Constitutional debate: Dancing with feminists
Who are the women Joe Clark is willing to dance with? According to a report in Reality, the bimonthly newsletter of REAL Women, of March/April 1992, only with committed feminists such as Doris Anderson, Toronto Star columnist and former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women; Sally Armstrong, editor of Homemaker magazine; and their friends.
Last summer, for example, Clark met privately with members of the Anderson-Armstrong-led feminist organization, Equality Eve, to discuss constitutional matters. REAL Women’s requests to meet Clark and to participate in hearings on the constitution, meanwhile, have been ignored, answered only with a dismissive form postcard.
In contrast, the present head of NAC, former Morgentaler spokeswoman and rabid pro-abortionist Judy Rebick, appears everywhere, before the Dobbie National Unity Committee, in Toronto, in November, and in Halifax and Vancouver. When she isn’t there, her substitutes are Alice de Wolff, NAC’s Executive Director, at the Montreal Conference; Sheilagh Day, a founder of LEAF and head of NAC’s Legal Committee, at Calgary; and so on.
Don’t forget Joe Clark is married to Maureen McTeer, another one of Canada’s leading feminists.
One of Mr. Clark’s fellow ministers, feminist Mary Collins, Minister responsible for the status of women, held a private meeting in Ottawa in late January with representatives of sixteen feminist organizations, including NAC, LEAF, and Equality Eve, all of them government financed; in part or in whole.
REAL Women has been trying to speak for the interest of ordinary Canadian women against the small but very articulate and very influential radical feminists, but it doesn’t receive a penny from the government and is openly ostracized.
The partisanship of the minister responsible for constitutional matters is outrageous but not surprising. What effect this attitude has on the constitution is not yet clear.
Meanwhile, one possible source of hope has arisen. The Toronto Globe and Mail called attention on June 3 to the emergence of a “family caucus” within the Conservative party. “With the rise of special-interest groups and their influence in Ottawa,” it quotes B.C. MP Stanley Wilbee, one of its founding members, as saying, “the last people that were being considered was the family. You’ve got feminists, the gays and lesbians, all the various alternate lifestyles that are demanding attention. But we feel that the family is the basic cornerstone of Canadian life.”
This group is beginning to have an impact on legislation. Those on the other side are worried by it. “It’s an organized anti-feminist force inside the Conservative Party,” said Judy Rebick, “and it’s quite disturbing.”
When Judy Rebick is disturbed, all Canada should rejoice.