kudos NB telegraph journal...

... for printing a fabulous commentary by ginette petitpas-taylor of the new brunswick advisory council on the status of women, excerpted as follows:

A rose grower who lived on the route of the 1995 Québec women's march against poverty was so inspired that he brought 10,000 roses to the crowd. Was he being leftist or anti-family?

When New Brunswickers rally in support of groups such as the New Brunswick Coalition of Transition Houses and Saint John's Urban Core Support Network, are they all by definition - gasp - radical feminists?

Some people have time and inclination to debate these points. Others don't, and just get on with the work of improving their community and working for greater fairness and opportunities.

Some are trying hard to create the illusion that there is a bandwagon calling for an end to funding of equality-seeking groups and of government sections such as Status of Women Canada. Others know that "equality-seeking groups" is a term that "people from away" use for the groups that work in our communities to end violence, get people out of poverty or ensure there is quality child care.

Lately, whenever I've come across arguments, such as by conservative columnists, for the abolition of government support for equality-seeking groups, two things have come to mind.

One is, What support? Women's groups in New Brunswick work with little government assistance, with at most occasional project funding. Any financial assistance they have received from Status of Women Canada has been good for New Brunswick communities.

The other thought is, When did it become a liberal - with a capital or a small 'l' - or left-wing thing to support reducing poverty, violence and discrimination?

Canadians are fair-minded people, but mostly they are practical - few of us have the time or inclination for American-style name-calling and false divisions of right and left.

An Ottawa-based group called Realistic, Equal, Active and For Life [REAL], is asking its supporters to send letters urging the federal government to abolish its Status of Women Canada and end the funding for the Court Challenges Program, the Federal Law Commission and others.

[REAL] are now concerned that their campaign has recently been met "by a massive counter offensive with letters pouring in to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet and individual MPs from across the country expressing concerns about the disbandment of the Status of Women."

At this point, only the federal government can put an end to this silliness by stating that Canada stands for more, not less, equality and diversity.

There are an enraged few misrepresenting the position of what they insist on calling their "opponents" and then pretending to refute it. They pretend Status of Women Canada wastes millions on ideology-based groups, whatever that is.

Tell that to the many groups dividing up the $300,000 that Status of Women Canada spends in New Brunswick - or better yet, please don't bother them. They're busy working on dating violence prevention, on supporting women moving from income assistance to employment, on improving the value we give to traditional female work.


the embittered hour

it is now the witching hour, some would say. for me, it's around this time that i start to wander in and out of work projects. i find myself doing ill-advised web surfing and browsing emmy recaps and getting bent outta shape about the ongoing anti-SWC swirl in the blogosphere and singing loudly to the sugarcubes and jill scott and david bowie. i find myself doing the dangerous link-clicking that leads people with better things to do into stupid territory that no one needs to see.

now i find myself in the embittered hour - of course i had to check on the status (sorry) of the anti-status of women rampage that has taken over the blogosphere. oh how i love reading more non-sensical right wing rubbish on the subject. maybe on account of my gummy eyes or compromised sense of reason, i am actually appreciating the blowing open of this 'conversation'. the internet is indeed a wondrous thing. anyways, hard to tell whether this blogburst is withering, but what is getting easier is the planning of the best strategies with which to counter this, and counter it big time. it's coming soon. and it'll be fun.

it never gets easier reading the 'opinions' of my ideological and political adversaries. but maybe anger is productive, as in, the kick start we need to rattle us from complacency and once and for all Take Over? let's face it, anger is the very fuel that keeps them up at night.
then again, stupidity seems to serve them well too, so where the f does that leave us? but they do get all a-twisted about whatever threat-du-jour might be infringing on their Freedoms; those individual rights are in peril, dontcha know - gotta fight to protect our right to be wealthy, narrow-minded, religiously dogmatic, and oh yeah, to bear arms.

my rational side understands the daunting complexities of competing political ideologies, the virtual impossibility of finding common ground with people who stand so fundamentally in opposition to not only your beliefs, but your very essence. each side remarks that the other just doesn't Get It, but the fact is, we just don't Get each other. we are adversaries in our very cores. that's why political communications is such a draw for people who occupy positions this entrenched. the titillating thrill is to convince the Average Voter to come with us. the burning questions become not about what do we want, but how do we tell them that they want it too. the neo-cons in today's political landscape dip a lot into the pool of libertarianism, even brazenly co-opting traditional language of the Left. we, on the other hand, have hardly innovated our own language in order to modernize the ideals on which our Politics are built. that's what compels me. that's why i'm in the game.

aw, well that was fucking moving. must go nite-nite.


the sci-fi west wing

i have been told by claude for months that i would Absolutely Love battlestar galactica because it's so well written and very political and that i should rent all the dvd's and love it. my main hesitation, of course, is that, well, it's science fiction. and i generally don't dig sci-fi at all, even if the space ships are transporting characters and story lines riddled with political intrigue. now it turns out even salon.com wants me to get to know the show - this year, in honour of the most underappreciated show in all of tv land, salon awards the buffy to battlestar galactica. so it must really be worth me getting over my distaste for silver space suits. well jesus, why didn't you just say so.


i heart galloway

i've said it before and i'll say it again, the most desperate deficit in the canadian political scene is a voice like george galloway's. i missed this fantastic interview he did a few weeks back with a brave skynews journalist about the israel 'occupation' of lebanon, but better late than never in this case. george is so scandalously scathing, he once again made me tingle in private places. where the fuck is the galloway of canadian politics, i ask? not only is he provocative, brazen, and cheeky - he's Absolutely Right. we need an equivalent here, someone chock full of cred AND kahunas. omigod, we SO need a Leader. christ knows the liberal leadership hopefuls here have about as much personality between them as a madame tussaud's exhibit. and if jack layton is the best we've got, we best put him on the first jet to scotland for some serious media training with george. or maybe there's some kind of shunt procedure for Sheer Balls.


heather is better

oh don't take my word for it. this column by heather mallick from june tackles the 'real' women problem succinctly. sure, she uses the safe but relevant argument about international aid for girls and women who have it extra bad, but she packs a real whollop of a point. excerpt:

I fail to see why REAL Women object to the Canadian government sending our citizens to help desperate women around the world. REALists call it "flittering" and "globe-trotting." I thought they just took a plane.

It's bad enough that you appear to despise other women in Canada who are defending women against problems that you may well face yourself one day. But what did the ironed-breast little girls of Cameroon ever do to you?

a real attack

i can’t not weigh in any longer. at first, i thought the dirt being kicked up by a group called ‘real’ women about the status of women canada would just fade on its own. i mean, more high-brow rhetoric like references to the gov't department as SOW (classy, ladies) surely wouldn’t travel anywhere, right? their nonsense just isn’t worth the time of those of us more interested in doing actual work than criticizing others’. but now they're upset that so many letters have been "pouring" in to offices of Ministers and Prime Ministers to challenge their 'analysis' of the situation and support the existence of swc.

they are pretty zealous about shutting down swc and the standing committee on the status of women. the potential closure of swc is mighty serious, at least to the organizations likely to be affected by it’s demise [btw, swc (pronounced SWICK) is the acronym commonly used by government and ngo types]. whether or not women’s groups will decide to resist by waging an attack on the conservatives remains to be seen. in the meantime, some folks outside the ottawa bubble seem to have deemed this a Very Important Issue. i wasn’t sure if it would become a hot-button topic with the public-at-large. folks (read: taxpayers) tend to get up in arms about boondoggles, kyoto, military spending, health care, etc. that's the irony of this tragedy - the amount of spending swc represents is but a drop in the proverbial bucket. but then canadian press ran a piece yesterday, then the prez of ‘real’ women was the lone guest this afternoon on cbc's ontario today, and now i wonder if media are looking for something salacious in this to off-set the perpetual news of wars in the middle east.

the comfortable members of ‘real’ women get off on painting swc-funded groups as whacko radical feminazis who are whining victims out to lambaste men. the fact is that swc funds all kinds of pro-equality, anti-violence, anti-poverty, pro-diversity, empowerment, women's health, research, family-oriented projects that serve People, not just Women. and framing matters within a women's context isn't a radical thing to do, it's a wholly natural one. but to remind them that the gov’t agency in question is pursuing a mandate that’s in line with UN conventions on women’s rights would be like tossing another drumstick into the cage. [they are pleased to refer to themselves as having special consultative status with the UN, but probably only use it to go to geneva and challenge globally-accepted definitions to 'equality' there too].

the most incensing of their arguments is the tax-payer one. as if justice doesn’t fund some so-called crime prevention initiatives that i disagree with. as if hrsd doesn’t provide grants to some projects that go against my approach to employment and economic development strategies. and helloooo, as if i wouldn’t prefer that the entire canadian military get taken off the so-called public teat (a disgusting term that our family values colleagues are always giddy to use).

opponents of a granting agency like swc demonstrate such a lack of intellectual heft, it’s virtually impossible to mount a rational argument with them. these self-righteous tax-payers are the same people who municipally grumble about having to pay school taxes if they don’t have kids or about the money that goes to community beautification if you never use parks. jesus.

if its about what your tax dollars fund, then how about channelling your ideology into a ballot… oh wait, we already have that system and it’s called democracy and you are encouraged to vote accordingly. in the meantime, the work of long-standing government departments that have the audacity to pursue questions of equality shouldn’t concern you. there are lots of people committed to your right to the workforce, education, safety, services, health care, justice, community involvement, and we’ll continue advocating on your behalf, even if you’d rather we didn’t. because it’s Not About Just You. it’s about everybody. see, that’s the way we whacky equality-seekers are: we seek ways to ensure access for all women to pursue anything they want, not ways to discredit them or keep them down.

thanks to audra for compiling the info vault on this. and to other bloggers who know better and are trying to say so. let's brace ourselves, shall we?


plan b

ok, the Totally Weird thing is that last night i had an intense wake-dream about needing to find a pharmacist who would give me plan b. now today, the news cycle is all a-buzz about today's fda long-awaited decision on plan b -- a decision that follows a 3 year saga to make it more broadly available. a bajillion delays were thanks to - surprise, surprise - widespread opposition from the same people who brought you the ban on gay marriage, among other examples of american modernity. the drama spiked last year when a senior fda women's health official resigned because the president's office sticking nubby fingers into the process turned the whole thing political (as if it could ever have remained otherwise). no, it wasn't the fda moral committee undertaking the review, it was the scientific one - but we all know how deeply bush believes in science. the christian right couldn't resist making mountains out of little pills, bringing desperate questions of morals and family into yet another rational conversation about women's health. yet again, sober analysis about women's reproductive health and rights was eclipsed by moralistic foot dragging. as if the american public isn't parched for leadership that can actually leave the scientists to do their work. the women's movement down there is doing their very best, but holy hellfire that is one crazy conservative dogma to fight.

here's what i'm thinking: emergency contraception - as if its radically different from plain ol' regular contraception - should never have been called plan b. maybe that's where we went wrong. it should have quietly been named 'nextdayva' or even better, plan 'None of Your Fucking Business'.

so at least american women can get plan b over the counter, though NOT if they're under 18. oh ya, and pharmacists still don't even have to sell plan b, prescription or not. ok, so some of this is good news, but the new rules mean young women still need to go to a doctor before getting it, and even then, they have to find some seedy godless pharmacist who'll dare dispense it. jesus.

btw, we squeaked it in last year before the elections, and without any arbitrary age restriction.


mall moment

zipped into my local mall this morning for a latte and saw a disarmingly anorexic woman shuffling slowly as the crowd flowed past her. maybe that is totally weird. but she was wearing gobby make-up, a sequined sleeveless blouse, a glittery skirt, AND had a pennington's bag hanging from her arm, y'all. i shit you not. the pseudo drag thing was fine, but the bag, well now that threw me.


washer down

two homos and a feisty brown man tonight moved the washing machine from the centre of my kitchen floor down to the basement, where it fucking belongs. washer and dryer are now installed and functional.

first load of laundry is currently a-tumbling. the limbo-ed washer was a major factor in my overall stressed-ness. words cannot describe my joy at finally having a liberated kitchen. the brick will not be able to deliver
my new dining set fast enough.

one gnawing house-related task down, seven hundred thousand to go. giddy up.


end of the road

steve and i are 1.3 days back from the august road trip and i don't have a clue what to do first. there is just so much. and i'm warm. but never mind that for now.

the drive was over too quickly. took about 6 days to get from regina to the t-dot. we blazed on and off the transcan in his mom's civic, stopping in points like prince albert, flin flon, the pas, the peg, dalles first nation reserve, hearst, atikokan, orangeville, and peterborough. there were dinners with various parents, stops at historic sites and dumb monuments, diefenbaker's house, wildlife sightings, flintabbetey flonatin, and terry fox. we shared laughs, secrets, old dutch chips, campfires, extremely dumb jokes, super 8s, and a zillion cups of tim horton's.

thanks to beck for the delicious drama and access to the seadoo, to jimmy for the hard martinis and reminiscing, to brother warren for the wisdom, to the cook in ballantyne bay for the amazing ribs, to kemlin for the great thai meal and grrl talk, to dr. neil for my awesome rakhi gift (i so love my elph), to lori for the healing box, and to mama anne for the geneological tour. and obviously, "thank you SSOOO much" steve for the much-needed escape and the good times. how's the chaffing?

obligatory cheese-shot of driver:


u can't go home

now that i'm in regina, what i don't miss about over there is the debilitating humidity. what i have missed about here is the mesmorizing sky. everyone has heard about the spectacular horizons that only the prairies can offer -- it's all beautiful, all true, and awesome.

i feel weirder being home than any previous visit. i finally feel like i'm not from here anymore. regina and the prairies will always make up a huge part of my identity. but perhaps i have crossed the threshold from local to tourist status. the city has changed rapidly, though my feelings about it haven't. yes, i am from regina, but regina is no longer me. i don't seem to fit in here, and that's a strange realization.

for the very short list (ie: 4) of friends i have chosen to see, it feels as though no time has passed. these are enduring friendships that seem to be able to withstand distance and time. given my current lack of capacity for small talk, it has been a relief to find deeper connections readily available. so my time with a few special friends has been therapeutic. so has the four day absence from the internet until today. no blow ups with the parental units, thanks to my resilience and due in no small part to my tendency to speed off in one of the lexxus and drive around aimlessly instead of, heaven forbid, Engaging. one such midnight flee led me to the company of an old flame whose restaurant provided the perfect escape from familial angst. after he locked the doors, it was vodka martinis - straight up, kitchen scraps, and bottomless baileys. we discussed really important things and i felt like a new person in an old life.

steve comes in tomorrow and i'll give him the VIP tour of where i've been that has made me who i am. for him, it will be mildly amusing to see where i played and studied and rebelled. for me, it will be necessary. like the final tour i took around my house on moving day three weeks ago, peering into every dark corner to ensure everything intended to progress with me is accounted for; saying goodbye to what's best left behind.


soup's on

it is 45 degrees with the humidex and it's only noon. i shit you not. i just came back from a coffee run. the air is so wet, you feel as though you're wading through soup. the air doesn't move - it is damp stillness that drenches you in oppression. even a wee breeze offers no respite, it can only slice past like a knife through butter. i am sitting in the room next to the one in which my shitty air conditioner is doing his best, and i'm glistening.

not that i'm complaining. i am grateful for any summer weather, regardless of how much it knocks the shit out of you.

much progress on the house front. i ploughed through 27 boxes in the kitchen on saturday. makes quite a psychological impact. still have to purchase a number of things, but at least on sunday i bought me a brand spanking new kitchen table. it's not too dressy for a kitchen, not too informal for a dining room. i quite love it.