Answering Back: The World Just Needed A Man (Canada)

From North Shore Counter-Info

“Answering Back” is a new column on North Shore responding to local newspapers and websites across the region. Got a story that needs a response? Get in touch by email or in the comments.

While Justin Trudeau was in Hamilton yesterday (April 20) handing out free lunches at St-Patrick’s church, notorious for its anti-abortion activity, our beloved local paper The Hamilton Spectator decided to republish a long article from the New York Times entitled “What’s a Feminist Government? Canada, and Trudeau Grapple With the Question”. I was reading the morning paper with six or seven friends, and over waffles we read the article out loud and had a go at the questions it raised with a fair bit less bullshit than its author.

It quotes Penny Collenette as saying, “The world needed a man to stand up and say that he was a feminist, and Trudeau did that”. This is backwards and ridiculous – people have been doing feminist struggle forever and have made countless gains. None of these gains have anything to do with Justin Trudeau. Fuck that guy.

The article repeatedly draws attention to the gender-parity of Trudeau’s cabinet, but what does this actually represent? Those women continue to operate within a confining structure, and they are selected by virtue of their ability to fit themselves into a fundamentally patriarchal institution. That we can have a bunch of well-off women influencing the direction of colonial and capitalist development in the territory is a victory for no one but those specific individuals. Nothing about someone’s gender makes their presence feminist – women prison guards, cops, and border agents have obviously done nothing to make those institutions less violent, why should it be any different at the top?

Collenette continues, asking, “if he can make people understand that he knows he’s made some errors and has honestly apologized – will that be enough to reassure everyone?” But is the issue here simply one of personal trust? Or is it a broader political issue about the meaning of important terms like feminism? Journalist Elizabeth Renzetti is quoted as saying Trudeau will “live by the f-word, die by the f-word” – she means fuckwad, right?

The government is hoping that women’s faces will convince us that things that make our lives worse are in fact making them better. The article asks, “How is a feminist government supposed to operate? … Should negotiations be any different if one or both of the participants is a woman?” These are the kinds of questions that matter in our own lives, because it affects the ways power is taken from us everyday. But when it occurs in politics, in the realm of representation, those “negotiations” are being done on our behalf, in spite of us, no matter who is carrying them out. The power has already been lost. My friend finishes her coffee, saying, “It’s not that I hate them because they’re women or want to use misogyny to advance my struggle by tearing them down, but I don’t care about their experience of governing, because it doesn’t matter to me if my oppressor is a woman.”

Feminism is about looking at the way power is constructed in society and challenging oppression in order to build forms of equality. A feminist government is a contradiction, unless we take the most boring, garbage definition of feminism, in which case we should all care deeply about how many women billionaires and CEOs there are as well.

While washing up, the conversation shifted towards former attorney general Jodie Wilson-Raybould who sparked the current public kerfuffle about feminist government. How disgusting is it that a former crown prosecutor who spent years pulling down six-figures for filling up prisons with women and indigenous people is now supposed to be some kind of role model as an indigenous woman? But that will be for another day…

Need more smack talk about Justin Trudeau, while making the connection to the construction of the Canadian identity in the 70's? Check out What's a Justin Trudeau? On social peace and Canadian nationalism

There are 9 Comments

Canadian Liberal Party just went liberal progressive again... where's the surprise here? I never expected anyone starting to believe Trudeau would be the actual radical revolutionary marxist that the Right libertarians are labeling him as. Liberal (elitist) feminism neither is new... it just rose to a new political level. In the next term we may have trans deputees... so?

Anyone but lumpen plebs!

It's a weird thing about (anglo) Canada that for the past eighty years, social (not economic) gains have been handed down by the elites without even the presence of a meaningful movement demanding them. It is a land that relies very heavily on "enlightened" liberals (Liberals) in order to maintain its smug complacency. Then things happen like Ontario's free tuition, granted while barely having even been requested even by Ontario's student unions, get taken away and suddenly we're left trying to invent from nothing a political culture capable of reacting.

There's an interesting academic essay about this dynamic by Ian McKay called "The Liberal Order Framework" if you're interested in digging deeper into this question. Others have argued that Liberal governance is based on granting these social gains you reference in anticipation of future social movements, i.e. staying two steps ahead so you never have to concede anything and can shape the "gains" to benefit liberal rule.

Hey thanks! I'll definitely check it out. It makes sense that it would be a deliberate and theorized strategy.

"It's a weird thing about (anglo) Canada that for the past eighty years, social (not economic) gains have been handed down by the elites without even the presence of a meaningful movement demanding them."

Not completely true, but mostly. The State of Canada has developed as a provider of public infrastructure and services. Before the social programs, the Church and the Crown were the main providers of social welfare, and the younger colonies were offshoots of Americana. Since the '60s there were autonomous workers ad social movements that started to provide with a kind of nonprofit safety net, but the government pushed itself as a Nanny State and arbiter of labor conflicts during the '70s, when at the same time masses of easy government jobs sprung out of nowhere, giving nice careers in playful environments to boomers that all the later generations didn't have the privilege to get, as these same bureaucrats started to restrict and cut, cut, cut the fat. Now we're in this odd situation where the zoomers get it easy again as they rise quickly to the top, as the Gen Xers like me are "enjoying" a precarious living, without career or capital.

I'm a little confused by the last point you're making here: is it simply because the boomers are finally starting to age out en masse that you say the "zoomers" get a different deal? I feel like you must be talking about a lucky minority of them because the overall national stats wouldn't reflect that, would they?

Firing a female cabinet minister is now being anti-feminist?

Holy shit the world has gone completely SJW batshit crazy.

You just noticed?

I can foresee the possibility for in a few years, most candidates be female and LGBTQ.... while business and finance is still run by macho shit men where nobody cared to look, because politics are really just the useful facade for "the economy", where power really lies. So all the liberals will be happy with their face-lifted political regime, so it may kept running again, well greased up, for a few more decades...

I lived in a small municipality where all of the city's exec employees were women. So it was close to this.

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