Unlisted: REAL Women of Canada and the Canadian Federal Election 2015

August 17, 2015 in General

REAL Women of Canada is that nation’s antifeminist organisation, predictably obsessed with banning abortion and assisted suicide. But ten years after marriage equality, and despite its earlier crusade against the trans-inclusive antidiscrimination Bill C-279, a recent Canadian federal election brochure has an interesting omission. It doesn’t include any mention of LGBTI rights, although it does refer to abortion, assisted suicide, cannabis…childcare, family taxation, law and order and trade union donor disclosures. Despite the fact that the Harper Conservatives have actively dissuaded their federal parliamentary caucus from raising the long-resolved issue of abortion rights, and have only played to the bully pulpit over stonewalling transgender rights, nevertheless REAL Women is apparently playing a lowest common denominator game and trying to depict itself as loyal to the current administration to win influence over social conservative policies. Granted, opposition to abortion and assisted suicide is what would expect from such a religious social conservative pressure group. To some extent, so is opposing decriminalisation of cannabis, and “law and order” is another authoritarian populist policy prescription rendering it amenable to affixing to the greater Christian Right agenda.

But… childcare, family taxation and anti-union policies tend to mark blatant partisan preference and the consequences for that misstep may make themselves felt after the October 2015 Canadian federal elections.  The positions are these- non-parental childcare should not receive federal funding; family taxation should be governed by income splitting rules, thus advantaging single-income families over other forms; and forcing trade unions to disclose their donors places them at a disadvantage if other organisations are not so enjoined.  In New Zealand’s context, Women For Life abandoned any antifeminist embellishment beyond opposition to abortion from the time that the New Zealand Christian Right cost National the 1987  New Zealand General Election. Later, they niched even further, restricting themselves to distribution of conservative sex education curricula and renaming themselves the Family Education Network, before disappearing altogether.  One detects the influence of the US Christian Right here, given that there is also a visible Republican partisan bias within its pressure groups.  Within international Christian Right politics, this marks a contrast between the US and Canadian Christian Rights and those in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. In all three latter instances, the latter national religious social conservative pressure groups take care to make themselves seem nonpartisan.

But…any opposition to LGBT rights is now off the list.  Which is odd, given REAL Women’s vociferous, derivative anti-C279 campaign. And in displaying such partisan bias, are they therefore locking themselves out of potential influence if, as seems likely, a New Democrat or New Democrat/Liberal Coalition administration replaces the Tories after  October?

Not Recommended:

REAL Women of Canada: http://www.realwomenofcanada.ca


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