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Well.   That happened.

 

(Never fear folks, yours truly and the rest of the DWR crew were nowhere near the downtown where this incident took place.)

I’m used to commenting on and reporting on these types of events when they happen not where I live.  The events that happened on Saturday (September 30th) changed that.  Let’s consult the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which has, so far, provided the best coverage of what happened and what is happening in Edmonton as a result of the recent attacks.

  “A 30-year-old man is in custody following a high-speed chase just before midnight through streets filled with bar patrons and football fans. A man stabbed a police officer with a knife and deliberately plowed into pedestrians on Edmonton’s busiest downtown strip, police say.

  Abdulahi Hasan Sharif is the man accused in the attacks, multiple sources tell CBC News.

  The chase ended after a white U-Haul van the man was driving struck four pedestrians and flipped on its side. Cst. Mike Chernyk was the officer injured in the violent altercation, sources tell CBC News.

  Edmonton police Chief Rod Knecht confirmed that a black ISIS flag was seized from a car where the police officer was attacked. The officer was not critically injured. The condition of the four pedestrians is not known [two still in hospital, two have been released, officer released home as well].

  “Based on evidence at the scenes and the actions of the suspect … it was determined that these incidents are being investigated as acts of terrorism,” Knecht said.”

I’m so very glad the global news media has repeatedly highlighted how effective vehicular homicide is for visiting death, chaos, and mayhem to innocent bystanders.   Go team sensational media…because ratings ( and bully to the larger picture and consequences).

The would-be murderous dude didn’t seem quite right as reported by his co-worker:

“A former co-worker of the Somali refugee CBC News has identified as the man arrested in a weekend attack in Edmonton says Abdulahi Hasan Sharif was an ISIS sympathizer years before Saturday’s violent events, and that he had reported him to police. 

Terrorism charges are pending against the suspect, who is in custody. Police haven’t identified Sharif by name, but multiple sources have identified him to CBC. 

Sharif’s former co-worker, who didn’t want to be identified out of concern for his safety, said:  “He would rant.

“It was very incoherent. He would just bounce from idea to idea, tangent to tangent, just about what he believed in and he definitely had genocidal beliefs, you could say.

“He had major issues with polytheists. He said they need to die. That sort of thing. I only had a handful of conversations with him about it; those only occurred when there were just two of us in the work room.”

Ah, there we go.  We all have problems with the damn polytheists, they ruin everything.  Sharif was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take any more of their bullshit(?).

There are larger issues colouring the events involved here.  The most obvious, of course, is religion.  So once again here we sit cleaning up after an episode of violence fuelled by delusional belief in a particular sky fairy mixed in, of course, with ideology that glorifies martyrdom and reward in the ‘afterlife’.  So much violence can be traced back to the super-neato fact that basically all religions are essential giant ‘othering’ machines.  Religion allows for easy distinctions to be drawn between those who believe the bullshit, and those who do not.  And of course, as soon as one can make in-group and out-group distinction, the process of changing ones thinking about other human beings (people like oneself) into heretics and unwashed heathens (less human and worthy of killing) can begin.  So, many thanks Religion (and religious belief) for the handy-dandy vehicle for reducing empathy and increasing violence between people in the world.

The other factor involved here (and sadly in Las Vegas), of course, is the way we teach males in our society to deal with problems.  The plague of male violence (and let’s not forget delusional religious thinking/belief) that we suffer through must be brought to an end, we must change the way we socialize the males in our society to not see violence as a viable option for solving their problems.

It is the only way forward.

[Source: cbc.ca 1, 2, 3]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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    The first rule of focus groups or research groups is quite simply this.  If you say yes to one, then you shall forever be on the call list of every research company that has ever existed.  And they do call quite often.  Extrapolating from the frequency that I receive offers, people who are willing to participate in studies and opinion groups are few and far between.

The call I received was from a company doing research on for the federal government of Canada.  I thought to myself, woo-whee, the Feds want to know my opinion?  How could I say no to that (well that and the included honourarium)?   We were not told the details of what the discussion was going to be about beforehand.  It turned out to be a rather mundane discussion on the tax system in Canada and what our opinions and thoughts were on it, along with other issues such as debt, sources of debt, and how well off we defined ourselves vis a vis other generations.

Fascinating (ish) stuff.  What tweaked my interest was my fellow attendee’s lack of knowledge about Canadian fiscal and tax policy.  Like the fact that Canada’s corporate tax rate is miserly 15%, among the lowest, if not the lowest in the G7.  People seemed genuinely surprised when I suggested that we should be raising that tax rate significantly and that in the past the tax rate had been significantly higher (around 40% in the 60’s) .

Similar experiences when mentioning terms like neo-liberal (a la Nafta and the TPP) economic policy and trickle-down economics.  None of the other people in my research cohort used terminology and concepts that named the economic features we were talking about.  There was a good deal of, “oh I agree with what he said,” but none articulated the theoretical features or aspects of the features we were talking about.

The notion of ‘progressive taxation’ seemed to throw a few of my peers for a slight loop, even thought the Canadian tax system is nominally progressive in nature.   I boggled inwardly at that, but we all got on the same page eventually when it came to nailing down the concept.

I’m worried though, I am by stretch of the imagination an economist or policy-wonk, but the amount of time spent getting people up to speed on basic economic features and concepts made me take pause.  I get the feeling that many people just don’t have the time or the inclination to get the basic facts necessary to have an informed opinion on key features of our tax system and economics in general.  Taxes affect everyone in society and not having a base level of knowledge about them and how government policy can change the way taxes work, seems like a glaring oversight in one’s life education.

Ignorance aside, 7 out of the 8 of us present agreed with the legalization of marijuana in Canada so the Feds will at least have positive affirmation that making pot legal makes most of us happy (representative samply-speaking).

    “Taylor Swift’s firm testimony in a civil trial this week involving a former radio host who allegedly groped her is sending a strong message to women who might experience similar forms of sexual harassment and assault: Don’t diminish the act.

“It provides a useful template for her fans, for younger girls who might experience these forms of harassment and be intimidated out of saying anything because their voice is consistently discredited,” said Karen Tongson, a professor who specializes in gender studies and pop culture at the University of Southern California.”

Constantly being discredited.  Welcome to the world of being female in society.  It’s the little details like the aforementioned that they don’t list in the Growing Up Female set of instructions.

Will Ms.Swift’s actions make a difference?  There is certainly a large mountain to climb in Canada on the issue of sexual harassment.

    “According to 2014 Statistics Canada data, 83 per cent of incidents involving sexual assault — including unwanted touching — were not reported to police. The most common reason provided by victims for not reporting the crime was that it was considered minor and not worth the bother to come forward.”

Yeah.  The violation of women’s boundaries in 2017, in Canada is still a thing.  I think perhaps our PM, before making any more “year” plus declaration statements – ala balanced cabinet – we should tackle the systematic lack of respect for the boundaries and bodies of women first.

     “The Canadian Women’s Foundation told CBC in a statement that Swift’s refusal to accept blame is “particularly important, as that often happens when seeking justice through the court system.”

Why is this important?  Because we still blame the victim for getting assaulted and harassed in our society and our institutions still reflect this patriarchal value.

Good on ya Ms.Swift for fighting the good fight and showing us what we’re up against in the battle for a female liberation in our society.

 

[Source:cbc.ca]

 

  There is a frighteningly large segment of the population of Alberta that thinks that what the Republican Administration down south is gang-busterly-amazing-awesome-fantastic (full disclosure – by exhibiting knowledge of uncommon adjectives I disqualify myself from said group).

The Republicans, led by Trump, are merrily deconstructing American civil society; whether through willful action or diligent buffoonery, it matters not, as the end result is the same.  The glimpses I’ve seen of the full throtle shit show going on in the USA should be serving as a cautionary tale writ large for the gentle-folk of Alberta.

The Republicans and Trump’s toxic corporatism burnished with a faux veneer of populism is poison toward the idea that society should be a place for everyone and that caring for your fellow human being is a good thing.

2020 isn’t coming fast enough for America and the rest of the world.

Apparently though, here in my home province of Alberta, Jason Kenny and the possibly united right wing parties have seen the dumpster fire that is the Republican administration and have decided – “Wow, we should do that in Canada! Stat!”

*blinks*

Finding words to describe the incredulity I’m experiencing is difficult.  Here in Alberta, we’ve just come out from some 40 years of right/centre right governance.  The people of Alberta decided to vote in a centre-left party (led by a woman, no less) and have given Rachel Notley and the New Democratic Party a five year term to run the province not explicitly beholden to business and the corporate class.

It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride, but things are going fairly well.  Rather than imposing austerity on the people of Alberta, the NDP government is running deficits to keep education and healthcare funded and spur employment in the public sector by encouraging civic projects and the like.  The last government of Alberta talked a mean game about diversifying Alberta’s economy, the NDP is making a bit of headway in that area introducing a carbon tax and providing incentives for businesses to get into the renewable resource sectors and technology.  The price of oil has for much too long dictated the overall welfare of the province.

A return to right-wing policies would be detrimental to the welfare of the policies.  The same could be said and more for the antediluvian, obtuse, and generally batshite-crazy that is currently passing for policy in the US.  We need less of this, not more.

I can only hope that the people of Alberta are more astute than our southern brethren.

Bill C-16 is problematic for women.  Go read the entirety of Megan Murphy’s article on the Feminist Current, I’ve excerpted a key bit here though. :)

Bill C-16 passed at the Senate on Thursday. Under this new Canadian legislation, which follows similar laws in a number of Western countries, a person can determine their gender or sex via self-declaration at any time and for any reason. It’s considered a human rights violation to question it. No criteria, physical markers, or tests have been identified to determine trans status. As an inherently individualistic idea, gender identity isn’t tethered to any external reality and is therefore considered immune from qualification or broader critical analysis.

If an individual’s identity doesn’t impinge on anyone, it’s easy to accept it at face value. But when an individual transitions into a group of people who face different challenges, questions will naturally arise about whether opportunities reserved for those who are marginalized in their own right will be inevitably claimed by these new members, once again making it more difficult for the original members to get ahead. Already, we’ve seen a handful of examples of males who transitioned later in life showered with praise and handed awards reserved for women, who have spent their entire lives enduring patriarchy as females.

Remarkably, troubling philosophical questions remain unaddressed. If gender identities are determined on an individual basis with no parameters around what they mean, it follows that there can be as many genders as there are human beings. If each individual has a purely self-determined identity, then, by definition, these inherently unique identities can’t be shared with anyone else. No one person can experience another person’s thoughts or feelings to verify that they are thinking or feeling the same things. How can males, or anyone for that matter, know that they feel like a woman? Even if, for the sake of argument, we accept the tautology that a woman is a person who identifies as a woman, the logical conclusion is that “woman” can mean anything and therefore means nothing.

And yet women exist.

Despite a lack of clarification and broad consensus on this, women are vilified simply for asking questions. We’re expected to abandon all prior experiences and notions of ourselves, most especially those that relate to our female embodiment and the oppression that stems from it. Sex-based protections have been effectively dissolved. When it comes to female-only facilities, human rights law is clear: a male who claims the identity of “female” or “woman” can’t be turned away. If a woman has concerns or is in a vulnerable position, her options are to somehow get over it or leave. What this tells women and girls who are survivors of male violence is that females’ right to refuge and privacy away from males is negotiable and that they come last. This is an insidious form of grooming that tells women and girls that they are hysterical for recognizing the epidemic of discrimination and violence directed at them and that they must prioritize the feelings of others over their own sense of self-preservation.

Though frequently twisted, the argument here isn’t that trans people in particular pose a threat. The issue is that as long as gender identity rests on self-declaration, it is impossible — and illegal — for females to distinguish between males who simply wish to live as transgender women and other males. This is an unwarranted burden to place on women and girls, who shouldn’t be obligated to have or divulge a history of trauma in order to justify maintaining independent spaces (not that it makes a difference when they do anyway).

Laws based on personally subjective, indescribable feelings are bad news, not only Canadian women, but the rest of society as well.

 

Canadian bill C-16 passed.

“The bill updates the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression.” The legislation also makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression. It would also extend hate speech laws to include the two terms, and make it a hate crime to target someone for being transgender.

Critically, the bill also amends the sentencing principles section of the code so that a person’s gender identity or expression can be considered an aggravating circumstance by a judge during sentencing.”

As with much of queer politics, defining terms is pretty much up to who you happen to ask, or what day it is, or really how you feel about it at the time.  So, let’s grab some terms from some lazy searches on google.  These two categories are now included in the the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code.

Wikipedia – Gender identity – is one’s personal experience of one’s own gender.[1] Gender identity can correlate with assigned sex at birth, or can differ from it completely.

    “Merriam Webster Gender expression:  The physical and behavioral manifestations of one’s gender identity People vary greatly in the extent to which they hold and convey gendered thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Gender expression refers to the way people convey their gender through mannerisms, behaviors, or expressions. — Robert C. Eklund and Gershon Tenenbaum (editors), Encyclopedia of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2014 For most people, … gender expression occurs so naturally it’s unnoticeable. Except when gender expression doesn’t match traditional notions of the gender assigned at birth. — Will Dean, The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California), 12 June 2015″

   Perhaps we should try one more source.   Another definition of gender identity this time from Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who introduced the legislation –

“Gender identity is a person’s internal or individual experience of their gender. It is a deeply felt experience of being a man, a woman, or being somewhere along the gender spectrum. Gender expression is how a person publicly presents their gender. It is an external or outward presentation through aspects such as dress, hair, makeup, body language, or voice.”

Luckily I also found a feminist response as well – Meghan Murphy responds

     “But these statements show a deep misunderstanding of what gender is and how it works. Gender is a product of patriarchy. Ideas around masculinity and femininity exist to naturalize men’s domination and women’s subordination. In the past, women were said to be too irrational, emotional, sensitive, and weak to engage in politics and public life. Men were (and often still are) said to be inherently violent, which meant things like marital rape and domestic abuse were accepted as unavoidable facts of life. “Boys will be boys,” is the old saying that continues to be applied to excuse the predatory, violent, or otherwise sexist behaviour of males.

    The feminist movement began back in the late 1800s in protest of these ideas, and continues today on that basis. The idea that gender is something internal, innate, or chosen — expressed through superficial and stereotypical means like hairstyles, clothing, or body language — is deeply regressive.

    Beyond misguided language there is the fact that we are very quickly pushing through legislation that conflicts with already established rights and protections for women and girls.

    Women’s spaces — including homeless shelters, transition houses, washrooms, and change rooms — exist to offer women protection from men. It isn’t men who fear that women might enter their locker rooms and flash, harass, assault, abuse, photograph, or kill them… This reality is often left unaddressed in conversations around gender identity. This reality is sex-based, not identity-based. Men cannot identify their way out of the oppressor class so easily, neither can women simply choose to identify their way out of vulnerability to male violence.”

So here we be – enshrining more patriarchal norms into our laws – big surprise right?  This legislation potentially represents a large step backwards for women.

“As unpopular as this fact has become, a man or boy who wishes to identify as a woman or girl, perhaps taking on stereotypically feminine body language, hairstyles, and clothing, is still male. He still has male sex organs, which means girls and women will continue to see him as a threat and feel uncomfortable with his presence in, say, change rooms. Is it now the responsibility of women and girls to leave their own spaces if they feel unsafe? Are teenage girls obligated to overcome material reality lest they be accused of bigotry? Is the onus on women to suddenly forget everything they know and have experienced with regard to sexual violence, sexual harassment, and the male gaze simply because one individual wishes to have access to the female change room? Because one boy claims he “feels like a girl on the inside?” And what does that mean, anyway?”

So which is more important male gender feelings or female safety?  I would like to advocate here for gender neutral washrooms/changing area as the beginning of a compromise in this area.  We still live in a patriarchy and sex segregated facilities are still necessary for the protection and safety of females in our society.  The choice whether to co-mingle with men in washrooms or change rooms should be up to all those involved.

   “We live in a time when women and girls are killed every day, across the globe, by men. Things like rape, domestic abuse, and the murder of Indigenous women and girls in Canada are still not considered hate crimes. Yet we have managed to push through legislation that may very well equate “misgendering” to hate speech.

    Women are protected under the human rights code on the basis that we are, as a group, discriminated against on account of our biology. Employers still choose not to hire women based on the assumption that they will become pregnant. Women are still fighting to have access to women-only spaces (including washrooms and locker rooms) in male-dominated workplaces like fire departments, in order to escape sexual harassment and assault.”

I have serious misgivings about this legislation.  The concerns raised by radical feminists such as Meghan Murphy, have mostly been brushed aside, unsurprisingly as her concerns focus on the female experience in society and how this legislation is going to impact females (thanks again patriarchy).

Critical analysis and more debate is necessary on contentious topics such as the now passed bill C-16 – I hope more discussions can be had and that so we can ensure the safety and security of females in our society.

 

 

 

 

  One of the problems while debating misguided 3rd wavers, or gender/qu**r activists is that lack of definitional rigour when it comes to the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’.  What is chilling is that these activists often refuse to define their terms, yet as demonstrated here in Canada want these same terms enshrined into Canadian law.  Obviously, this should not happen if clear guidelines and expectations are supposed to be part of our legislative goals.

Canadian focus aside, lets look at Auntie Wanda and krismichelle429 tackle the situation of defining sex and gender in a more general sense.

 

     “In my experience talking to gender/qu**r activists, when they say “sex,” they can mean either “the biological differences between men and women” or “the behaviors that society expects from each sex,” or both at the same time. When they say “gender,” they can mean either “personality” or “the behaviors that society expects from each sex” or “the biological differences between men and women,” or all three at the same time. Oftentimes they switch between definitions without telling you, and then expect you to read their mind and just know which meaning they’re using at that moment. And no matter how many times you explain your definitions to them, they never acknowledge it and choose instead to project their definitions onto your words (or to put it more simply: they hear what they want to hear instead of what you’re saying).

     Like, we have explained our definitions of “sex” and “gender” thousands of times on this site. We have used them clearly and consistently. We don’t change them. When gender critical feminists use the word “sex,” it ALWAYS refers to the biological differences between sexes. When we say “gender,” it ALWAYS refers to the behaviors forced on men and women by a sexist society.

     And yet, we constantly get into arguments with gender/qu**r activists who think we believe that sexist expectations for behavior are biological. We have to explain that we don’t over and over and over again, even though we’ve been very clear about our beliefs and definitions, even though those beliefs and definitions have not changed since we last explained them 5 minutes ago. And that’s because when we say “sex” and “gender,” gender/qu**r activists hear their own definitions instead of ours, and because the words “sex” and “gender” can mean absolutely anything to them, they can hear anything that they want to hear.

     Oftentimes they switch between definitions without telling you, and then expect you to read their mind and just know which meaning they’re using at that moment. And no matter how many times you explain your definitions to them, they never acknowledge it and choose instead to project their definitions onto your words (or to put it more simply: they hear what they want to hear instead of what you’re saying).”

  – See the whole post on [Blackswallowtailbutterfly].

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