"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Half the population is a "fringe group?"

I sorta thought this was being well covered elsewhere, but the more I think about it, the more it pisses me off, so I wanted to put my oar in.

Long story short for those not paying attention: The Stephen Harper government eliminated the federally-funded court challenges program that for years has provided money for people and group initiating test cases to challenge federal laws and policies that violate their constitutional rights to equal treatment. Quoth the prime ministerial douchebag the other day ""Instead of subsidizing court challenges, as the previous government was doing, subsidizing lawyers to bring forth court challenges by left-wing fringe groups ..."

Those left-wing fringe groups have included people insisting on equal rights for women, the disabled, gays and lesbians, the aged, first nations, francophones living outside Quebec --- you know, people who aren't pudgy, middle-aged, anglophone, white guys from Calgary.

As a pudgy, anglophone white guy who is newly middle-aged (Hey, at least I'm not from Calgary - not that there is anything wrong with that) I feel a special responsibility to be pissed off by remarks like this. Just because Steve and his fellow ReformAllianceConservative party members are a bunch of ignorant nitwits, doesn't mean all of us middle aged white guys are assholes. It's bad enough that Steverino has ruined paunch-hiding sweater vests and ten-dollar haircuts for us for all time, but this considerably more serious.

The court challenges program was a vital part of Canadian democracy. It ensured that anyone and everyone could fight for their rights in court, not just rich people who could afford lawyers. To argue that anyone who wants to fight for their rights in court is somehow part of the "left wing fringe" is offensive crap to start with. When you add to that the notion that the principle users of the program have been women--half the population--and marginalized groups such as homosexuals and native Canadians, it becomes extremely offensive crap. The idea that women, or anyone else, who want to be treated equally under federal law are somehow a "left-wing fringe group" shows contempt for women, the law, the constitution and pretty much anyone with a brain in their head. Equal treatment should not be a left-right issue, it is a matter of human rights. If Stephen Harper wants to argue that conservatives don't care about human rights or equality, well okay, be my guest -- that sounds like a real vote-getter that can only enhance your reputation as total douchebag champion of conservative family values.

Now, as I said, I'm late to the party on this one, but Alison over at Creekside, one of my fellow ink-stained wretches on the good ship Galloping Beaver, was quick to pick up the rope and start hauling on the sail first set by Antonia Zerbisias, a bunch of others have started hauling too. That sail seems to have caught the wind and the ship is gathering speed.

So screw you Stephen Harper, this is one fringe group I can happily support.

1 comment:

Rosedale Toronto said...

This is too much. What the hell is Harper doing? Well, whatever he means to achieve by this, he surely isn't doing a good job.

Regards, Elli.