Tuesday 31 March 2015

Ethical Patriarchy

From LifeShite: Canadian Doctor Rallies Colleagues Against Tyrannical Attack on Conscience.

Dr. Martin Owen, a Calgary family doctor, has taken on the task of rousing his fellow practitioners to the danger posed to their integrity by policies being pushed by professional regulators in several provinces.

“My conscience is on the line,” Owen said in a chain e-letter. “If I lived in Ontario, I'd probably move my 7 children to another province so I could avoid the tyranny over my professional medical judgment and my conscience.”

Appalled by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons’ new requirement for all doctors, regardless of moral objections, to do or refer abortions,  Owen has launched a website, freedomofconscience.ca, with Ezra Levant just before the latter’s Sun News Network folded, and sent chain e-letters to colleagues asking them to vote in a “poorly worded” CBC poll about the issue. And as with a chain letter, he has asked his recipients to pass his message on to 10 colleagues.

“The time has come when doctors now need to fight for the right not to perform abortions, prescribe birth control, or refer patients for controversial procedures,” the email stated. 
The campaign, called Freedom of Conscience is backed by Campaign Life, evangelical church groups, and the Christian Heritage Party.

Beyond the clip at the site from Sun News (Feb. 4, 2015), it is not clear that Ezra Levant has any ongoing association with it.

I was curious about this Martin Owen, so looked him up on LinkedIn. Here's his summary.
Firstly, to be a witness to the transforming love of Jesus Christ in my marriage, fatherhood and medical practice. Secondly, to promote the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death by opening my self to be an instrument of Christ's healing power in the world. Thirdly, to bring unity to the international natural family planning community through education and healing of the past wounds, so as to be a sign to the world of Christ's promise to unite His flock.

That's not bad for a summary. Anyone want to help?

Owen is listed at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), as "postgraduate trainee" from July 2010 to July 2012, and as "general registry" since August 2012. He claims also to be a member of College of Physicians & Surgeons of Ontario, but I couldn't find him in its registry.

So, he seems to be a relatively new doctor, though with seven children [!].

Things got quite a bit more interesting when I went looking for him on Twitter.

I found this fella.

Martin Owen is not a terribly unusual name, but the initial "G." corresponds to his CPSA listing. Also, how many medical doctors in Calgary named Martin Owen have seven children?

I've asked DocVemma twice if he is the same person associated with Freedom of Conscience and have had no response.

The Twitter profile page lists a website and, of course, people he's following. I scanned those 122 people.

There are body building and weight loss products, entrepreneurs for same and entrepreneurs in general, plus Dr. Oz, Tony Robbins, and Bill Gates. There are a few Christian and Catholic organizations and groups too.

Quite heavily weighted towards entrepreneurial pursuits of the health sort.

Lots of "Vemma" related accounts.

What is this Vemma the good doc is promoting so hard?

It is a nutrition company that sells "insanely healthy energy drinks" and weight-loss products through a pyramid scheme.

Vemma (/ˈviːmə/) Nutrition Company is a privately held multi-level marketing company that sells energy drinks, nutritional beverages and weight management products. The company, based in Tempe, Arizona, was founded in 2004 by Benson K., Lauren, and Karen Boreyko. In 2013, the company reported US$221 million in revenue. Most distributors are in their twenties. The company has been accused of being a pyramid scheme by U.S. media, business analysts, and former distributors, and was fined by the Italian government.

Some more about the company and its practices.

I don't doubt Owen's sincerity in objecting to "tyrannical" demands that he actually, you know, respect his patients' rights.

But I do doubt his judgement in getting involved in a pyramid scheme selling "nutritional" products. I wonder how hard he promotes these to his patients.

Previous DJ! posts on patient rights.
The CPSO consultation.

Christian Medical and Dental Society launches suit.

Meet a Christian OB/GYN.

UPDATE (April 3/15): Joyce Arthur at Rabble, "Christian doctors angry they can no longer abandon their patients."

Sunday 29 March 2015

IS and the rescue narrative

Echidne has been writing up an excellent series on Daesh and women, including on the rules they enforce on Sunni Muslim women and their establishment of sexual slavery for non-Sunni-Muslim women (not easy to read).

Her latest installment is on women who voluntarily join ISIS/IS/Daesh/whatever and their motives, experiences, and outcomes. In my view, one of the most important takeaway points of her work is that it is not the case that the women who join and support ISIS, especially the ones coming from the West, are dupes who do not know what they are doing. While some of them end up regretting it, there are not a few of them who are ideologically committed to what they are building, and not measurably to a lesser degree than the men who join it---some of whom are also naive dupes who don't understand what they were getting into, but not all.

The reality is, the view of "mainstream" society into religious-fanatical, particularly Islamically-motivated fanatical societies and organizations is coloured by a materialistic calculation of costs and benefits which these groups, almost by definition, don't share. That women, even willing women, must accept less personal freedom than men does not register within the minds of the subjects of this discrimination as a moral assault. Quite the contrary, the distribution of clear life-roles is viewed as an obvious advantage of the Daesh dystopia. From their perspective, who wouldn't prefer the clear outlay of detailed life expectations to the chaos and confusion of "free, liberated" life in the rest of the world? For them, it must be the devil misguiding the rest of us to believe that "the search for Mr. Right" is better than having one's spouse and sex partner simply assigned.

More importantly, Echidne's post points out the obvious fact that many of the reasons that women might voluntarily join IS are (suprise!) the same reasons that men do. While this should be obvious, it is important to point it out because a lot of Western media interprets gender relations in the Muslim world as a whole through the lens of a kind of rescue fantasy. Those Muslim women who, unimaginably, aren't waiting for the American troops to roll through and liberate them from their nasty bearded husbands/fathers in favour of some unspecified life doing...what?...in the feminist utopias that Western colonies universally become can only be accommodated, in this narrative, by an imputed Stockholm Syndrome.

The case of female ISIS volunteers is a piece of evidence against the rescue narrative that is difficult to ignore. This is not in itself, however, evidence for some kind of deep relativism. However, if liberation is a basic goal, then what it is evidence for, to risk a platitude, is that such liberation cannot be effected in the absence of willing participation by the liberatees, so to speak, and when that participation is withheld, it can sometimes be withheld with knowledge of what is being rejected.

Saturday 28 March 2015

Meet a Christian OB/GYN

Since I'm being smeared for "targeting" antichoice MDs -- for avoidance by 21st-century minded people -- I thought: what the hell? Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

I googled "Christian Medical and Dental Society" and scrolled through looking for individual practitioners identifying themselves as members. (Yes, I know, using deeply nefarious tactics here.)

I found more than a few Christian dentists. Here are a couple: Gordon Wong and Tom Harle.

I found a retired paediatric nutritionist, John Patrick, who looks pretty harmless.

Then I hit the jackpot with Dan Reilly, an OB/GYN practicing in "the rural communities of Centre and North Wellington." That would be in Ontario, subject to the new referral guidelines of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He's rather full of himself and devotes a page to his dedication to obstetrics and gynaecology, listing eight reasons he chose this specialty. (Really, it deserves a read. The pomposity is amazing even for a male OB/GYN.)

But reasons 6 through 8 are priceless (bold mine):
6. I have to struggle to be empathetic when a patient has a medical complaint I have struggled with. In training it was tough for me to empathize with someone who had a headache or cold or back pain. Deep inside I wanted to say, “I have had this problem and it didn’t slow me down. Buck-up and get back to work!” In ob/gyn I deal with problems that I will never experience. So I have to agree with the patient’s assessment of the severity of the problem and that makes it easier for me to empathize.

7. I enjoy the complexity of medical ethics and law. And there is lots of both in OB/GYN. [Grammar AND creepiness alert!]

8. Men are boring. [Misandry!!!!]

Get your head around number 6. He wanted to deal with problems he will never experience to improve his deficient empathy and claims that as a result he has to agree with the patient's assessment of the problem.

(Plus, like any good Christian, he is using his patients to further his own personal goals.)

Intrigued, I searched the site for abortion, you know, because if he has to agree with the patient's assessment, then he'd do abortions when that's what the patient assessed as the solution to the problem.

From the abortion search, four items come up:
1. A video of a one-hour talk he gave at McMaster University called "Abortion and the Four Principles: Clarity without Resolution." I watched about five minutes of it and that was the end of my patience for his smarmy style.

2. A link to a pdf called "Prenatal Genetic Testing, Eugenic Abortion, and the Christian Physician." I did not download this; the title says it all.

3. and 4. Pages titled "Abortion Ethics Talk" and "Abortion Ethics: Understanding the Debate."

Here they are.

And that's my public service duty for today.

Friday 27 March 2015

FFS: Near Defamation (Is That a Thing?)

This is the blogosphere. I geddit. I can dish it out and and I can take it.

But there are some things that cannot be allowed to stand. Two comments on the Focus on the Family Astroturf Blog (FFAB) fall into this category.

Background first.

Yesterday, I blogged about the Christian Medical and Dental (?) Society's quest to be exempted from new rules requiring physicians (eat your inferiority-complected hearts out, DDSs) to refer patients for treatments that CMDS members find objectionable.

I had what I thought was a simple solution, first voiced on Twitter…

… then again in the blogpost.

Tell us who you are so we can run a mile from you.

As reported yesterday, FFAB called me a hypocrite for asking for names and promising to publish them when I use a pseudonym.

The illogic of that didn't bother me. Neither did the snide remarks about my personality, writing skills, and psychology, both in the blogpost and gleefully added by commenters. (Comments haven't yet descended into speculations about my body hair and weight; they are admirably restraining themselves.)

One commenter though, John Baglow, wondered what the problem was when the intent is clearly to inform potential patients of probable mis-matches between their needs and the medicos' moral capacities.

Two commenters took it upon themselves to respond.

Here's what can't stand -- implications that I intended some kind of harm to come to anti-choice MDs.

Melissa said:
I don’t suppose that naming doctors would be such a bad thing if there weren’t a group of pro-choicers who were dead set on taking them down. But when you have a small group of people (ie the Radical Handmaids) who are committed to taking these doctors down, to bullying these doctors in a media that is quite receptive to the pro-choice cause and quite hostile to the pro-life one. Nobody wants to get caught in one of those smear campaigns, which understandably makes them reluctant to make their names known publicly.

Mary Deutscher said:
If only Fern Hill were naming physicians to help patients avoid them! The fear here is that physicians are being named to be targeted and reprimanded for refusing to harm their patients.

"Dead set on taking them down." "Bullying." "Hostile." "Smear campaigns [!!]". "Fear." "Targeted."


I know, I know, I know. It's just typical fetus fetishist self-pity and martyr-card deployment.

IANAL, but I'm pretty sure those comments wouldn't qualify as defamation either.

But they are on the path to defamation and I call on FFAB's Andrea Mrozek to disavow herself and her blog from them.

Deletion of them and an apology would be nice but I'm not holding my breath.

I intend to leave a link to this post in a comment at the blog.

UPDATE: As of noon, Saturday, March 28, Andrea Mrozek has not responded. My comment with a link to this post was published though.

UPPITY-DATIER: I woke on Sunday to the comment from Joel Kropf (below) urging me to meet Mrozek and this from her at the Astroturf blog:
"Fern, I’m happy to address anything with you, in person. Invitation for coffee still stands.
PS Since so much is misinterpreted over text/twitter/email, I’ll add this is not a sarcastic comment."

Is it just me or is this getting creepy?

No. I have no interest in meeting Mrozek in person. I want her to address the implication that I intended harm ONLINE. The implication was made ONLINE and needs to be addressed -- if at all -- ONLINE.

Mrozek, you created the opportunity for stupidity to occur. It is your obligation to fix it.

Or not.

My physical presence is not required.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Dear Christian Medicos: The 21st Century Is Calling (And Suggests You Take Up Podiatry)

The old-guard patriarchal medical establishment has come out swinging against the new Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO)'s referral requirement for treatments too icky for their sensitive Xian souls.

No 21st-century medicine, ethics, or standards of patient care for them, thank you very much.

And look how they're framing it.


With physician-assisted suicide on the horizon, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada [CMDS] is asking the Ontario Superior Court to declare that a new regulatory policy infringes upon doctors’ freedom of conscience.

The society, which represents close to 1,700 members [nationwide], filed documents in court on Friday regarding the CPSO’s Professional Obligations and Human Rights policy that was announced on March 6. The policy means doctors who refuse to refer patients for services on religious and moral grounds, including abortions, could face discipline from their regulating body.

“Our big concern is euthanasia, which is right around the corner,” said Larry Worthen, CMDS executive director.

First, the Harper government is far too busy ramming through completely egregious Jihadi Terrorists Under Every Bed legislation and rushing off to a very likely illegal war with Syria to be bothered crafting any new legislation on doctor-assisted dying.

Next, the new soul-searing CPSO requirements would ask doctors to refer patients to practitioners who will provide the services that the patient seeks and that CMDS member is too gord-fearing to offer. In rare instances, a duly sworn and licensed medical practitioner in the province of Ontario may be required to SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE, by doing something they don't like.

These earth-shattering new rules are the result of a painstaking consultation process set off when some Ottawa women trying to get birth control from a walk-in clinic were turned away.

Birth control. Not abortion. Certainly NOT euthanasia.

I think any doctor refusing to participate in modern, non-judgemental medicine should have his or her license yanked or else shunted into a specialty or practice where they have nothing to do with lady parts.

Dermatology or podiatry would be good.

But as a simple expedient, this morning on Twitter I had a suggestion.

Easy-peasy no? Just tell us who you are so we can avoid you.

But no. Not only do Christian MDs' conscience rights trump patients', their privacy rights do too.

So, I started nosing around the Christian Medical and Dental Society's website and started posting some names I found there: Michelle Korvemaker, Diana Haak, Dan Reilly, Shalea Piteau, Sandy Tigchelaar, James Warkentin, Joel Emery, Corina Gotschling, H. Elmer Thiessen, Donato Gugliotta.

I invited Twitterers to post other known CMDS members' names or names of MDs who had refused requests for birth control.


Shit hit fan. The fetus freaks smelled blood. They had me -- a pseudonymous blogger -- in a MASSIVE GOTCHA!

I was "outing" people -- licensed medical practitioners, mind -- from behind my pseudonym!!!!!!!

Andrea Mrozek of the Focus on the Family Astroturf Blog demanded twice on Twitter that I reveal my real name, then she whipped off a blogpost with the same demand.

Because my desire to list the MDs who would waste our time -- funny but patients' time is valuable too -- and presumably OHIP's money in futile visits was some kind of despicable hypocrisy, while these MDs' insistence on their right to run people around, deliver moral lectures, and bill OHIP for it was not only totally okey-dokey, but Noble and Principled.

The whole thing is hilarious of course, but it reveals what the agenda is.

The gord-botherers know exactly how ridiculous their stand on birth control and abortion is and are trying to divert the reasonable new requirements into a SHRIEEEEK-FEST over euthanasia.

Julie Lalonde of the Radical Handmaids made an appearance on a CBC Radio phone-in show that had the above-mentioned Larry Worthen of the CMDS as the full-hour guest.

She was subjected to the euthanasia GOTCHA! and responded gracefully that that wasn't yet an issue and frankly no one yet knows how it will be handled.

In private conversation afterwards, she said: "I think the assisted suicide issue is a red herring that is meant to dredge up support for their cause because they know that their views on birth control and abortion are in the minority. But since assisted suicide is a relatively new public discussion in Canada, they're trying to piggy-back on top of it to get people on their side."

Diversion, red herrings, smearing, shrieking. Check, check, check, check.

The fetus freaks are fighting a rear-guard battle and the poor dears know it.

They just can't accept it yet.

ADDED: Martin Regg Cohn's excellent column: Why Doctors Shouldn't Play God on the Job.

UPDATE: Link to ensuing shitstorm.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

La Noirceur nouvelle, cru 2015

Last night several feminists I follow on Twitter (québecoises and from the rest of Canada) tweeted the link to a breaking news story in Le Devoir regarding some hidden provisions in Bill 20, currently moving thru the Assemblée nationale.

This bill, framed as a necessary - AUSTERITY! - reform to the programs which regulate how healthcare is provided by physicians in Québec, was bulldozed through Québec's legislative assembly by the Minister for Health Dr Barrette.  The crumbs of information disclosed reveal that family physicians as well as specialists working for community-based public healthcare service providers will be penalized if they don't obey Barrette's complicated system of quotas.

Interestingly enough, specialists employed by private sector clinics that are owned by physicians who are incorporated as business entities are not restricted by these new regulations.  For example radiologists - unless employed by a hospital, individual practitioners - are still allowed to be as greedy as they want.  Dr Barrette and his spouse are radiologists.

Prochoice providers of women's reproductive healthcare crunched the numbers and revealed another repressive aspect of the Québec Liberal regime's proposed system (loosely translated from story here):
The Minister of Health Gaétan Barrette will limit the number of abortions done by Quebec physicians. In a departmental working document, it was said that abortions will no longer be considered as priority medical activities, which will result in the closing of clinics and thus limit access to first-trimester pregnancy termination.

The devil is in the details. For months now, health care stakeholders demanded to see the famous regulations that Bill 20 will impose. A draft regulation, obtained by the Women's Health Centre in Montreal and consulted by Le Devoir, set off reactions. "Bill 20 was passed without consulting patients, which is extremely dangerous! Women's reproductive health and ensuring prompt access to abortion is fundamental to women's rights. This is a basic criterion of equality between men and women."

The director of the Women's Health Center, Anne-Marie Messier, is angry.  Thirty doctors and directors of family planning clinics sent a letter to the Minister to denounce this attack upon the rights of Québecoises. "By trivializing the important work of doctors (mostly women) working in providing abortions and related services in reproductive health, the Liberal government seriously undermines the right of women to comprehensive reproductive health care in Quebec," they wrote.

Jabba the Hutt doppelgänger Dr Barrette is infamous for throwing his political weight around, bullying his opponents into silence.  On radio, he hectored women for their hysterical stupidity.

But women have reacted rationally and calmly to Bill 20's proposed reforms.

Toula Drimonis published this.
As it stands, the proposed legislation would impose a maximum quota of 504 abortions per doctor per year, even though the number of physicians performing abortions is already limited in this province. This morning, Barrette said that physicians regularly performing abortions would be given “exemptions” to the restrictions. I still don’t quite understand why you would create a law limiting the number of abortions a physician can perform and then hand out “exemptions” to that very same law. What’s the point? Are these measures aimed at reducing costs or are they simply meant to open the door to privatizing these services? One has to wonder. 

If a woman doesn’t have access to one of the very few abortion clinics that exist, then a woman would have to go through her family doctor or another specialist, and eventually that doctor is going to hit a quota. And then what? What does that woman do? As it currently stands, too many Quebecers don’t even have access to a family doctor. A woman without access to one wishing to terminate her pregnancy would have to resort to her CLSC or another clinic, significantly increasing the chances of coming across that quota once again. Particularly in rural areas. 

Let’s not forget that Barrette and his band of merry cost-cutting men (women too, sadly) are also behind governmental efforts to significantly limit access to in-vitro fertilization treatment (IVF), going as far as making it illegal for women over 42 to get IVF. With this bill, only women aged 18 to 42 would have access to IVF treatment — after passing a psychological evaluation. A psychological evaluation…
During that period of Québec history known as "La grande noirceur", Premier Duplessis colluded with the Catholic Church to suppress women's rights. Married women were ostracized by their parish priests if they used birth control. Union organizers like Madeleine Parent and Léa Roback were harassed.

A regressive, patriarchy-tinged backlash is burbling in Québec, much like an over-full septic tank that's been overlooked.  In spite of secularity being the dominant discourse, recent events such as violence incited by the proposed Charter, the emergence of many antiChoice Pregnancy Crisis Centres - which my co-blogger investigated here - a judge refusing to hear the testimony of a woman clad in hijab, suggest that Dr Gaétan 'Duplessis' Barrette is a carbuncle, a symptom of toxic misogyny seething in the body politic. 

Welcome, Foes of the C51 Police State

Just about every Canadian -- of every conceivable stripe -- opposes Bill C-51, aka the Jihadi Terrorists Under Every Bed Bill.

Former PMs, former Supreme Court Justices, law professors, the Canadian Bar Association, unions, First Nations, journalists, former CSIS officers, environmentalists, and even ordinary, everyday, minding-their-own-business Canadians.

Today it was announced that Free Dominion is reopening its forum to join the fray.

Here is Mark Fournier's explanation.

Although it entails some risks, Connie and I have decided to reopen the forum in reaction to the dangers to our freedom that we are all facing if Bill C-51 is passed by the federal government. So far the political left in Canada has been bearing the main burden of opposing this legislation and we believe principled conservatives and others should have a place on the political right where they can voice their opposition to this dangerous bill.

It beats the hell out of me why anyone purportedly in this fight -- and it is the fight of the decade at the very least -- would scorn any ally. But some are too pure to join forces with groups they otherwise disagree vehemently with.

I'm not so pure.

In fact, I've spent most of today sending emails to two groups I and my co-bloggers usually mock the shit out of -- fetus fetishists and gun nuts.

Funnily, the same idea occurred to Lorne Gunter.

He too sees many dangers for all manner of people in C-51. Among his examples, this:
Want a quicker, easier way to stop abortion doctor murderers or anti-registration gun owners or politically incorrect groups with unpopular views? Label their activities a threat to national security and government agencies can eavesdrop on their phone calls and intercept their e-mails and texts.
(I think he had a bit of brain-fart there lumping abortion doctor murderers -- I mean, who wouldn't want to stop them? -- in with the noble gun owners and politically incorrect. But we get his point.)

Hell, CSIS has already identified white supremacists and anti-abortion fanatics as higher terrorist threats than radical Islamists.

In fact, it appears that the main gun owners' organization in Canada, the National Firearms Associations, does have serious enough reservations about C-51 to join the Protect Our Privacy Coalition and schedule an appearance before the C-51 committee.

But then it mysteriously reneged.

Tasha Kheiriddin speculates about a quid pro quo offered and accepted. NFA has some issues with the Harperists over other pending legislation.

Was the NFA feeling the heat? Or was it the other way around? Could amendments to C-42 [the other legislation] be in the offing, and was the NFA’s decision to abstain from embarrassing the government by tearing into its terrorism law the quid pro quo?
We don't know what the organization was thinking, do we? But I wonder what individual gun owners think of a bill that could label them -- just about on a whim -- security threats, disrupt their activities, intercept their communications, and TAKE THEIR GUNS AWAY?

As for the fetus freaks, much as I loathe them, I doubt that even they -- with at least one NOTABLE EXCEPTION -- would want to protect abortion doctor murderers.

But in today's Canada, anti-choicers are proudly dissident. And depending on the whims of police, security forces, and governments of the moment, they could find their little bunfests and prayer-wanks subject to some serious scrutiny and disruption too.

The simple fact is that the C-51 police state threatens us all. All of us. Birdwatchers and bloggers, target-shooters and teaching assistants.

Fetus freaks and free-speechers, too.

All of us.

Me, I welcome anyone who recognizes that fact and is willing to join in the fight.

And hell, who knows? A grand unified anti-police state movement may just breathe some life into the old Canadian collectivist notion of the common good.

UPDATE: Vice has the goods on the quid pro quo. NFA buckled pretty easily for a bunch of tough guys and gals, didn't they? I hope the members are satisfied.

Monday 23 March 2015


The Fetal Gore Porn Gang -- you remember, the same group of nutbars who attempted to co-opt the Abortion Caravan -- along with Campaign Lie have a new campaign billed as "the biggest pro-life campaign Canada has ever seen."

DJ! reported on its launch last week. That's an account by an attendee at the Victoria event who had some uncomfortable and, apparently, unanswerable questions for the organizers.

Well, now that they're a week into their current road trip, let's have a look at how they're doing. (They really like road trips, don't they? Maybe because it gets them out from under the parental/pastoral thumb?)

Here's the schedule with handy Facebook links.

Oddly, the FB page for the Victoria bunfest on March 13 is "unavailable."

Here are some details from the other knees-upses. I'm using their own numbers. (Go to "schedule" link for individual FB links; I'm too lazy to code them all.)

In Vancouver on March 14, out of 655 invited, 43 "went."

In Chiliwack on March 16, 35 out of 577 invitees attended.

Kelowna on March 18, 11 out of 77.

Calgary on March 19, 35 out of 512.

Edmonton on March 21, 28 out of 429.

Next up is Saskatoon on March 24. So far 126 have been invited and 21 are "going" with 7 "maybes'." For Brandon on March 27, 10 of 110 plan to go. Regina on March 25 has no FB page and 30 Winnipegers of 418 invitees intend on going.

Then there are several in Ontario, then the one I'm planned on visiting, Toronto on April 10. The fetus freaks have great hopes of this one. They've invited 1.2k, of which so far 63 are going with 47 maybes.

That's not counting me, so add one there.

The April 20 event in Fredericton should be interesting given recent events there. Twenty-five of 205 invitees have confirmed their attendance so far.

Strangely, there is no Ottawa event listed.

The last event on the schedule is on May 12 in Peterborough.

Then nothing until May 25, but this final event in Woodstock, ON, is billed as "End the Killing," the tag-line of their Old New Abortion Caravan wankeroo. And it is a "CLOSED" event.

Their partner, Campaign Lie, however, is holding its MASSIVE annual martyrgasm, March of the Fetii, in Ottawa on May 14.

Might the Fetal Gore Gang be planning another Grand Finale?

As they did for the 2012 March for Lies with their Grand Jete de FetusMobile?

Which got unaccountably lost. (As reported by both JJ, the Unrepentant and DJ!.)

Maybe they don't want to, you know, create any unfulfillable expectations.

But let's go back to the numbers.

Even if they're telling the truth -- hey, there's a first time for everything! -- they are kind of sad, aren't they?

Forty-three in Vancouver and 35 in Calgary, which are pretty big cities.

There are 23 stops on the tour. If they get an average -- let's be generous -- of 30 per venue, that's just under 700 people.

But, see, these gatherings are not the point. The point is to hand out ONE MILLION pieces of trademark gore porn.
"This will be the biggest pro-life campaign in Canadian history," the campaign organizers state. But they stress that, "In order for us to do this, the pro-life movement will need thousands of boots on the ground across the country to participate in the #No2Trudeau campaign in whatever form of activism they feel comfortable with."

And they're on track for about 700 pairs, or 1400 boots.

Which is going to be interesting since by my calculation, to hit ONE MILLION PIECES, each boot is going to have to hand out more than 700 pieces.

On Twitter, on the #no2Trudeau hashtag, they're claiming victory because no one is engaging in discussion. Also because "proborts" (typo or new styling? I kinda like it) are deleting tweets. I don't think they get this Twitter thingamajig.

I'm enjoying this and will keep you posted.

If any of you have some time and would like to check them out, here again is their schedule. DJ! would be pleased to offer a venue for your reports.

Saturday 21 March 2015

(Slightly Rigged) Caption Contest!

One of my fave people on Twitter, Karen Geier retweeted this image this morning.

WTF is it? Who made it? What on earth is it titled?

I slapped the image itself into Google Image and came up with a bunch of links to stories like "15 of the Weirdest Sculptures in the World," for example, this one.

Another of my fave people on Twitter took a more direct route.

This is what he came up with.
Public parks are not a place you would expect to stumble across a statue of a naked man kicking babies.

But the managers of Oslo's largest park, Frogner Park, like to offer walkers and tourists something truly eye-catching when they step out for some fresh air.

The 80 acre Vigeland Sculpture park, located inside Frogner Park, was designed by sculptor Gustav Vigeland, and contains no less than 212 bronze and granite sculptures.
Go look. There's a video too at the link, which really must be seen. (Bonus! "In the Hall of the Mountain King" soundtrack.)

I couldn't find an official title for "Naked Man Kicking Babies." Let's give it one.

But I'm cheating. The best I think is on Karen's retweet.

Also, I just wanted this image on my blog.

Friday 20 March 2015

Rules, Shmules: CONs Flout 'Em Again for Religious Pals

We know this: the Contempt Party of Canada breaks rules. Actually, more often they don't even acknowledge that there might be rules that apply to them or their pals.

The examples are legion, but here at DAMMIT JANET! we pay particular attention to transgressions relating to reproductive rights and/or religion (and it's drearily often "and," isn't it?).

Back in December, we reported that the Dominionist Association for Reformed Political Action got "special permission" to stage their garish little gasline flag stunt on Parliament Hill. (This MASSIVE event was intended to call attention to underground gaslines -- both male and female -- cruelly bunched together on a side lawn of Parliament Hill. Or something.)

Here's another more recent flouting of the rules, this time involving Jason Kenney, Patrick Brown, and Pakistani Christians, a key voter demographic, we assume.

A religious conference held earlier this month on Parliament Hill that featured Defence and Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney as a speaker appears to have breached the rules governing House of Commons facilities.

The Conference on Religious Freedom, organized by International Christian Voice, was held March 11 at 1 Wellington Street, a building with committee rooms that is part of the Parliamentary precinct.
Link to conference. Link to organization.

According to the rules, events may not include conferences, tickets may not be sold, and the sponsoring MP must be in attendance throughout the entire event.

The sponsoring MP was Patrick Brown, multitasking his job as MP with his campaign to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

This was clearly a conference, tickets were sold, but it's uncertain whether Brown took time out of his busy schedule to sit through the whole thing.

Because he was busy. Four tweets from March 11 informed followers of four events he attended that day, including the Pakistani Christian one.

And gee, guess what! Patrick Brown is also a double-plus-good fetus fetishist endorsed for PCPO leader by Campaign Lie, which is hedging its bet by also endorsing Monte McNaughton (Rob Ford's choice).

Here's another odd twist to the story.
According to the bylaws, applications for room use must be approved by the Sergeant-at-Arms in consultation with the party. The Sergeant-at-Arms position, however, has been vacant since Kevin Vickers left to become ambassador to Ireland.
We remember Kevin Vickers, don't we? The hero of the October Parliament Hill shooting -- part of the ostensible urgent need for the fascist Jihadi Terrorists Under Every Bed bill -- whisked off to his reward in the Emerald Isle before he could add any useful details to what actually happened that fateful -- for civil liberties in Canada -- day.

Patrick Brown did not deign to return the Ottawa Citizen's call for clarification but International Christian Voice's chairman said he was unaware that ticketed conferences were not allowed.

Who approved the event? Will anyone take responsibility for or try to explain the irregularity?

It's unclear whether any further investigation is underway.

In case you were wondering, besides Jason (The Virgin) Kenney, attendees included Andrew Bennet, Ambassador for Religious (Only If Christian) Pandering and former headmaster of a finishing school for home-skuled precious little souls, Don Meredith, ordained minister with some dodgy credentials and Conservative Senator, and Raymond de Souza, ubiquitous fetus fetishist who needs no introduction here. Bal Gosal, cited by Brown as co-sponsor, did not tweet that day aside from retweeting Brown's.

The (ongoing) lesson?

To paraphrase Leona Helmsley: "We CONservatives don't follow rules. Only the little people without important Christian and/or anti-choice connections follow rules."

Sunday 15 March 2015

#No2Trudeau Campaign: Not Just Anti-Abortion?

Talk about an unholy alliance. Campaign Life and the Centre for Bioethical Refoooorm (aka FetusMobile Gang) have teamed up to target Justin Trudeau -- and only Justin Trudeau -- over his moderate and, some might say, fairly mealy-mouthed, pro-choice stand.

They're billing it as the most MASSIVEST EVER ANTI-ABORTION CAMPAIGN (or some such).

I will have more to say about it later, but now I want to share a longish Facebook account by Adam Stirling*. It's self-explanatory.

I spent most of Friday evening at the University of Victoria watching the cross-country launch of what has been claimed to be the largest pro-life campaign in Canadian history.

I've long been a vocal supporter of pro-choice policies, and because of this I have supported Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau's unequivocal stance in favour of reproductive freedom as I have considered seeking the nomination for the party. It is Mr Trudeau's stance in favour of women's reproductive rights that has supposedly sparked the ‪#‎no2trudeau‬ campaign being undertaken by this pro-life group.

After viewing the presentation, however, I have become convinced that this organization is little more than a willing or unwilling surrogate for the Conservative Party.

In what would become the disturbingly consistent theme of the evening, the presentation begins by identifying what it believes to be the source of Canada's abortion issue: the name Trudeau. After placing the anchor of blame on the policies of Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the presentation glazes over decades of complex social change and legal battles and begins a relentless political attack upon on his son. This presentation attacks Justin Trudeau in regards to nearly every conceivable issue.

The presentation is supposedly about abortion, but it criticises Justin Trudeau's position on the development of Canada's oil sands and comments he's made about Canada's CF-18 fighter jets. It ridicules him over a press scrum in which he once spoke in the third person about his love for Canada. It questions his ability to manage Canada's finances, and it makes fun of his hair.

Furthermore, at no point does the seemingly partisan bombardment die down long enough to even acknowledge that the NDP exists.

Indeed, the speakers make mention of Canada's "two main parties."

I enjoyed the conversations with the legitimate attendees in the audience, but I don't think I've ever seen a more nakedly partisan anti-Liberal video presentation in my entire life.

The video made no mention of the PMO killing Conservative MP Mark Warawa's motions regarding the study of abortion. I was the one who had to ask the presenters about that. Stephen Harper has been stopping votes on abortion from taking place for 8-years. I asked: why isn't his face on the bus outside?

They were able to provide no logical answer.

I was honest with them. I said that the Liberal Party will not move on this issue. No candidate who would vote to reopen the abortion debate is permitted in the party. The difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives is the Liberals are honest about this issue.

The Conservatives will happily take votes from people like those in attendance at this event, but if pro-life views ever gain a foothold in the party, Harper will bring down the hammer again, just like he did with Warawa.

I understand why pro-life advocates might not support the Liberal Party, but it bothers me that the presenters seemed to suggest the Conservative party actually might act on their views. The audience was encouraged to support "pro-life" candidates, who would presumably only be in Conservative party. Audience members were even offered scripts with which they could perform public outreach work for these candidates. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

After repeated questioning, I was able to make the presenters admit to the audience that it is immensely unlikely Harper will re-open the issue of abortion. They can vote for Harper all they want, but the Conservative party will only pay lip service to the pro-life movement. It will not under any circumstances re-open the abortion debate any more than the Liberal Party will.

But it wasn't just the one-sided partisan nature of the attacks at this event that bothered me, it was the apparent lack of critical information. The speakers were unable to provide details sought by the audience regarding the legality of the Supreme Court ruling 27 years ago. Instead, they answered with vague details on how the state-by-state regulations vary in the United States. I had to speak up and clarify that Canada's Supreme Court found in 1988 that Section 251 of the Criminal Code violated Section Seven (Personal Security) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that this section of the Criminal Code could not be saved under Section One of the Charter. I'm not a lawyer and even I know that, but I'm not sure either of the speakers at the front of the room had any idea what I was talking about...

As for content, the video was horrible. At one point, it was little more than graphic images of fetuses, accompanied with high tempo music, mixed with repeated sound clips of both Justin Trudeau and Peter Mansbridge. The video jumped from topics such as slavery, to the Vietnam War, to Rosa Parks, to (as I mentioned) Justin Trudeau's hair...

There were inspirational quotes from Thomas Jefferson (what country is this?) and gushing, unironic praise of the bold leadership displayed on restricting abortion by George W. Bush, the "Leader of the Free World."

George W. Bush was praised...

And nobody laughed...

It was like I was trapped in a skit on Saturday Night Live... I really couldn't have created a more ridiculous parody of these videos if I had tried.

All that aside, it is not the content of this presentation that I found the most troubling. No, what was most troubling about this tangled mess of a presentation is what was *not* there.

I mentioned it to the organizers afterward, and they say they'll change it, but there is one word that I did not hear mentioned during the entire first half of the evening.

Do you know what that word is?

Adam's bio at his blog.

* Adam gave permission with this proviso: "reproduction consent does not imply endorsement on my part for any other content found on any site."

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Bait and Hate

On March 8 2015, International Women's Day, the Harper government's Minister for Defence and Multiculturalism tweeted this:

Journalist Glen McGregor caught the mendacious tweet and investigated whether the misleading images were duplicitously used.

An article in La Presse has an interview with a scholar based at l'UQUAM, regarding the authenticity and provenance of images used in Jason Kenney's tweet. He deplored the lack of rigour shown by this tweet as well as the misrepresentation of what the images actually portray: the dramatization of a religious historical event (much like Catholic Good Friday re-enactment) and the public recitation of Coranic verses.
The press secretary to Minister Kenney, who is also responsible for Multiculturalism in the Harper government, declined to respond directly to requests for clarification regarding the choice of photos.

"This type of question obscures the real issue: [Daesh/IS] is a threat to women and minorities; it is a genocidal terrorist organization, a threat to national and international security," wrote Lauren Armstrong in an email sent to The Canadian Press.
That photo in the upper right hand corner is a still shot from a short video that Karren Brown found:

Kenney's tweet implied that the tearful girl is a terrified child bride of a Wahhadi Daesh fighter.  She isn't.

Watch the video. The girl is competing in a contest of memorization of religious text.  Her head is not covered.  Her audience is composed of supportive community members who encourage her.

Though there are other religions who do justify potential endangerment and harm to children because ... their ideology rules. Three years ago we wrote about the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board and how it facilitated such activities.

Yes, it's April and those three boys are exposed to the elements.  The board has now removed the photos from its Brampton school's website (child pornography?) but Andrea Houston got a screen cap which she kindly provided.

Kenney is a fundamentalist Catholic. My co-blogger is very fond of this video of a young and rabidly zealous Jason.  He didn't complete his undergraduate program.  We suspect that the Jesuits were far too liberal for his proclivities.

Need we remind our readers, as well as befuddled Harper Cons, that the Catholic Church facilitated, tolerated and enabled mental, physical and sexual violence exerted against thousands and thousands of children for centuries.  In countries like Ireland, the Philippines and El Salvador, women are still struggling to cast off the oppressive control of the Vatican's misogynist ideology.  They have uncovered great injustices and loudly demanded accountability from the Church.

Nonetheless, Harper Cons are putting all their communication eggs into one basket: systematically deploying fear mongering tactics to incite hatred and fear of Muslims as they ramp up to a fall election campaign. Also: fundraising!!!

On Monday evening, the leader of the Liberal Party
[..]accused Harper's Conservative Party government of blurring the line "between a real security threat and simple prejudice." In particular, he criticized the decision of a judge in Quebec to refuse the case of a Muslim woman who wore a hijab to court, arguing that it was a "troubling trend that Mr. Harper seems keen to accelerate and exploit" and linking it to the Conservative government's proposed ban on the wearing of Islamic face veils during the oath of citizenship. 

Trudeau told his audience. "So we should all shudder to hear the same rhetoric that led to a 'none is too many' immigration policy toward Jews in the 30s and 40s, being used to raise fears against Muslims today."

On Tuesday Harper's dog-and-pony show continued in Parliament, as his Minister for Public Safety obliquely referenced Islam during his presentation on Bill C-51 in committee.  Blaney justified this, claiming that "hate speech" sows the seeds that culminate in horrific events like the Holocaust. He rambled on, even alluding to the mass slaughter of Tutsi by Hutu.
The minister compared jihadist declarations to Nazi propaganda, saying "the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers, it began with words." 

"Violence starts with words," the minister repeated. "Hate begins with words. I can talk to you about the genocide in Rwanda that began on the radio."
He was taken to task by NDP MP Randall Garrison who suggested Blaney was trivializing the Shoah. Later, the minister's office denied that he had paraphrased verses from the Qur'an. 

Since we're on the topic of hate speech, biblical text are still used to justify violence against women. The actions demanded in Deutoronomy 22:21 that Gary Pearson partly cited above may no longer prevail in law, but they persist in the stigma attached to sex work and in the shaming of women who refuse to let their sexuality be controlled by religious ideology.
"then they are to take her out to the entrance of her father's house, where the men of her city are to stone her to death. She has done a shameful thing among our people by having intercourse before she was married, while she was still living in her father's house. In this way you will get rid of this evil."
None of this is happenstance. Ordinary secular political parties are not seized by urgent, totalitarian needs to foment ethnic fear and religious hatred against muslims in order to stay in power.  But a party that is in thrall to Evangelical christian religious fundamentalism and bankrolled by foreign interests, as Harper's CPC is, certainly would be. 

The last words belong to Jed Bartlet, _The West Wing_ fictional president inspired by Jimmy Carter with some daubs of JFK.

Deploying religious text to expose the ugliness of religious fundamentalism.

Of interest to those with no particular religious adherence: the word TERROR entered the political vocabulary during the French revolution as these events unfolded. A demonstration that any ideology, even anti-religious, can be used to justify violent government repression.  

UPDATE: The hoax photos that Kenney deployed misrepresent their original use. Taken from an anti-Muslim hate-inciting site. Thoroughly deconstructed here.

Saturday 7 March 2015

The Salvation Army Anti-VAW Ad

OK, everybody has seen this, right?

All over the Internet, feminists (some self-identified, others I'm assuming) are bitching about it.

The ad comes from South Africa. Why is the woman white?

The woman is white. Other groups also experience VAW.

The blood and bruises are fake. (I don't know what this is meant to criticize. The photographer should have engaged in a little cinéma vérité and beaten the model up? The DRESS should have been taken to an emergency ward and shopped around until someone agreed to pose in it?)

VAW is not just physical. Why doesn't this photo expose other forms?

There are no trigger warnings. (Um, ?)

The ad is decontextualized. (Frankly, I don't understand this one. What does that mean?)

And a bunch of other stuff I don't understand because I am a bad feminist.

Here's the one I can get behind: It's the fucking Salvation Army.

Yes, it's the poverty-wage paying, homophobic, transphobic, everythingphobic Salvation Army.

Who had this time-sensitive, arresting image offered to them by an ad agency looking to do some pro-bono work and who knew -- and this is the only positive thing I will ever say about SA -- the SA has a history of going with edgy advertising.

The kind that agencies LOVE to do. The kind that wins awards. The kind that gets people talking.

Just like this one did.

People are talking. And that's good.

The ad is clever. I think it's great.

And that makes me a bad feminist.


Who Will You Help?

I'm not a big fan of Kathleen Wynne, nor of the sacred shibboleth that WE NEED MORE WOMEN IN POLITICS. (Think Margaret Thatcher for a quick antidote to that.)

But this impressed me.

Sexual violence and harassment are "rooted in misogyny," Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Friday as she unveiled a plan she said was aimed at changing behaviours and challenging social norms.

The "It's Never Okay" plan includes new legislation and a public awareness campaign centred around an ad depicting assaults and harassment the premier described as uncomfortable to watch, but much harder to experience.

Maybe women can make a difference in power. If they want to. And get support for it.


WIN for Patient Rights!

In Ontario -- finally -- patient rights will trump physicians' panty-sniffing and finger-wagging.

Doctors who refuse to prescribe birth control or other medical services because of their personal values could face possible disciplinary actions, Canada’s largest medical regulator says.

Moral or religious convictions of a doctor cannot impede a patient’s access to care, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario said Friday in a 21-3 [!] vote supporting an updated Professional and Human Rights policy.
To its credit, the College held a public consultation that we encouraged people to contribute to here.

Of course the fetus freaks encouraged their gang too. And it looks like the freaks were busier.

More than 16,000 responses were received during a public consultation period — unprecedented feedback, according to Dr. [Marc] Gabel [past president and chairman of policy working group]. The vast majority opposed the referral requirement. But when the college polled 800 Ontarians last May on “conscientious objection,” a solid majority — 92% — said doctors who refuse to provide a service themselves should help patients find another doctor who would.
Here Joyce Arthur and Christian Fiala argue that conscientious objection (CO) in medicine is less analogous to CO in the military than to dishonourable disobedience.

The predictable SHRIEEKING has begun from the fetus freaks. We wonder if they'll redeploy their totally un-ironic photo of doc with gun pointed at head, which still graces its website.

We'll leave the last word to commenter Beijing York.
The god-botherers MDs should take up podiatry. It's as close to emulating Jesus they will get - bathing feet.

AFTERTHOUGHT: What would be better than "possible disciplinary actions" would be for the College to maintain a registry of doctors who WILL NOT prescribe contraception or provide other services. When the SHRIEEEKING from this dies down, DJ! will take on that campaign.

Monday 2 March 2015

Of Sex Ed and Dickheads... (updated)

On Monday the Ontario government released its comprehensive Health and Physical Education curriculum for grades 1 through 12, which includes a component on human sexuality.

Some people got sidetracked. This woman opined that her own children are too clever or savvy for the topics addressed. Though Soupcoff is a parent and a non-practicing lawyer, she lacks pedagogical training as well as an understanding of cognitive development-appropriate teaching methods. She also forgets there ARE adults who flail, fail and suffer from a dearth of basic life skills and knowledge.

Nadine Thornhill read it ALL. And she shared her observations, too.

Our friend Rick at Queer Thoughts also blogged about the new curriculum.

Premier Wynne was subjected to implicit homophobic baiting in the legislature; this is how she responded:
Bravo Kathleen, you go grrrl! we say.

On Tuesday a protest against the curriculum was held at Queen's Park, attended by upset parents, religious extremists and an assortment of right-wing nut-job misogynists, homophobes and bigots. 1800 people were expected.  Less than 200 showed up, though the exact number was disputed.  My co-blogger wondered if hundreds of school kids would get bused in, as the Catholics do for the annual March for Lies. They were not.

Speakers demanded that media not portray them as fringe religious zealots, and blamed the media for putting pressure on the government to update the curriculum (last version was 1998, way before mobile devices were available to children).  

Sadly, this is how some protesters expressed their concerns:


Oh, remember (ex)Trustee Sam?  His pathetic, delusional rantings have become testerical.

He appears oblivious to documented facts about pedophilia; namely that 68% of cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by family members.  The curriculum will provide kids with information about being respected and heard - a big part of consent - and what to do if adults transgress their personal boundaries.  Now why would that make Sam anxious?

Here is Nadine Thornhill again, this time providing parents with ways for broaching the issue of consent with their children. Her website is an amazing resource for parents who want to address the topics covered by the Ontario curriculum with their children, in advance of its September 2015 implementation.

And not unconnected to our provincial brouhaha, this happened in the Excited States:

Whoa! Does someone lacks basic knowledge of human physiology?  Did Republican politician Vito Barbieri attend creationist abstinence anti-sex ed summer camp? Which led someone to wonder:

As it turns out, Barbieri was only using tactical trickery, adding to the treasure trove of dumb metaphors and analogies (whoops! I said anal) that anti-abortion crusaders deploy: parrots in cages, kidneys, balloons and many many others, as catalogued here by fern hill.
"I was being rhetorical, because I was trying to make the point that equalizing a colonoscopy to this particular procedure was apples and oranges," he said. "So I was asking a rhetorical question that was designed to make her say that they weren't the same thing, and she did so. It was the response I wanted."

THIS by the way, is a very, very good analogy.  These two sketch the epidemiological effect of anti-sex Ed parents and their children on other families. This one is another take on the harmful consequences of anti-sex Ed, like anti-vaccination believers. 

The last word on Sex Ed (Ed suggestive of Edwardian) belongs to Sir Francis:

UPDATE: Harper Cons are pushing all the hot-button issues for their fundraising and 2015 elections campaigning efforts. A CPC MP has added her bigoted 2¢ from the same anti-sex-education choir songs that *trustee* Sam and provincial RWNJ Cons are shrieeeking. Cheryl Gallant parroted its bizarre obfuscations in the House of Commons

This is how the Reformatories show their contempt for Parliament: by using it as their sewage dump for the lies and delusional speaking points cranked out by the Politburo/PMO. 

Gallant is no newcomer to anti-choice controversy; 11 years ago at the annual March for Lies she said this.  Dean Del Mastro has also jumped on the anti-sex-ed bandwagon but news coverage for his grandiose gesture - signing Levant's petition - is curiously devoid of content, unlike the volumes posted about his criminal trial.

The last word of this update belongs to Ariel Troster and her inspired take on *concerned parents* privilege:

"[..]whether I like it or not, being a parent lends me some sort of credibility and authority to speak on issues that are relevant to children. And it gives me an opportunity to disrupt the bigots who use ridiculous “think of the children” logic to deny people’s human rights and promote discrimination.

The notion that children need to be protected from queer and trans people is an old trope. In the 1970s, Anita Bryant based an entire “Save Our Children” campaign on the idea that gay people could be hiding in schools and corrupting innocent kids. She played on the false association between homosexuality and pedophilia and built a national campaign against gay rights in the U.S. based on it. While this seems like a total anachronism to many of us today, this same vein of manipulation is still alive and well."