Monday, May 23, 2016

The NDP Must Stop Victimizing Women if They Hope to be Taken Seriously Again

In early December 2012, the Toronto Star reported:  Near-brawl erupts in Commons between Tory Peter Van Loan and NDP’s Nathan Cullen 

Apparently Van Loan was upset with the NDP's delaying tactics on getting the Conservative budget measures passed, and crossed the floor to the NDP caucus, pointing his finger and shouting obscenities.

In typical fashion, Thomas Mulcair began shouting obscenities back, and things could have gotten out of control, had not members of both parties stepped in to defuse the situation.  Then Speaker, Andrew Scheer, did nothing.

According to Van Loan, members of his party only left their seats, fearing for his safety; and according to Nathan Cullen, his only concern was for the women folk

Had a bench clearing brawl erupted, we can assume that only those wanting to engage would jump the boards and everyone else would scatter.  He should not have dragged gender into this.  What Van Loan and Mulcair did was wrong.  They created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment for everyone.

Last week we witnessed a similar situation in what has been dubbed Elbowgate.

This time the obstructionism was more evident as several NDP members tried to delay the vote on Assisted Dying legislation, by preventing Conservative Whip Gord Brown from making his way to the Speaker.  Given that the clock was running out, the Prime Minister left his seat to move things along.

He was angry.  He cursed.  He was wrong.

During this brief encounter, NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brousseau, who had moved up behind him, got bumped.  She stepped back to her bench, laughing and then made a gesture like she had been injured.  

However, the issue here is not whether she was indeed hurt, or to what degree.  It's not even about whether or not she took a dive, as many believe she did.

It is about what we know did NOT happen.

She was NOT sexually assaulted.  She was NOT molested.  And she was NOT the victim of intentional violence.  She pushed against Prime Minister Trudeau.  He did not seek her out.

But that didn't stop the Opposition members from turning this into a three ring circus, making it all about violence against women and putting the lives of female MPs in grave danger.  Women must feel safe when they go to work, they insisted.

When did women become so fragile that we needed this kind of protection? When things like this occur in the workplace, they are disconcerting to everyone.  Believe it or not, we've heard the "f" word before and many of us like contact sports, including boxing.

Our female Members of Parliament come from varied backgrounds.  They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, business people et al.  Many rose to the tops of their professions and no doubt took an elbow or two in the course of their careers.  Singling them out as frail individuals is misogynistic.  Feminism run amok.

As feminist blogger Rachel Edwards says:
"While feminists say that feminism is about equality, actions speak louder than words. These actions suggest an uncomfortable truth. Feminism is not the assumption that we are equal, but the assumption that women are weak... "
Had the NDP stuck to the narrative that Justin Trudeau should not have lost his temper and should not have left his seat to physically move Brown through the NDP wall, they would have come out on top.  But by making it about violence against women, they lost all credibility and the public turned on them.

Not just Liberal supporters, but all women who know what sexual assault and violence against them really is.  Also many men who are tired of always being painted as "perverts, bullies and misogynists"

Unfortunately, most of the anger was directed at Brousseau, while it should have gone to those who victimized her for political gain.

I know I also found myself upset with the MP, especially after viewing the video, but have since realized that she only played a small role in this farce. What I also noticed from the video, was how easy it would have been for Brown to go around, instead of continuing to try to go through.  Sure looked liked a set up.

I also discovered from following social media, that many of the people decrying the bullying of Brousseau, are the same ones who bullied Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, just a week ago; so clearly this was not about protecting women.

NDP MP and self proclaimed feminist Niki Ashton, epitomizes what is wrong with feminism today.  She led the charge against Sophie Trudeau when she asked for help in performing her duties, by suggesting that no one asked her to do anything.

Something women have heard for decades,  if not centuries.  "No one asked you to have those children".  "No one asked you to join a male dominated profession".  "You brought this on yourself".  

In November, Ashton had criticized the prime minister's wife for taking her son Hadrian along on an official visit, despite the fact that he was still breast feeding.

Feminists need to step back and ask themselves what they are hoping to accomplish and pseudo-feminists need to stop assuming that they know. Only then will we be taken seriously.

What Was This Really About?

I was quite taken aback by several well known Canadian journalists and pundits, who shared stories on Twitter from international news outlets about the incident.  They appeared giddy over the fact that this might tarnish Justin Trudeau's reputation on the international stage.  How is this a good thing?

Do they detest him that much that they fail to see that it would also be our country's image that would suffer?

I doubt it will have much of an impact, but it does shed a light on the true nature of all the uproar.

So instead of #PrayForSophie #Nannygate or #elbowgate let's just use one to cover everything.



  1. The most insightful article on this matter to date.

  2. Have totally missed your blog/comments Emily and have only this to say on yet another excellently written blog of yours...once again, you hit the nail dead bang right on the head!

  3. Much as the stated aim of Republicons was to prevent an Obama reelection at all costs it appears the opposition is more interested in seeing JT fail than Canada succeed . The personal antipathy is a black cloud .

  4. You do realize that Rachel Edwards is not a feminist right? She's a former honeybadger, an MRA and antifeminism, who left the honeybadgers because she felt they were too gynocentric.

    That aside, this is more evidence feminism has become about corrupt manipulation and deception, a tool to aquire power, and help women or certainly not men.

    Ita become both mysgoniatic and mysandrist, and Feminist Camille Paglia (who is a self identifying feminist) warned that this was happening during the ninities, and got branded a heretic for it.

    And look how Hillary Clinton and her supporters have used feminism to smear Bernie Sanders and emotionally blackmailing women into voting for her, and making out that anyone who doesn't vote for her must hate women.

    Hillary Clinton talks about making the justice and prisons systems easier on women and makes them out to be victims, when men are the massive majority of incarncerated, get longer sentances, and are less likely to get off without jail time then women, for the same offense.

    I used to be a feminist, but I dropped it like a hot patato when I realized how corrupt and dishonest its gotten, how it uses fear to control women, and villification and bullying to control men.