Just about the only time I wish The Interim were published daily or weekly is when a point I wanted to make in a column is made by a more frequently-published writer. It’s a galling position but also satisfying.
It’s galling because, of course, everyone wants to believe that his particular point of view is unique (and even brilliant or revolutionary). It’s satisfying when a pro-lifer or pro-family group position makes its way into the mainstream press, championed by a respected, high profile writer. In Toronto, at any rate, that doesn’t happen often.
Two columnists at the Toronto Sun publicly supported the pro-family group, REAL Women, in June, Claire Hoy argued that REAL Women are as deserving of public funding as the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC). And Barbara Amiel adopted the position that no special interest group should be supported by public funds.
“Government has no right to be funding special interest groups and that is what all these people are,” Amiel wrote. “If a group has a special interest, it should be able to whip up money from its own people or committed patrons.” This was the point that I had been going to make, although I probably wouldn’t have made it so clearly.
Feminist funding since ‘73
What promoted Amiel and Hoy to defend REAL Women were “vicious, hate-filled” (Hoy) by NAC’s outgoing president Chaviva Hosek (Amiel called her comments “bitchy”). The “official femlibbers” (Amiel’s phrase) in general, and NAC in particular are both scared of the attention now being paid to pro-family and pro-life groups, and terrified of losing their monopoly on the government funding which has so long fed them – and us – a steady diet of their own propaganda.
Last month’s Interim carried the list of organizations funded through the Secretary of State’s Women’s Programme last year. Clearly, $8.36 million (the funding for only one year: note that the Women’s Programme has been in existence since 1973), enables feminist ideology to be spread far and wide. This, perhaps, explains why anti-family positions on child care, abortions, pornography, alternative “life-styles” and so on have become generally accepted as just and equitable.
The fact that the feminist movement is in control of this programme, and that their philosophy controls the funding guidelines is undisputed. Is it surprising that REAL Women had their 1985 application for a grant denied on the grounds that their policies did not fall “within the spirit of the objectives of the programme?” Yet REAL Women is neither anti-feminist, nor supportive of subsidiary status for women: it merely offers alternative solutions to the problems faced by women in our society.
If government funding of “women’s issues” is to continue, aren’t pro-family groups entitled to have their grant proposals considered seriously? This is so obviously a matter of equitable distribution of public money that it should not even have to be stated. So why are the feminists (who say they’re for equality) complaining so loudly?
At the end of his column, Claire Hoy asked questions, the answers to which may well be the key to understanding NAC’s attacks. “But if NAC is so sure its own views are correct, what does it hurt to have other views openly discussed?” he asked. “Is there something NAC is afraid of – besides sharing the public pot, that is?”
Mr. Hoy did not offer answers, but I will. In my view, the official feminists are afraid that they would not be able to support their claim that they represent the views of Canadian women if they had to rely on public funding for their organization to publicize their point of view. Take away the security blanket of a grant cheque, and the pro-abortion women’s movement would be on equal footing with the pro-life movement. In fact, without the mega-buck backing, their whole operation would collapse overnight.
We need the Women’s Programme dismantled, not merely shuffled around to accommodate all comers. The pro-family, pro-life groups will survive, for they’re run by capable and dedicated women (and men) who are experts at getting the work done on minute budgets. Put the money instead into programmes to help women give birth to their babies instead of destroying them for lack of financial security. Put the money into setting up decent sex education programmes so that young women value their reproductive gift. Put the money into programmes designed to strengthen families before they get into trouble. These are all women’s issues and ones that have been seriously abused or neglected during the past 13 years. “An ounce of prevention…”