Through a series of responses and initiatives in recent months, the Mulroney government has made it clear that it firmly supports radical feminist organizations and has nothing but contempt for the average Canadian woman.
Collins and feminism
Before its Annual General Meeting in June, the National Action committee on the Status of Women (NAC) submitted a number of questions to Mary Collins, the federal Minister responsible for women.
As usual Collins, who is pro-abortion, was most anxious to placate the group. She told them that the government:
- remains committed to the United Nations Convention on Women, whose shortcomings were analyzed in detail by The Interim several years ago;
- will enhance government child day-care wherever possible (already it spends over $ one billion);
- promote pay “equity” wherever possible. (Pay equity is he feminist tactic whereby totally unrelated job classifications are used to boost women’s salaries unrelated to business practices or taxpayers’ consent);
- support an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act by the end of the year which might make “reasonable accommodation” for those who suffer hardship because of their “sexual orientation.”
- continue to support groups which work for women’s “advancement”, within “the present framework of fiscal restraint”.
“In the case of the Women’s Program”, Collins noted, “the Fairness in Funding report states that the Women’s Program will support the activities of groups who advocate the equality of women in a non-partisan way.”
This coded language is reassuring to NAC; it means that lesbian groups (for example) will continue to receive funding, while it will be denied to “partisan” groups like REAL Women. The latter simply support family values which the PC feminists reject.
In view of the defeat of Bill C-43, she was asked, will the government commit itself not to re-introduce anti-choice legislation? This she confirmed.
Asked about accessibility to abortion Mrs. Collins replied that the provinces have responsibility for the the delivery of health services, but the Canada Health Act requires them “to provide reasonable access to medically necessary hospital and physician services”. She includes abortion among such “medically necessary services; on what grounds she did not say.
Mrs. Collins also made reference to a National Symposium on Women, Law and the Administration of Justice in Vancouver which Attorney General Kim Campbell had hosted earlier in the month of June.
Opening the conference, which was attended by 250 delegates, Mrs. Campbell said that women must shake off male role models and control their own destiny. In an interview with David Vienneau of the Toronto Star, she declared that the legal system is unfair to women; it is antiquated and was enacted by men for men.
Mrs. Campbell made clear how ambitious is the scope of her mission: “to have a system of justice and laws that reflects women’s reality”. Ostensibly this means destroying stereotypes about battered women and sexual assault victims and ending sexual exploitation. But it also means “giving women control over their own bodies”, and virtually turning the justice system upside down.
Raw feminist power
Reviewing the proceedings at the conference, Rebecca Burnham and Virginia Byfield of Western Report described it as an exercise of raw feminist judicial power. Implicit throughout was Kim Campbell’s own premise that the Canadian Justice system needs to be replaced with something that takes “women’s experience and perception” into account.
The “legalistic patriarchal” approach must go. “If hallowed precepts have to go too, like the notion that the accused is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, that may not matter anyhow, said Western Report. “Female virtues like caring, nurturing and kindness will suffice.”
One recommendation of the symposium called for affirmative action to achieve a 50% quota of women on law faculties by the year 2000.
Another called upon law faculties to include the perspectives of women, homosexuals, and the disabled in their curricula.
And others, many others, concerned the brainwashing of judges, to make sure that they learn the new feminist rules.
Already two years ago, the Canadian Judicial Council instituted consciousness-raising sessions at the judges’ yearly seminars. The Council has even produced a video entitled Gender Equality, together with a thick folder of written material, depicting four cases in which there is said to be gender bias. One of the symposium recommendations said that judges must not simply be informed; they must be put into direct contact with “groups that are subject to their justice or injustice”.
There was one lone voice in opposition to this triumph of feminism over the law, that of Gwen Landolt, vice-president of REAL Women.
Landolt maintained that the views of millions of Canadian women were not represented at this meeting. She also warned that hundreds of years of legal tradition were being endangered.
But she was paid so little heed that she said she felt like an onion in a petunia patch. “This gathering wasn’t about equality” she declared. “It was about power.”
There was considerably more opposition to a report written by a sub-committee of five women MPs calling for a royal commission to investigate “the endemic problem” of violence against women.
The sub-committee included four pro-abortionists: Barbara Greene, the chairman, PC from North York; Pierrette Venne, PC from Quebec; Mary Clancy, L from Halifax; and Dawn Black, NDP from B.C. — together with Edna Anderson, PC from Simcoe Centre.
When the report went to the health and welfare committee for approval, the committee’s Tory majority did not rubber-stamp it as expected but turned it down. They said they didn’t like the report’s title—The War against Women – because it was confrontational and inflammatory.
The report contained many shocking claims concerning abuse against women: e.g., that every 17 minutes there is a sexual assault committed in Canada and that 90 per cent of the victims are female; that at least one in ten women is physically assaulted each year by her husband, boyfriend, or former partner; that eighty per cent of aboriginal women in Ontario have been assaulted or abused; and that twenty per cent of girls in Toronto high schools have been sexually assaulted.
Such statistics seem hard to accept and the report seems the work of a number of angry women, led by a determined feminist, Barbara Greene, who really were out to create a confrontation.
Among the many recommendations was the proposal that a national public relations campaign be launched denouncing violence against women—a good way to spend money on a useless exercise.
Another was that convicted abusers undergo treatment programs, which could possibly be useful
Another, completely in harmony with the direction Kim Campbell’s symposium took , was that judges, prosecutors, and RCMP members should receive “sensitivity training” on gender issues. Still another was that anti-violence education, whatever that means, be mandatory in schools.
The Toronto Star was indignant that the report had been turned down. “This week”, it said, “a handful of Tory backbenchers refused to endorse a thoughtful report on violence against women for the ludicrous reason that they didn’t like its title.”
PM Brian Mulroney
Of course, there was more than the title at stake; four members (two of them women) of the seven-member health and welfare committee evidently did not agree that women are at war with men, even if they are aware that abuse of women is a serious matter.
In a caucus meeting following the above incident, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney took the side of Barbara Greene and company. He found the “boorish behaviour” of the four dissidents “embarrassing”. He was very proud of his record in improving the status of women, he said, and having appointed women to senior portfolios. He had increased the number of women deputy ministers from two to seventeen, he said, and named many women to federal commissions and tribunals.
Pro-lifers have noted that most of these political appointments appear to be of people who are pro-abortion, anti-family and anti-life.