First off- thanks to all those that contributed to CKCU’s funding drive so far. There’s still another week and a half to go, and every bit helps. My last post has all the details with regards to donating.
Twice this morning I was forced to ponder the Mackay "scandal", once while listening to Radio 1 on the way into the studio, then first question my good friend
asked me at work this morning ("You’re a guy: stupid or sexist?"). Both times, I expressed utter dismay that this is still an issue a weekend later.
By now we all know the details: David McGuinty asked a question with a not-so clever jab at McKay, McKay shouted a not so clever heckle back. Was it in poor taste? Obviously, but then again so is pretty much every question in question period, save for those softballs from the back of the government benches ("What is Canada’s new Government doing to make things more awesome?"). Is it sexist? Only in as much as it suggests larger societal biases against women, especially those in prominent positions. What of the good man from Central Nova? He may be a jerk, I don’t know, but this, in isolation, does not demonstrate it.
But what of women in politics? We see an entrenched problem. No derision is nice, and all derision based on demographics is productive. But even beyond that, evem how we lable prominent individuals differs markedly in a lot of the implied respect or stature given: think of a prominent male politician, and you probably refer to them in passing by their last name, be it Martin, Harper, Broadbent or whomever. Female MPs? Belinda, Rona, Alexa. First name only, more often than not, and with it less of an autmoatic deference of respect. And that’s just language, ignoring social pressures and a 1000 other small things that add up to a lot.
So, Peter MacKay isn’t sexist, or atleast that remark wasn’t, but how we think of gender in politics still has issues. But mostly, what really annoys me, is that this isn’t the big deal that we should be fighting for. It took till yesterday for me to find out the tories axed the funding for the Fulbright scholarship program, meaning that there is now less money going to Canada’s best and brightest. They cut literacy funding in a country where 40% of adults can’t read well enough to get by. They want to create a reverse onus in parts of the judiciary, yet haven’t articulated why there is a real policy need. Those should be three first question in QP, not further stupidity on a forgettable, if regrettable, comment in the house.