Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Toronto Right to Life: An "Educational" Charity

I had never heard of Toronto Right to Life before this "abortion clause" (I hate the phrase, but that's what it's being called) kerfuffle.

It is a registered charity.

It's been in the news as one of the three anti-choice groups (with Guelph Right to Life and Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, aka Fetal Gore Gang) that successfully pressured the government to release Canada Summer Jobs funding they were granted before the eligibility rules were changed.

Then it was in the news again for taking the government to court to argue that its Charter rights to freedom of conscience are violated by the new rules.

And this week, its' president, Blaise Alleyne, was on CBC's The Current to talk about those "rights."

I thought it odd that I hadn't heard of this gang, so I went looking.

Toronto Right to Life styles itself as an educational organization. (The website is under construction.)

Under What we do, there's this.
Our Mission
Equipping Toronto and the GTA to defend human rights for all human beings through education and applied experience.

"Applied experience"? Wot's that then? Hanging around street corners with big gory signs?

On the return filed with Canada Revenue Agency, it reports its' programs and activities thus:
Ongoing programs: 

Research and study for educational materials concerning life issues including abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, fetal and/or embryonic experimentation, stem cell research; speaking presentations and presentation content development; seminars and conferences; teaching and outreach; free support resources for people facing a crisis situation pertaining to pregnancy or end of life care.

New programs: 

Student grant program: assistance provided specifically for eligible high school students and post-secondary students in need of aid in accessing educational materials and resources covering the topic of abortion and euthanasia for student-led educational projects and initiatives.
It offers speakers to provide "pro-life education." And it has endorsements from teachers and students at "Toronto Catholic and Public School Board [sic]."

See that "Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute"? It's in the public Toronto District School Board (TDSB). On Twitter, I pointed this out to TDSB, who disavowed all knowledge, said they did NOT deal with this group, and acted swiftly to get that bogus endorsement off their page.

And, indeed, they did remove it.

While I hadn't heard of the group, the president's name rang a bell. I looked further. Oh, there he is, as Toronto Outreach Director at CCBR (Fetal Gore Gang).

Hmm. Interesting. The Fetal Gore Gang is NOT a charity. Here's a 4-page PDF on its site explaining why.

Another thing struck me. In the brouhahas over CCBR's attempts to impose gory transit advertising, this is the ad.

On TRL's website, there's this.

More hmm. On its resources page, TRL lists "Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform: Pro-Life Classrom" and a presentation by Stephanie Gray, co-founder of CCBR.

Back to the CRA's financials.

TRL was registered in 1973. It claims no government funding before 2017, when it claimed $10,800 from the summer jobs program. (CRA website lists only 5 most recent years.)

Its' revenues in general took a leap that year. From $117K in 2016 to $260K in 2017. Similarly, it went from 2 full-time and 2 part-time employees in 2016, to 3 full-time and 6 part-time employees in 2017.

Might Toronto Right to Life have morphed into the "charitable/educational" arm of the Fetal Gore Gang?

Stay tuned. More research is coming.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Strip All Anti-Choice Orgs of Charitable Status

Last week, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) released more results of an ongoing investigation by volunteers into the public filings by anti-choice groups.

These filings are required by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in order for organizations to maintain their very valuable charitable status.

ARCC reported details on the (deliberate?) errors and omissions by many such charities especially in reporting revenues from the now controversial Canada Summer Jobs program. These errors have been reported to CRA.

I'll have more to say about that in another post.


Here is ARCC's Joyce Arthur on the matter:
“No anti-abortion agency should be registered as a charity,”said Joyce Arthur, ExecutiveDirector of ARCC." The mission and activities of anti-choice groups are inherently political and biased, which should disqualify them from charitable status. They work to stigmatize abortion, constrain individuals’ access to it, and ultimately to recriminalize it. They seek to subvert the Charter rights of Canadians through deception and misinformation.”

Here is ARCC's position paper on charitable status.

I completely agree, but I've been nosing around the CRA's website section on "Charities and giving", specifically its "public benefit test" part.

First, there are four allowable "charitable purposes." (Click to embiggen.)

Note that "advancement of religion" is okey-dokey all on its own. (Except the barbaric Moooslim religion, of course.)

There are disqualifying factors under the public benefit test.

"Purposes that are contrary to public policy" is a disqualifying factor. Like advocating and working to ban what is now considered -- by law and public policy -- the right to abortion?

Or, as the Prime Minister said, such activity is “is not in line with where we are as a government and, quite frankly, where we are at as a society.”

More on the benefit test.

What is "socially useful" about lying to, shaming and manipulating people out of exercising a human right?

Several more interesting things about public benefit.

Harmful? Boy howdy. These gangs attempt to scare people out of abortion by lying about long-discredited links between abortion and breast cancer, substance abuse, depression, suicide, infertility, etc.

And the relationship between agency and client? When public documents speak about prospective targets as "abortion-minded" or not, when other (no longer public) documents speak about tactics to humiliate and frighten, when sneaky moves like burning baby powder-scented candles in fake clinics' waiting rooms. . . . it's not exactly a respectful and helping relationship.

Next bit on "concerns raised" gives the example of a health clinic using controversial alternative therapies.

Well, how about pretending to be a health clinic? And giving out misinformation and lies under that aegis?

There's more about "tangible" benefits (like some used baby clothes?), conflict between public benefit and "some negative effect" (state-sanctioned lying might be considered a negative), but I'll cut to the chase.

Many of these regulations are based in precedent. If something has been deemed charitable in the past, it's likely to pass now.

Except CRA does recognize that such public benefits might change over time.

In the past, counselling, even shaming "unwed mothers" might have been considered a public benefit, but now? Where is the public benefit in dissuading people from accessing a perfectly legal, safe medical procedure?

It's time to strip all anti-choice agencies of charitable status. As the PM says, they're free to believe anything they want, but when it comes to actively working against settled Canadian law and policy, they should be on their own.

Friday, 29 December 2017

2017: A Very Good Year

After the dismal Harper decade in which pro-choice forces had to fight rear-guard actions and stay alert for more sneak attacks on our rights, we racked up some significant WINS in 2017.

Locally and nationally, activists pushed the "Pro-Abortion Agenda." And won.

Here, in rough chronological order are the highlights. (If I've missed anything, please add it in the comments.)

In January, we learned that the Fetal Gore Gang lost its bully bid to put graphic ads on buses in Grande Prairie, AB.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) released its findings on government funding of anti-choice outfits, including Fake Clinics. This will pay off most satisfyingly later.

Also in January, a fun pro-choice group named Love Team Peterborough began weekly Saturday counter-protests at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

As expected, Donald Trump reinstated the "global gag rule," cutting off US funding from international aid agencies that support family planning and reproductive rights. The Netherlands stepped up to fill the gap with an international abortion fund. Canada joined in with a pledge of up to $20 million.

In March, Canada went further, pledging
$650 million over three years
for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

A poll released in March showed Canada to be as strongly pro-choice as ever with 77% of us thinking abortion should be permitted, a little over the global average approval of abortion of 71%.

The good people of Calgary, who have had waaay more than enough of the Fetal Gore Gang, worked to get a by-law change axing a loophole the gore gang had been exploiting to hang disgusting -- not to mention dangerous -- banners over highways.

The first of the effects of ARCC's research on government funding of fetus fetishists were signalled when the Liberals banned its MPs from approving Canada Summer Jobs grants to these groups.

May witnessed the smallest ever March for Lies, with about 4,000 attending.

More from Peterborough. The pusillanimous city council had folded to threats from the Fetal Gore Gang and their ads were allowed on buses. University students raised enough dough to counter with pro-choice ads.

Back in Alberta, activists dressed as Handmaids silently protested the inclusion of Edmonton Prolife's booth at K-Days.

In August, another victory for pro-choice over the Fetal Gore Gang. A judge in BC upheld the rejection of its ads on Vancouver area buses.

The Gore Gang was busy pissing off many towns and cities last year. In response, Toronto politicians pushed for ban on its signs.

When Parliament resumed, so did the hijinks. Conservative put anti-choice MP Rachael Harder up for chair of the Status of Women Committee. ARCC deemed her "unqualified and unfit". She lost.

We noted and reported on a new sense in the media. The label "anti-choice" now had another indicator besides voting record -- support of fake clinics.

The Ontario government fulfilled its promise to enact buffer zone legislation to protect clinics, patients, and staff from harassment by side-walk bullies. Amusingly, anti-choice Conservatives, including teen fetus freak phenom Sam Oosterhoff, had better things to do on the day of the vote.

(Here's a handy list of buffer zones and court injunctions across Canada.)

In Edmonton, activists identified the disturbing links between school board trustee candidate Tyler Duce and anti-choice extremists. Candidates were also surveyed on their attitudes towards evidence-based sex ed and Gay Straight Alliances. Several progressive candidates won. Tyler Duce was trounced.

At various points in the year, Health Canada loosened its idiotic initial restrictions on the abortion pill. In November, it was announced that Canadian women would be allowed to take it up to 9 weeks' gestation. Also, various provinces decided to fully or partially fund it.

Even Saskatchewan, not usually known as a hotbed of pro-choice politics/policies, showed its mettle in 2017. When a couple of Sask Party leadership hopefuls made stupid remarks about abortion, the ensuing brouhaha immediately forced them to walk it back.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, progressive public sentiment was also evident. A school district decided that they would no longer participate in a xmas drive because the organizing charity is anti-choice/anti-LGBTQ.

I've saved the best for last. When the federal government announced the new eligibility rules for the Canada Summer Jobs program, fetus freaks went nuts. It seems that being asked to not undermine the laws of the land is a bit too much for them and their precious religious right to harass, stigmatize, and disempower whomever they don't like.

Stay tuned on this one. There will be LEGAL SUITS!!! CHARTER CHALLENGES!! Et fucking cetera.

So. It was a very good year. There's more to be done of course and we'll stay on it. But for now, we at DAMMIT JANET! are just going to bask in it and raise a glass to all the wonderful activists, researchers, and organizations who worked so hard to make these gains.

Happy New Year to all. (Except anti-choice/anti-LGBTQ dinosaurs. May your year be filled with failure and tribulation.)

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Lies, Damn Lies, and BAD Science

The War on Truth and Science continues.

Today, another story about women regretting abortion.

A majority of American women who aborted their unborn babies say that their lives didn’t improve at all or refused to answer a question about any positive effects of aborting, a new study reports.

Roughly 54 percent of women said that their lives post-aborting weren’t any better than before they had their abortion, according to a study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Approximately 32 percent of women reported no significant positives from the decision to abort, while 22 percent did not respond to the question.
PDF here.

First thing: The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons sounds all legit, doesn't it? It is not. This is a group of whackadoodle conservative doctors who promote discredited BS like vaccines cause autism and abortion causes breast cancer.

Second thing: Lead author is our old pal, Priscilla Coleman. We'll get to her in a minute.

Third thing: Motive. This "study" is no doubt in response to several legit studies indicating that far from regretting abortion, a huge majority of women feel exquisite relief.

Ninety-five percent of women who have had abortions do not regret the decision to terminate their pregnancies, according to a study published last week in the multidisciplinary academic journal PLOS ONE.

Next thing: Look at the abstract, highlighted by me.

I think that's enough said.

Perfesser Coleman, also on Rewire's list of False Witnesses, aka liars for hire, came to our attention in 2012 when a paper of hers was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, a venue not known for BAD (biased, agenda=driven) Science.

Here's the result.
Results: Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion.

Here's a real scientist, PZ Myers:

Those numbers are so extravagantly extreme that there ought to be alarm bells going off in your head right now, and the research had better be darned thorough and unimpeachably clean.

As it turns out, it isn’t. The author of the paper, Priscilla Coleman, is an anti-abortion advocate, and 11 of the 22 studies sampled for the meta-analysis are by…Priscilla Coleman. Methinks there might be a hint of publication bias there, something that has been confirmed statistically by Ben Goldacre.
And here's a bunch of scientists eviscerating her methodology, biases, and whatnot.

Maybe the good professor is learning something, though. Madly inflated numbers make even lay-people's alarm bells go off. The recent study's claims are much more modest. Let's see if it gets any traction in the mainstream press.

MASSIVE Temper Tantrum over Canada Summer Jobs

OK, it was to be expected that Fetus Freaks would freak out over having their funding threatened, but not even long-time observers (ahem) of their hilarious hyperbole saw this banshee-like SHRIEEK-fest coming.

Here are just a few of the terms used to characterize the very modest change to Canada Summer Jobs program eligibility (insert mandatory exclamation marks after each entry!!!!!):

"thought/belief control"
"ideological coercion"
"loyalty oath"
"ideological purity test"
"witch hunt" (I always love this one applied to xians)
"freedom under threat"

And that's not even getting into the comments on their reality-impaired sites, where "Satan" figures prominently.

LifeShite broke the story on December 14, after a leak by über-anti-choice MP Brad Trost.

Global News also reported on it here with an update on December 19 when the program officially launched for 2018.

Back in September last year, we reported on some early findings by volunteer researchers at Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC).

Many anti-choice organizations, like Fake Clinics, have been granted charitable status and as such are required to file annual, public financial reports to Canada Revenue Agency.

ARCC volunteers took a peek at these filings and found that Fake Clinics were listing revenue from "Government." Well, this revelation begged for further research, didn't it?

After some more nosing around, a major source was pinned down -- the federal Canada Summer Jobs program.

A ton more work later, ARCC issued a media release.

When iPolitics found a Liberal (!) MP who had approved a sizeable grant to the loathsome Fetal Gore Gang, well, the shit hit the fan.

Then, the CPC nominee for Status of Women Committee, anti-choice Rachael Harder, was discovered to have also approved grants to Fake Clinics. More shit, more fans.

Then the "feminist" government announced that it would no longer allow federal funding to go to anti-choice groups.

There was some screeching at the time, but when the program was set to launch, Trost released the details. There is now a requirement that the recipients of tax-payers' dough respect the laws and Charter of Canada

To be eligible, the job must respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
Onerous, eh?

Or, as Michael Coren writing at iPolitics says:
What the government is suggesting is that it’s absurd for the public to directly fund and support groups that oppose the laws followed and the values held by the vast majority of Canadians. A very modest, very Canadian idea indeed.

Modest, Mr Coren? This is the END, the END, I tell you of civilization in Canada.

There have been 13 stories (so far) at LieShite about this, including one from the spokesthingy for the obnoxious Fetal Gore Gang.

LieShite is running a petition and a postcard campaign. Campaign Lie is also running a petition.

It seems all of these groups have a direct interest in this. Look at these numbers.

In addition to the 13 stories, there is this quick backgrounder on Justin Trudeau's tyrannical acts towards xians.
This news is only Trudeau’s latest attack on people of faith. The prime minister who so admires China for its “basic dictatorship” began his mandate with a mission to transform Canadian society into his libertine, anti-life image, and he has pursued this agenda with utter resolve.

I've got more to say about this, but I'm going to end for now with this eminently sensible comment on the Coren piece by Celia Posyniak.
It’s high time that government funding of anti-choice “pregnancy care” centres and extremist groups such as the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform (CCBR) [Fetal Gore Gang] ended. The so-called “pregnancy care” centres disseminate misleading information on abortion, use scare tactics to talk women into continuing pregnancies and then encourage adoption. They promote themselves through misleading advertising that hides who they are (evangelicals) and their true purpose – to convert clients to Christianity and “save” their babies. They are not interested in women who wish to continue their pregnancies and need support. They are only targeting what they call “abortion-minded” women. For this they are granted charitable status, which is bad enough. Granting them taxpayer money for an operation that at best can be described as disingenuous and is often harmful to women by delaying health care is ridiculous. So kudos to the Liberals for ending this sham.

As for the CCBR – their anti-social extremist behaviour should not be rewarded with taxpayer funds. They do not have charitable status and are in fact a political group seeking to undermine fundamental human rights. If you are going to fund them, you might as well fund alt right groups. Or if you think that’s too extreme a comparison, funding the CCBR is like funding anti-vaxxer groups that also work against public health and safety. Would Canadians be happy to see their money frittered away on that cause?

Let these anti-choice groups function on their own. If they can garner enough public support and convince Canadians of their position, then so be it. The government never gave groups like the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League money to promote the repeal of abortion laws. CARAL was successful through grass roots support and without charitable status.

Friday, 27 October 2017

"Fake Opposition" Flees Abortion Vote

Back here, we were crowing about how the media has shifted choice-ward in how it identifies anti-choicers, specifically by noting which politicians support fake clinics.

And now with the nearly unanimous passage of the Ontario "Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, 2017", or the "Fuck Off Clinic Bulliers Act," we see another fault-line in today's politics.

Even hard-line, self-avowed anti-choicers flee from actually voting on abortion issues.

The bill passed 86 to 1, the one being Jack MacLaren, former PC and now member of the Trillium Party.

Note that no Progressive Conservatives voted against it.

But note also which MPPs were not present (Campaign Lie screenshot):

Some were also of interest to Lifeshite.

Monte McNaughton ran for PC leadership under the anti-choice banner and is rated by Campaign Lie as "supportable". So we can see why fetus freaks were annoyed with him.

But Sam Oosterhoff, teen "pro-life" phenom, is another matter altogether. We wrote about Oosterhoff's winning of the nomination, helped in no small part by Alissa Golob and her organization "It Starts Right Now."

Here is Golob bragging about the win.

Oosterhoff is rated by Campaign Lie as "pro-life, pro-family".

Young Sam, carrying the expectations of dozens of anti-choicers in the province, is the Great Anti-Abortion Hope.

But, alas, he was a no-show too.

Patrick Brown, ONPC leader, commented on the vote tally.
While a few of his MPPs were not present for Wednesday’s vote, PC Leader Patrick Brown said at least two were dealing with personal health issues. Brown noted at least two Liberal MPPs, also known to hold anti-abortion views, were also missing.
Hmm, the old "personal health issues" dodge.

And ooh, look at this:
“This law proves that the Wynne government and the fake opposition is kowtowing to Planned Parenthood,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, Ontario President, Campaign Life Coalition.
"Fake opposition." Hee. Do you detect a whiff of desperation there?

What are we to draw from the absence of the anti-choice former leadership contender and the young flag-bearer of New Fetus Fetishist Politics in the first vote on an abortion-related matter in Ontario in years?

It's hard not to conclude that an anti-choice stance is now so toxic to mainstream Canadians that a beleaguered leader like Brown CANNOT even throw his social conservative supporters a bone in a vote that had a foregone outcome.

And the so-cons are pissed.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Moving the Media on Fake Clinics

Lost in all the Rachael Harder/Status of Women Committee brouhaha is a very important shift in media reporting on abortion, specifically on what criteria is used to designate someone as anti-choice.

From Global News, a rather blithe statement.
The issue of who would lead the committee came to a head last week when Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer chose to nominate Rachael Harder, an Alberta MP with an established record against abortion rights.
"Established," eh? By what measure?

Several measures: A thumbs-up (since qualified) from Campaign Lie. Her voting record.

And this from Macleans:
Harder granted $11,681 to two pregnancy clinics in Lethbridge to hire summer employees in 2016, using money that MPs were given to create local jobs. The clinics have mandates suggesting that every child has the right to be born.
The author cites the grants as evidence of Harder's unfitness, but shies away from calling them fake clinics or using terms like "anti-choice" or "anti-abortion."

Global News gets a little closer.
Rachael Harder isn’t just anti-choice in some abstract, philosophical way. She has received an endorsement from Campaign Life Coalition, has stated that life begins at conception, doled out close to $12 000 to pregnancy care centres that refuse to refer to abortion providers, and has committed to pass and introduce legislation to protect “unborn children.”

Four criteria there:
• endorsement by fetus fetishists
• statement of belief
• campaign promise

Enabling federal grants to fake clinics.

Let's see how CBC covered it.
Last summer, Harder handed out some $12,000 in federal job grants to two pregnancy care centres in her Lethbridge, Alta., riding that refuse to refer patients to abortion providers.
Still not actually calling the fake clinics "anti-choice" but again using the fact as evidence of anti-choice stance.

Now iPolitics, the outlet that "broke" the story of Summer Jobs grants being given to anti-choice operations, using research by Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. (My bold.)
According to a breakdown of federal funds distributed under the 2016 Canada Summer Jobs Grant program, Harder allocated a total of $11,681 in the form of two grants to the Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre and the Lethbridge and District Birthright Society last year.

The Lethbridge and District Birthright Society got $3,383 of that total to create one job, and according to its website believes that “it is the right of every pregnant woman to give birth, and the right of every child to be born.”

The largest chunk of that, or $8,298, is listed as creating two summer jobs at the Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre, which is affiliated with the international anti-choice groups Heartbeat International and CareNet, and which states on its website that it does not perform abortions or make referrals to abortion services.

It is also an affiliate of the Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services (CAPSS), which describes itself as a “Christ-centred national ministry dedicated to providing support for life and sexual health by partnering with Pregnancy Centres across Canada,” and is linked to the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

The description of such centres as ‘pregnancy care centres’ has long been an issue of concern for pro-choice groups, which suggest the name is misleading for women who may come in unaware of the religious or political affiliations of the centres and then be actively persuaded against choosing abortion through emotional manipulation or inaccurate medical information about abortion procedures.
More from iPolitics:
As iPolitics reported earlier this summer, Harder allocated nearly $12,000 in federal summer job grants to two anti-abortion groups in her riding last year.
One more, with a humungous typo in it (now corrected), from Metro News:
As an MP, however, she gave money to two Alberta clinics that [do not]support the right to abortion.
As readers of this blog must know, one of our aims here at DAMMIT JANET! is to defund and disrupt the operations of fake clinics, aka crisis pregnancy centres.

It appears this aim is a little closer to realization when media organizations are now calling fake clinics "anti-choice/-abortion" and, more importantly, citing support of them as an indicator that one has an "established record against abortion rights."

Pro-choice has been having so many WINs lately, I didn't want this one to get lost in the victory dances.

Friday, 9 June 2017

No funding for rights-denying outfits

Volunteers for Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) are continuing their research that we reported on here into the funding of rights-denying anti-choice organizations.

Specifically, we are looking for public money — government, arms’-length granting bodies — going to these gangs. Remember DJ!'s success in getting an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) grant rescinded from Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre?

At the time, we were impressed by the anti-discriminatory language used by OTF and its promise not to fund such outfits again.

So it was with some disappointment that a volunteer ran across this, an announcement of a two-year grant of nearly $129K to a fake clinic in Huntsville called Christine’s Place.

Here’s a screen shot.

(I defy anyone to tell me WTF they plan to do.)

I wrote to my old bud, Thomas Chanzy, VP, Public Affairs, on Monday to alert him to this new oopsie.


Today I received this.

Dear Fern Hill,

In light of the concerns you have raised with us, we have looked into this matter and I can confirm that this grant has actually already been rescinded in full before any payment was made to this organization. There is therefore no reason to consider your request that we rescind this grant.

I want to thank you for the attention and consideration you give to the Foundation and its impact in Ontario communities.

"Already rescinded." Grand.

We applaud OTF for its ability to evolve and for its commitment to public input.

UPDATE: My pal Thomas Chanzy has two corrections to make.
1. Trillium Foundation's budget does NOT come from gaming proceeds. Rather, funding comes directly from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

2. The rescinding of the grant was at the request of the organization itself.

So, it seems we credited OTF with a bit more evolution than is warranted. We'll keep our eye on grants awarded.

Monday, 29 May 2017

En Garde, or, This Is Our Chance to Bury Anti-Choice

NOTE: Sorry, but Blogger is screwing up. None of the links in this seems to be working. I'll try to fix it again later.

UPDATE: And now the links are working. I didn't do anything. Go figger.

Andrew Scheer, former and worst-ever Speaker of the House, has won the Conservative Party leadership. But as several people have pointed out, Michael Harris among them, Scheer has a BIG debt to pay. To social conservatives, aka, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-trans, anti-assisted dying, anti-comprehensive sex-ed dinosaurs.
These social conservatives worked their hearts out for Stephen Harper for ten years. In return, they got nothing but strategic tokenism. The passion they invest in their cause never gave Harper so much as a palpitation — but it did lead him to calculate that he could bamboozle them ’til the cows came home and cash in on their political usefulness.

This time, the so-cons were wised up. They sold thousands of memberships on behalf of Trost and Lemieux. That support ultimately went Scheer’s way. Now they will expect him to deliver.
Brent Rathgeber makes a similar point.

And the Straight cites the fetus freak group fronted by Alyssa Golob as taking credit.

While Scheer has taken a page out of Stephen Harper’s book (“We will not reopen the abortion debate”), that’s going to be tough, given how many zygote zealots feel they are OWED.

But in order for him to pay his debts, he’ll have to get into power and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Until he gets his kick at the can, I have some suggestions for what pro-choice, pro-civil rights, pro-modern times people should do.

As I said back when the Liberals (*ptui*) got their majority, we have a historic chance in Canada to get this abortion dealie dealt with once and for all.

Canada is staunchly pro-choice (latest Ipsos poll shows 77% support) and there have been some encouraging developments over the last while.

In December, the city of Grande Prairie successfully fought off hateful bus ads with a judge’s decision that came very close to calling the ads “hate speech.” (As they are.)

In April, research done by Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) paid off big time when it was revealed that anti-choice gangs were getting federal Canada Summer Jobs grants. The feds promised that would end.

Continuing that work, ARCC is running a “Letter of the Week” campaign aimed at disclosing provincial grants given to rights-denying organizations like fake clinics.

Earlier this month, we learned that Health Canada has eased some of its idiotic restrictions on the abortion pill.

This year’s March for Lies in Ottawa was the smallest in memory. (RCMP pegged the number at 4,000.) It was so small that fetus freaks didn’t even *try* to claim that it was bigger and better than last year.

One of the side-stories to the March for Lies was the raising of an anti-choice flag at Ottawa City Hall. It was hastily taken down, but there was fall-out from it.

Notably, increased attention to the clinic harassers at the Morgentaler Clinic in downtown Ottawa. A result of that is today’s announcement that Ontario’s Attorney General, Yasir Naqvi, intends to craft a “bubble zone” law to protect clinics.

Also today we learned that a judge in New Brunswick has granted another injunction against clinic harassers.

These are all hopeful developments. Our job over the next couple of years is to continue and expand these efforts.

• Keep an eye on the federal government to make sure no more public money goes to anti-choice groups.

• Pressure provincial governments to spend money on women and children more wisely than on fake clinics.

• Support cities and towns targetted for hate-speech ads.

• Encourage healthcare providers to continue to press for more reasonable regulations on the abortion pill.

• Support bubble zones in Ontario and other provinces that do not have such protection.

I believe that anti-choice is dying in Canada — I mean, just 4,000 people arsed themselves to come out for March for Lies??!!? — and the election of Andrew Scheer is its last gasp.

We have the opportunity to move our laws, institutions, and media to the point where if and when Scheer’s owners try any funny stuff around abortion, Canadians will just point and laugh.

Because we are sooo beyond that here in modern, pro-choice Canada.