Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fetus rights part of SoCon chess game

PERSONAL POLITICAL / Trends in women's political issues not looking good

Ariel Troster / Xtra.ca / Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If I hear another "socially progressive, economically Conservative" homo defend Stephen Harper again, I'm going to lose it.

You might remember the refrain from after the last federal election in 2006: He's not so bad. This is a minority government. The free vote on re-opening the same sex marriage was only about pandering to the Western base and was meant to fail. Harper's committed to right-wing economics, but he's no religious zealot.

We all know Harper's been careful to micromanage all government communications, in an effort to paint himself as a middle of the road, fatherly kind of guy. But just last week, even the propaganda department at the PMO couldn't keep a lid on Charles McVety, president of the ultra-right Canada Family Action Coalition.

McVety couldn't contain his excitement over a controversial few sentences buried deep within Bill C-10, a broad ranging piece of income-tax legislation. The Bill allows self-appointed censors from the Departments of Heritage and Justice to yank tax credits away from film and television productions deemed to be "contrary to public policy."

All three opposition parties missed this stealth manoeuvre, until the bill hit third reading in the Senate, and McVety gloated to the Globe and Mail about how this bill represents the government's — and Canadians' — true "conservative values."

This came in the same week as a private members' bill from Conservative MP Ken Epps that puts a significant dent in women's reproductive freedom by establishing legal "personhood" for fetuses passed second reading.

The so-called "Unborn Victims of Crimes Act" will now go to committee hearings, where you can bet every religious whackjob will testify about the "rights" of the unborn. Shamefully, neither the Liberals or the NDP whipped their caucus to vote against the bill.

If anything, it's been a banner year for religious wingnuts, and with Harper approaching majority territory in the polls, we can only imagine what actions he would take if he didn't have to rely on the Liberals nor the NDP to get laws passed.

It's useful to take a close look at some strategic initiatives that the Harper government has pushed through over the last two years. When you line them up, you see the escalation in tactics and the rather brazen moves by the Conservatives to silence queer and women's rights activists.

Read the rest over at xtra.ca.

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