On the eve of International Women’s Day, Wildrose on Campus (WROC) issued an invitation to the screening of The Red Pill. The invitation stated “You and I both know that feminism is cancer. To create a dialogue on campus, we have decided to take action”. (Apparently WROC doesn’t know the difference between a diatribe and a dialogue).
NDP MLA Sandra Jansen responded to the WROC invitation by pointing out:
- The Red Pill is a movie about the men’s rights movement
- It was supported by “forward thinkers” like Breitbart News and Milo Yiannopoulos
- Men’s rights advocates denigrate the advancement of women and promote hatred and violence
- They advocate legalized rape to teach women how to protect their virtue
- They viciously attack women online
- This demonstrates who the Wildrose really are (PCs take note).
It’s true. The Wildrose party did support WROC. It allowed WROC to use the Wildrose name and logo, Wildrose MLAs (including leader Brian Jean) attended WROC events and an email from Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon notes that as executive director of the Wildrose Party he should be involved with “our Wildrose on Campus group”.
Nathan Cooper, House Leader of the Wildrose Official Opposition, said the Wildrose caucus has not and would never make a statement like that made by members of an association no longer connected to the Wildrose.
That’s fine as far as it goes, but it’s not enough.
The Wildrose had a second kick at the can. It could have stopped “feminism is cancer” from becoming the next bozo eruption with a bold ministerial statement in support of International Women’s Day.
It failed to do so.
To put the Wildrose failure into context let’s review the ministerial statements of the other political parties.
Stephanie Maclean, Status of Women minister, outlined the ND government’s actions to advance gender equality, including partnering with the city of Edmonton to reduce sexual violence, supporting Ready For Her to encourage women to run in municipal elections and creating the first gender balanced cabinet in Canadian history.
Rick Fraser, Progressive Conservative MLA, focused his comments on the misogynistic abuse of women in public life. He said he was “truly sorry” women experienced such abuse and pledged to take “bold action” to advance the goal of equality.
Liberal leader Dr Swann took the opportunity to celebrate what had been accomplished thus far. He praised the Ask Her campaign which encourages Calgarians to seek out strong women and ask them to run for leadership positions.
He referred to the Be Bold for Change theme of International Women’s Day, saying women with “the full support of real men” would create “real change”.
But it was Greg Clark, the leader of the Alberta Party, who really nailed it.
He was the only politician to address the “reprehensible” Red Pill ideology, admitting he was shocked by the sexism experienced by women every day.
He said he was a feminist and that given feminism’s focus on eliminating sexual assault and domestic violence, and creating equal access to opportunity the real question was: who is not a feminist.
The Wildrose statement
Mrs Aheer may be a member of the Wildrose Opposition but her statement seemed to reflect her own not her party’s perspective.
She talked about people who use words that rub her the wrong way, and India’s female prime ministers, and her mother-in-law who came to Canada at the tender age of 18 to escape male oppression back home.
She circled back to the topic of words that had been used to attack her “in horrible and distasteful ways” and said she would not stand for it because words “are an expression, and they’ve been used throughout history in poetry, music, to express, no matter how pretty or profane.”
She said “as women we provide the humble template for that which we want to see: our hopes for future women and our desire to encourage and protect them as they make their way on their terms into careers where they are needed, where they belong and where they are honoured.”
She called for an end to discrimination and violence and concluded by saying that despite the “insults, the condemnation, the platitudes, the nonsense” she would not hide and would not be shamed because she was a woman.
Another bozo eruption
The Wildrose shadow minister for the Status of Women had an opportunity to lay our minds to rest by being bold and declaring herself to be a feminist who would fight fiercely for Alberta women should the Wildrose ever form government. Instead she rambled on about words “pretty and profane” and offered “a humble template” for women under Wildrose rule.
This is not enough to erase words that express a vicious anti-feminist ideology.
Albertans didn’t forget the Wildrose’s lack of response to its “lake of fire” candidate in 2015 election.
They will not forget the Wildrose’s flaccid response to “feminism is cancer” in 2019.
References: Hansard, May 7, 2017, p 58 and May 8, pp 116, 117, 128.