Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shouldn't We Be Warned that Cheryl Gallant and Helena Guergis Would be Speaking on the Same Day?

I mean seriously. Shouldn't there be some kind of warning, like 'We interrupt this program to warn Canadians to run, and just keep running.' They are both such a disgrace.

The Status of Women critics from the Opposition parties protested Helena's hypocrisy over the ceremony to mark the l'École Polytechnique massacre, saying they couldn't stand alongside Guergis, the Conservative status of women minister. I don't blame them. I couldn't stand to be in the same room with that woman.

The Reformers record on women's issues is abysmal. They are trying to take us back to the stone age, and some one's got to speak up. Guergis voted in favour of scrapping the long gun registry, so she gave up her right to speak for these young women.

Critics boycott Tories' Polytechnique ceremony
December 1, 2009
The Canadian Press

Opposition critics boycotted a non-partisan ceremony Tuesday marking the 20th anniversary of the Dec. 6 l'École Polytechnique massacre, saying they couldn't stand alongside Helena Guergis, the Conservative status of women minister.

Liberal, NDP and Bloc Québécois MPs who sit on the House of Commons status of women committee argued that Conservative policies have rolled back the fight for women's equality and safety.

They pointed to the government's elimination of the court challenges program and to the move to abolish the gun registry — something that some Liberal and NDP members also support.

"We consider this [ceremony] a hypocritical gesture because her government has shown itself from the beginning to be hostile to all women's demands," said Bloc MP Nicole Demers.

'I would just like to think that there are some things in politics that are above partisan games.'— Helena Guergis, status of women minister

Liberal MP Anita Neville said: "I find it difficult to stand beside a minister who chooses not to advocate for women, who chooses to follow the party line, who chooses to endorse the elimination of the long-gun registry."

The sombre ceremony in the House of Commons foyer was led by a senior bureaucrat at Status of Women Canada, and Guergis did not speak.

About two dozen parliamentarians and staff, including NDP MP Libby Davies and Liberal MP Judy Sgro, placed 14 white roses in a vase to represent the 14 women gunned down in 1989.
House Speaker Peter Milliken and Senate Leader Noel Kinsella made brief remarks. The Bloc did not send a representative.

Tension on women's issues

The boycott by Guergis's critics was a sign of the tensions that have built up over the past three years between the government and the opposition on the status of women committee.

Within months of coming to power in 2006, Harper redirected $5 million from the administrative budget of Status of Women Canada, closing branch offices and stopping funding for women's research and advocacy groups.

The funds, plus an additional $5 million, were instead earmarked for programs that more directly serve women, such as immigrant integration initiatives in major Canadian cities.

The mandate changes did not sit well with the other parties, who argued that while front-line programs are important, women's advocacy groups still need support to bring issues forward into the public domain.

In 1991, Parliament declared Dec. 6 as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.


  1. Here's an idea: maybe the victims of the L'Ecole Polytechnique shootings should be remembered as victims of a national tragedy, not martyrs for ideological programs that a great many Canadians disagree with.

    Most Canadians aren't sure when that became such a radical idea.

  2. The gun registry was not an ideological program. It helped to define Canada as a peaceful nation. Sadly, that's not who we are now.

    The two Status for Women critics were making a statement. Helena cannot pretend to understand and then vote to scrap the long gun registry, which came into affect after intense lobbying in the name of those 14 girls.

    Ms. Guergis also recently blamed date rape on the hypersexuality of young women ... I guess the poor young men are just hapless victims.

    To this government women are second class citizens and that is unacceptable.

  3. "It helped to define Canada as a peaceful nation."

    And that a multi-billion dollar program that doesn't accomplish its own goals is necessary to accomplish that goal isn't ideological? Precisely how?

    "The two Status for Women critics were making a statement. Helena cannot pretend to understand and then vote to scrap the long gun registry, which came into affect after intense lobbying in the name of those 14 girls."

    Right. But the thing is, that a person can envoke somebody's name for almost anything. It doesn't make it meaningful.

    The long gun registry has in no way been a meaningful program in the name of the victims. It hasn't reduced gun violence -- regardless of what its proponents claim -- it hasn't kept guns out of the hands of people like Marc Lepine, and it hasn't prevented further incidents like L'Ecole Polytechnique.

    As a response to the L'Ecole Polytechnique shooting, the long gun registry has failed every rational, logical criteria required.

    It has been a failure.

    Worse yet, the long gun registry transplants the gun control needs of urban centres into rural centres, and transplants the controls needed for handguns and assault weapons (like the one that Kimveer Gill used to kill at Dawson College) onto long guns.

    Moreover, the abolition of the long gun registry does absolutely nothing to degrade women to "second class citizen" status, seeing as how it isn't a gender politics issue.

    Now, maintaining the long gun registry despite the fact that a majority of Canadians favour dismantling under the guise of gender politics would render everyone else (including women who favour dismantling the long gun registry) into second class citizen status.

    I get the sense that the thought of that doesn't bother you much.

  4. Abolishing the long gun registry did not reduce women to second class citizens, the Harper government did that. Jason Kenney rewriting the citizenship handbook to all but erase our importance in history .. calling women advocacy groups 'left wing fringe' ... wanting to end wage parity .... involving themselves in our reproductive rights ... the list goes on.

    The gun registry was applauded by police and where there may have been cost over runs in the beginning, the money has been spent, so we should keep it up.

    And remember, the registration fees, while not covering the original set up, now help to maintain the system ... except that Stockwell Day gave an amnesty to those fees, so they could present it as cash guzzling instead of sustainable.

    Symbolically, the registry may have been in the name of those 14 women, but it was for Canadians of all genders. If you can buy a license for your dog, you can buy a license for your gun. It's that simple.

    When Helena voted to scrap it, symboliclly she voted against the women in whose name the registry was established.

  5. The problem is, Emily, that most of the groups being funded by Status of Women were left-wing fringe groups. One of the reasons why they needed government funding for their activities is because they were fringe groups, and couldn't raise sufficient funds through their own resources to fund that activism.

    The gun police was not applauded universally by police. As a matter of fact, organizations representing front-line police officers denounced the long gun registry as useless.

    Not to mention that, again, proponents of the long gun registry have attempted to pass off automatic log-ons to the registry every time police log onto their on-board computer systems as purposeful registry consultations. That's dishonest.

    Beyond all of that, the gun registry was a cash-guzzling operation long before the Conservative Party came to power, having exceeded its budget several hundred times over.

    So, no. Stockwell Day isn't responsible for the registry being a fiscal drain on the coutry. Inept budgeting and bureaucrats are responsible for that.

    Lastly, symbolism is an excessively poor reason to legislate on anything. Furthermore, it isn't a rational reason to maintain a system that, quite frankly, has defied ration, and your arguments here only further demonstrate that.

  6. We might agree to disagree in some areas, about the benefits and costs, but I believe that symbolism is of great importance to the identity of a nation. Would you stop buying flags? End Remembrance Day ceremonies? Stop Canada Day celebrations because of the cost?

    Canada is a peaceful nation, and that is how we like to see ourselves. We took a great deal of pride in the fact that we had some of the toughest gun laws in the world. Now we are just America light.

    And no, I'm not a member of a left wing fringe group.

    It's interesting that corporations always have their hands out looking for more and more tax cuts, while people who advocate against violence, homelessness or poverty, are "special interest". Hmmm.

  7. Flags, Remembrance Day Ceremonies, Canada Day celebrations represent the bare minimum for there to be a Canadian identity.

    The long gun registry reflects what people like yourself think the ideological character of that identity should be.

    Again, government has no place promoting an "official ideology", or the symbols of an official ideology.

    Corporate welfare in this country should, frankly, be eliminated. That doesn't mean many of the groups that advocate for the elimination of violence, homelessness or poverty have the right answers in that regard.

  8. I suppose we won't cure all the nation's ills on a blog, but I am personally saddened that the gun registry will be gone. My aunt was murdered by her husband with a long gun in rural Canada, and I know the registry wouldn't have saved her from an abusive husband, but I just felt a little better knowing it was there for her sake, even if it was just symbolic.

    I don't even know who we are now. This sure isn't Canada.

  9. No, Emily. This is Canada. And no one's going to apologize to you because the country rejected your Byers-esque notion of Canada as an ideological construct, wherein ideological symbols count for more than constructive policy.

  10. Perhaps you're right. But I love my Canada. Harper's Canada, not so much.

  11. There's no "perhaps" about it. I am right.

    You don't have a Canada. Nor does Harper. There is precisely one Canada. The two of you are just going to have to learn how to share it.

  12. I can share it, but Stephen Harper wants to dismantle it. That I have to fight against.