Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rob Anders and James Inhoffe: A Match Made by Carlo Collodi?

I'm not sure if Carlo Collodi had Rob Anders in mind when he wrote The Adventure of Pinocchio, but the above adaptation, by Harper's MP, did not get the thundering applause he may have expected.

After graduating from the University of Alberta's political science program, Anders honed his thespian skills at Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute, the Alma mater of Karl Rove. In 1994 he was hired as a professional heckler for James Inhoffe, the Republican candidate in the Oklahoma senatorial race. After being outed, he was labelled a "foreign political saboteur" by CNN.

Licking his wounds, he came back to Canada, and found a spot with the National Citizens Coalition, where he would become the director of Canadians Against Forced Unionism. One of his first initiatives was to run radio ads in Red Deer, targeting Stockwell Day, who was then Alberta's Labour Minister.

The ads encouraged right-to-work legislation, something that was then being considered.

Canadians Against Forced Unionism (CAFU), an offshoot of the National Citizens Coalition, made its case for voluntary unionism to the government's Standing Policy Committee on Natural Resources and Sustainable Development on February 21. The presentation came less than three months after the Alberta Economic Development Authority's joint review committee on right-to-work legislation said there is no economic justification to introduce the legislation in Alberta.

"Canadians Against Forced Unionism is at a loss to understand why the government has not endorsed voluntary unionism," said Rob Anders, CAFU's Alberta director. "I think the economic benefits of voluntary unionism are self-evident." (1)

When Stephen Harper resigned his seat as Reform Party Member of Parliament for Calgary West, Anders became his replacement. It was an easy seat for him, having a long tradition of conservatism and support for the Reform Party.

At the time Anders campaign literature stated that he was the director of International Commodities Trading, an Alberta-based company, and that he was involved with the Royal Alberta United Services Institute, the Fraser Institute, the Alberta Taxpayers' Association, the Progressive Group for Independent Business, the Canadian Property Rights Research Institute, the National Firearms Association, Responsible Firearms Owners of Alberta, National Right to Work Committee, Focus on the Family and the Canada Family Action Coalition.

However, his nomination was actually brought forward by Hermina Dykxhoorn (2), president of the Alberta Federation of Women United for Families, an anti-women's rights group and affiliate of REAL Women of Canada.

Some believe they are they partly to blame for the low number of female candidates in Alberta's provincial elections.

With 16 per cent female legislators, the province that once topped the charts for electing women is now well behind the middle of the pack. Outsiders might implicate this province’s “redneck” reputation. Birthplace of the anti-feminist group Alberta Federation of Women United for Families, champion of the moral order ... Indeed, promoting the status of women was erased from the Klein government’s “to do” list in the mid-1990s when the Advisory Council on Women’s Issues and the Women’s Secretariat were dismantled. When the premier proclaimed Alberta women capable of speaking for themselves without any financial or organizational help, Alberta women’s groups said their voices were loud and clear but the government had long since topped listening. In the face of such recalcitrance, feminist organizations like the Alberta Status of Women Action Committee simply gave up.

New Democrat activist Shannon Phillips believes left-leaning women’s political ambitions are stifled by the Conservative party’s electoral and ideological hold on the province. She says it’s hard to convince progressive women to run, because any opposition to the Tory monolith is met with ire and derision. However, Alberta’s present day reputation for shrinking from anything labeled feminist doesn’t fully explain the recent ebb in women’s electoral fortunes. (3)
In 2001 LifeSite News suggested that the UN was waging war on religion and quote the President of Alberta Federation of Women United for Families:
Calgarian Hermina Dykxhoorn, president of the Alberta Federation of Women United for Families, has seen the UN executive at work. Over the last decade, she has been a pro-family lobbyist at UN conferences in Beijing, Istanbul, Rome and other venues. "At the 1996 Istanbul Conference, the director general of the World Health Organization (then Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima) told a press conference that `the three great monotheistic religions are not compatible with the New World Order' ... But the UN Secretariat isn't opposed to all religion, she said. "They don't mind Hindus and Buddhists, because they've got more flexible moral codes.

... UN executives appear to be particularly tolerant of "Gaia" or "earth religion," ancient paganism in a new guise. Dykxhoorn has seen Gaia religion material distributed in UN offices, and spokesmen for the London- based Gaia Foundation hold their press conferences in normally off-limits UN press rooms. "Gaia is the ancient Greek name for the Earth Goddess," says the Gaia Foundation's Web site. "This Goddess, in common with female deities of other early religions, was at once gentle, feminine and nurturing, but also ruthlessly cruel to any that failed to live in harmony with the planet." Dykxhoorn said, "They're against the three great mono-theisms, because those religions stress the sanctity of life and the sanctity of the family ... .The intention of people who want to change the world is to gain control of other people's children." (4)
And on a national child care plan:
Hermina Dykxhoorn, president of the Alberta Federation of Women United for Families, believes the government has to "change the tax system so one parent can stay home." She isn't surprised by studies that indicate children are better off at home, rather than in institutionalized day-care centres. Dykxhoorn hopes such studies will "put to rest the clamour for universal public day care -- funding something bad for kids."

A recent report published by The Fraser Institute echoes that sentiment. The study, Children's Dilemma: Who Cares More?, called for tax cuts rather than a move toward subsidized day care. It's a myth that women can "have it all." We can't. (5)

They also oppose abortion, weighed in on the same-sex marriage debate and suggested that a high number of gays were pedophiles. I guess that explains why they promoted Anders.

Is it any wonder that women have no status in the Harper government, when groups like this and REAL women are hand picking candidates and dictating policy?

And despite the fact that Ander's constituents want him to be replaced, calling him an embarrassment, Harper refuses to allow anyone else to run against him. That says a lot about the man.


1. Right to work resurfaces, Canadians Against Forced Unionism urges MLAs to endorse voluntary unionism, By: Shelley Russell, Alberta Teachers Union, February 1995

2. Hold your fire, National Post Thursday, July 03, 2003

3. Barriers to Women: Why are we so far from gender parity in our legislature? by Linda Trimble and Jane Arscott, From Alberta Views – June, 2005 pp. 28-31

4. The UN Quietly Wages War on Religion, LifeSite News, August 20, 2001

5. A mother's place is in the home, By Lydia Lovric, The Hamilton Spectator

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