Harper's wages are fear - Why a feminist Senator told women to 'shut the fuck up'
'Shut the fuck up on this issue'
By their words shall we know them
Harper and friends never cease playing the politics of division and fear
The following was published first as the editorial in the May 7 edition of True North Perspective.
Steven Harper, not exactly as shown. (Photo-illustration by Geoffrey Dow.)
I would like to apologize for inflicting a four-letter Anglo-Saxonism upon you, but I can't in good conscience do it. All too often the truth is offensive and sometimes, using crude words is the best way to get us to confront the ugly truth in question.
In this case, Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth seems to have let slip an ugly truth about her party that she might not even fully understand — otherwise, if she is the pro-choice feminist she said to be, she would surely have to cross the floor — wouldn't she?
Senator Ruth made the statement this past Monday to a meeting of international equality rights groups. The subject was the Harper government's decision, as announced by International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda back on April 26, that Canada will not fund abortions in developing countries.
The next day, in what was either a remarkable case of foot-in-mouth disease, or else a cynical calculation that there were more votes to be had in pandering to the Conservatives' right-wing, "socially conservative" base than there might be in acknowledging that women in the third world sometimes also have unwanted pregnancies and so, like those in the west, will seek out abortions whether or not they are legal or affordable or safe, Harper disengenuously claimed the decision was meant to be "unifying".
According to the Toronto Star, he said, "We want to make sure our funds are used to save the lives of women and children and are used on the many, many things that are available to us that frankly do not divide the Canadian population."
As if he didn't know that implicitly declaring women in the third world should not have the rights Canadian women take for granted wouldn't be devisive.
In any event, Senator Ruth wasn't not telling people to "shut the fuck up" about the issue this week because she is anti-choice, but because she is pro-choice and scared. Scared of her own party's leader.
And that fear speaks volumes about the nature of Steven Harper's so-called "conservative" government.
As I have noted before (and almost certainly will again; in the face of lies, the truth must be repeated twice as often), I am not convinced that Canada's Prime Minister, Steven Harper, has mellowed during his years presiding over a minority Parliament. It is just that minority status that has kept a frustrated Firewall Steve from enacting either the economic or the social "conservative" — in fact, reactionary — policies he would have had he a fully-subserviant House of Commons at his beck and call.
According to CBC News Senator Ruth continued by saying, "If you push it, there'll be more backlash. This is now a political football. This is not about women's health in this country." She went on to say, "Canada is still a country with free and accessible abortion. Leave it there. Don't make this an election issue."
You can argue that Senator Ruth was simply giving activists some pragmatic advice, offering the benefit of her experience and position in government, but the subtext sounds to me like it is coming from someone who knows her leader and her party and is all-too-well aware of what might come if he gets the majority government he so desparately desires.
This government, which fires civil servants for doing their jobs, which panders to fears of crime while crime is decreasing with expensive "reforms" that won't work (see Sentencing reform could cost $10B over 5 years), which prorogues Parliament whenever it pleases, hides evidence that Canada has been complicit in torture and — the list is nearly endless; no doubt most of you can make your own lists. This government's own members seem to believe it is a danger to the Canada we have known, a reactionary, dangerous leopard held in check only by the fragile leash of a Parliamentary minority.
Harper does his best to colour his spots, but they keep showing through the second-rate dye-jobs and Senator Nancy Ruth's fear suggests it's not only his enemies who worry about what might happen if he gets free reign over the nation, but his allies as well.
With the ongoing global economic crisis now nearing its third year, the neo-conservative "revolution" has been revealed as nothing but a sham and a fraud. To its credit, Canada avoided many of the excesses of the past 30 years. It would be a tragedy were we to let Harper institute his own scorch-and-burn revolution so long past its best-before date.