Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Ruh-Roh! (Updated)

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson may have dodged a bullet over naming a city building after former mayor and anti-semite Charlotte Whitton. If this is true, he'd better get out his full-body armour when the good people of Ottawa find out.
The Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, has proclaimed that the day of this year’s National March for Life, May 12th, be honored as ‘Respect for Life Day’ in the city.

“The rights of the people of Canada including the unborn, the elderly and those with handicaps are gradually being eroded,” the proclamation reads, adding that “the community needs to get involved to ensure the rights of all people are respected and upheld.”

The proclamation notes that the National March for Life has taken place for the last fourteen years “to bring awareness for the need for life-affirming solutions rather than life-destroying results.”

“Thousands of people from across Canada and the United States will be coming to the National March for Life on Parliament Hill to witness to the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death,” it reads.

The theme of this year’s annual march, which will commemorate 42 years since abortion was legalized in Canada, is “Abortion Kills a Human Being.”

The Ottawa Citizen says:
Watson, as mayor, tries to be a unifier rather than a divider. That, in part, might explain his urge to rush decisions; perhaps fearing delay will encourage unnecessary debate -a major failing of Ottawa's past.

DJ! wants to help.
May Jim Watson

Contact Information



110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1

Jim.Watson @ ottawa.ca

Just another hasty decision, Jim?

UPDATE: Mayor Jim Watson says women's rights are open to interpretation. Well, that's my interpretation.
He said that as long as the proclamation doesn't breach the Ontario Human Rights Code and meets the standards of city staff, he has no issue with reading the statements.

But the city's policy states the proclamations should not be "politically or religiously motivated," and Watson said that criterion is open to interpretation.

"I suppose you could probably claim anything is political to some degree," said Watson. "But I rely on the advice of the clerk's office and the protocol office, they are the one's who prepare these proclamations and I sign them."

Methinks a fetus fetishist in the clerk's office pulled a fast one. I hope this gaffe inspires some caustic signs at the counter-demo.


double nickel said...

I wonder how he feels about the dealth penalty?

Rob F said...

It's worth pointing out that this isn't a personal endorsement by the mayor or the city of Ottawa. The proclamation was issued under the city's policy (viewable here): http://tinyurl.com/5vsakl7

The City of Ottawa's "Proclamations Policy" sets out the procedure for requesting a proclamation for a given day or week or month. The group requesting the proclamation has to provide the proposed text. So long as the request meets the policy's requirements, it will be granted. The city policy states that the proclamation is not an endorsement "by either the Mayor or the City of Ottawa."

Under the policy, a proclamation "will not be issued if the undertakings or philosophy of the group or individual, or the organization they represent are... Contrary to the City of Ottawa's policies or bylaws;
Discriminatory; Espousing hatred, violence or racism; Illegal;
Not located within the boundaries of the City of Ottawa; Politically or religiously motivated; or Intended for profit-making purposes."

It seems to me that the March for Life, which is the entity on behalf of which the proclamation of "Respect for Life Day" was issued, is inherently politically or religiously motivated.

I would suggest that folks who are upset about such a proclamation contact the Chief of Protocol at the City Clerk's Branch, City of Ottawa.

fern hill said...

Thanks for that, Rob. Good point. Here's the link.

And not just politically and religiously motivated. I'd throw in 'espousing hatred' for women and men who want to control their fertility.

Antonia Z said...

The website also says that proclamations can be issued because the mayor represents all citizens. Implicit then is that fetuses are citizens. He also confers upon them ''personhood,'' defined in the law as commencing at birth.

“The rights of the ****people of Canada including the unborn,**** the elderly and those with handicaps are gradually being eroded,” the proclamation reads, adding that “the community needs to get involved to ensure ****the rights of all people**** are respected and upheld.”

Beijing York said...

March for Life would never have dared ask for such a proclamation 10 years ago - they would have been laughed out of the room. Evangelical fundie Christianity has been on the rise in Ottawa since the late 90s. There was a 1997 Billy Graham Crusade event that ushered in that change.

When so few people barely raised an eyebrow re: multimillion dollar funding by all three levels of government for the Youth for Christ facility, the scary social conservative agenda just doesn't seem to frighten too many around these parts.

Alison said...

I just sent the following to the Mayor:

I read your statement about the March in Ottawa, and it appears that you do not believe that women have any rights. They are completely missing from your statement and I find that outrageous. This so-called Right to Life group is really just a front for people who have absolutely no regard for women. Am I to assume you fall into that category? These people are trying their best to deny birth control by shutting off funding for Planned Parenthood. They don't care that PP saves lives by looking after the health of poor woman and by offering services such as cancer screening and birth control. So what they are really saying is that it is just fine if women die, they don't matter, but a clump of cells does. They have every right to their opinion, but for you to endorse them is just despicable.

It doesn't really matter if it is the Office of Protocol who put out the statement, the Mayor ultimately responsible.

Uncommoner said...

Gods, what is wrong with my hometown? I was actually glad that Jim Watson got himself elected, thinking that at least he'd be better than that low-rent Lex Luthor who axed our Light Rail plans with a stroke of the pen and spent what was it? two years under a cloud for alleged influence peddling?

We just can't catch a break, can we?

And there is very little in this world I loathe more than religious fundamentalists. I don't care what invisible abusive father figure they pray to, they make my world darker just by their presence.

Let me go on record - I don't care about human life until they show that they've EARNED their soul by showing some actual humanity. There's too many people, I don't like most of them, they keep making more and these idiots think that's just swell.

Bloody marvellous to think we've come so far, isn't it? Can we convince the Nobel Institute to start up an award for outstanding achievement in Family Planning and Birth Control?

JJ said...

Absolutely freaking disgusting.
They might as well make a proclamation in honour of "Womens Rights Are Just So Last Century" Day.

I'm pissed

Anonymous said...

No worries everyone. I'm told on May 21 THIS YEAR, all these religious women-hating types will fly to heaven, leaving us behind. They'll be gone!! I can't wait! Who knew it would be that easy?

Gail Rhyno said...

While I think it's great to point out the way procolomations work, it's more important to say that the Mayor is still agreeing to do this, and if say, I or anyone of us here, were Mayor, um, we'd not do the proclomation, full stop. So I don't think the Mayors can hide behind the system, saying 'this is just how proclomations work', they are still chosing to make the proclomations and therefore are quite likely (if not openly) in support of them. My take anyway.

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