You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Canada’ category.

The VPS is not allowing both UBC and the VPL to participate in the parade because both institutions allowed controversial speakers to hold events at their venues on the basis of free speech. However, the VPS deems both speakers—anti–SOGI activist Jenn Smith and Feminist Current founder Meghan Murphy—as discriminatory and transphobic.

The terms ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusivity’ get thrown around quite a bit these days.  I think it is important to note that as of late these concepts are becoming more of gatekeeping ritual than anything else.  Quashing and silencing critical opinion in the name of diversity is chillingly ironic, but it is happening and the latest example is in Vancouver with their Pride Committee.  I applaud David Cavey and his decision not to attend pride due to the totalitarian stance they are taking toward the Vancouver Public Library.  Vancouver pride actively tears at the laws and practices that have allowed events like Pride to actualize, I imagine because ideological purity is more important than the base principles of a free and democratic society.

What was the Vancouver Public Library’s crime?  Hosting an event that featured Meghan Murphy as a speaker.  Honestly, Vancouver Pride can take the expressway to ‘go fuck yourself’ at this point.  If your ideology requires the silencing and deplatforming of feminist critics then exactly how strong and just are the arguments that support your cause?  Not allowing your critics to speak is bullshit and is indicative , in my opinion, of an misogynistically incoherent set of beliefs.

In the Feminist Current Tonje Gjevjon writes:

“In Vancouver, federal Conservative candidate David Cavey announced he wouldn’t be marching in the city’s Pride parade this weekend after the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) banned the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Public Library from participating. Cavey has marched in the parade in the past, but took a stand in favour of free speech, challenging the VPS decision to ban UBC and the VPL for allowing speakers who challenge transgender ideology to book space for events. In a press release, Cavey stated:

“As publicly funded institutions, both are obligated to ‘host’ whomever wishes to rent their property — within the limits of the law. They don’t necessarily agree with the speakers. But to punish them for following their obligation to respect free speech, the exchange of ideas and intellectual freedom, is plainly wrong…

…We encourage other political leaders and campaigns to join us in taking a principled stand on behalf of UBC and the VPL on inclusiveness, free speech, intellectual freedom, and diversity of opinion and refuse to march in the parade unless its organizers reinstate these respected local institutions.”

He was promptly accused of “transphobia” by Nicola Spurling, a member of the BC Green Party.

When it comes to Pride, everyone is expected to join in, whether they want to or not.”

 

 

 

Gerome Irwin writes on Canada’s fateful choice to continue down the path of environmental ruin.

 

“It’s a trite cliché to say the time has long since past the critical tipping point when humanity can no longer have it both ways. Every human must, sooner or later, once and for all, choose which side of the debate they’re on and then accept the consequences of whichever side is chosen.

One prime example is Canada’s decision to continue to choose this fatal addiction to oil and fossil fuels by its latest decision to continue building a Trans Mountain pipeline from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the coastal waters of British Columbia. Canada’s decision to increase the flow of toxic bitumen – one of the dirtiest of all substances known to exist – to a world hopelessly hooked on yet its next fix of the deadly black stuff flies in the face of whatever constantly re-adjusted Paris Accord Agreement or proposed grandiose Green Environmental Plan to help humanity once and for all kick this fatal attraction. Every new scheme in this direction, whether it’s a so-called aboriginal/First Nation ‘Reconciliation’ Pipeline, to get them their own ‘tiny cut of the economic pie’, or whatever other spinoff plan of the same thing boils down to a falsehood of perpetually trying to have one’s cake and eat it, too.

it’s always a curious fact to note that oil is what remains as a by-product of one of Earth’s most primitive epoch’s in its evolutionary journey yet also is perhaps the main cause of what scientists now refer to as the Anthropocene Epoch in geological history that is in the process of repeating yet the sixth great extinction of all of life on earth.

Human society must keep reminding itself that it’s by-products like bitumen that are fueling this epoch extinction and literally every aspect of the human world’s modern civilization, and that such decisions are bringing about, if not speeding up, this fatally destructive geologic epoch that, to continue to do so, must knowingly and willingly consume and destroy ever-greater amounts of the earth’s precious, finite natural sources like water that, literally and figuratively, is the very essence of life.

Water is the only real lifeline that sustains all of earth’s living things as we all travel together safely through time and space on our tiny, resilient blue orb through an incredibly harsh, unforgiving, hostile universe. One could even go so far as to say that the ancient waters that daily course through all our bodies is a holy communal fluid full of the actual hosts of ancient ancestors of all manner and kind going back to the very beginning of creation. Therefore, no matter how else one may put it: Water is the Most Sacred Substance of all that not only Protect’s but Inspires the Journey we’re on Together.”

Kinda mystical toward the end of the quote, but the crisis we are not facing is on scale that is hard to imagine.  Our limited capacities are working against us on this issue and must be overcome.  Yesterday.

Free speech, or the ability to speak one’s mind in public without physical/material consequences, is one of the hallmarks of democratic society.  Now if everyone was nice, and peace ruled the world, I think the concept of free speech would be less problematic.

I’d like to talk about three ideas regarding free speech, the first being our responsibility in maintaining it, the second being the seeming incongruity when it comes to individuals who use protected speech to promote hate, and thirdly the tie in with Radical Feminism versus the gender identity set.

Free speech, like voting, or freedom of movement for most is a quality we often overlook in our daily lives.  We’ve always had it, it has always been there and there has been no reason to critically examine our responsibilities in context of the maintenance of our freedom to speak our mind in public.

Our collective casual acceptance (perhaps even apathy) in terms of the general public is problematic because it would seem that, until one starts feeling the push back when one speaks, the general collective sentiment is that there are no problems with the status quo and people can pretty much say what they want.  People in general though, are dumb and we should not be content with this lax stewardship.  Please see any social media platform that is open to the general public as evidence of such.

We hive off and create our own tribal communities and proceed to chuck rhetorical rocks over the wall at the other camps that oppose our viewpoints.  From what I’ve been able to observe, the process starts and does not end with regards to rocks being thrown.  Authentic engagement comes a distant second to outrage, manufactured or otherwise, and debate shares a similar fate versus trading insults and fellifluous comments.

Thank you, Social Media…

Social media has given us the means to exercise our right to free speech, but not the concurrent responsibilities that go along with placing one’s opinion in the public sphere, not to mention the intellectual responsibilities of offering fact based arguments and being charitable to the inevitable counter-arguments that occur.  So in a way, we are maintaining free-speech, just that the calibre of the discourse is absolute tosh.  Another unsavoury aspect of the current public chatter is that amplification of thoughts and ideas to such an extent that the nuance is lost, and the remaining message garbled as it is, is blasted out to the vox populi to take sides over and being the rock throwing process.

It is therefore unsurprising that many intellectuals and educated individuals want no part of the social media driven discourse.  It is a wrestling with pigs sort of situation.  However, the problem is that despite the raucous nature of discourse, it bleeds over into the real world and can and often does affect society, necessarily so.  It is distressing though, because although the speech is free and generally unencumbered, the signal to noise ratio makes dross the most likely outcome on many of the issues that make it into and out of the public social media sphere.

I’m not sure what we can do about that when we have a media and journalistic corps that are profoundly unable to tell the truth about what is happening in the world.  The state of the news media is a post for another though, lets leave it with the very basic idea that GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) is a maxim that applies to our news media, and we as a society are suffering the consequences of a ill-informed public.

So free speech being exercised and maintained, but in a bluntly oblivious form that may not be beneficial for the advancement of society.  We can classify ‘hate speech’ squarely into this category.  This is a distinctly Canadian phenomena, so let’s define what hate speech is, via Wikipedia’s entry on Hate Speech Laws in Canada.

“The various laws which refer to “hatred” do not define it. The Supreme Court has explained the meaning of the term in various cases which have come before the Court. For example, in R v Keegstra, decided in 1990, Chief Justice Dickson for the majority explained the meaning of “hatred” in the context of the Criminal Code:

Hatred is predicated on destruction, and hatred against identifiable groups therefore thrives on insensitivity, bigotry and destruction of both the target group and of the values of our society. Hatred in this sense is a most extreme emotion that belies reason; an emotion that, if exercised against members of an identifiable group, implies that those individuals are to be despised, scorned, denied respect and made subject to ill-treatment on the basis of group affiliation.[4]

More recently, in 2013, Justice Rothstein, speaking for the unanimous court, explained the meaning of “hatred” in similar terms, in relation to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code:

In my view, “detestation” and “vilification” aptly describe the harmful effect that the Code seeks to eliminate. Representations that expose a target group to detestation tend to inspire enmity and extreme ill-will against them, which goes beyond mere disdain or dislike. Representations vilifying a person or group will seek to abuse, denigrate or delegitimize them, to render them lawless, dangerous, unworthy or unacceptable in the eyes of the audience. Expression exposing vulnerable groups to detestation and vilification goes far beyond merely discrediting, humiliating or offending the victims.[5]

Sounds good, right?  The recent rise of the false populist-nationalist right in North America (and the world) has put considerable stress on free speech and what we consider to be hate speech because so much of what these ideologies espouse can be considered hateful, corrosive, and essentially banal in nature.

Should the speech of the false-populist right be banned?  Absolutely not, it must be challenged though, at every turn and shown to people for what it is.  And that folks, is a tall order because of the problems I mentioned earlier about our new preferred methods of debate and discourse.  Social media.  The false-populist messaging is simple and stirring and benefits greatly from the amplification in social media, but suffers little distortion because of the simplicity of the message.  The message being roughly this:

    “Right-wing populism in the Western world is generally—though not exclusively—associated with ideologies such as anti-environmentalism,neo-nationalism,anti-globalization,nativism,protectionism,and opposition to immigration.”

The messaging plays directly on the general populations fears, and allows the problems of the nation to be unfairly pinned on a subcategory of people who are vulnerable and easy to scapegoat.  False populist messaging can be countered, but the medium of debate works against those who seek to argue and debate false populist points because nuance and detailed refutations are not the currency social media deals in.  So instead we get catchy slogans like “punch a nazi” and the “alt-right” which are both statements that originated on the left side of the political spectrum, but are profoundly unhelpful in combating the false-populist ideology and messaging that presently, has a strong foothold in our social media platforms.

The medium really is the message – social media is polarizing – let’s look at this latest tweet making the rounds in the left-twittersphere:

Wenn ein Nazi am Tisch sitzt, und daneben 10 andere, die dasitzen und mit ihm diskutieren, dann hast du einen Tisch mit 11 Nazis.”  – (English Translation)-  “As we say in Germany, if there’s a Nazi at the table and 10 other people sitting there talking to him, you got a table with 11 Nazis.”

   What do we do with this?  The sentiment is good, one shouldn’t tolerate Nazi ideology and by sitting idle, one tacitly condones it.  But, what about free speech?  So many contextual aspects in this situation are rubbing up against each other.  Corrosive ideology has no place in a free society, but should there be a space for it to flourish in the public sphere?  Is the German quote appropriate for North America where there has been proto-fascist movements, but never in power?  Where does the argument for tolerance come into play, because this is at face-value, is most definitely an intolerant statement.

    Taken in the German social-political context, I have no problems with it.  However, throw it into the social media public sphere where it adds fuel to the fire that generally reverberates as “anyone who I disagree with politically, is a Nazi” and the statement becomes much more problematic.  Make no mistake, there is a large nuance vacuum on both the left and right side of the political divide (to both sides detriment).

   It’s too easy to simply brand someone a Nazi and demand their speech be taken down.  Yet, how does one actively guard against the rise of actual fascism and not curtail free speech in the process is a key issue in these debates.  False-populist ideology can easily careen into straight up fascism and the genocidal bent that goes along with it, so how do we deal with it?  I do not think there is a good answer, at least not until we get more public engagement and understanding in the social sphere.

   I’m a teacher so my biases lean toward more education and knowledge being a strong tonic against the mistakes humanity has made in the past.  Yet, all the cruelty and barbarism that has occurred (20th and 21st century) and is still occurring has happened under the not so watchful guise of an ‘educated’ public.  The answer might not lay in more education, but a social system that holds each individual to a higher standard of accountability and understanding of their role and responsibility within the world.  Something better than the “fuck you, I’ve got mine” mentality that has such a sure grip on the current social zeitgeist.

   Let’s make part three a separate post, as this piece is overlong already.

 

 

So the UCP just passed Bill 9, better known as the we’re too scared to negotiate so we’re going to legislate new wages for our public sector employees. This, of course, is a clear violation of charter rights to collective bargaining and flies in the very face of good faith bargaining. One union has already stated that they will be challenging this bill in court and I’m sure it will be challenged by everyone it tries to get used upon. This mean that the so called fiscal conservatives will be wasting public money defending their illegal legislation in an effort to crush the working people of Alberta.

In a brazen act of doublethink the UCP is branding this as no big deal, as a simple delay to bargaining. Kenney state, “No one’s taking anybody’s rights away,” while his finance minister goes on record that they need this time to negotiate in good faith, which is right on point with their Orwellian messaging. Delaying contract arbitrations that were scheduled and signed in good faith is the literal definition of taking peoples rights away and negotiating in bad faith. But hey it’s a brave new world. With the new wave of doublethink we can say all sorts of new things like we’ve brought 6465 days of peace to Afghanistan, bringing freedom to its people, and strength to its children.

And this brings us to you, dear UCP voter. You have done this. Each and every one of you. None of this is a surprise. Not one iota. There was every indication that the UCP was going to do this before the election. Thanks to you dear UCP voter we now have a government that doesn’t care about the charter or the rule of law and will waste our tax monies in fighting for their ideological war on working people. So thank you UCP voters. And by thank you I mean fuck you. I hope all the teachers, nurses, and public servants that voted UCP are the ones that will lose their jobs in the coming months.

   Why would people vote against their own interests?  Why do so many people choose not to vote at all?  Some of the answers lie with the very structure of the American political system and the ideological rules that are currently being followed.

Noam Chomsky has always said that the US has two business class parties.  Ostensibly, they agree on a core of values and only differ on a few social and economic ones, just enough to differentiate themselves (modestly from the other).

” -In the US, there is basically one party – the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies. By and large, I am opposed to those policies. As is most of the population.”

-Noam Chomsky

So, it is a terrible system for most, except for the people in power.  Rob Urie explains:

 

“Tacticians for the political establishment(s) understand that electoral politics is antithetical to democracy, which is why they use strategies of exclusion to maintain their lock on power. This unity through exclusion is what makes the pretense that they— Democrats versus Republicans, are ideological combatants so self-serving and implausible. Either Party could expand the electorate by bringing in unaffiliated and disaffected voters, and in-so-doing dominate American politics. But to do so, they would have to offer a political program that voters want.

The U.S. has a very low electoral turnout rate compared with other so-called democracies. The question then is why Democrats would focus their efforts on luring a small number of suburban Republicans to vote for Democrats rather than on the large number of eligible voters from urban, suburban and rural working class and poor neighborhoods? The answer is class. The oligarchs + the richest 9.9% won’t support policies that benefit poor and working-class voters. They might oppose racism, but not poverty.

One easy way to expand the electorate is to stop excluding it. Old news here— voter suppression is rampant in the U.S. While this is a favorite tactic of Republicans, Democrats have passed up every opportunity to 1) force Republicans to stop doing it and 2) enact universal suffrage. Here’s the rub— even if Democrats accepted 20% voter suppression as a background level, they could still craft policies that support the poor and working class and bring in tens of millions of voters by doing so. But they apparently don’t want ‘those people’ voting.

In 2018 in my poor and working class, 98% Democrat, neighborhood, the Democrats left door tags with two messages: property tax ‘relief’ that has little appeal in a 90%+ renter neighborhood and ‘stopping Trump.’ This neighborhood suffered horribly in the Bush / Obama years from the twin catastrophes of de-industrialization and financialization. De-industrialization took away the jobs and then financialization made housing unaffordable while growing a below living-wage chain-store economy that bankrupted local businesses.”

Breaking out of the two party system is the first requirement for any sort of authentic change not only in American society, but also in Canada as well.  The two ‘preferred choices’ both serve a narrow slice of the population while essentially disenfranchising the rest.

If we wish to see real change, we will need to address the systemic electoral obstacles first.

 

The CBC has a leaked copy of the Inquiry, some highlights:

“The inquiry officially began on Sept. 1, 2016, and was given a two-year mandate to examine systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls. The government granted a six-month extension in 2018, with the final report due by April 30, 2019. The inquiry had requested a two-year extension.

Among the report’s recommendations is a call for an immediate end to birth alerts — a system used by child welfare agencies to flag a person’s history, which may lead to a baby being apprehended from its mother in the hospital.

It also calls for a transformation of policing to reduce racism in police forces, and more funding to overhaul First Nations policing, bring rural and remote communities up to a higher standard, and better technology for sexual assault investigations.”

What we as Canadians can do:

The report also makes these recommendations to all Canadians:

  • Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

  • Decolonize by learning the true history of Canada and Indigenous history in your local area.

  • Develop knowledge and read the final report.

  • Using what you have learned and some of the resources suggested, become a strong ally … actively working to break down barriers and to support others in every relationship and encounter in which you participate.

  • Confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia, and teach or encourage others to do the same, wherever it occurs, in your home, in your workplace, or in social settings.

  • Protect, support, and promote the safety of women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people by acknowledging and respecting the value of every person and every community, as well as the right of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to generate their own, self-determined solutions.

  • Create time and space for relationships based on respect as human beings, supporting and embracing differences with kindness, love, and respect. Learn about Indigenous principles of relationship specific to those Nations or communities in your local area and work, and put them into practice in all of your relationships with Indigenous Peoples.

  • Help hold all governments accountable to act on the Calls for Justice, and to implement them according to the important principles we set.

 

We shall see how the general population of Canada reacts, I hope that we can read the report and move toward a better future with our indigenous peoples.

This is a special thank you to UCP Voters. This is special because it is discussing the new UCP Bill 8.

61986188_2190691607725865_3725536632066015232_n

I like to call it the “We’re a bunch of small minded bigots and we’re going to take it out on children” bill. It’s also the bill that removes the protections for LGBT people in Alberta, specifically those that allow those in school to form GSA clubs. These clubs save lives. These protections not only allowed them to be formed, it also prevented the schools from outing these youth to their parents. Something that most assuredly will happen from those within the Catholic School System at the very least.

But this really isn’t about Jason Kenney, or the Catholic School System. This is about you, the UCP voter. These people are just doing exactly what they’ve always said they will. It is you, the UCP voter who have elected these people. That the UCP is now doing exactly what they always said they would do is no surprise. That means that you, the people who have elected these goons, are directly responsible for giving them the power to do so. This means one of two things in this specific case.

  1. You are a hateful bigot that thinks dead kids is preferable to kids being both gay and alive.
  2. You don’t actively hate gay people but you are comfortable enough with gay kids offing themselves so you can vote in someone who will ensure that this happens just so you can vote in a party that has the name conservative in it. This despite there being two other neoliberal parties that would have governed almost identically to Kenney economically without being regressive on social issues.

 

And that’s the crux of it. Either way the blood of every dead kid that kills themselves because they didn’t have the support a GSA club could have provided is directly on your hands. You had a choice and you chose the party full of hateful bigots. YOU are the problem dear UCP voter. I would wish you would choke on the blood of these dead kids but I can’t. Because I care that these kids don’t kill themselves. You obviously don’t though. Perhaps I’ll leave you with this: Go fuck yourself UCP voters.

This Blog best viewed with Ad-Block and Firefox!

What is ad block? It is an application that, at your discretion blocks out advertising so you can browse the internet for content as opposed to ads. If you do not have it, get it here so you can enjoy my blog without the insidious advertising.

Like Privacy?

Change your Browser to Duck Duck Go.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 589 other followers

Progressive Bloggers

Categories

August 2019
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Archives

Blogs I Follow

The DWR Community

Volunteer petunia

Observations and analysis on survival, love and struggle

femlab

the feminist exhibition space at the university of alberta

Raising Orlando

About gender, identity, parenting and containing multitudes

REAL for women

Reflecting Equality in Australian Legislation for women

The Feminist Kitanu

Spreading the dangerous disease of radical feminism

Double Plus Good

The Evolution Will Not BeTelevised

la scapigliata

writer, doctor, wearer of many hats

Teach The Change

Teaching Artist/ Progressive Educator

Female Personhood

Identifying as female since the dawn of time.

Radfem Resources | Radical Feminist Literature

A virtual library for those interested in radical feminist literature and resources.

Not The News in Briefs

A blog by Helen Saxby

SOLIDARITY WITH HELEN STEEL

A blog in support of Helen Steel

thenationalsentinel.wordpress.com/

Defending America Daily

BigBooButch

Memoirs of a Butch Lesbian

RadFemSpiraling

Radical Feminism Discourse

a sledge and crowbar

deconstructing identity and culture

The Radical Pen

Fighting For Female Liberation from Patriarchy

Emma

Politics, things that make you think, and recreational breaks

Easilyriled's Blog

cranky. joyful. radical. funny. feminist.

Nordic Model Now!

Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution

The WordPress C(h)ronicle

These are the best links shared by people working with WordPress

HANDS ACROSS THE AISLE

Gender is the Problem, Not the Solution

fmnst

Peak Trans and other feminist topics

There Are So Many Things Wrong With This

if you don't like the news, make some of your own

Gentle Curiosity

Musing over important things. More questions than answers.

violetwisp

short commentaries, pretty pictures and strong opinions

Revive the Second Wave

gender-critical sex-negative intersectional radical feminism

Trans Animal Farm

The Trans Trend is Orwellian

Princess Henry of Wales

Priestess Belisama

miss guts.

just a girl on a journey

writing by renee

Trigger warning: feminism, women's rights

RANCOM!

Happily Retired

freer lives

A socialist critique of gender ideology

Centering Women

A radical feminist page made for women only

radicalkitten

radical Elemental feminism

yumicpcake

A fine WordPress.com site

%d bloggers like this: