Antonia Zerbisias loses the tune in her own hysterics
If anything can definitively be said about Antonia Zerbisias, it is this: as far as being a "Living columnist" (whose work tends to appear in the lifestyles section of the Toronto Star) goes, she makes a really poor political commentator.
Among Canada's media commentators, Zerbisias may seem like a bit of an oddity -- a representative of Canada's left-wing lunatic fringe. A darling of this lunatic fringe that adores it just as much as it adores her, the Star has seemingly written her carte blanche to burden it's Lifestyles section with some of the worst attempts at punditry in print.
As Chris Selley of the National Post points out, Zerbisias recently wrote a column fuming over a recent report suggesting that Canada's gender gap is widening.
"We've been going backwards under the theocratic Conservative caucus," Zerbisias seethed. "As a scathing report released Monday by a coalition of feminist and labour groups details, since the Conservatives occupied Parliament Hill in 2006, Canada's standing in the World Economic Forum's annual Gender Gap rankings has nosedived."
"We went from 14th place four years ago to 31st in 2008, with a slight improvement to 25th last year," she complained.
As it turns out, more is laughable about Zerbisias' column than merely her vapid accusation of theocracy -- an epithet lobbed at the Conservative Party by many like Zerbisias, but one for which they can seldom offer a credible defense.
As it turns out, the report excludes any areas in which women enjoy better results than men -- such as, for example, life expectancy, and draws some very curious conclusions regarding topics like post-secondary education.
But the most humiliating slip for Zerbisias is that despite the fact that she insists women have suffered under the Conservative government, Canada's 2009 equality score was actually a miniscule improvement over 2006's.
Moreover, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario President Sam Hammond suggests that women have been "going backwards" for a lot longer than the past your years (despite that they seemingly haven't gone backwards over that time period).
"Canadian women have lost a lot of ground in the past 15 years," Hammond said.
So, if Canadian women have been suffering increased rates of inequality, it's been for much longer than the tenure of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In fact, it began shortly into the tenure of Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Yet somehow the alleged decrease in women's equality has only become a matter of outrage over the past four years.
There's a reason for this bizarre stance: Zerbisias shares with Heather Mallick (her CBC counterpart who has so disgraced herself that she's largely been deemed unpublishable even at those hallowed grounds) an irrational hatred of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party that can be satisfied by no accusation of extremism, no matter how comical or counter-factual.
It's one of the reasons why, as a political pundit, Antonia Zerbisias would make a really good lifestyles columnist -- if only she'd stick to her strong points.