Sunday, May 3, 2009

Is Cheryl Gallant Canada's Sarah Palin?

As a baby boomer I lived through the period when the women's movement meant something. Those before us had already won the right to vote and we had been legally declared citizens, but we were still a long way from equality. Many strides have been made over the years, but since the election of the Conservative Party of Canada, they have made some very huge strides in taking us back 50 years; with the help of anti-feminist groups like Real Women of Canada; and the narrow minded views of MPs like Cheryl Gallant.

Cheryl is Canada's Sarah Palin. Outspoken on social issues, she is a favourite with the Religious Right and the Conservative bloggers. Extremely anti-gay and anti-abortion, she spews venom to make her point, and has at times even been at odds with the moderates in her own party, though they are few and far between.

Cheryl Gallant was born in Sarnia, Ontario; but raised in the agricultural community of Blenheim. She graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, and before entering politics, worked as an insurance executive for a major Canadian company. Her husband is a dentist in her riding of Renfrew - Nipissing - Pembroke, and the couple have four daughters.

She was a strong opponent of the one year parental leave legislation, and on October 28, 1999, told the Fredericton Daily Gleaner: "At first glance to women of pregnancy prone age, this proposal may seem to be one of the best things about Canada. However, even with the current six-month leave, a functioning uterus can be an impediment to getting a job in the first place. Were it not for the idiocy of the Liberals contemplating the extrapolation spousal benefits to roommates, it could be argued that parental leave discriminates against infertile couples -- but that may lead to the risks of extending parental leave payments to those who merely go through the motions!"

By all accounts she works hard for her constituents, but as a Canadian woman and a woman in general, she is a disgrace. First elected as an Alliance MP, in 2000, her strong fundamentalist views did win her the attention of then Alliance leader Stockwell Day, who named her his Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition. Sarah Palin's fundamentalist views brought her to the attention of John McCain who needed a running mate that would please his own Religious Right.

Cheryl Gallant is Anti-Gay

In 2002 she constantly interrupted then Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham during a debate on middle-east policy, with anti-gay slurs, after rumours surfaced that he may been bi-sexual. "Ask your boyfriend" or "How's your boyfriend?". She was clearly out of control.

Under mounting pressure, then Alliance leader Stephen Harper, demanded she apologize, but she remained defiant telling the Ottawa Citizen On April 14 that the media were to blame for the controversy. But on Monday, April 15th, she reluctantly admitted that her comment was "inappropriate" and she expressed "regret", so he must have laid down the law.

A year later she had to apologize to Minister Graham again after cameras caught her mouthing an obscenity at him during question period.
When Svend Robinson introduced a private member's bill: Bill C-250 that would add 'sexual orientation' to the list of grounds on which people could not legally be discriminated against, Gallant went nuts. She stated that the bill was "devoted to "eradicating free speech", and opinion shared by many in her party, and quickly latched onto the Religious Rights groups to back up her accusations.

She argued that if this bill was passed (which it was), various parts of the Bible and other sacred texts could possibly be reclassified as hate literature, which is absolute nonsense. She used the same insanity to oppose the the same-sex marriage legislation, and went so far as to accuse the Liberal Party of being "Christian phobic" in a flyer she sent to her constituents at our expense.

Stephen Harper did nothing to quiet her, knowing that he might risk losing the support of the cash cow Religious Right. She even went so far as to publicly connect pedophilia and homosexuality, suggesting that equal rights for gays and lesbians would lead to equal rights for convicted pedophiles.

Cheryl Gallant is not Pro-Life

Though constantly called a pro-lifer, Ms. Gallant is not a champion for life, but merely an anti-abortionist. If truly pro-life, we would expect to find her at an anti-war rally, anti-poverty demonstration, or handing out clean needles to prevent spread of the deadly aids virus. However, instead she just rants and raves about the 'murder of babies', while promoting war and opposing our 'welfare state'.

During the 2004 election campaign, she once suggested that there was no difference between abortion and the beheading of Iraq war hostage Nick Berg. The Conservative Party tried to distance themselves from her and soon announced that she was suffering from laryngitis, and could not participate in scheduled debates.

Cheryl Gallant Avoids the Media

She continued to avoid the media during the 2006 election and according to Kelly Egan of the Ottawa Citizen, "Ms. Gallant's decision to duck every difficult question from the media is nothing short of childish." The paper noted that of 60 major candidates in Ottawa area ridings, Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant was the only one to refuse to meet with the Ottawa Citizen editorial board. Gallant had stated that she is focused on campaigning locally in order to keep in touch with the concerns of local constituents.

In 2006, the Young Liberals ran a contest requesting photos of Conservative MPs who were missing in action. From the Press Release:

On August 14, 2006, the Young Liberals of Canada launched a photo contest asking youth from across the nation to submit photos of missing Conservative Members of Parliament. After much deliberation, the YLC table officers came up with a winner – an altered photo depicting Cheryl Gallant as a sex-ed teacher in front of a classroom, submitted by Darren McEwan of Ottawa. "We all know that Cheryl Gallant has some interesting views on the human body, so I thought it would be funny to put her in front of a classroom," said McEwan. "I’m going to try to get Cheryl to autograph it now." McEwan, an active member of the online blogging community, has been a Young Liberal since 2004, and is now the proud new owner of an Apple iPod.

Things were no different during the last campaign. On Friday, October 3rd, 2008, her local radio station myFM held an all candidates debate to which Cheryl refused to attend.

Cheryl Gallant Abuses Her Office

In 2005 she sent out birthday cards to some of her constituents. The cards featured a picture of Gallant, with the words "May all your birthday wishes come true," and... were sent to residents who had unsuspectingly submitted passport applications at her Pembroke office. Several constituents accused Cheryl of obtaining birth-date information from a passport application during the 2006 campaign.

One affected resident told the Ottawa Citizen "The principle is really bothering me: that my information has been gathered without my knowledge. I don't know how it's going to be used." Two families who received cards have sent letters to the privacy Commissioner of Canada, asking confirmation the MP won't use the collected personal information. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has no jurisdiction in investigating such matters.

Cheryl Gallant is Dishonest

James Morton posted this on his blog. Another attempt at twisting the truth made by Ms Gallant.

OTTAWA - A Conservative MP who is well known for her past ridiculous statements has crossed the line from creativity to intellectual dishonesty by repeating her claim that the Liberal Green Shift plan would tax the use of firewood.

As reported in Barry's Bay This Week:

"Gallant has sailed into the foray once again, albeit on a different tack. In a letter sent to media outlets this week, she no longer mentions a firewood tax; instead she alleges the Liberal Green Shift would - not might, or possibly, but would - tax emissions from wood burning. But it is not true. The Green Shift plan does not provide for a tax on wood burning, and Gallant's letter uses a partial quotation from the Liberal document in which words that would appear to rule out such a tax have not been included."

In this letter, Cheryl Gallant claims to quote from the Green Shift:

"A carbon tax will apply at the wholesale level, across the country, to the full range of fuels based on their level of carbon emissions. The price will begin immediately at $10 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions and steadily rise by an additional $10 per year, reaching $40 per tonne within four years. Further into the future, the price on carbon will continue its rise."

The actual text from the Green Shift, without the ellipses, states:

"A carbon tax will apply at the wholesale level, across the country, to the full range of fossil fuels including coal, propane, natural gas, oil and diesel -- based on their level of carbon emissions. The price will begin immediately at $10 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions and steadily rise by an additional $10 per year, reaching $40 per tonne within four years. Further into the future the price on carbon will continue its gradual rise to reflect the true social costs of pollution."

As Barrys Bay This Week notes:

"The Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines a fossil fuel as 'a natural fuel such as oil or gas formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms.' Wood does not qualify. Nowhere is firewood mentioned in the Green Shift document. Despite this, not only does Gallant conclude that the Liberals plan to tax wood burning, she also does the costing."

With the New Conservative Party of Canada, Cheryl is a mere backbencher. In an attempt to appear to be governing from the centre, Harper has had to bind and gag the radicals, including Ms Gallant. We're all the better for it.

As a woman in a position of power she has an opportunity to become a role model for young women, but instead chooses to distance herself from anyone with alternative viewpoints. Her anti-abortion campaign would have more merit if she gave options. However, she also opposes sex education in school and believes, like Sarah Palin, that abstinence is the only thing that should be taught to youth.

Sadly, abortion may be the only option for children of people like Cheryl, who have no access to condoms, and are afraid of disappointing the parents who voice such strong views.

Hopefully, next election, her opponents will stick together and not battle each other to split the vote. Women like Ms Gallant are a threat to women's rights and need to be removed from our government. Most women do not support her views and she has no right speaking for us.

5 comments:

  1. It's unfortunate there are no comments to this post, as it is very well-researched and quite accurate. Although not now living in the riding, my parents and other family members do. My father constantly complains about the mail-outs her office sends throughout the riding. Not only does he complain about the content (which more often than not amounts to inflammatory inaccuracies or undisguised Conservative propaganda), but also the expense these mail-outs, which are taxpayer-funded, cost her constituents. Your comparison to Sarah Palin, with her various verbal gaffs, bigotry, and close-mindedness, is particularly apt. Hopefully the next federal election sees her constituents send her up the river (the Ottawa River, of course).

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  2. I've always thought of myself as sort of "centre-right". Slightly more to the left on most social issues, and slightly more to the right on most fiscal issues. Although I'd always aligned myself with the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, I do feel myself being pushed further to the left by the current Conservative Party of Canada when I see representatives of that party, who are religious nuts with extremest views, such as Cheryl Gallant. Let us just hope they keep her tied and gagged.

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  3. "campaigning locally" involves not attending/walking out of debates in your own riding.

    She's also a terrible person in day-to-day non political life too from what I hear from kinfolk back in pembroke. I usually don't let idle gossip form my opinion of someone, but publicly documented and childish shit like the "boyfriend" remark makes the idle gossip more credible for me.

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  4. I'm going to start a gay pride day in Barry's Bay. Who's with me?

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