Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sexism Strikes Again?

Or does it? Only the Liberals know for sure

This just in! Apparently, Belinda Stronach is a woman.

Go figure, I hadn’t noticed either.

But apparently, she is indeed a woman, and as such the Federal Liberal Women’s Caucus has stepped forward to declare that much of criticism of Stronach is sexist.
Wow. I never saw that coming. Not in a million years. Nope, no sir…

Anyway, following the reaction to Belinda Stronach crossing the floor to sit with the perennially crooked Federal Liberals, the Liberal Women’s Caucus has stepped forward to decry and bemoan the sexism allegedly being directed at the embattled MP.
Ontario Conservative Bob Runciman called Stronach (a woman considered by some to be among the most attractive Members of Parliament) “a dipstick – an attractive one – but a dipstick.”

Alberta Conservative MLA Tony Abbot declared that Stronach had “whored herself for power.” Unlike the CBC, CTV allowed Abbot to elaborate by also printing, “ Some people prostitute themselves for different costs or different prices. She sold out for a cabinet position."

Liberal MP Judy Sgro weighed in, saying, “"I think it's important that we try to raise the level of discourse and debate and they shouldn't be reduced to the kinds of throw-away comments that people are clearly using last night and this morning. So I would call on Mr. Harper to apologize to Ms. Stronach and to women of Canada, and ask his colleagues to very much do the same so that we can try and restore some level of respect and discussion here in Ottawa."

Because Stephen Harper is obviously responsible for the comments made by Alberta and Ontario MLAs. And the Liberal Women’s Caucus isn’t licking their lips at the concept of Harper tucking tail on their behalf. No, not at all.

Linda Trimble, professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta stepped into the debate, saying, "When she's being called a whore and a dipstick – well, that's intensely personal, and it goes to her integrity. Those are not the kinds of comments made when male politicians cross the floor."

So what of Stronach’s integrity? She was elected by her constituency as a Conservative, but there have been plenty of MPs cross the floor to sit with other parties, right?

Then again, when Liberal MP David Kilgour crossed the floor, he didn’t do so to sit as a critic, or even as a member of the Conservative party – he did so to sit as an independent. When Conservative MP Chuck Cadman crossed, he did likewise.
When John Bryden crossed to sit as an Independent, he would eventually sit as a Conservative… but not for eight days afterward.

Even the venerable Joe Clark crossed the floor once, to sit as an… independent. Does anyone else see a pattern here? Maybe one that Belinda Stronach doesn’t fit?
Even Deborah Gray (I would like to note, also a woman) once crossed the floor, to sit as an… independent. She, however, would eventually rejoin the Canadian Alliance. Likewise with Valerie Meredith.

Here in the Nexus, if there’s anything I do, it’s call a spade a spade. Frankly, it’s fairly obvious what these individuals are trying to do. They’re following one of the cardinal rules of politics: make it hurt to take you on.

By ideologizing the issue of Belinda Stronach’s betrayal, these individuals are out to make it impossible to criticize Stronach without being branded as sexist. This is similar to attempts made by the proponents of same-sex marriage to make it impossible to criticize moves to legalize same-sex marriage without being branded as homophobic, or make it impossible to not support affirmative action programs without being accused of racism. The list goes on and on, and it’s actually a fairly effective mudslinging tactic.

Because it’s becoming fairly obvious that it’s one thing for a woman to have “great shoes,” (words of Anne McLellan) but it’s entirely an obvious to question the integrity of an MP who has just stabbed her constituents in the back.

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