 'crime and punishment' rather than social services, then the label of 'honour killings' does nothing but perpetuate racism and isolation of immigrant communities.

Rona and her pack of Conservative thugs should focus instead of attacking all roots of violence and using existing mechanisms rather than making stuff up that may sound fancy but doesn't mean shit.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lex Luther AGAIN?!

By the fall, I will officially find out if Ottawa's current Mayor is dimmer than I thought or City of Ottawa residents are dimmer than I thought.

Ottawa's current Mayor has just announced that he will be running for re-election.

Let's just recap the epic fuckups so far:

1- He called Ottawa's homeless "pigeons" and insisted that if we stop giving them money, they will go away. Delightful.

2- His entire campaign was around 0% tax increases and then... increased taxes.
3- Then there was that whole, let's bribe the opposition thing.

4- Oh and hey, can't forget the ridiculously long transit strike that saw people walking miles in the dead of winter.

Then there was the lawsuit over the canceling of a giant contract for the construction of new transit, his recent comments about his competition, Jim Watson, being a 'old lady' and the list goes on.

Considering transit has been defined as the #1 issue concerning Ottawa residents for the upcoming election, here's hoping that people take a clue and realize "Hey, maybe Larry's not the guy I want in charge".

Here's hoping....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dating Violence on the Rise in Canada

A new Statistics Canada report finds that rates of reported dating violence are on the rise, for both womyn and men. I say reported because the study is quick to point out that the rates are probably higher across the board because people so rarely report.

Unfortunately, this information is not surprising to me on its own. The fact that teenage girls experience 10x more dating violence than their male counterparts is not news to those of us that are paying attention but it's 'nice' to have solid statistics to back up what advocates are saying on a daily basis.

One aspect that I hope doesn't get lost in all this is that the majority of incidents occurred after the relationship had ended. So when we hear "Why won't she just leave him?" for the upteenth time, you can point to this statistic to demonstrate why womyn don't leave abusive situations.

The relationship might be awful on its own but many womyn choose to stay because they know that leaving will only make it worse.

Here's hoping those with the power to do so, take this report seriously and start enacting some serious work to combat it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I am an activist

I am an activist.

I am a proud, active, social justice activist who fights, day in and day out, for a more just society. I am deeply invested in anti-oppressive politics and am passionate about educating as many people as possible.

Because of all this, I have clearly had a very, very busy weekend. The G8/G20 has forced me to once again re-evaluate my politics, my tactics and quite frankly, my allies.

A few things first:

- I chose not to attend the G8/G20 demonstrations. I make this distinction because I believe there is a clear difference between people like myself who chose not to participate in such events and those who want to attend them but cannot.

- I am highly privileged and could afford to get arrested without enduring serious harm to my physical or political self. In fact, in many of the activist circles I run in, getting arrested would actually give me some serious cred.

Like every annoying intellect worth their salt, I have more questions than answers when it comes to Gs activism but at least I'm honest about not knowing it all.

First confession: I used to be unequivocally opposed to violent protesting and thought that anyone who refuses to show their face during a protest was a coward who was unworthy of the activist title.

Then I listened to Harsha Walia speak about the diversity of tactics. You should, too. You should also note, however, that after her amazing talk about the importance of all types of activism for all issues, the camera pulls back and you see that she is wearing Nike shoes. This should also be discussed.

I agree with Harsha and the principle of a diversity of tactics. I firmly, firmly believe that diversifying tactics is the only way that change will occur. I also now understand the politics of the "Black Block" and those who engage in Block like tactics.

Black Block et al, take note: The revolution will not happen from a burning cop car. Nor will it come from the shouts of "Fuck the police" or the shattering of bank windows (more on this later).

Nor will it happen from letter writing or lobbying alone. Not only is bureaucracy light years behind civilization, even decent, well timed laws or policies cannot single handily change the minds of individuals and create great change.

Change will happen when the grassroots meet the Ivory Tower and people below and above are speaking the same language.

The issues must be attacked from all sides at all times so that different people, with different approaches and different perspectives, are all receiving the same message.

Womyn have achieved a certain level of equity in society not because we fought for the right to vote. Nor is it because of conscious raising groups. It took both. It took womyn on the ground, building solidarity, educating our brothers and sisters about the reality of our lives and it took policies and laws that allowed us to be represented and created opportunities for retribution when our personhood was ignored.

And so my use of lobbying techniques for the G8/G20 go hand-in-hand with those who took to the streets over the weekend, said "Whose streets? Our streets!" and held their placards high.

Second confession: I am not a communist nor do I believe in anarchy. But I am not a pacifist. (I'm also not a terrorist).

I think police are a necessary evil, much like taxes and fluoride toothpaste. I think shouting "pigs" and vandalising stores/banks is short sighted and ineffective.

In the case of the police, good old Rex Murphy made the unfortunate comment that the #1 ally of the Black Block is Stephen Harper, and I believe him. The Black Block and the violent protesters over the weekend simply worked to justify the excessive police state at the Gs (and it was excessive. More arrests this weekend than during the entire FLQ crisis!)

When I speak of violence, I do not, in any way, shape or form include those who used violence in self-defense, in an attempt to protect their friends/allies or as a means of survival when being unlawfully attacked. As I said, I am not a pacifist.

But the BB knows full well that they get plenty of media attention, which was reflected in an iconic photograph (that I, of course, can no longer find... But I'm working on it!) where a member of the Black Block is charging a Starbucks window, staring at camera crews who number in the dozens. It has been argued that this is the point - drawing attention to the issues and forcing people to witness what violence against society looks like.

But what about those who protested with their faces shown, who engaged in the 'critical mass' bike ride or who marched with tambourines and placards? The irony, of course, is that many people who support the Black Block tactics also posted to various articles saying "What the media ignored: 25, 000 peaceful protesters". But many of them ignored it themselves.

Whether you are an activist or a member of the media (or the elite!), we must all acknowledge the 25,000+ protesters who came out en masse, in solidarity and chanted for queer rights, womyn's rights, animal rights, civilian liberties, etc.

I monitor the CBC quite heavily, either radio, internet or television, because quite frankly, my taxes pay for that shit. And as much as I love to hate on the media for their ignorance or selective listening, they have been quite excellent at giving voice to the protesters who came out with serious issues and clear messages. This is reflected in their photo galleries, for example, which gave room for images of protesters and their messages. And not simply pictures of them being arrested.

(Of course, I would argue that much of the press around the security state is because so many journalists were unlawfully detained and so like most people, when one of their own is affected, they take notice.)

All of which to say that insisting that violence demonstrations are necessary to get the message out has been proven false.

Why do I think vandalising stores and banks is ineffective?

Just look at BP. BP has created one of the, if not the, worst oil disaster in history. BP is evil, evil, evil. But independent retailers who carry the BP name are being hit really, damn, hard. Of course, their entire livelihood is built upon the exploitation of mother nature and so one could certainly argue that they are a liability in the fight against oil. Sure. But do you think the individual people who work there are concerned about that right now?

Individual workers at gas stations have had their hours cut or are being laid off because people are boycotting BP for its disaster.

I support the boycotting of BP but I also can't ignore those that are suffering from that. (And let's not pretend that people who pump the gas at the station are rolling in dough, either).

The same goes with the Starbucks and other stores in Toronto. First off, not only major corporations were hit. There is plenty of footage of people vandalising things like local antique stores, so there's that issue.

But let's take Starbucks.

Starbucks is indeed a ubiquitous, yuppie extravaganza that charges a fortune for a fancy coffee. Starbucks is a clear target. Yes, nobody was hurt and a window pane has no feelings. Many, many more people are affected by a brutal police force, violence from the state, state-waged war, etc. Abso-fucking-lutely.

But how can you claim to be fighting for the little guy/gal when you're destroying their store front and therefore keeping them away from their job? Do you think 'barristas' make enough money that they can afford time off work without pay? Most barristas I know are students or lower-class people working for tips.

What about those that were not directly affected by the vandalism but whose customers were scared away by the violence and didn't show up?

We can hate on capitalism all we want and there are great arguments for doing so, but that doesn't change right now. Right now, people are relying on 'capialist pig' jobs to pay their rent, to finance their education, to feed their children.

Hell, how many activists do we all know who stick it to the Man while bagging groceries, selling coffee or stocking shelves?

A diversity of tactics is necessary but so is the respect and understanding of those who do not agree with violence as a method of resistance. As activists, we need to understand that many people cannot engage in violent resistance, even if they want to. Deportation, state scooping up of children, lack of employment opportunities, inaccessibility, etc are all realities for many activists. To assume that only those who knowingly risk arrest are 'legitimate' activists is short sighted and detrimental to the movement. People use various tactics for various reasons and respect needs to go in every direction.

Personally? I choose not to participate in events or forms of resistance that could lead to arrest because much of the work I do requires a clean police check. I'm not being boastful when I say that I do excellent work with children and I could not do that work if I have been arrested. I could argue with my activist friends about the merits of a record of civil disobedience but it would automatically close many doors for me in the work that I do.

I may by highly privileged but I am also able to use that privilege and education to move others to action because I do not engage in violent resistance. This is a choice that I choose, without constraint, to make.

I do not expect this to be every one's politics but I suppose my hope is that others take these politics into account in their own work. I recognize direct action and hope that direct action recognizes my seemingly 'pacifist' methods.

Real change, as I said, will come when the top meets the bottom. I recently heard the term 'movable middle' to describe the vast majority of Canadians who are 'sitting on the fence' and can be moved to either side. These are the people that I actively pursue. These are the people that I think hold the key to the future.

I am not one of these people. I am firm in my beliefs, militant even, and I cannot be persuaded to be anti-choice, anti-immigration, etc. But I can work really, damn, hard to reach those that can be persuaded.

And in my experience, I am able to reach those people because I engage in tactics that are accessible, lack intimidation and take into account their experiences and perspectives.

My work alone will not accomplish much. I need bureaucrats and the Black Block on my side, too.

Lastly (I told you I've had to do a lot of thinking), as activists, we need to constantly remind ourselves that the state wins when we fight amongst each other. It's an age old tactic of the privileged to get the oppressed fighting amongst themselves so that they don't fight them.

My one hope is that the debates amongst activist circles right now remain dialogues and that they serve to strengthen us and not divide us.

While we're attacking each other (and windows), the oppressors carry on.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh Canada, Our Home On Native Land

And apparently, the land of the free... or something.

Meanwhile, back in reality, we have the opening of the "Truth and Reconciliation" talks in regards to Indian Residential Schools. (Also, a little reality check on that one as well: We have more First Nations children in care today than we ever did in residential schools. So the idea that it's over and done with, let's-just-do-these-talks-and-then-move-on-from-the-issue is bullshit).

Then we have a father and son who have finally pled guilty to murdering Aqsa Parvez, a 16 year old from Mississauga who was rebelling against her family's stronghold. It's been called 'an honour killing'; a term that is contested by both feminists and non-feminists alike.

Just this past week, another young womyn was attacked by her family, this time her mother, for a so-called shaming of the family's honour. Thankfully, the womyn in this case will survive her injuries.

Oh and we're apparently jumping on the bandwagon of hating on people who call out Israel. Apparently calling out violence against Palestine means you're 'anti-semitic'. NDP MP Libby Davies called out the very obvious fact that criticizing Israel is not something that is done by Canada's Parliament and that many people who support Palestine are silenced or threatened. In saying this, what's happened to ole Davies? She's being threatened.

Where the fuck has Canada gone and what the hell is replacing it?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

May is sexual assault awareness month. It’s April in the US, which seems odd, but whatever… In any case, it’s the time of the year when we’re supposed to be raising awareness about sexual assault.


What the hell does that even mean?


Does it mean dispelling the myths of all the bullshit ‘prevention tips’?


Does it mean targeting boys and men to not only stop raping people but calling out other dudes who do?


As a sexual assault support worker and an anti-violence activist, my views on the matter are clearly more ‘radical’ than others. Although I speak and work in many different forums that require different techniques and approaches, the truth is that all I really want to do is RAGE. Rage, rage, rage against the statistics, the bullshit policies and the apathy that I see around me every day.


It’s not healthy or wise to spend each moment of everyday telling people “Every 17 minutes in Ontario, a womyn is raped BUT that also means that every 17 minutes, a man is raping someone”. It doesn’t exactly make for great chit chat.


But what I really want to do and the message I want people to absorb is that rape is cancer.


Yes, rape is cancer. (Hear me out...)

People give a shit about cancer. Trust. People will wear a ribbon, join a walk/run/job/stroll, sign a petition, donate their pennies or ride their bike across the country. People will go around in public with signs saying that they are a survivor, or love someone who is. They will come up with clever slogans like “Save the Titties” and put pink on everything when dealing with cancers that deal with genitalia. Companies will jump on board, spread the anti-cancer cheer and rage, laugh and dance to cancer.


People will stand together and publicly raise their hands to say that they or someone they love was affected by cancer. And when they do, they will look around to see the vast majority of people with their hand up.


This is why rape is cancer.


If most people have been affected by cancer and are willing to publicly own it, why are they not doing this for rape and sexual assault?


If 1 in 4 womyn in Canada (with higher rates for First Nations, immigrant and refugee and disabled womyn) will experience sexual assault in their lifetime and that’s just the womyn, and when you consider that womyn make up 51% of the Canadian population, where’s my public witnessing?


“But FC”, I hear you saying, “Sexual assault is private”.


Why? Why do survivors of sexual assault live with a giant scarlet “S” on their chest and yet those with cancer are publicly defended and supported?


Rape happens to someone. Cancer happens to someone. Nobody with cancer deserves it just like nobody who is sexually assaulted deserved it.


People who lived with cancer are survivors. People who are sexually assaulted are survivors.


Rape is a societal cancer that we all live with, whether we know it or not, and it’s about damn time we end the shame. That's my hope for this month.


Can I get a witness?


Monday, April 26, 2010

Reproductive Justice FAIL

"No Abortion in Canada's Maternal Health Plan" for the G8 (Cbc.ca)

Because apparently in 2010, we still think we can talk about reproductive and maternal health without discussing contraception, which includes abortion. (Yes, abortion is a form of contraception. Many people, including pro-choicers, shy away from saying this but it's true! Contraception is for preventing baby making and that's what abortion, like Plan B, like condoms, does).

Anyway...

Canada is getting an all around "F" in the reproductive health department lately.

Ontario had an amazing new sex-education curriculum ready to roll out but are now back-pedaling and 'doing reviews'. Apparently teaching about sexual orientation in grade 3 and teaching masturbation in grade 6 is scandalous and 'should be the responsibility of the parents to do'.

The Ontario Liberals are getting lambasted for this (thankfully) so I won't dissect it to death, because it's already been done. Read this amazing G&M editorial instead.

When did Canada get some anti-sex and shitty?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

FC Shout-Out

I would like to give a huge shout-out to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her recent comments at the G8 summit where she called out countries like Canada for not including REAL maternal health in their strategy.

"You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health, and that includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions." (Cbc.ca)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Too Many Jerks, Not Enough Time

1- Ann Coulter was warned to watch her language for her talk at the University of Ottawa. Didn't like it and is now 'filing a Human Rights Complaint'. Except we all know that would require Ann knowing what human rights are. (And don't right-wing nutbags always bitch that the HRC is biased towards Conservatives? Pick a side and stick with it, asshats).

2- The Conservative Party wants to push "Maternal Health" at the G8 summit but refuse to consider abortion or birth control in their framework. The Liberals pushed for 'birth control' to be added and then when it went to vote, it got defeated... by fucking Liberals. Jesus H. Christ. I can't even form a sentence to comment on that, it's so bad

3- A bad story turned good: A Calgary Based Condo project promoted their project with some of the most vile and sexist advertising I've seen in a long while. It included gems like "A $20,000 down payment is as easy as a 25-year-old scotch, or a 25-year-old blonde on a 25-year-old scotch. Get on it." Yeah, just amazing. What is amazing though is that the ads were mostly posted in men's washrooms and *surprise surprise* some awesome men were incredibly offended.

And so, major props to Will Knoll from Calgary who took photos of the ads and posted them online to publicly shame the company and get people to boycott them. It worked and the ads were pulled.

Now I'm not usually a fan of raising a stink about advertising because it's usually offensive on purpose and all about giving them publicity, but in this case, the company was specifically targeting men and was not a major campaign and so 'being offensive' and 'cutting edge' was not their goal, necessarily. They honestly thought that dudes taking a leak in clubs would see this, think it's witty and clever and buy a condo. So raising a stink in this case not only had the ads pulled and therefore dudes didn't have to stare at their ignorant crap, but it's also a shot to PR and marketing folks who think that all men are ignorant chauvinists who fall for any BS advertising that talks about ladies and booty.

Thanks to that one particular man and all other men who took a stand not only against sexual assault and womyn (which is what 'getting someone drunk to fuck them' is - it's sexual assault) but also for taking a stand against the BS of hypermasculinity.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reason #31 I Am Not a Lawyer

So a computer tech went to this guy's house to fix his internet connection and noticed that the guy had sketchy icons on his computer which included the words "Lolita Porn" and "Lolita XXX". He also noticed that webcam was set up and pointed towards a little girl who was playing in the room.

Dude came back the next day to finish fixing the computer and noticed that the icons were gone and the webcam was moved.

Tech man clearly knew something was up, so reported it to the authorities.

Well the man with the questionable computer content and behaviour has been let off by the Supreme Court of Canada because apparently the police didn't have enough evidence to issue a search warrant. Furthermore, apparently, having clearly sketchy icons on your computer and a camera pointed towards your young child isn't enough evidence because "The court found that the information used to obtain the warrant failed to mention the child was fully clothed and there were no signs of abuse when the technician visited the home." (CBC.ca)

Let's break this down for a second.

Clearly this guy isn't too smart for having left the icons on his computer but he's obviously not STUPID enough to let his child be filmed in the nude while a technician is there. This should be obvious to anyone and therefore, the fact that the child was clothed at that time shouldn't be enough to dismiss the evidence.

And the signs of abuse thing is also questionable because if the child was fully clothed and playing with toys and you're just a computer technician and not a trained criminologist, then you're obviously not going to know all there is to know. The man went on intuition, for Pete's Sake. Intuition that they are hoping to become law in Alberta, where a politician is pushing for legislation forcing anyone who witnesses child pornography, comes across it or suspects that it is being made/used, report it to authorities.

Cases like this aren't exactly encouraging people to report suspicious activity.

However my issue here is how the law misses the obvious in favour of tripping over the small things. The Supreme Court didn't say that the guy wasn't a perv, or wasn't in the wrong, they were saying that no case could go forward because the search warrant was not okay. This is what I don't understand.

Obviously police work should have made sure to cross their Ts and dot their Is to ensure crap like this doesn't happen but it makes me sick to see people not even arguing that they are innocent but simply arguing that "Hey, I know you found sketchy stuff in my house, but you had no right to come into my house, so you can't mention it".

And in this case, we're not talking about 'sketchy stuff' like a home grow-op, we're talking about child pornography.

Jeez Louise!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How To Detect If Your Neighbour is A Feminist

Being the concerned citizen that I am, I thought it would be wise to put together a short check list for curious city folk, suburbanites and condo dwellers who think there's something rather... interesting about their neighbours but can't quite put their finger on why.

So here it is: If your neighbour fits the following criteria, they're probably a Feminist:

1- Their deck/balcony has a bicycle, bras hanging to air dry and a bajillion little pots of growing herbs and spices

2- "Party Night" consists of gender-queer folks showing up with platters of hummus and board games

3- There's always at least one cat in the window

4- The music emanating from the windows in the summer is loud, raw and contains a female vocalist and at least one banjo

5- Their mode of transportation is a bike, a hybrid or a really, really old car. Either a Volkswagen or a Chevette.

6- Said mode of transportation has at least one bumper sticker that rages about "The Man"

7- Garbage day sees them put out half a bag of garbage and four recycling bins

8- You've heard the words "patriarchy", "chauvinist pig" or "ignorant asshole" shouted at least once

9- Their house/apartment smells strongly of incense, candles, pot and/or a combination of all three.

And finally,

10- They stand at the mailbox and actually read all the junk mail, political pamphlets and spam they receive and then attempt to educate you, said neighbour, on why you should care.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good: "Africville Apology Coming"

Residents of a black diaspora/suburb in Nova Scotia were kicked out of their neighbourhood in the 60s under the pretense of building a bridge. In reality, it was systemic racism aimed at "cleaning up" Halifax. Congratulations to the former residents of Africville on your victory!

The Bad: "Women Lose Ground in Push for Equality: Report"

Anyone who has been paying any attention didn't need this report to confirm that womyn have been sliding backwards in Canada since the Conservatives got into power. (Although the Liberals have been no better...)

Do yourself a favour: Do not read the comments on that article. In 24 hours online, it has over 500 comments and the vast majority prove what this report is saying: womyn have a long way to go.

The Ugly: "Woman Who Traded Kids for Pet Bird Sentenced"

That's just fucked.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Vancouver Games Quickly Turn Sour for Quebec"

Well, that headline SHOULD read “Quickly Turn Sour for French-Canadians” because the argument is that the opening ceremonies and the overall 2010 Olympics are predominantly English.

Fair statement, in my opinion.

Not fair? Constantly equating French Canada with Quebec. These are not synonymous.

And when I say this, I’m not only pointing the finger at the Square Heads of Canada, but at Quebecers, too! In fact, La Belle Province is the absolute worst for this, which doesn’t really help their argument. If in arguing for the visibility of your identity, you must render another identity invisible, then your argument doesn’t really hold much water.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Sisters of Life" Lay Roots in Toronto

There is a group of nuns, known as the “Sisters of Life” whose work involves the counselling of womyn who are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. One can readily assume that they do not support abortion, but they claim to be there to “support”. Originally from the States, they have set up in Toronto and in March, they are to open up an ‘office’ in a poor area of the City.

“For the past two years, the sisters have been laying the groundwork for their mission. They have a list of nearly 1,000 volunteers who are ready to donate money, offer up their homes, move furniture or just pray. They have also gone from parish to parish to drum up support. They eventually hope to have a convent where pregnant women can come live and stay with their babies.” (National Post) (FC's Note: OFFER UP THEIR HOMES?! For what?! And the thought of 1,000 strong anti-choice foot army scares the shit out of me…)

Clearly, when I see ‘nuns’ and ‘unwanted pregnancies’ in the same sentence, I get a little uneasy. In particular, I resent people who abstain from sex and are against birth control, and yet telling me how to run my uterus.

HOWEVER if you’re going to be a self-righteous anti-choicer, these chicks have got it right, in my books.

Two reasons.

One: “They say the purpose of their work in Toronto is not to picket abortion centres, though they do not disapprove of those who do. Nor are they here to preach or apply pressure on women who are leaning towards abortion —indeed, their doors are also open to women “grieving an abortion.”

There is NOTHING worse to me than people who protest abortion clinics. NOTHING. These people don’t care about ‘life’, or ‘fetuses’ or ‘babies’ or anything. They are about shaming womyn, nothing more, nothing less. Protesting abortion clinics does not deter womyn from seeking abortions, nor does ‘sidewalk counseling’, which is a BS anti-choice term for throwing scientifically false anti-choice information in a womyn’s face and then telling them they’re going to rot in hell. Typical Friday afternoon stuff in the City of Ottawa, I might add.

Second reason these nuns are somewhat thinking this whole anti-choice thing through: In Manhattan, their home allows womyn to live there for an additional 9 months after delivery so that they can figure out their new living/life arrangements.

Unlike most anti-choicers who think that giving birth to a baby means that you will automatically develop maternal instincts and your life will turn around, these Nuns at least recognize that kids take work and planning. And that kicking a womyn out onto the street after delivery isn’t exactly conducive to a positive outcome.

Their logic is of course flawed since if they are all about da babiez, they should also be all about supporting them until they are 18. Kids don’t feed themselves, ya know.

Not to mention the fact they might not protest abortion clinics, but they are support those who do.

As saddened as I am to see anti-choicers alive and well in 2010, I am at least comforted in the case of these “Sisters of Life” by the fact that they understand that “choice” or “no choice” is so much more than shouting at clinic windows.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Captain Obvious Strikes Again

U.K Press Slams Canada's Hosting of Games

Hum… duh? They’re hosting next so do you think they’re going to paint us in a pretty light?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Speaking of Trends...

I guess from now on, you can rely on me to keep you posted as to What’s Hot and What’s Not in Canada.

What’s Hot? Prorogation! Not only has Harper done it two years in a row, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is in on the fun, too!

Admittedly it’s for far less time and it doesn’t affect the country as a whole, but Ontario is the most populated province, so you could argue it affects enough people for it to matter. I certainly would.

What’s Not? Caring, apparently. I’m calling hypocrisy on the Left-Wingers. Why are we protesting in the streets about Conservatives proroguing but letting it slide when it’s the Liberals? Is it because Harper is a Neo-Con? Is it because he’s done it twice already? Or is it because we just don’t like the guy?

Either way, I call bullshit on both Harper and McGuinty.

How many times do I have to say this: Perogies, not Proroguing!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Latin American Progressive Politics

Good News: Costa Rica elects its First Female President. Woo!

Bad News: She is, by her own admission, a social conservative who opposes both abortion and gay marriage.

The CBC.ca article about it is particularly sad since it interviews a 24 year old womyn inmate who says she voted for Laura Chinchilla because she said “she would fight for women’s rights”.

I wonder what rights she’s referring to.

In any case, kudos to Costa Rica and other Latin American countries such as Nicaragua, Panama, Chile and Argentina who have recently elected female presidents.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Trend Alert!

Apparentlty the 1970s-1980s trend of bashing women's studies is back in style. Thanks for kicking it old school, National Post!

And if you're feeling stylish, join Barbara Kay's comments section and join all the cool kids in deploring feminism.

Remember kids: It’s not patriarchy that’s evil; it’s the scary, scary womyn folk who cry for “rights” and “access” to things like “education, equal pay” and (brace yourself), “a life without violence”.

*shudders*

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An Open Letter to Online Commentators Everywhere

Dear Readers of Online News Articles,

Shut the fuck up. No, seriously.

Now in case this takes you by surprise, please, let me explain.

Online commentators used to be a rare breed; oh how I long for those days. Recently, online news portals have decided that they are going to “bring it to the people” and allow any asshole and their neighbour to comment on such things as an earthquake in Haiti, a white collar crime case or the Montreal Massacre.

In theory, this could be a great way to give people a voice. Let’s be honest; whether people comment or not, they typically have some sort of opinion on the matter. So why not share w/ the world, open up discussion and…. That’s where it falls apart.

Dimwits, like yourself Mr. “Canuck-for-a-buck” or “NeoConfromPEI” make ridiculously sexist, racist, xenophobic, classist, etc etc etc remarks under the anonymous guise of the internet identity. You’re not interested in having a discussion. Nope, you’re interested in flaming the shit out of the situation and/or offloading your years of intolerance on the World Wide Web.

Instead of being an intelligent human being who thinks things through, you shoot from the hip, like the Maverick that you are and give us gems like “The Liberals are behind this, AS USUAL” or “I say lock ‘em up and throw away the key” or my favourite “Deport their asses!” Ahh, from the mouths of babes.

Take December 6th, for example. It’s the National Day of Action and Remembrance for Violence against Womyn. Pretty significant day. This past year marked the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and as usual, right-wing asshole “journalists” laid down editorial after editorial blasting “feminists” for exploiting “one day into a tirade against all men”. Because apparently, Marc Lepine is one insane asshole and every other misogynist is a stand-up guy.

This year, you online commentators took it to another level and brought 21st century Islamaphobia into the picture. How delightful! Now, I obviously blame the journalists in question who fail to put 2 and 2 together and actually understand the gravity of violence against womyn, but that’s another story. Today, my friend, is about you. You and your incessant douchebaggery.

Apparently Marc Lepine was not a product of an environment and culture that condoned violence against womyn. Even though he left a note explaining in detail how he hated feminists and how he was conducting the massacre in order to seek revenge on the womyn who had apparently “stolen his position” at the school, this isn’t good enough for the online commentators of the world. Nope, apparently Marc Lepine did was he did because he was a Muslim.

News to me.

Oh and I would link to your fabulous comments but truthfully, I don’t want to draw more attention to them and hey, you don’t need evidence to make your points so I guess I don’t either.

To conclude, online hate mongers, please consider one of two things. First, enroll in some sort of educational program, whether formal or informal and educate yourselves about the ways of the world. Find out about the history of the conflict in the Middle East, systemic discrimination in Canada (Yes, in Canada), find out how the political system works, read some Canadian history. Hell, just read a fucking book. (Non-fiction, please).

Or two, get off the news sites and get back to World of Warcraft. Your hobbits surely miss you.

Sincerely,

- Feminist Catalyst

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Condoning Anti-Choice Violence

Unfortunately, as we all recall, a certain douchebag in the US shot Dr. George Tiller point blank in the face while in Church, as some sort of way to “protect unborn babies”. Dr Tiller was one of the few late-term abortion providers in the US but thankfully, he’s not the only one.

From the beginning, this was a clear case of guilty, guilty, guilty. Everyone in the church pews witnessed it, the guy himself confessed to the media and to the authorities. But now, things have gotten not only murky but incredibly scary.

The judge is allowing the defence to argue “voluntary manslaughter” rather than the Captain Obvious charge of first-degree murder.

“Kansas law defines voluntary manslaughter as "an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force." A conviction could bring a prison sentence closer to five years, instead of a life term for first-degree murder.” (CBC.ca)

So the judge is allowing the defense team to say “Well, he honestly believed that by killing Dr. Tiller in the middle of Church, while he peacefully attended mass, he was saving millions of so-called unborn babies.” Thanks to this judge’s decision, a legal defense team can actually make this a legal fucking defense.

CLEARLY this has reproductive freedom fighters losing their bananas because this is setting a very dangerous precedent. Fringe anti-choice groups have actually said this exact thing; that this is setting a precedent that would encourage other anti-choicers to commit acts of violence and get a lesser charge.

Although the judge has only allowed the defense to present this and has not in any way said yay or nay on the actual defense, the damage has already been done. And quite frankly, it’s a slippery slope that affects far more than crimes against abortion providers.

Wife cheats on you? “Well, your honour, I honestly believed that what she did was harming our children because we are a good (insert crap here) family and she was a negative influence. So I shot her”.

Hey, the underwear terrorist that attempted to blow up a US plane probably really believed in what he was doing, too and probably justifies his actions, too. And the list goes on and on.
And when abortion clinics are already hotbeds of violence, and when clinic workers and doctors are systematically targeted by anti-choice activists, us pro-choice folk have reason to be horrified at this latest news.

Why he is even being allowed to mount a defense, I have no idea. But then again, there’s a reason I’m not a lawyer. When it comes to the law, it’s not a matter of right or wrong but how you spin, spin, spin.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back from the Holidays

Worry not, faithful readers. I didn't pull a "Harper" and peace out indefinitely nor am I dodging any bullets. I just figured I'd give my mind a rest for a few weeks before I got back in the saddle.

But seriously, Harper? Really? Really dude?! This better not be some sort of sad Christmas tradition of yours.