Absolute Equality

Absolute Equality -

Society’s problem

There are so many missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada that we’ve developed a shorthand for them – MMIW. People can use this four characters on Twitter when calling for an inquiry into why more than 1600 First Nations, Inuit and Métis women have gone missing without a trace or been murdered in the past 20 years.

The Prime Minister and his Conservative Party say that these are individual crimes, there is no societal problem here.

Rinelle Harper says there’s a societal problem. She stood up and spoke after she was attacked and left for dead. Twice.

And today we have another story that demonstrates the massive problems we have in our system. A story that clearly demonstrates that Aboriginal women are seen as less than.

An RCMP officer took a woman home with him in hopes of having what the news reports call a “romantic relationship” with her. She was intoxicated and he had arrested her, then he drove her to his home.

His senior officer is reported to have said “You arrested her, you can do whatever the fuck you want to do.”

There are no words. This is the RCMP, our country’s top police force. And this woman meant absolutely nothing more than a joke to them.

He lost seven days of pay for this.

Tell me now again that there is no societal issue here.

Real families

We got a lovely look into what the Conservative government thinks real families should look like in the news today. Stable homes, where parents are really invested in their children’s futures include one parent – preferably the mother of course – who stays home with the children.

Jason_Kenney

From Jason Kenney:

“All of the social research indicates that folks who come from stable families tend to be better in terms of their economic prospects and that income splitting supports the families who are investing in their kids,” Kenney told a gathering of conservative thinkers earlier this year.

It doesn’t matter that this 1950s view of a family can’t really work in 2014 except for those who are fortunate enough to have one partner earning a very large salary – like MPs, who earn around $160,000 per year, with Ministers of the Crown earning even more.

In our home, and I know we are certainly not alone, we couldn’t get by unless both of us were earning. That’s just the way it is now. Prices are going up all the time and one salary just doesn’t cut it. Particularly when the average Canadian is earning around $48,000. Note that the median national income for lone-parent families is $39,350 – another great argument for a national daycare program since our daycare cost us about $14,000 per year, meaning a single parent paying the same would have only around $25,000 left over for food, shelter, transportation, etc., just over $2,000 per month.

Of course the Conservatives would seem to be telling us that single parents don’t really care about their children anyway, no giving them a stable home and not investing in their future like the good, married parents.

ETA: The story has been updated without Bob Dechert’s quotes indicating that women are “used to” being at home with the children. 

On Quebec and the ROC

Quebec-Canada

One of the privileges of being back in school is focusing on interesting topics in some depth. I signed up for a class called Quebec Politics at the beginning of this semester without really knowing what to expect, but I actually found it very interesting.

Despite living right next door to Quebec for almost my entire life I had no idea that the province – nation if you prefer – has an entirely different view of this country and its history than almost everyone outside of Quebec.

Quebec sees Canada as a compact between the French and English nations.

And when you study Quebec with that in mind, all of the struggles that this country sees between that province and the rest of them make so much more sense. Most Canadians see all the provinces as equal, or as parts that should be equal, but Quebec sees itself as decidedly not equal – certainly not to the provinces.

It’s not a way I’m necessarily comfortable with viewing the country, and not a way that most Canadians would be at all comfortable with viewing the country, but a deeper understanding has certainly led to some deep thinking for me.

How can it work? How will Quebec be happy while keeping the rest of the country intact? How can eventual secession be avoided?

It seems like an impossible situation, perhaps now for me more than ever. But it’s definitely a frame I will put on national relations in the future.