WiTOpoli Weekly: December 19, 2015

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • On December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, a national coalition called on Premiere Wynne and the Ontario Attorney General not to enforce the new federal prostitution law, out of concern about the law’s ability to keep sex workers safe. Wynne has asked the Attorney General to examine the constitutionality of the new law, but in the meantime, Wynne has said that the law must be enforced in keeping with the province’s obligations under the Criminal Code.
  • In an interview with Peter Mansbridge this week, Prime Minister Harper admitted that launching a national inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women “isn’t really high on [his] radar”. Harper went on to claim that “action” is better than more studies, despite the fact that Aboriginal leaders themselves have been calling for an inquiry for months. However, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said this week that she hopes she’ll be able to join a roundtable on violence against Aboriginal women which will happen in Ottawa in February.
  • A Facebook group created by Dalhousie University Dentistry students has since been removed from the site because of the violent misogynist discussions its members had about their female peers. The President of Dalhousie has since delayed the students’ exams and announced that the students will be entering into a restorative justice process.
  • The Toronto Police Service Board held a meeting a Monday to discuss a study on carding prepared by the Community Assessment of Police Practices. At the meeting, many experts criticized the practice and how it is disproportionately used to profile racialized Torontonians. The issue has been deferred to a subcommittee meeting in February.
  • The Nova Scotia Attorney General announced this week that anyone who violates the publication ban in the Rehtaeh Parsons case will not be prosecuted unless her name is used in a derogatory way.
  • A new study by the Broadbent Institute reveals that the wealth gap between the rich and the poor in Canada is much wider than Canadians believe.

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, December 12

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

WiTOpoli Weekly: December 5, 2014

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • Tomorrow is the National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This year, December 6th marks the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam hosts a commemoration today from 12:00-1:00 pm in the Member’s Lounge at City Hall. We’ve also compiled a list of other memorials being held around the city as well as information on a postcard campaign from the Coalition for Gun Control, which was founded in the wake of the Montreal Massacre.
  • Justice Minister Peter MacKay was criticized for remarks he made earlier this week, claiming that the motivation for the Montreal Massacre was unknown. Both Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair were swift to point out that the shooting was clearly an act of gendered violence and needs to be recognized as such.
  • Twenty-five city councillors signed a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne, urging her to challenge the constitutionality of Canada’s newly drafted prostitution laws (Bill C-36) at the Ontario Court of Appeals. The signatories expressed concern over the bill’s “danger to some of the most vulnerable women we represent”. The letter will be presented in council today marking the National Day for Remembrance.
  • Mayor John Tory was sworn in this week, unveiling his new Executive Committee and appointing Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong as Deputy Mayor. At the top of Tory’s agenda is his plan to relieve traffic congestion. Be sure to check out Neville Park’s Cheat Sheet on how to keep up with council meetings and upcoming dates to follow.
  • Kathryn Borel came forward this week, identifying herself as one of the original sources in the Toronto Star’s Jian Ghomeshi investigation. Borel reveals how her workplace harassment was repeatedly mishandled by the CBC and how it affected her career.
  • A grand jury declined to indict an NYC police officer this week after the death of an unarmed black man named Eric Garner, despite having video evidence of the officer choking Garner to death. Protesters have been gathering across the U.S., echoing many of sentiments that continue to be expressed in Ferguson following last week’s failed indictment in the Michael Brown case.
  • As a part of the launch of Project 97 this week, Toronto MPP Cheri DiNovo shared her own experience with sexual assault. The Project 97 site was launched by Rogers media in order order to promote “a year-long conversation about sexual assault, abuse and harassment”.
  • The Canadian Labour Congress released a study this week documenting the impact of intimate partner violence in the workplace. The stats reveal how violence affects employees’ work performance and their ability to maintain their job. Ontario is the only province where intimate partner violence is recognized as a workplace safety issue.
  • Maclean’s columnist Scott Gilmore questioned why more women weren’t pursuing political office when their voices are so badly needed. We encourage you to peruse these A+ responses from #cdnpoli voices such as Equal Voice, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, Jordan Owens, Jenn Jeffreys and Vass Bednar.

 

Honouring the lives of women – observing December 6th

Nearly twenty-five years have passed since a man with a legally owned assault rifle killed 14 young women and injured 13 others at École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989. The families of the victims of this tragic event have said repeatedly that they consider our gun laws a memorial to the young women who lost their lives that day.

However, in recent years our gun control laws have been steadily eroded – last year the government ended the registration of rifles and shotguns, including the powerful Ruger Mini 14 used in the Montreal Massacre and destroyed the records of more than 5 million registered guns. Now the Government has tabled legislation that will further relax controls on handguns and assault weapons.

The Coalition for Gun Control, founded in the wake of the Polytechnique tragedy, has worked closely with the families as well as women’s organizations, public health professionals, police, labor, community organizations and others to strengthen our gun control laws. They need our help to send a message to Prime Minister Harper, Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair, and Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau that Canadians want strong gun laws and expect them to make public safety a priority in spite of the loud voices of the well-resourced gun lobby.

You can use the image below to send a postcard to Prime Minister Harper, to the Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair, and to Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau. It tells them that we want to see them prioritize public safety and focus on prevention, as well as implement measures to reduce the risk that dangerous individuals gain access to guns. To order postcards, you can also email coalitionforguncontrol@gmail.com – a donation of $25 per 100 postcards would be appreciated to help defray the production costs, but is not required.

Screen shot 2014-11-30 at 6.19.26 PMScreen shot 2014-11-30 at 6.27.59 PM

 Supporters of gun control in Canada have also founded Generation Action to engage young people and to #DemandControl (you can use this hashtag). Please invite those in your network to follow the campaign on (TwitterInstagramFacebook) and spread the word about this postcard campaign. Make your voice heard.

 

The following is a partial list of observances taking place in the Toronto area surrounding December 6th.

 Women Won’t Forget – Partnered with University of Toronto Philosopher’s Walk

Saturday December 6th, 6:00pm

416-762-8798, womenwontforget@gmail.com

 University of Toronto

Mississauga campus – Tuesday December 2, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Scarborough campus – Wednesday December 3, 2:00 – 1:00 pm

 Women’s College Hospital

Friday, December 5, 2014. Noon – 1 p.m.

416-323-6400, info@wchospital.ca

http://www.womenscollegehospital.ca/events/dec-6-womens-college-hospital-remembers

 Lanark County Interval House – Hosted by D.A.R.E

December 6, 2014 from 2-3pm

613-257-3469, info@lcih.com

http://lcih.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Event-poster-page-001.jpg

 Centre for Human Rights, York University

Thursday, December 4, 2014, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Outside the Vari Hall Building, York University Keele campus

416-736-5682, rights@yorku.ca

 Ryerson Dec. 6 Memorial

Friday, December 5, 2014 12:00pm-1:30pm

Contact: Ann Whiteside

 

 

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, November 28

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, November 21

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

WiTOPoli Weekly: Friday, November 14

A roundup of some of the latest news in women, Toronto, and/or politics this week. What stories did you read this week? Tell us in the comments.

  • Canadians united on social media to protest the arrival of “pick-up artist”Julien Blanc and urge Canada’s immigration minister to block him from entering the country. Blanc, who sells “dating” seminars around the world for up to $2500 a class, teaches men how to violate women through physical and emotional abuse including choking, drugging their drinks, and “just grabbing” them. More than 2,300 Canadians have signed the petition, and the hashtag #KeepJulienBlancOutofCanada has been used by an additional 1,400 people. Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration responded to the social media campaign, saying that he is “looking at all options and will consider using every tool at our disposal to protect the rule of law on Canadian soil.”
  • Two very powerful Canadian women met for the first time on November 5 in Ottawa. Canada’s Health Minister Rona Ambrose met with 15-year-old activist RachelParent, who has been challenging Ms. Ambrose to discuss the labelling of genetically modified food for over a year. Despite warm sentiments expressed by both women, Ms. Ambrose subsequently stated that she will not be moving towards mandatory labelling as there is currently no scientific evidence that proves GMOs are unhealthy for Canadians. Meanwhile, Ms. Parent held her own press conference on Parliament Hill with MP Murray Rankin, who has introduced a motion for mandatory GMO labelling.
  • Torontonians are gearing up for this year’s What Makes A Man 2014: The White Ribbon Conference. The conference is a two-day discussion focused on redefining masculinity and creating a healthier idea of manhood. The conference will feature special guest Terry Crews, an actor, former NFL player, author of ‘Manhood’, and proud feminist, as well as talks related to Success, Mental Health, Start-Up Culture, Boyhood to Manhood, and Violence Against Women. Jian Ghomeshi, Julien Blanc, and the recent allegations of sexual harassment on Parliament Hill have together sparked a much-needed national conversation on rape culture; the What Makes A Man conference aims to translate this conversation into positive, widespread, and grassroots change.
  • Trigger Warning: Toronto women have been urged to stay safe and be cautious after an attempted abduction in Toronto’s Little Portugal neighbourhood. On Sunday November 9th, a 27-year-old woman was walking in the College Street and Brock Avenue area when a man grabbed her from behind and held a metal hacksaw to her neck. Fortunately two men nearby heard her screams and came to her aid, but police have yet to identify the suspect.
  • Toronto Life has released its annual list of Toronto’s 50 Most InfluentialPeople. There are 15 women included in the list of 50, which is a dismal 30%. Here’s hoping to at least a 50% representation next year, ladies.