Friday, 18 November 2016

Canadian Taxpayers Subsidize Priests for Life

There are many whackadoodles among the fetus fetishist set, but Frank Pavone of Priests for Life is one of the whackier.

He was one of the vultures hanging around not-quite-dead Terri Shiavo and practically did a jig when Dr. Tiller was assassinated.

He's been in trouble with his titular bosses, the Catlick Church, for among other things, financial improprieties.

But just before The Tragedy, he outdid himself.
Ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election, the Rev. Frank Pavone took an aborted fetus, laid it upon an altar Sunday and posted a live video on Facebook. Pavone, a Catholic priest who heads New York-based Priests for Life, said the fetus was entrusted to him by a pathologist for burial.
There's a five-minute clip of the video here.

Not knowing anything about things sacred or profane, I was simply appalled at the disrespect and well, just plain tackiness. But it's worse than that to Catlicks. It was sacrilege.


Why am I going on about this? Because you, dear readers, and I have given these offensive nutbars more than $75K over the last five years.

Here are Priests for Life Canada's Canada Revenue Agency filings.

Look at that nice acid green. That's us. (Graph from 2015 filing.)

From 2011 to 2015, Priests for Life in 11 constituencies (one in Alberta, ten in Ontario) applied for and received $76,784 in funding from Employment and Social Development Canada under the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Here's the listing for Ontario. Irritatingly, they list grants by province and riding.

On their CRA filing, Priests for Life specify their purpose as running convents and monasteries.

So, why the fuck are they hiring kids? And what the fuck kind of "meaningful work experience" do the kids get? And why the fuck are we paying for it?

From the eligibility page of the program.
The job must provide meaningful work experience for the student. It must not contribute to the provision of a personal service to the employer (e.g. the job must not involve gardening, domestic services, child care services, etc., for the employer).
I've been feeling pretty helpless these past ten days, but this I can do something about.

UPDATE (November 25/16): Patricia Maloney, aka the Amateur Statistician, commented. Says Priests for Life Canada is totally different from Pavone's gang. Yeah. Except for the shared name and goals and the fact that one gets to the Canadian outfit through a link called "International" on the US site.

All of which does not matter much. Because the fact remains that Canadian taxpayers are being scammed by eleven different branches of this misogynist "charity" for five years that we know of. For a total of more than $76K.

The Cdn gang furiously back-pedalled away from Pavone's dead-fetus-on-the-altar stunt. Not because they were disgusted, but because it was a big no-no to the sky fairy. Or something.

Who cares? I care about the money, the lies, and the misogyny.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Charitable Status Is Key: "100 Who Care" Update

I said back here that I would report on any replies from the "100 Who Care" groups I blogged about.

Only one has. And I had a private conversation with a member of another group in Atlantic Canada.

The first thing to know: not all groups operate the same way.

I got a reply from an organizer of 100 Women Who Care Ottawa, who used only her first name. In my initial email I advised that I would be blogging further on the topic so any responder should consider herself on the record. Since I'm not sure she she understood that, I won't use her name. (I'll send her a link to this blogpost and update as necessary.)

She said that the Ottawa group "votes with their money (instead of a global vote so one charity ends up with all the funds)." Members are free to write their cheques to any of the three charities selected to make pitches, as their "Charities" page shows.

I asked about vetting charities, specifically the fake clinic, First Place Options. She said:
We do indeed vet the charities to see if they fit our criteria, which you will find on our website. The steering committee struggled with this one, but in the end, we decided that if one of our members nominated them in good faith and if they met our criteria, we had no grounds to eliminate them because of our own beliefs.

As for whether members are given time to do their own vetting, she said charities are selected and announced at one (quarterly) meeting and make their pitches at the next. So, members have three months to decide which charity to support.

Good. That all seems reasonable and responsible.

A different story was told to me by a member from a similar group in Atlantic Canada.

She said that the charities selected to pitch are not announced in advance. The first members hear about them is at the pitch meeting.

I asked whether there was any discussion among members before voting. Nope. Just vote and all write cheques to the "winner."

What happens if individual members don't approve of the winner? She didn't know. As far as she knew, it hadn't happened.

Upshot: The Ottawa group has a better procedure both in informing their members of the nominees in advance and in allowing them to dissent from the majority decision.

The point -- and the big draw, I expect -- of such groups is efficiency. Busy people show up, listen to pitches from three randomly chosen local charities, vote, write cheques, and they're done.

I've since looked at websites for several such groups and the two common criteria for a charity's eligibility for nomination by a member are:

• Charitable registration, i.e. able to issue tax receipts directly to members; and

• Location and services must be local.

Nothing about ethics. Or lack of them.

The charitable registration is key.

So, I ask again: WHY are fake clinics -- whose aim is to dissemble and manipulate in the service of their anti-choice/anti-abortion mission -- allowed to be registered as charities?

How can striving to curtail a targetted population's rights NOT be political?

If you think it is, Canada Revenue Agency is holding an online consultation on "charities' political activities." Let them know what you think. The deadline is November 25, 2016.

Friday, 4 November 2016

New Kind of Fake Clinics

My, my. It seems that there is a "Wild West" of unlicensed, unregulated fake clinics offering bogus advice and treatment.

Ha. You thought I was talking Fake Abortion Clinics.

Nope. Fake Concussion Clinics.

It seems anyone can start a hotline, or set up a clinic offering to treat concussions, a brain injury. There is no active federal or provincial oversight. It's an essentially unregulated field, where massage therapists, chiropractors and nurses can hang out a shingle pitching their expertise in concussion management.

Health services in Canada are governed through a system of self-regulation. Health professionals are licensed by professional associations, and those associations are responsible for limiting the scope of practice. When we asked the Ontario Ministry of Health about the appropriateness of a concussion hotline, we were told to ask the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons. The college told us that, unless someone complains, it has no problem with it.

But some medical experts do have a problem with the hotline. They're concerned that the hype around concussions is getting out of control.

Golly gee. Just like Fake Abortion Clinics. But here, people are making money.
Dr. Michael Ellis, a neurosurgeon, runs Manitoba's only provincially sponsored concussion clinic. He is appalled at the proliferation of unregulated concussion clinics popping up across the country, offering a variety of treatments, including meditation, massage, acupuncture and even hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A quick count reveals more than 200 concussion clinics across Canada.
Funny. There are about 200 totally unregulated, unlicensed, unsupervised Fake Abortion Clinics in Canada. And just about all of them lie to advance their mission to dissuade pregnant people from their right to abortion.

The lies are very well documented.

And sane people have been complaining about them for years. But unless such outlaw operations cut into the bottom line of members of the various colleges of physicians and surgeons, the powers that be are good with the bullshit.

We're not.

Grand merci to Alison @ Creekside for fabulous graphics.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Ruckus Raising Time. Again.

Up here in smug Canada -- and getting smugger by the minute as the US election approaches -- it's not often that the US has us beaten on any aspect of abortion care.

Well, they've got us all beat to hell on medical abortion.

Although many limitations remain, innovative dispensing efforts in some states, restricted access to surgical abortions in others and greater awareness boosted medication abortions to 43 percent of pregnancy terminations at Planned Parenthood clinics, the nation's single largest provider, in 2014, up from 35 percent in 2010, according to previously unreported figures from the nonprofit.

To recap, the abortion pill, aka mifepristone or RU486, was just approved in Canada in July 2015, a mere three decades after France approved it and two decades after the US did.

Juxtapose this. A year later, in July 2016 the assisted dying bill became law.

Estimated number of assisted deaths in the three months since, about 200.

Number of medical abortions in the fifteen months since the abortion pill's approval: ZERO.

There has been unconscionable fuckery associated with the abortion pill.

Looooong approval process, stupid dispensing requirements, mandated online training for physicians, weird bureaucratic hurdles for its inclusion in provincial drug plans.

But assisted dying? No such rigamarole. Law is passed. Doctors offer it. Patients want it. So.

In sensible places with universal healthcare, medical abortion is recognized for the boon it is -- both to patients and to the system. Like Australia.

But here, the regulators and politicians are kow-towing to the minuscule -- but LOUD -- anti-choice fringe who call the abortion pill "human pesticide".

It's time to do something about this idiotic situation.

An NDP MLA in Manitoba is calling for the province to cover the abortion pill.
A new resolution from St. Johns MLA Nahanni Fontaine describes the Mifegymiso pill as an essential medicine for women that should be easily accessible.

And it's not just Ms Fontaine who describes it as essential medicine. The World Fucking Health Organization listed it on its List of Essential Medicines in 2005.

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights has a new campaign to help persuade the powers that be to get the damned lead out and make this essential medicine available.

Check it out.

Under Take Action there are five steps you can take.

1. Write and/or meet with your local MPP, MP, Provincial/Territorial Minister of Health, and/or Federal Minister of Health.
2. Write an op-ed or pitch the story to local news outlets.
3. Take to social media! 
4. Engage your community: host an event, share information through your networks. 
5. Encourage your physician to become a medical abortion provider of Mifegymiso.

After all, provincial healthcare plans fund surgical abortion. Why would they not embrace this earlier, quicker, less expensive alternative?

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Uberization of Charitable Giving

Like most "disruptive" new ideas, at first the "100 Who Care" movement -- if it can be called that -- seems marvellously simple.

There's a good cause in your community. It needs a dose of cash. Call a few friends, who call a few friends, you get the idea. All get together and each writes a cheque directly to the worthy cause and BAM!


That's what a woman named Karen Dunigan did.

The first 100 Women Who Care group was formed in November 2006 by Karen Dunigan of Jackson, Michigan, USA. At their first one-hour meeting, the Jackson 100 Women Who Care group raised $10,000 to buy 300 new baby cribs for an organization in their city! Their membership has now grown to nearly 300 members and many other cities across the United States and Canada have formed groups as well.

Indeed, now there's an alliance of these 350 loose groups.

While it started with women, now there are men who care, kids who care, and people who care groups.

Here is an account from the Star on 100 Women Who Care Toronto.

In describing the meeting, the writer says: "Think Dragon’s Den meets crowdfunding."

Local charities -- they must be registered charities for the tax receipts -- are nominated by members. Three charities are chosen at random to make their pitch to the assembled group. They vote, one is chosen, and they all whip out cheque books and BAM! $10,000 (or $100 times the number of members) is raised.

Direct, efficient, laudable.

But there's a problem. We call it the uberization of charitable giving.

By cutting out vetting, oversight, and ethical guidelines, and relying solely on the charities' pitches -- and their government-sanctioned charitable status -- these groups may achieve efficiency at the cost of responsibility and accountability.

I'm sure everyone walks out feeling great, but do they all know exactly what they're supporting?

We have identified five fake clinics, aka crisis pregnancy centres, who have benefitted from these groups.

We reported a few days ago on 100 Guys Who Share - Yarmouth County who donated $11,600 to the Tri-County Pregnancy Care Centre.

Since then, we've found four more.

Women Who Care Norfolk were persuaded by a fake-clinic pitch. (Look how the work is described.)
Outstanding!  The Norfolk Pregnancy Centre will receive $14,600 to purchase additional programming material and expand their services into Delhi. This organization provides leadership, guidance and support to young women and men as they embark on a new phase of life.  Professional volunteers are available to offer assistance on an as needed basis.
[I wonder what a "professional volunteer" is.]

Women Who Care Stouffville chose the Markham/Stouffvillle Crisis Pregnancy Centre for a windfall gift.

Sunrise Pregnancy Centre was the recipient of a donation from Women Who Care Uxbridge

And Women Who Care Ottawa picked First Place Options, also the choice of the ill-fated fundraiser by the wives and girlfriends of the Ottawa Senators.

Given that Canada is overwhelmingly pro-choice, we have to question whether all these good, generous people understood that their hard-earned dough was going to anti-choice, anti-contraceptive, religious gangs who lie to and manipulate pregnant people out of choosing abortion as a response to a "crisis pregnancy."

Revisiting the Ottawa Senators' schmozzle, under the title Donor Beware, we pointed out that people need to check out what their money is supporting.


Most people see a charitable registration number and think "OK, fine. This group has been checked out by the government. It is accountable to the Canada Revenue Agency, who monitors its activities and finances."

And they write their cheques (under a bit of group pressure perhaps).

Maybe they all did know exactly what they were supporting. Great.

But we seriously doubt it.

ADDED (October 27/16): I wrote to the 100 Women Who Care groups in Norfolk, Stouffville, Uxbridge, and Ottawa to ask about their pre-pitch vetting. The email to Norfolk came zinging back with a fatal error. We wait on the others. I'll report.

UPDATE (October 31/16): 100 Women in Ottawa kindly replied with some more information. I want to wait a bit longer to see if any of the others do too.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Taking Over Riding Associations For Life

[Alternate title from the Star link in the update below: The revenge of the so-cons.]

Remember Liberals for Life?

Liberals for Life was a pro-life advocacy group that worked within the Liberal Party of Canada during the 1980s and early 1990s. Some of its members were also affiliated with the Campaign Life Coalition, and, as such, the group was often accused of entryism.

According to its members, Liberals for Life was created after the national victory of Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative Party in the 1984 federal election. The organization attracted little attention until the early 1990s, when it endorsed Tom Wappel in his bid for the party leadership, and gained control of several riding associations.

The Liberal Party's constitution was amended to allow the leader to appoint candidates in certain ridings in 1992. Jean Chrétien defended the change as necessary to prevent "single-issue groups" from taking over the Liberal Party. It was generally understood that Liberals for Life was the primary target of this remark.

The movement effectively dissolved in 1993 after the Liberal Party formed government.
We do.

It's a favourite tactic of fetus fetishists. And it's happening again.

Here's the mission of a gang called
Right Now.
RightNow exists to nominate and elect pro-life politicians by mobilizing Canadians on the ground level to vote at local nomination meetings, and provide training to volunteers across the country to create effective campaign teams in every riding across Canada. It is only when we have a majority of pro-life politicians in our legislatures, that we’ll see pro-life legislation passed in our country.
They admit that they're sick of losing. *snerk*

In addition to stacking nomination votes, they have a list of anti-choice laws they want passed.

All the usual anti-choice restrictions: outright criminalization, term limits, "unborn" victims of crime, defunding, parental consent, and a new one on me, a law requiring pre-abortion ultrasound. (Which might not work out the way they think. See More Ultrasounds = More Abortions.)

So, last night a 19-year-old in Niagara West-Glanbrook, named Sam Oosterhoff, stunned the Ontario Conservative Party by beating out party president and former MP Rick Dykstra to take the the nomination. (It's Tim Hudak's old stomping ground.)

The only supporter listed on his campaign page is
Dominionist MP and anti-choicer Arnold Viersen.

Sam spouts the usual blahblah about family, but we strongly suspect he is a fetus freak.

Here's Right Now's co-founder Alissa Golob crowing last night:

And Right Now's account:

And Campaign Life:

Would someone in the media please ask him about his Dominionist ties and his position on abortion and sex education?

UPDATE: The Star is on it.

“I will never waver in my support of parents as primary educators, and I will strive to ensure that parental rights are respected in education,” said Oosterhoff, echoing the concerns expressed by opponents of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s updated health syllabus that includes lessons about gender expression, same-sex relationships, and the risks of sexting.

Some of the teenager’s supporters marched with pro-life placards at voting locations on Saturday and distributed pamphlets with dead fetuses on them to suggest his rivals for the nomination backed abortion rights.

The religious right helped propel Oosterhoff, briefly a junior staffer on Parliament Hill, to victory with 662 votes to 501 for Dykstra, 245 for businessman Mike Williscraft, and 235 for Niagara regional councillor Tony Quirk, who is also a PC Party vice-president.

“It’s the revenge of the so-cons,” fumed another high-ranking Tory.

Indeed, Oosterhoff’s decisive win comes weeks after Brown denounced social conservatives in the wake of the party’s bungling during PC MPP Raymond Cho’s victory in Scarborough-Rouge River last month.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Wham! Bam!

Oh boy, we've really got to work harder to raise awareness of what fake clinics are and do.

In August this year, a group of generous community-minded guys in Yarmouth, NS, got together to bestow money on a local charity.

Sadly, the winner of the windfall $11,600 was a fake clinic, called Tri-County Pregnancy Care Centre.

Here's how it works:
The 100 Guys Who Share – Yarmouth County, is one of more than 350 similar groups located worldwide that focus on coordinating funding for local, community charitable organizations. The group gathers for one-hour quarterly meetings to hear three short presentations on local charitable organizations. Members vote then each person writes their check for $100 directly to the winning non-profit chosen for a collective, impactful donation.

The three charities that presented at the first meeting were Parents Place, South End Community Youth Garden, and the Tri-County Pregnancy Centre.

The men’s group has grown to 116 members at last count. They have scheduled their quarterly event so that combined with the women’s initiative there will be good news in the community every six weeks throughout the entire year.
Members of the group can nominate any local charity. Three are chosen at random to make presentations.

From the website of the Halifax group, 100 Men Who Give a Damn.

"Bam!" indeed.

There might be drinking involved. More from the Halifax chapter.

under 60 minutes
Start the quarterly meeting with some heroic conversation, maybe visit the cash bar and be out the door in under 60 minutes. 

We’re all about giving smarter, not harder.

we don’t exist
We are a non-organization – no bank account, no fixed address, no opinion. Everything goes to the charity. 100%. Always. 

Otherwise, what are we doing this for?
So, it's fast -- and manly.

Too bad there's no vetting to ensure that their hard-earned dough is going to a real community asset and not an operation whose sole mission is to shame, guilt-trip, lie, and manipulate vulnerable people out of asserting their human right to autonomy and privacy.

It's hard to believe that in pro-choice Canada all 116 guys are anti-choice. More likely, the majority simply did not know what fake clinics are and do.

I'm going to write to the Yarmouth group and ask them if they understand where their money is going.

I'll report.

h/t Kathy Dawson

Thursday, 20 October 2016

As You Were, Troops

To no one's surprise, the Expoiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights Bill was defefeated yesterday by a vote of 76 for, 209 against. No Liberals voted for it.

Of the Conniving Party leader hopefuls, Scheer, Trost and O'Toole voted in favour of it, as did the usual Fetus Fetishists like Warawa, Albrecht, Genuis, and Viersen the Dominionist. Bernier, Leitch and Obhrai were not present. Chong and Kent voted against, and Rempel abstained (?).

By weird or karmic coincidence, just before that vote there was a vote on another human rights bill, C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code on transgender rights.

It passed handily, with 248 in favour, 40 against.

When one compares the MPs who voted "no" to transgender rights and "yes" to fetal rights, another unsurprising parallel emerges.

Anti-choicers voted overwhelmingly to deny human rights to transgender people.

Fetuses good, gender-benders bad.

I know, you're gobsmacked.

But the main take-away for fans of reproductive rights is that the menace on the political front has been beaten back again and is unlikely to arise again any time soon, if at all.

We can relax for a while.

And concentrate on improving abortion access and on impeding the work of fake clinics.

And all the other things we have yet to do to get abortion settled in Canada once and for all.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

We Do NOT Need a Law

Contrary to the foot-stomping fetus fetishists, Canada does NOT need an abortion law.

The foot-stompers shrieeeek: "Canada is the only country in the western world with no laws restricting abortion!!!!!!!!"

Well, why would we want to use a law to restrict it?

Does it need to be restricted because it's dangerous?

No. Abortion is a very safe medical procedure. In fact, it is "markedly" safer than childbirth.

Does it need to be restricted because it's over-used?

No. Abortion rates in Canada are lower than in France, Sweden, US, and UK, just to name a few countries.

Does it need to be restricted because women regret having the procedure? (Leaving aside the idiocy of legislating against something that is potentially regretted.)

No. The "Myth of Abortion Regret" has been definitively debunked, once in a study from last year and again in a new study released last week.

The first one showed that 95% of women are satisfied they made the right choice and the second showed that women "are significantly more sure about their decision, for example, than people facing reconstructive knee surgery."

(On the idiocy of legislating against regret, how about a law restricting childbearing as more and more women are feeling able to speak up about their own regret over having kids?)

Canada has no abortion law. At all.

And where would we put one? Most countries restrict abortion under their Criminal Codes. Do we want to recriminalize abortion, forcing women to seek practitioners willing to break that law? A tiny minority of Canadians do, yes.

Or maybe outlaw it as an amendment to our Constitution, as countries like Ireland do. (Irish human rights campaigners are in the process of trying to repeal such an amendment.)

Or maybe we should take a sneakier approach. Propose an amendment to the Criminal Code that appears to merely seek tougher penalties for harm done to fetuses. This is what C225, or the Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights Bill -- being voted on tomorrow -- is attempting.

The sponsor of that bill, super-duper anti-choicer Cathay Wagantall had a poll done to assess Canadians' feelings on the matter.

Oopsie! The poll found that "97 per cent of Canadians support a woman's right to an abortion under varying circumstances."

So. No. Canadians do not want any laws on abortion.

Because we do NOT need any laws on abortion.