Thursday 26 April 2012


Today's the day for the first hour of debate on 'The When Does the State Take Over Our Uteruses Motion'.

Yesterday, the Radical Handmaids took the 'Fuck the Debate' message to Parliament Hill.

And there's been a call for an online ruckus.

Námo Mandos kicks off DJ!'s contribution with 'Comic relief apéritif'.

Here at DJ! we've been on Woodworth's Wank for months, since the very beginning, in fact.

We've been outraged, derisive, logical. We've exhorted, cajoled, and cheer-led (izzat a word?).

We've taken various varieties of crap for our stand, including some that -- happily -- led to the creation of a brand-spanking new aggregator and home for real Canadian Progressive Voices.

Throughout though, I suspect this is what we were all feeling.

Niles certainly is/was.

Coz here's the really really really depressing thing. Women's rights are ALWAYS up for negotiation.

ALWAYS considered a frill, an afterthought, a wait-til-everyone-else-is-served deal.

EVERYWHERE. Just ask Mona Eltahawy.


And here's another really depressing thing. The fucking Liberals still don't get it.

They consider reproductive rights a matter of conscience, not human rights, and therefore will NOT whip the vote.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae said he’s personally opposed to reopening the abortion debate but Rae said he won’t compel Liberal MPs to toe that line because the issue is a matter of individual conscience.

“If there are individuals in my caucus who feel strongly for moral reasons one way or the other, we’re not going to whip the vote,” Rae said.
Pro-tip, Bob: This kinda thing is why your asses are NOT sitting in Official Opposition seats.

Image source


double nickel said...

As I tweeted to Mr. Rae yesterday, if the Libs don't whip this vote, they are dead to me.

Niles said...

I did notice at the Handmaids' site that Rae's response to query did carefully parse that while the Liberal party *in theory* supports women's rights, he could only speak for himself and not make the same bold declaration as the NDP that every MP was united in voting against this motion even without a whipped vote, so the inference was there.

Here's a question. If members of Parliament are, as we are so often told, employees of the government of the people of Canada; if members of Parliament are allegedly lawkeepers as well as lawmakers; if they are supposed to abide by the Charter of Rights and legal decisions rendered thereby; how are they different than:

marriage commissioners

when it comes to the topic of 'conscience rights'?

How can we expect other occupations to not utilize the argument of 'conscience rights'-for-me-but-unfettered-employment-also when the leading public servants aka Members of Parliament invoke exactly the same argument for dissenting from established law on 'personally emotional' topics?

On what topics *are* votes whipped? Are they more important topics than women's rights to control their own bodies?

If this thing goes to a committee on the backs of Liberal votes, there will be more than a few people shedding Liberal memberships. Why they can't let this assault on women sit squarely on Conservative shoulders is beyond me.

the regina mom said...

I have also informed the LPC folks that I'm not supporting their horseshit individual conscience rhetoric. And I did not sign their "petition" (which was not a petition but an email to the PM) on those grounds. Trudeau says 35,000 messages were sent. Well, good, but honestly, it's a matter of too little too late.

I snagged another bunch of signatures on the ARCC petition last night. Interestingly, until I mentioned M312 in the preamble to my poem, several were unaware that it had progressed in the House and would be debated today. When I pulled the petition out of my purse, they lined up to sign on!

All this is to say that it seems a lot easier, this time around, to wage battle on this issue. A generation has grown up taking the right to abortion for granted. When they hear that it's being challenged, they get pissed off -- fast!

I also have to mention the NDP critic on women's issues. She's fucking amazing! She will, I think, do a lot to build a strong women's movement in Canada. Her commitment to grassroots organizing is solid! She took over the portfolio late last week and has already, I think, proven herself worthy, given the media attention and her performance in the House.

Anonymous said...

I just sent this to Bob Rae------

Dear Mr. Rae:

The LPC’s adamant unwillingness to whip the vote when it comes to womens’ basic rights is why I didn’t sign your email to the Prime Minister on the subject of abortion. Generally speaking, I think it’s a mistake to be a single-issue voter, but when the single issue is anyone’s basic rights, I make an exception.

Let me spell this out for you, Mr. Rae. Peoples’ rights aren’t subject to majority opinion. And, in spite of your assertion that abortion is a matter of conscience, this most definitely is about rights. It’s about the right to what the Supreme Court in its 1988 ruling striking down Canada’s abortion law called security of the person.

There is room for exactly one conscience in the matter, that of the individual woman making a decision about her own pregnancy. Until the Liberal Party of Canada understands that, it doesn’t deserve the support of any Canadian woman.

Anonymous said...

There is probably a significant number of people, male and female, that identify themselves as both pro-life and as Liberal supporters. They aren't/believe they aren't in agreement with the crazy extremists on this issue, but they haven't realized that the inmates are running the asylum (and that not explicitly denouncing the wingnuts lends them soft support).

Bob Rae doesn't want to alienate this base of Liberal supporters and lose their votes, or worse, chase them off to the Conservatives.

Niles said...

Even dyed in the wool Liberals are rolling their eyes.

BCer in Toronto

fern hill said...

Wow. 'Sucking and blowing at the same time'.

'Bout sums it up, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Niki Ashton has alot of promise. = )

Unknown said...

The ridiculousness of Rae's position was made clear when contrasted with Government Whip Gordon O'Connors complete repudiation of Woodworth's motion. The only other Conservative to stand on this debate, he mopped the floor with not only Woodworth but Rae (I don't like to revel in the flailings of other progressives but in this there is no debate, something Rae obviously disagrees with and from which he receives a heap of scorn from this blogger).

Niles said...

The ridiculousness of Rae's position is exactly equivalent to O'Connors' which is equivalent at present to Harper's.

All three men are vehemently not going to vote in favour of the motion, yet neither party is whipping their vote to make CERTAIN this thing dies the death.

Hedy Fry responded for the Liberals, so at the very least, the Liberals had a woman speaking.

There are enough Conservative MPs that should a few sit it out as pro-choice, the rest of them can still carry this to committee and Harper will shrug his shoulders and say 'will of the people'. At this point, I don't know if he wants to play that game or not.

Maybe he's counting on this going away from public view since it's going to drag on for months and months in the halls of Parliament before an actual vote of MPs on the committee.

Rae and the Liberals are publically stuck in the gate right now, so cautious of offending people to the right of the big tent, they don't dare use the quirt on the horse's flank.

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