Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sexism still reigns in Canadian politics

Despite what we may say, or what we might think, sexism is still a rampant and reprehensible problem in our Canadian political system. For a test case in point, all one needs to do is look to the Guelph by-election, where there's already been several incidents of sexism against the only female candidate, Gloria Kovach.

Even before the campaign began, Guelph blogger Jerry Prager, had this to say about Gloria back in April... "we get to look at a thumbnail campaign picture of Gloria on the cover on the Guelph Tribune every issue, in which she smiles seductively for the camera, hoping to lure unsuspecting voters into bed with the right, of which she is clearly begging to become the local pin-up. I call the picture her "Come Hither & Huck Farper" pose.", and then again said that we shouldn't, "let ourselves be seduced by the smiles of Sirens". What a sexist pig, how many sexist remarks did he manage to pack into those two sentences?

Then we have a die-hard supporter of the previous Guelph CPC candidate, who's made statements like this on the Guelph Mercury blog..."Rona and Helena do have their 'assets'". In an era where everyone agrees that we need better female representation in the House of Commons, it's statements like this that reveal the ugly and undiscussed side of politics in this country... that deep down, we're still sexist pigs when it comes to women running for higher office. He even sent the following e-mail to a Gloria supporter on the launch of the Guelph by-election... "May the best man win". And yes, his use of the word "man" was intentional.

But perhaps most telling of all, and most disturbing for that matter, is a comment I came across just today. Though the person who made the statement does have some legitimate reason to be angry, I think his statement is reflective of how far we have yet to go in terms of women in politics. Guelph blogger BlueZone today posted a comment that was overheard from the previous Guelph CPC candidate, saying that he won't be "supporting or voting for that b***h Kovach". Granted, he's likely still bitter about what happened to him, and with good reason. But beyond that, I think his comment is rather telling of where we are as a nation when it comes to women in politics. In expressing his anger, he could have chosen a host of other names or phrases to use, but instead, he resorted to the politician's "standard" derogatory sexist remark, by calling her a "female dog".

Why is that word so common in political circles when it comes to talking about women? I know it's been used of Belinda Stronach, and I cringe every time I hear it. It's disgusting, reprehensible, and ought to have no place in Canadian politics. Instead, we ought to be treating women honourably, with the respect that they deserve, and judging their candidacy not on their gender, but solely on their qualifications and experience.

I'll actually give credit to Mr. Dion for his statement in the House of Commons, "We need more women in Parliament". I couldn't agree more!

(Of course, he could have taken his own advice in Guelph, where Marva Wisdom, an experienced and well qualified black woman sought, and eventually lost, the Liberal nomination. Marva was later quoted in the National Post, and 'said her nomination experience had taught her how much work needs to be done in terms of "opening up the party and moving away from the old boys' club."')

One thing I keep hearing is people who attack Mr. Harper for not having enough women in his caucus, or in his Cabinet. Well, the people of Guelph have a unique opportunity this coming September. Guelph can either send another man to the House, or they can choose to send Mr. Harper a well qualified woman, who even has the experience needed for consideration for Cabinet.

So Guelph, what's it going to be? A continuation of the rampant political sexism, or a concerted effort to change the male dominated status quo?

I'll be interested in watching their verdict come September.

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  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 11:03:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Jeff Davidson said…

    ms. kovach should be judged for the polices of the party she is running for.

    with that in mind, i have little doubt that guelph will elect a liberal.

  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 11:03:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Hugh MacIntyre said…

    Whenever I hear things like "politics is still a boys club" I usually scoff at such statements. In my experience woman get a lag up because people like to encourage them to be involved in politics. I know of at least one candidate for the Campus Conservatives presidency that went out of his way to include a men-woman plurality. One of the people he brought on went became president next year.

    At the same time things like you describe in Guelph still pop up. I suppose you can never be rid of idiocy.

  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 11:53:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not as long as Jeff Davidson has access to a computer.

  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 12:02:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger optimus2861 said…

    "A continuation of the rampant political sexism, or a concerted effort to change the male dominated status quo?"

    That's a disingenuous remark. You spend the whole post attacking so-called sexism in politics, then slyly suggest that if Guelph chooses not to elect the Conservative candidate, they're just playing into the sexism.

    I also found it ironic you put the phrase "treating women honourably, with the respect that they deserve" in the same paragraph as the name "Belinda Stronach". Needless to say, my estimate of the respect that woman deserves is very close to zero.

    Finally, the post you linked to seemed more concerned with the previous CPC candidate appearing with the Liberal, less so the "bitch" comment.

    So I don't think you're making much of a point here.

  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 12:11:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jerry Prager is a moron.

  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 12:13:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous lynnh said…

    First of all, I am not a feminist male-hater but I have spent a lot of time observing men. In my experience, even men that are funny, smart, polite and charming do not have to dig far to reveal their inner oink. It is just the way most guys are. Any confident woman can learn to filter out their male opponents annoying taunts and only address the real issues.

    It is the progressive hypocrisy that says the most about them. They label all conservatives as mean spirited sexists and themselves as inclusive and kind. Yet, the left's nasty actions reveal otherwise.

  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 12:19:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    And I think your comment is disingenuous Optimus... I didn't imply Guelph would be sexist if they reject Kovach, I'm saying they have an opportunity to "break the mold" as it were, if they so choose.

    Nor was my comment about Belinda "ironic"... regardless of your political stripe, everyone should be able to agree that the SEXIST attacks on Belinda are disgusting. Comments regarding her character, or lack thereof, are legitimate, but attacks regarding her gender are not.

    As for the thrust of the other bloggers post, that's his thrust... I'm taking a whole new direction with the same comment.

  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 01:40:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Mark said…

    You're post did make a lot of sense, until the partisan question at the end:

    "So Guelph, what's it going to be? A continuation of the rampant political sexism, or a concerted effort to change the male dominated status quo?"

    We've had women represent us federally and provincially for the last 15 and 13 years respectively.

    I do appreciate the post though, we need to be talking about this. One thing we might want to be careful of as bloggers though, has Barr's comments been confirmed, or is it just heresay? BlueZone did not even hear the quote directly, and quoting him is like playing a game of telephone.

  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 02:31:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Very true Mark, it is like a game of telephone... but I don't have any reason to doubt the source.

    But regardless, it's not the first time I've heard that phrase used about women in the political realm, so it's obviously an issue that needs talking about anyway.

  • At Tue. Jul. 29, 03:57:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger optimus2861 said…

    "I'm saying they have an opportunity to "break the mold" as it were, if they so choose."

    You changed the wording around, but the implication is exactly the same. Guelph votes for the woman = "breaking the mold" or "changing the male dominated status quo". Guelph doesn't vote for the woman = easy to work out the opposite meanings.

    I'm not even sure why you're dragging all of Guelph's electorate into this when it was only one man's comment that sparked this post, and he's not even standing for election. Speak against him, sure, but don't imply that Guelph now has some higher calling to vote for the woman because of it.

  • At Wed. Jul. 30, 12:43:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous wondering said…

    I need to apologize. When I read your comment on Accidental Deliberations (before reading this), I was perhaps needlessly harsh. I still feel your use of language was inappropriate, but you do seem more committed to feminism (and raising some excellent points) then was apparent from the link at The Jurist's.

  • At Wed. Jul. 30, 01:18:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Hey Wondering, no apology needed... you rightly called me on that one, when I called the Liberal candidate in St. Lambert a "girl", though nothing was intended by it. Guess it just shows how easy it is to slip, and that I need to be careful too. ;-)


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