No. 20September 26, 2019
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada is fielding 25 women candidates in this election out of a total of 50. By taking bold stands in defence of the rights of all under the banner Empower Yourself Now! these worker politicians oppose the neo-liberal anti-social offensive and nation-wrecking of the ruling elite, and strive to turn things around in favour of the people of Quebec, Canada and the world. They fight for the recognition and affirmation of the rights people have by virtue of being human.
Women face systemic discrimination targeting them as “fair game” for attacks. Official arrangements define women’s place in society as second class citizens receiving lower wages and having to fend for themselves and their children. Women suffer greatly from the toleration of backward definitions of rights including “father right” and “husband right,” which treat them like property. At work, employers and managers commonly use their positions of authority to harass women sexually and in other ways.
Governments foster arrangements that permit atrocities against the female person including super exploitation, human trafficking, slave labour, female infanticide, abuse and violence against women and children and other vulnerable collectives of the people. This has worsened as a consequence of the neo-liberal, anti-social offensive and nation-wrecking that are today features of inter-imperialist competition for resources, cheap labour and domination. Women and children also bear the brunt of imperialist sanctions, aggression and wars. They are thus in the front ranks of the peoples’ resistance and the struggle to build the New.
Women have set the line of march when they say No Means NO! Not in Our Name! These slogans of militant opposition express the essence of the women’s movement that seeks to defy a political power which deprives them of the ability to control their lives and conditions of life.
Women have the right to decide on all matters that affect their lives including imperialist aggression and war and Canada’s participation in it, and their desire to make Canada a zone for peace with an anti-war government. They demand the ending of the use of sanctions to bring about regime change and the ending of discrimination against migrants, separation of families, caging of children and other infamies committed in the name of high ideals. They unite with the youth in the call Not a Single Youth for Imperialist War!
Women are on the march to put an end to violence against Indigenous women and girls and realize justice for those who have been murdered or gone missing. The resolve of Indigenous women to build the New inspires everyone to speak out and fight against their marginalization and the colonial injustices committed against them and their nations. The people do not accept the practice of the Canadian government and Prime Minister of apologizing for everything while continuing to impose colonial relations and decision-making, and refusing the just demand for nation-to-nation relations and redress for all the wrongs that continue to be committed against Indigenous peoples.
Women everywhere are showing courageous leadership in advancing the fight for their rights, empowerment and democratic renewal. The further development of women’s leading role is one of the most important contributions to the emancipation of all working people with the creation of a society that recognizes and guarantees the rights of all.
During and after the election, the MLPC appeals to all Canadian women to unite, organize and work for democratic renewal and empowerment. This political fight needs women in the forefront of the work to set the agenda, define the issues, to speak out and provide solutions.
Together, It Can Be Done! Join In! Empower Yourself Now!
Shelters Canada conducts a “snapshot day” annually to assess whether the needs of women and children for shelter are being met. On snapshot day 2018, 218 women and 186 children requested shelter at 105 transition houses and shelters. Of these 404 requests, 159 requests for shelter from women and 145 requests on behalf of children were denied due to lack of capacity. Of those seeking shelter, 75 per cent were turned away. On snapshot day, 47 per cent of the shelters that responded to the request for information reported their shelters were full.
Snapshot day revealed that three out of four women and children who came to ask for shelter were turned away. Nine out of ten came because they were not safe in their homes. Both the number of shelters reporting they were full and the rate at which women and children were denied shelter were higher in 2018 than in the previous three years.
In a recent report, Shelters Canada states that one in five shelters surveyed reported they have not received any funding increases in ten years. The lack of funding leads to denial of shelter and has serious implications for the staff. Kaitlin Bardswich, communications and development coordinator at Women’s Shelters Canada said, “They are having to deal with staff turnover as well as over-burdened staff who are underpaid and dealing with very significant issues on a day-to-day basis.”
The refusal to meet the most basic need for safe shelter and housing is a damning indictment of governments that claim to speak in the name of women and brag of their accomplishments and concern. Governments and cartel parties vying for power perform an obscene ritual of promises made and promises broken in a system that does not permit people to hold those in power to account.
The situation reveals the need for political power in the hands of the working people to affirm the right of women, children and all people to safe shelter and housing as a right that belongs to all by virtue of being human. Empower yourself now! Speaking out in your own name is an important step to becoming the decision makers and bringing into being a society in which the rights of women and children and the rights of all are provided with a guarantee.
(With files from CBC)
– Book Review –
In her book, Putting Trials on Trial: Sexual Assault and the Failure of the Legal Profession, Elaine Craig, Associate Professor of Law at Dalhousie University, challenges the dominant narrative that since the law has changed, women are no longer subjected to humiliating and harmful treatment in the courts in sexual assault cases.
Craig accuses the courts of failure to uphold the law. The issue is not one of infringing on the presumption of innocence but one of not serving the cause of justice. Her interviews with crown attorneys and defence lawyers, study of court transcripts and other research expose an ignorance of the written provisions regarding sexual assault, and a failure to uphold those laws and properly prepare women victims (complainants) for the ordeal they face in court or provide them with the necessary resources.
The criminal code was said to have been amended to protect women from discriminatory stereotypes or unnecessary infringements on their privacy and human dignity. Craig found that frequently the crown prosecutor would not object and the judge would do nothing to stop the introduction of illegal evidence, which does not meet the test required by law not to offend the victim. They also permitted cross-examination that was clearly unnecessary and contributed nothing concerning the alleged crime.
Craig found that women were unfamiliar with the court process and the crown attorney did little if anything to prepare them. The results of this are not hard to imagine. The victims often face a person who held power or authority over them. A defendant with deep pockets can hire a lawyer who spends a lot of time preparing the accused for the trial. At trial the defence attorney is often allowed to pursue lines of questioning that have no purpose other than to humiliate the witness and confuse the jury about what is relevant. Sometimes the court experience is so bad the victim refuses to return. In Alberta in such cases, the response has been to arrest the victim. In one case where an Indigenous woman had suffered a terrible assault and did not want to appear in court and see her aggressor, the police not only arrested her and put her in jail but forced her to travel handcuffed and in leg shackles from prison to the courthouse in the same van as her assailant!
Craig also found cases where the reasoning of the judges reflected a shocking ignorance of how the law of sexual violence is supposed to work. She points out that in these cases a risk emerges that the judges will rely on ingrained stereotypes, which the law reforms were supposed to eradicate. A picture emerges of judges being appointed as a reward for a career serving the ruling elite in one way or another. This career could be specializing in matters like corporate mergers and tax avoidance, where they gain no experience or training in the laws governing sexual assault. They exhibit no empathy for the victims and their rulings reflect not a law and process serving justice but a racist and misogynist outlook, prejudice and stereotypes, she writes.
Likewise she charges, many crown attorneys do not give cases of sexual assault the attention they deserve, and the judicial system does not provide the needed resources. She reveals a picture of police whose investigations are so glaringly deficient that complete indifference seems to be the only explanation. All this is most prevalent and has given rise to outrageous violations of justice, which the Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women exposed.
The rule of law by any modern understanding must serve the cause of justice. When the judicial system acts in contempt of such a rule of law, fails to provide proper representation to women who report assault on their person, permits their humiliation and violates their human dignity, it cannot be called justice.
1. The word “complainant” is used in court instead of victim. The legal sense of complainant is meant to acknowledge that investigation, evidence, trial and verdict are required before an accused person, the defendant, can be considered guilty of perpetrating a crime.
2. A modern rule of law serving the cause of justice cannot be satisfied with sorting out right or wrong, or guilty or not-guilty in violations of the law. It must, importantly, reflect on and analyse the social conditions giving rise to such violations and propose changes.
Take Back the Night actions are underway across the country. They express the determination of women to ensure they are safe, protected and can live their lives fully without discrimination and without being treated as fair game by anyone, especially not the state institutions whose every consideration oozes discrimination. Despite claiming to uphold the rights of women, the state structures in fact deny them in the name of high ideals of what can or cannot be achieved.
The stats on the plight of women and children reveal the truth about Canada’s democracy, not only the treatment of Indigenous women and girls, which is abhorrent, but also of the entire collective of women and especially the most vulnerable due to impoverishment through no fault of their own. The institutions are racist and exclusionary to the bone but they operate on the basis that they are the pinnacle of what it means to be democratic and so we are told to accept them and make them work “properly” as if “properly” means that a sow’s ear can be turned into a silk purse.
“We walk together to affirm our right to be safe wherever we go — in the streets, in our homes, in our workplaces, in public life, in sports and culture, in the parks. We march to say No Means No! and to demand that governments take up their social responsibilities as women have done and continue to do. We march for empowerment and rights.”
So say women in Edmonton who are in the forefront of upholding the rights of women and the rights of all.
“We ask no one’s permission to walk the streets together. We define who we are — not victims in need of condescending saviours, but a formidable force in the front lines of the fight when it comes to upholding the rights of all and bringing into being a society where all human beings can flourish. Such a society cannot come into being unless the needs of women and children are put in first place,” Peggy Morton told Renewal Update.
Peggy is the MLPC candidate in Edmonton Centre. She is a well-known champion of women’s rights since the 1960s, at a time women created a formidable movement for women’s empowerment. She works with a collective of women in Edmonton called Women for Empowerment, which has come forward to make sure women play a prominent role in every political cause for peace, justice and empowerment.
Speak out in your own name to lay the claims on society that you must!
All Out to Make the Take Back the Night Actions a Success!
The 28th Annual Take Back the Night march was held in Prince George on September 19 to honour the memory of the women who have not survived violence; to celebrate those who have; and to demand an end to all forms of violence against women and children.
Gathering at the Canada Games Plaza, participants were welcomed by Lheidli T’enneh Elder Kenora Stewart followed by an inspiring presentation by Dr. Jacqueline Holler — Leadership Team of the Northern Feminist Institute for Research & Evaluation and Chair of the University of Northern BC Women/Gender Studies Program.
A powerful performance by the Khast’an Drummers, launched the march through the streets of Prince George including a stop at the Courthouse for a moment of silence.
Organizers declared that women should be able to walk down the streets of our city safely — and on our own — and we intend to do just that.
Expressing this sentiment, chants echoed through the streets:
Women Unite — Take Back the Night!
Women United Will Never be Defeated!
Wherever We Go, However We Dress — No Means No and Yes Means Yes!
Many local residents and organizations shared this sentiment and came together to sponsor and organize this successful event.
Take Back the Night Marches September 12 to 20
Kelowna, BC, September 12, 2019.
Kamloops, BC, September 12, 2019.
Red Deer, AB, September 20, 2019.
Fort Saskatchewan, September 20, 2019.
Brampton, ON, September 19, 2019.
Kitchener, September 19, 2019.
St. John’s, NL, September 20, 2019.
(Photos: RU, NLSACPC, G. Katchur, B. Jonkman, R. Rogers, N. Johansen, ibew 993, L.M. Lindo, CASASC.)
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