Absolute Equality

Absolute Equality -

Guest Post: Lest We Forget

Creative Commons - tsaiproject

Joe Scanlon is a Professor Emeritus at Carleton University and the Director of the Emergency Communications Research Unit. He also happens to by my father. 

CBC News personalities kept implying all day yesterday that somehow the world had changed and that Canada until yesterday had been immune to acts of terrorism. It was the same on CTV.

In fact terrorism was alive and well in Canada long before there were a series of incidents in the United States and some incidents involved attacks on legislatures including one mishandled incident which could have led to a bomb exploding on the floor of the House of Commons.

It took just a few minutes to assemble the following admittedly incomplete list of incidents that if not labelled as terrorist at the time they occurred probably would be so labelled today.

(No date), 1963 FLQ The bombing of Canadian Army Recruiting Centre in Montreal killed Sgt. Wilfred V. O’Neil.

March 7th 1963 – Molotov cocktails were planted at the Royal Victoria Rifles Armoury, the Royal Montreal Regiment, and at the 4th Battalion Royal 22nd Regiment (in Chateauguay).

May 17, 1963 — Explosives expert Walter Leja was maimed for life while digging out a bomb in a Westmount mailbox.

May 18, 1966, Paul Joseph Chartier accidentally blew himself up in Centre Block with 10 sticks of dynamite. He had planned to throw them from the visitors’ gallery to the floor of the House of Commons.

April 29, 1964 – Two men — Leslie MacWilliams and Alfred Pinisch – were killed during a store robbery by a group of revolutionaries known as L’Armée Révolutionnaire du Québec.

February 13, 1969, the Front de libération du Québec set off a powerful bomb that ripped through the Montreal Stock Exchange causing massive destruction and seriously injuring 27 people.

June, 1970 — Jeanne d’Arc St.-Germaine was killed when a bomb was set of at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

September 27, 1982 A Turkish embassy military attaché Col. Atilla Altikat was driving to work and stopped at a red light at Island Park Drive and the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. A gunman pulled up and fired about 10 shots from a handgun toward the father of two. He died at the wheel.

October 14, 1982 – The anarchist group the Squamish Five, who were Canadian version of Direct Action, bombs a Litton Industries factory north of Toronto, Ontario that is manufacturing guidance devices for American cruise missiles, ten are injured.

May 8, 1984 – A Canadian soldier named Denis Lortie walked into the Quebec legislature with a submachine gun and killed three people and wounded 13.

September 3, 1984 – Montreal, Quebec’s Central Station is bombed; three are left dead and 30 are injured. The man responsible claims he was protesting Pope John Paul II’s visit to Canada.

March 12, 1985 – Armenian terrorists killed a security guard and occupied the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa. The ambassador was severely injured when he tried to escape.

June 23, 1985 – A bomb planted by Sikh terrorists exploded in an Air India flight en route from Montreal to London killing all 329 on board, most of whom were Canadian citizens. That same day two baggage handlers at Tokyo’s Narita airport were killed by a bomb on another Air India flight.

In 1986, a gunman held a female diplomat hostage at the former site of the Bahamian High Commission on Kent Street

April 7, 1989 – Charles Yacoub hijacked a bus in Montreal and forced the driver to take him to Parliament Hill where he fired shots at tourists before the bus became mired on the front lawn. He claimed to represent a group called the Liberation Front for Christian Lebanon. Although the Parliament Buildings were evacuated, no one was killed or injured.

September 4, 2012 – Richard Bain, an Anglophone Quebecer attempted to assassinate Parti Québécois leader and Premier elect Pauline Marois at a victory gathering in Montreal. He also set fire to the Metropolis concert hall where the event was being held. A man was killed and another was injured.

Joe Scanlon


On national daycare and the child tax benefit


We are now one year from E+2. Tom Mulcair has more or less officially kicked off his campaign with a few declarations. First he stated that the NDP would push for a proportional representation system. Now he is holding multiple announcements around the country for a national daycare strategy.

The policy has been in the NDP platform for years. It has been in the Liberal platform for years as well, and they’ll tell you they were implementing it in 2006 when the NDP and Conservatives joined to bring down the government if you ask them what they think about this new NDP proposal.

The Conservatives say any idea of a national daycare plan takes away choice from families. As though children would be forced into daycare. As though the $100 monthly child tax benefit provides any kind of choice.

Listening to Candace Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development, on CBC’s The House I had to wonder out loud (on Twitter) whether she was against public schooling as well. I mean, government funded school takes away choice from those families that want to home school or send their children to private school.

It amazes me that this government is so fully able to ignore the proven benefits of early childhood education on all sides, and also ignore the damage that the extreme high costs of childcare in across this country is doing.

In Ottawa we used to pay $43 a day and considered ourselves very lucky to have found a caring, attentive provider at a reasonable price. Over $1200 per month and we considered ourselves fortunate. I cannot imagine the weight of it on a single mother or a family getting by on minimum wage. One hundred dollars a month means nothing.

Further reading:


Ann Douglas:Why Our Economic Future Depends on a National Child-Care Program 

Jeffrey Simpson: NDP thinks big with national daycare plan 

John Geddes: Doing the math on Thomas Mulcair’s daycare plan



Let’s Hear It For the Girl

Today is the International Day of the Girl and there is a lot to celebrated, particularly the announcement that Malala Yousafzai has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for the right to education. This will be her legacy, as she has hoped:

“I don’t want to be thought of as the “girl who was shot by the Taliban” but the “girl who fought for education.” This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.”

Malala says that the extremists that would silence her are afraid of the power of women and it’s true. Why else would education be taken away from girls? Why else would rape be used as a weapon of war? Because women with power are terrifying to the people that would refuse them and their children the right to life. There is nothing more frightening than a mother fighting for the future of her children.

Obviously there is a lot to be done, and a lot of understanding to be reached. I am a feminist, and I still have to work to understand the plight of minority women who struggle to have their voices heard. There are still people who deny misogyny and rape culture and ask women what they’ve done to ask for the attention they get. There are major gaps in representation.

Women and their allies have a lot of fight left, but we know how to fight and we’ve got great examples like Malala.


Towards Equal


A few weeks ago former Prime Minister Kim Campbell (the only woman to hold the office) made a suggestion to create gender parity in the House of Commons. She wants to have each riding elect two MPs, one male and one female. She says this will encourage more women to entire politics.

Unfortunately it would also create a House full of more than 600 MPs and be totally unworkable. Though she also said we should re-draw ridings so that there are fewer – you know, having just redraw ridings so that there are more.

It’s a dumb idea.

Here’s the thing – I have never been a fan of affirmative action. I understand why it was necessary decades ago, but it’s not a way I would ever want to be hired.

And I don’t think it’s the fear of losing the election that prevents women from entering politics, or the fear of running against a man. It’s the way women are treated once they get to Ottawa, the fear of losing their families when they are away from home so much of the time. It’s a very hard balance, being an MP, and particularly hard for a woman with children, since the onus is generally still on her to make sure things are taken care of for the house and the kids.

Kim Campbell is not wrong that we need more women representing in the house. It would be nice to see a female PM elected too. But she’s certainly wrong about the how. I think there’s a societal shift needed rather than a political re-writing.