Opinion Column

Tolerance shouldn't just be for others

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

The left-wing brand of feminism might be exactly what gives feminists a bad name.


Inclusivity, equality and tolerance are messages they preach, but each comes with its own set of fine print – despite the textbook definitions of each, they only apply to those who hold the same opinions and viewpoints as they do.

This was on display this past week as NDP and Liberal MPs walked out of the Status of Women Committee when a new chair – a position traditionally held by an opposition MP – was to be appointed. The nominated chair happened to be Albertan Conservative MP and Status of Women critic Rachel Harder who’s held pro-life views – something the protesting MPs decided was unacceptable.

Instead, on Tuesday when the committee met again, Ontario Conservative MP Karen Vecchio – who wanted her nomination withdrawn – was forcibly elected to a job she did not want by the same Liberal MPs abusing parliamentary rules.

Aside from the obvious equal opportunity, the feminist movement should be about allowing and empowering women to be free-thinkers, to choose what to do with their own bodies and to show respect for all women regardless of differing sets of beliefs and opinions.

Still, the so-called “feminist” Liberal party used their majority in the committee to throw their weight around and choose a chair traditionally chosen by the opposition and simultaneously drag another female through the mud for having differing views than their own.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backed his MPs, because it’s no longer 2015. It’s 2017, and apparently that means it’s OK for him, a man, to force his own views on female chairs of the opposition.

It’s OK for his supporters to say they don’t want to be forced to think a certain way, but it’s OK to tell a female MP how to think.

The hypocrisy is ridiculous.

Just as much so is the fact Pam Damoff, a Liberal MP, openly questioned Harder’s ability to set aside personal beliefs to reporters and colleagues, but never questioned Harder herself on those concerns.

The appropriate thing to do would’ve been to approach Harder on their concerns rather than grandstanding and walking out of a committee meeting, and then trying to berate the opposition for nominating someone with differing views on the floor of the House of Commons. It would’ve not only been the courteous thing to do, but the feminist thing to do. Regardless of whether or not her opinion is the same, her voice matters just as much as any other woman in the country.

At least, it should. The Liberals and lone NDP MP on the committee seem to think otherwise.

Personally, I don’t believe abortion is ever a decision I would make. I also believe, for most people, the decision to have one is not made lightly. I understand both sides, and quite frankly prefer that women be able to do as their conscience tells them, to borrow phrasing from a tweet by David Akin.

There are women across Canada who do have varying points of view on this topic, and all of them should have the right to have their voice heard and represented, not forcibly silenced because it’s different than what the Prime Minister believes.

Nevermind that personal beliefs have nothing to do with whether or not she’s able to chair a committee - the Liberal MPs on the Status of Women committee basically told anyone who isn’t completely pro-choice that they don’t matter. And they were concerned about the voices of ALL women being heard. Funny.

If you’re going to preach tolerance, practice tolerating other points of view.

Conditions should not apply. 

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