Absolute Equality

Absolute Equality -

Balancing: It’s an Act

Scrolling through my Twitter feed the other day came across this tweet:

https://twitter.com/CBCNews/status/573554187373539332

A professor at Dalhousie is concerned about a trend of companies offering to pay for women to freeze their eggs so they can delay having children until later in life. Reading the article where she talks about things like having school and work schedules somehow work together, like having subsidized daycare. In the article she makes sense. In the tweet they say she’s urging “work-life balance.”

She isn’t, and here’s why: This professor is a powerful woman and she’s surely realized by now that work-life balance, when it comes to women who have children, is a myth. It’s bull. It’s doesn’t exist.

If you work and you have children you have choices to make every single day about what is going to be the most important thing to you right now. Some days it will be your child, some days it will be your job, some days it will be your marriage or even yourself.

But this idea that you can find a balance, where things are taking care of and everyone is happy is something that’s totally unfair to young women.

It leads to young mothers thinking that other women have it all handled and they’re the only ones that are failing.

What the professor actually talks about in the article? Those are the things we need to talk about, and not just for women’s sake.

“The workplace hasn’t thought about why the work schedule doesn’t accommodate the school schedule,” said Baylis. “What’s happened to subsidized daycare, aside from the province of Quebec? If society really thought it was important for women to have the same opportunities as men, they would be looking to make social policy changes.”

#SheWillRun

Last week I had the pleasure of attending an event put on by my university’s Equal Voice chapter. The event was called #SheWillRun: Women on the Campaign Trail and featured a panel of three female MPs and one female candidate.

The panelists were (from left to right as they sat on stage): NDP MP Mylene Freeman, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Liberal candidate for Ottawa Centre Catherine Mckenna and Conservative MP Susan Truppe.

Given that I’ve been studying women in politics this semester it proved to be a very interesting talk.

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We are in an election year and approximately 30 per cent of the nominated candidates so far are women, which is about the same as it was during the 2011 campaign. There is a movement for a debate on women’s issues (You can sign the petition at UpForDebate.ca). The NDP and Liberals have already put daycare on the agenda, and the NDP is talking about political reform, which could lead to gender parity in the House of Commons. (During the #SheWillRun conversation, Elizabeth May was the first to bring up the problems with Canada’s current system).

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The discussion went on for about two hours and many interesting points were raised. All four women raised the point that male candidates may go out canvassing alone but female candidates always have someone with them for safety. And each of the women had to be asked repeatedly to run before making the leap.

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Elizabeth May said something very intriguing – she told the audience that NDP MP Craig Scott had once told her that he had started making a list of ministers of the Crown who are the best at actually answering questions in Question Period, and as he went along he realized that the whole list was made up of women. She also quoted another male colleague who told her that he prefers committees that have female members because he knows there will always be more consensus.

All of them agreed that Parliament would be a better place with more female MPs in the mix, and that more diversity is always better. (As great as it is to talk about elected more women, the Canadian parliament is sorely lacking in representation of visible minorities).

Freedom

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Canada’s Minister of Public Works and Government Services went to talk to some high school students in her constituency about what it’s like to work as a servant to the public.

During the talk one of the students asked her about European countries who offer free tuition – of course, the ability to do this comes with higher tax rates.

Finley replied that it’s all about choice:

“It’s a fundamental difference in philosophy,” Finley replied. “The government pays for everything over there, but there’s not a lot of freedom for the individual.”

Taxes in Europe and run as high as 80%, she noted.

Her government, said Finley, “believes in freedom of choice” and has created tax cuts to put more money in the hands of families and let them decide how to spend it.

The result of too much government involvement in people’s lives can be seen in Sweden, she added. Offering total care of its citizens from cradle to grave has resulted in a generation of parents who “have no parenting skills.”

Let’s start with the claim that some countries tax as high as 80 per cent. Not true. She specifically mentions Sweden, where the highest tax rate is 67 per cent.

Now on to this  freedom for the individual…

We are very fortunate for the amount of freedom we do have in Canada, but the freedom that they have in countries like Sweden and Denmark is something a little bit better.

Parents with the freedom to choose how many children they want to have without worrying about paying extraordinary childcare costs. Students with the freedom to choose whether or not to go to university without basing that decision on whether they want to drown in student debt for the next ten years. The choice to go to the dentist without worrying about whether you have insurance.

I have to say, I prefer the lack of choice.

Being terrorized

https://www.flickr.com/photos/korona4reel/14246886613/in/photolist-97keFD-bXeWP2-d7TFno-f8ERhQ-7Kz8LV-d4Q6WG-nGX236-aFT1yX-9dQtRg-7u9cSf-dAnawQ-dAnagN-9dQtRe-7u5fFk-7u9ej7-7u9ccf-7u5n5T-7u9ctS-7u5guM-7u9dZ3-deQKXh-aFT1dR-aFSZnB-aFSZAr-aFSZap-aG13Li-7u5fXK-deQMq6-deQM9z-deQLER-deQLSX-7u9hW9-7u5gex-7u9fSb-7u9cko-7u5eHg-7u991j-7u9hzh-7u5jkT-7u5gVZ-7u9eZG-7u5e6R-7u9bwq-7u5idF-7u5oUk-7u9ib5-7u5mFK-7u9gPs-7u9gsb-7u5j8t

Last week police in Halifax uncovered a plot to commit mass murder at a local mall. Two people were plotting to go out and shoot as many people as possible. Local MP and Minister of Justice Peter MacKay held a press conference after arrests had been made saying this:

“What I can tell you is that this appeared to be a group of murderous misfits that were coming here or were living here and prepared to wreak havoc and mayhem on our community.”

He made this after stating that the plot was not terrorism.

And I’m confused as to when the definition of terrorism began to include political, or as MacKay put it “cultural.”

When did it not become enough that the perpetrators want to induce terror?

The police used better wording than MacKay, saying that the plot wasn’t connected to a wider group or a political goal which is what makes it something other than terrorism.

Of course the real question of whether something is terrorism or is not seems to come down to whether the perpetrators are white and whether they are linked to Islam.

Turning that idea on it’s head is the shooting in Chapel Hill, NJ, in which three Palestinian Muslims were shot dead and the news was almost universally ignored.

Three murders with a religious or political root but not news and not terrorism. How odd.