The F-word and the Canadian Government

Feminism has become the latest buzz word for the new Canadian government.

Many Canadians and the world witnessed the Prime Minister of Canada inadvertently “elbowing” female NDP MP Brosseau. Since then the term feminism, gender equality and gender based violence has been thrown around left, right and center. However, after many of you saw the footage, I think it is quite apparent there was no maliciousness and it was unintentional. Prime Minister Trudeau has since then publically apologized for his behavior and actions. Sadly, the media and much of the opposition want to use this accident to discredit Prime Minister Trudeau’s support for feminism.

What they are not talking about is why the confrontation took place, which is when a conservative MP appeared to be blocked by oppositional NDP MP’s, so the vote on the physician-assisted suicide bill could commence. This is when PM Trudeau got out of his seat in attempt to remove the blockade and have MP Brown seated. Amidst the Prime Minister’s attempt, female MP Brosseau was inadvertently elbowed by the Prime Minister. While, I think it safe to say in hindsight PM Trudeau should have stayed seated and allowed those ‘adults’ to do their jobs respectfully.

However, from that point on the Canadian government circus began. NDP leader Mulcair began screaming and yelling at PM Trudeau, “What kind of man elbows a woman. You’re pathetic” repeatedly as the PM went to apologize when he realized he may have elbowed Brosseau. However, what I found even more alarming was NDP MP Niki Ashton’s statement which addressed the public, House of Commons and PM Justin Trudeau after the incident (see video link below).

Although, MP Niki Ashton’s speech could have been seen as an impactful one – but it was not because her point of reference was the wrong one to use.

As a feminist, an advocate and researcher of victims of abuse I was quite disheartened and frankly angered by her statement in the House of Commons. She stated that “If we apply a gendered lens, it is very important that we recognize that young women in this space need to feel safe to come here and work here.” While that is true, she manipulated the situation and used feminism in her attempt to discredit the PM. If we applied a “gendered lens” (another buzz word) it is still evident that the incident was not directly related to female safety. MP Brosseau was not targeted by the PM because she was a woman, it was simply an accident.

More importantly, does Niki Ashton know how many young girls and women are under constant scrutiny when they report abuse? How many of them are questioned about the validity of the abuse they have endured or still enduring? How many are never believed? Niki Ashton’s statement in the House of Commons is the very crux of why many young girls and women claims of abuse are dismissed, ignored or not believed.

The meaning of feminism is for equality, for the rights of both men and women to be respected. I am constantly defending feminism and her statement made it just that much harder. Feminism is not about being boisterous or making unwarranted claims or ignoring all other elements to fit your personal agenda.

As a woman who sits in the House of Commons she has the power to give voice to young girls and women, to inspire and to make change – she is a role model. I urge her and all the other members of parliament not to use the victims of abuse or feminism to propagate your own personal and party interests – that is the very opposite of what feminism is truly about.

A personal note to MP Niki Ashton – It was through the hard work of feminism and feminist that has given you the opportunity to sit in the House of Commons today. Please respect feminism – particularly if you choose to use feminism as the backbone for your arguments in the House of Commons.

A reminder to all our Members of Parliament, remember who you work for – not yourself, not your party but the public. With this epic charade that occurred in the House of Commons, you lost sight of what you were all there for. This is your time to serve your people with respect and dignity as you are the representatives of Canada.

Video footage link to “incident” that took place in House of Commons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4DJjuO9n7E

MP Niki Ashton’s addressing the House of Commons http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/05/18/niki-ashton-justin-trudeau-feminist_n_10036422.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics&ir=Canada+Politics&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

Sunny Mangat

Twitter mangat_sunny

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Do political campaigns that use fear tactics and divisiveness actually work?

Last week, London UK voted in for the first time ever a Muslim mayor. Sadiq Khan, a practicing Muslim and Labour Party politician. Khan will replace current conservative mayor Boris Johnson, who took office in 2008.

The blatant racism that has been seen throughout this electoral campaigning process and as well as post-Khan victory, raises serious concerns of the Western world politics today.

Similarly, the current USA presidential elections stand no different than what we have seen in the UK, with the antics of Donald Trump – the presumptive republican candidate.

Many of the political candidates of Western countries such as the USA and Great Britain, hold powerful global positions and have great influence on the world of human rights and responsibilities. These politicians who lead with divisive campaigns are destroying the reputation and position of Western world leaders. However, the people of London, UK spoke loud and clear that fear mongering and racism has no place in London, when Sadiq Khan was elected as Mayor of London last week.

The question remains is whether or not there are any profound effects of this type of campaigning on the people? Perhaps not – but there is definitely a level of uncertainty that raises eyebrows around the world. This uncertainty questions the ideals and rights the Western world so proudly presents in the face of the Eastern world. When, political candidates are given a platform to arguably spew hate and division amongst its citizens, one most definitely questions the level of trust and integrity of Western politics. The likes of Donald Trump, who not only are given a platform (albeit it is a democratic right) but he continues to lead in the public poll says something in itself.

Perhaps these Western leaders should take a lesson from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and should refrain from their backwards and divisive tactics simply #Becauseits2016. Today’s world has no place for hate, bigotry and or racism etc.

But I do question – At one point did we as citizens of the Western world allow and condone these blatant electoral campaigns that are based on division and carry racial undertones? And most importantly why do we condone it? We all have spent and repented learning from historical injustices, only to undue the work of our predecessors. I can only assume we have allowed this type of hatred back in – simply out of fear. We as a society have become weak, and it is time we collect ourselves as a global society and fight back against those who attempt to destroy the unity we have spent so long working to create.

Sadiq Khan says it very simply “We all have multiple identities,” he said. “I’m a Londoner, I’m British, I’m English, I’m of Asian origin, of Pakistani heritage, I’m a dad, I’m a husband, I’m a long-suffering Liverpool fan, I’m Labour, I’m Fabian and I’m Muslim.”

I think we need to stop fearing differences, and learn to accept each other for our various identities and learn from each other. We need to stop compartmentalizing people into certain boxes, because we are not all just our religion, or just our gender, or just our color. We are more than that, and it is about time we remember and appreciate those differences.

Sunny Mangat

Twitter: mangat_sunny

See below for some twitter reactions to London’s newly elected Mayor Sadiq Khan.

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