Monday, 24 October 2011

Inquiry Update

The inquiry into police procedures concerning the disappearance of forty-nine Vancouver women from the Downtown Eastside and their subsequent deaths at the hands of Robert Pickton continues today. I'll be keeping semi-regular tabs on the inquiry as it develops. The latest news is that the families of several victims will taking the stand to present their testimonies and deliver impact statements and the like in the coming hours and days. Perhaps the courts will be inclined to take greater action and have a closer look at police procedure upon hearing these testimonies. As I've stated before, it is in opinion at the very least that these women were allowed to go missing in such numbers due to not only the fact that they were prostituted women, but also that the majority of them were First Nations/Aboriginals. The police routinely treat women fitting this description from the Downtown Eastside with a disdain and callousness that brings their (the police officers') very humanity into severe doubt. More on this story as it develops.

I'd also like to provide a link to the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry website for those that are interested. This is the Commission that is spearheading this inquiry, and hopefully will inspire many other such necessary inquiries into the various police forces across this nation.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

You're Fooling No One, So Quit It.

A young Ottawa boy, about the age of fifteen killed himself after being bullied relentlessly by his peers at school. This boy, Jamie Hubley, was bullied because he was gay. He was tormented for being a figure skater and being openly gay in high school. He battled depression until he could battle it no longer. The city mourns him. His family mourns him. And, the Conservative Party of Canada has decided to join Dan Savage's 'It Gets Better' campaign in this boys' honor.

Wait, what?

Yup, that's right John Baird (hate that guy), Vic Toews and Rona Ambrose among others star in a heartwarming video telling gay teens that although they might be bullied in high school, life gets better out in the real world. Because out in the real world you've got people like Vic Toews, who from 2003-2005 was relentlessly opposed to both Bill C-250, which protects homosexuals under hate crime legislation and to Canada recognizing gay marriage nationwide. He even launched an extended filibuster to delay committee work on the issue. Toews also argued that religious organizations should be permitted to deny gay individuals the use of their facilities.

You think someone like that should be giving out this kind of message? A message that, in time, the bullying will stop and you'll be in a land of wonderful tolerance and unlimited possibility? Toews, who we might as well just come out and say it: fucking hates homosexuals. And the rest of this Conservative crew that was apparently slapped together at a moments notice to star in this low-budget garbage fest probably aren't much better.

Sweet pepper relish, have you watched this shit? A bunch of Conservative MP's, all privileged as hell, droning on in their dead voices about how it gets better, so obviously cold-reading off cue cards because they can't say anything from the heart on this issue, repeating the same thing over and over and over, they couldn't even clear the fucking halls in the House of Commons for five minutes so you don't get all that fucking background noise? Is it nitpicky? Yes, but the poor production values make it look even less sincere, and makes it seem that these people just slapped this together to capitalize on what could potentially be good publicity. The message is delivered with less gusto than those old 'The More You Know' ads that used to run on NBC. You're dedicating this to someone who just took their own life after years of bullying and abuse! Can't you folks fucking just pretend to give a shit for five goddamn seconds? You can see it here for yourself.

They're really pushing the Kids Help Phone, too. Unfortunately, when you're in a situation where you really need really real help, the Kids Help Phone can't always do much for you. The Kids Help Phone can't stop people at your school from bullying you. The Kids Help Phone can't make your parents accept you for who you are. The Kids Help Phone can't promise you that 'It Gets Better' anymore than can Conservative MP's, some of whom if given the chance would make it worse for you, out there in the world after high school. Neither can Dan Savage, as a matter of fact. He can just tell you that if your partner likes to rape you, or slap you or shit on you and you don't much care for it, well, then you're a prude.

Maybe I'm being overly critical of this. I do tend to suspect ulterior motives when Conservative MP's do anything even close to human. It's mostly the gall of Vic Toews to even be in the video that gets me. I mean, did they just not tell him what it was for? However it happened, having a well-known homophobe tell LGBTQI youth that 'It Gets Better' seems just a final slap in the face to one youth that it never quite got better for.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Four R's: Readin', Ritin', 'Rithmatic and Ridiculous Pro-Life Garbage.

Hey, just quick, really, right quick: When did shit in Manitoba get all fucked up beyond belief? Some jackpipe elementary school principal wants to give credits to students who attend pro-life rallies?

Well... I just... I mean... fuck.... so, if you.... and then you get a..... so..... and nobody thinks that this is....

Aw, fuck. I'm too tired for this kinda shit today. The intersection of pro-life and Christianity (particularly Catholicism) always turns into a four-way stop of doom for womens' rights to choice. And now, besides the pro-life stance being taught in Catholic schools, students are getting fucking rewarded for shitting on the autonomy of women all over the country. Well, fuck that noise. That's a load of goddamn golden calf shit and everyone knows it. I'm all for students having to do community service for high school credits, but a pro-life rally doesn't service the community. Not all members of it, anyways. This is getting really fucking scary. More on this as it develops. But for now, lazy.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Society Hates Women: Part Eleventy-Million...

The inquiry into why the B.C. police let so many women slip away and into the hands of Robert Pickton started this week. Due to lack of funding, over twenty separate advocacy groups have had to pull out from the trial. There is no government money for them to be represented. Protests have gone on all week thus far. Why can the government not fund this? Especially when they had so much money to dole out to the police themselves for their use in this inquiry? Well... isn't it obvious?

The Vancouver police are going to come out of this inquiry squeaky-clean. The blame will be placed partially on Robert Pickton (rightfully so) and also on the murdered women themselves. The police, the government, society will take no responsibility for the lives of thirty-three women. Actually, perhaps forty-nine women, as Pickton has bragged that forty-nine is the correct number of women he murdered.

Forty-nine women.

Forty-nine separate human lives, this man claims to have ended. All simply because they were female. Because many of them were Aboriginal or First Nations. Because in the political and social climate of a rape culture, Pickton knew that they wouldn't be missed. But, they are missed. They are missed by their families. They are missed by their communities. And they were missed by the police. Which is to say, their disappearances were missed. But, were they missed on purpose?

Time and again stories from all over the world come in about the abuse of women, especially prostituted women by police officers. I'm starting to think that there might even be a chapter in the handbook that tells cops to be shitty to prostitutes. What's more, even when there's overwhelming evidence implicating the officers, these dudes always get off, usually with paid leave from work while the inquiry goes on. That's what most likely will happen here.

What can be done? Harper seems to hold all the cards. He's cut funding to all the groups out there advocating womens' rights and safety. He's saying loud and clear that the Harper government doesn't give a shit about Aboriginal or First Nations women. And it's depressing. Also depressing are the comments found on the CBC about the murdered women. People saying that they (the murdered women) got what they deserved, that this inquiry is a waste of taxpayer money, that it has nothing to do with them. There is so little compassion being shown for these forty-nine victims, both from the government and the public at large that it frightens me in a very real, visceral way. This is indeed a rape culture we live in. There is really no denying that anymore. I'm not even sure what more to say then that. When the lives of forty-nine women can mean so little to so many people, I'm not even sure how to fight back against that. All I can say for now is this:

Robert Pickton isn't the only monster out there. He was just a tool of the Patriarchy. They have more. If we're ever to live in a safe, egalitarian world, feminism is our only hope.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Let's Vote, Ontario.

Just a friendly Nimbostratus reminder to my Ontario readers that today be voting day, by gum. So, get out there and vote, preferably not Conservative or Libertarian. I mean, let's all remember what this election is really about:

That's right, keeping this jackass out of office.

So, do your 'civic duty' and get behind the lesser of several evils! Small steps, friends! And if anyone tells you anything that begins with the words "We can't afford another four years of..." do yourself a favor and kick them in the junk.

Hopefully good news tomorrow!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Who's Confused?

Anybody ever read the National Post? No, why would you? The Post is the other, other Conservative Canadian newspaper, the 'respectable' paper, to the Suns' gossip rag status. As a matter of fact, when Conrad Black started the Post in 1998, he bought the Financial Post, an already established business paper from Sun Media, retaining that name as the business section of his new paper, one dedicated to 'uniting the right'. Baaaaaarf.

Anyways, the other day the Post ran this doozy of an ad:

Uh-huh. I know. Here's a perfect example of something that hurts absolutely everyone. In one fell swoop, the Institute for Canadian Values (who we'll get to know in just a moment) has not only simultaneously insulted, marginalized and othered every LGBTQ person in the country, but also stated that they are in favor of maintaining the status quo of harmful gender roles assigned by the Patriarchy to girls and boys. These people think that being gay, or trans, or even confused is a condition, a disease, a wrong choice. They also seem to believe that women and men have only the most rigid and different roles each, and never shall girls playeth the sports or boys baketh the cookies, lest anarchy. Unfortunately, these roles always lead to subservience and abuse of women by men. This advertisement insults every single Canadian person, if not every single human being on the planet. It's reminiscent of the "Don't Say Gay" bill down in Tennessee. These are the type of people that believe that there is a homosexual agenda (and probably a feminist one, too), that those creepy gays are out there, just waiting to infect and corrupt your impressionable children. Which is utter rubbish, of course. Most kids know on some level what they're all about when they're very young, it's just that society makes it so hard on them. Want to see an actual example of the brainwashing and corrupting of impressionable youth? Attend a Sunday school class.

Now, where did this shit ad come from? The Institute for Canadian Values, of course. Never heard of it? Neither had I, until last night. So, what's this institute all about? Well, in a statement from their own website:

The Institute for Canadian Values is a national think-tank dedicated to advancing knowledge of public policy issues from Judeo-Christian intellectual and moral perspectives, as well as awareness of how such perspectives contribute to a modern, free, and democratic society.
Need a translation? I'd be happy to. This basically says that the Institute is a bunch of well-off, white, heterosexual, monotheistic worshiping folks, and they'd like Canada to be just like them, thank you very much. And, if that's not feasible, well then, at least Canada can cater to them, and fuck the rest of the heathen populace. Along with trying to protect your children from learning about homosexuality and transgenderism, the Institute also has a host of other causes, such as ending polygamy, which I agree with, but I don't believe for one second that they give two shits about the safety of women and children as they say they do. I tried to check out some of their other campaigns that I actually agree with, such as the one to end human trafficking, but all that led to was an unassigned domain. Perhaps the Institute shouldn't provide links if they don't actually go anywhere?  The Institute is affiliated with several other dangerous Christian-right organizations, such as the Campaign Life Coalition (pro-life), the Institute of  Marriage and Family Canada (anti-gay, pro-"normal", nuclear family), Real Women of Canada (women belong in the home) and notably, the Canada Family Action Coalition. Why is this group notable? Well because their president had a hand in the creation and defending of this advertisement and the campaign behind it. And their president is?

If you haven't heard the name Dr. Charles McVety you probably should. The link I've provided is to his Wikipedia page, which is rife with disturbing factoids. He is the leader of the movement to repeal Canada's same-sex marriage laws. The CBC calls him "one of the most powerful leaders of the Christian Right in Canada". You can read on to find out about McVetys' close, personal ties to our Supreme Overlord, Herr Harper. That's right. He's the head of the powerful Christian right that sways most, if not all of our Prime Ministers' decisions.

I hope that longtime readers of mine are noticing the patterns. It's always the same players, isn't it? An anti-gay, anti-trans, pro-gender stereotype advertisement gets printed in a right-wing Canadian newspaper, a paper that boasts such columnists as Rex Murphy(!) and Ezra Levant, a paper, with former ties to Sun Media, who launched a right-wing, pro-Conservative news network that was partially funded and green-lighted by our Conservative government, led by Stephen Harper, who has his strings pulled by the evangelical Christian-right, led by Charles McVety, just as Stockwell Day and Preston Mannings' strings were pulled before Harper. We all watch with wide eyes and fear the ultra right wing Tea Party in the United States, but it's time to realize that we have a Tea Party here in Canada, too.... and they have a majority fucking government. As long as the Conservatives stay in power, the Christian-right will rule this country. They'll keep taking rights and freedoms away from already oppressed groups and the money will keep going to big corporations. The people will suffer more and more. Women will suffer. Children will suffer. Gays and lesbians and transgender people will suffer. First Nations and Aboriginal people will suffer. Muslims will suffer. Basically everyone who isn't an evangelical white, hetero, Christian male will suffer. It's already started. And if Harper is allowed to pass his homeland security laws, even peaceful protestors will be rounded up and arrested as "possible terrorist threats". They're already building the jails. They know that the population won't stand for his totalitarian rule for much longer.

Banning children from Human Rights Education, especially LGBTQ studies only serves to foster the hatred and negative stereotypes that can be eliminated only by exactly this type of education. Other parts of the world have come so far as accepting, tolerant societies and yet we continue to slide backwards, faster every day. If your ideal Canada isn't a place where our LGBTQ neighbors have to hide who they are, and women have roles outside housewife and baby-factory, it's time to get organized. 


Seems like Tim Hudak and the Ontario Conservatives read the National Post. They've come out with a very similar ad campaign to slam the Liberals with, saying that a 'Liberal education curriculum will corrupt the moral fiber of our children and make them gay or whatever..... blah fart blah'... anyways, see if you can't see the similarities between the two ads, and read why Hudak is defending his ad campaign here.    

Image originally found here.