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Goodbye 2011 and friends

January 29, 2012

Following the recent LPC biennial (yes, it’s true, sometimes political chicks get down with partisanship), one loss is particularly palpable – that of a good friend and political mentor, Reg Alcock.

2011 was a difficult year full of loss for many of us at ForSerious.

Outside of giving the best hugs IN THE WORLD, he was an astute role model for young people, politicians and Western Canadians alike.

He once told me that Read more…

The Slut-pocalypse is Upon Us

August 5, 2011
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Some recent radio coverage.


After so many years of preparing for zombies, it seems the conservative, basement establishment has a new and much realer fear – the sluts.

For those of you who do not know the background on the Slutwalk – a series of demonstrations that started in Toronto but are now held all over the world to assert the belief the blame for sexual assault lies on the perpetrator and not the survivor – please check out some background reading here and here. Also, be sure not to miss this piece by Heather Mallick.

The crowd gathering in front of Queen's Park, the provincial legislature.

Anyway, I was listening to this radio broadcast yesterday where genius diva Aisha Shahidah Simmons, a filmmaker who recently made, “NO! The Rape Documentary”, did an excellent job explaining the Slutwalk and its many motivations. Unfortunately, it became clear from the quality of the exchange thereafter that there is still a lot of progress to be made. I’d encourage you to listen to the broadcast in full, but here is a brief and mocking synopsis below.

The first of many excellent signs.

Host: “So, now that we’ve heard from Aisha about the types of stereotypes that these Slutwalks hope to eradicate – namely that the responsibility for sexual assault is not the survivor’s, no matter what she was wearing or how she acted, let’s hear from our listeners.”

Caller 1: “Yeah, I’m a school teacher and I see every day how girls wearing provocative clothing makes learning difficult for boys. They really get distracted. That’s why I believe in ‘The 3 B Rule: No boobs, no belly, no butt’.”

Response: “Well no, that’s exactly what we’re trying not to promote. Men need to be expected to control their own actions. The onus can’t be on women.”

Caller 2: “Hi, I’m a father of two girls and sexual assault is so prevalent for people of our racial and class background. While this discussion is nice in theory, pragmatically, shouldn’t my daughters dress conservatively so that they don’t get raped?”

Response: “Well no, that’s exactly what we’re trying not to promote. Women get raped no matter what they’re wearing. The only way to stop the problem is to focus the responsibility on the sexual assaulters.”

Read more…

Dear Hillary, We’re Crazy. Love, Some U.S. Senators.

December 3, 2010

Hillary Clinton back in the day, before she had to deal with letters from Senators.

The world is not fair. I know this. You know this. Hillary Clinton knows this. Taylor Swift knows this. Even all entities of NKOTBSB know this. Who does not? It appears that certain members in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, namely leading Republican members, do not.

Before we get into the issue of the day, let us lay down a few basic principles:

  1. Climate change is real and a requires pretty hefty solutions.
  2. Climate change does not impact all people or countries in the same way.
  3. Some countries are more responsible than others for climate change.
  4. Those who are well off should help the less fortunate.
  5. Rich countries should help poor countries deal with climate change impacts.
  6. The sac-dress is the most amazing invention since the telephone.

Today, these fine individuals sent a note to Secretary of State (and also one of my top 5 idols – a list including, but not limited to, Lady Gaga in her acoustic phase) Hillary Clinton, asking that she “freeze all future requests” for any funding related to climate change for developing nations, under the rationale that it is “inappropriate” while the U.S. economy is struggling.

Fact: the amount of money the U.S. has earmarked to deal with climate change, in a global climate change fund created by the United Nations last year, is currently just over $1 billion per year.

To put this in perspective, this is a day in the U.S. military.

Or, the net worth of the Miley Cyrus franchise.

To put it simply, climate change financing is necessary from countries around the world to deal with the immediate, yes-they’re-already-happening, impacts on developing countries. To target that relatively small budget line with the rationale of improving the US economy is a little like telling your company to remove the health benefits of two employees for the sake of cost savings. Right idea, wrong target.

So if you really want to spur the US economy, there are likely other ways to do it.

We feel for you Sec. Clinton, we do.

Free Trade Negotiations: Don’t Call It a Comeback

October 25, 2010
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You wouldn’t have known it, what with the lack of coverage, but last week, the fifth round of negotiations on the proposed Canada-EU free trade agreement kicked off in Ottawa. For something that could mean so much to so many Canadians, there hasn’t been a lot of mainstream discussion about this important proposal.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), was first outlined in May 2009. Now, as talks become more intensive, there are some pretty substantial questions facing negotiators that could have very real on the ground impacts for Canadians in their day to day lives. This is because, unlike a “traditional” free trade agreement, the CETA would go further by impacting non-tariff barriers to trade, such as domestic standards and regulations. This could mean a number of things, including a harmonization of intellectual property and telecommunications rules and regulations, prohibitions on the provinces from giving preference to Canadian firms for government contracts, and an end to “buy local” initiatives. And that’s just for starters.

Read more…

Sex work makes for strange bedfellows

October 7, 2010
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Women marching for respect. Also, showing off a hella hot banner.

 

It’s fitting that the week British Columbia appoints the head of its Pickton Inquiry, a Superior Court judge in Ontario strikes down sex work laws. Both are reflective of a longstanding, simmering debate that may finally be boiling over to the surface of Canadian politics.

It’s about time. Canada is one of the last developed countries in the world to have a proper public debate on sex work. The long-form census, sure — we’ll raise bloody ire about that. But God forbid we discuss where, how, and when people can exchange money for sex.

The last time sex workers’ rights were in the news, it was a youth policy passed by the Liberal Party of Canada at its 2005 convention, calling for those among its ranks in government to begin the process of decriminalizing sex work.

It was an odd coalition that amalgamated support behind the policy at the time, from the youth wing to former waffle-members to civil libertarians. The National Post endorsed the policy in an editorial calling it “fresh thinking on the oldest profession.”

The twilight-zone oddity of Liberal youth banding together with groups on the far political right in favour of a genuine policy shift was outdone last week by the federal Conservative and Ontario Liberal governments banding together against it.
Read more…

Incept this.

July 25, 2010
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Resident diva and general homme extraordinaire.

Movie reviewers need to check themselves before they wreck themselves, especially when reviewing a movie that contains both explosions and non-monosyllabic dialogue. It forces them out of the comfort zone of “A thrill ride!” and into a dangerous area of film commentary called “independent thought.”

Now I’m not saying that all reviewers whipped themselves into a frothy hype-fest rather than provide intelligent commentary about this half-intelligent movie, but I am questioning comments like the following:

Driving home from a screening of “Inception” the other night, my husband said to me, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to write about this movie.’ / ‘What, you mean without giving anything away?’ I asked. / ‘No,’ he said. ‘I don’t know how you’re going to explain what it’s about.’ Well, yes. There is that, too.”

Is it okay to like a film but not really understand it?” / That’s what someone asked yesterday after the afternoon screening of Chris Nolan’s “Inception.” / The answer is yes, of course. And “Inception” is a movie you will have to see at least twice. It’s “Memento” meets Kubrick…”

You won’t be able to peel apart the whole thing after just one sitting, so if you want to get at that juicy goodness that lies at the center, you’ll need to see it again, to keep peeling.”

WHAT?!?! REALLY??? Let’s think a little bit more about this… namely that,

- It’s a movie about entering someone’s dreams using a multiple-person IV drip machine run out of a briefcase. An IV drip? Out of a briefcase? How is this smart at all?

Read more…

The Longform Census: Our Generation’s Avro Arrow

July 8, 2010
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Cancellation of the avro arrow program: one of our nation's biggest regrets

Though you’ve never seen it in one of the Canadian Heritage Moments, Statscan is the world leader in data collection, and the Canadian Census, specifically, is the gold standard in census-taking. Canada perfected the census, and statisticians in every country around the world have modeled theirs after ours. It may be a bit geeky for a nation known for hockey, lumberjacks and taking Vimy Ridge, but it’s the truth. Read more…

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