Amanda Moddejonge – It is no secret that politics is hard on women

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Thunder Bay – POLITICS – It is no secret that politics is hard on women. We’ve seen the flames of some of the strongest women who put themselves out publicly snuffed out by Liberal abuse. In 2015 Canadians decided they wanted a strong feminist government to protect the rights of women, and advance them socially in our society. 00000Many voted for what they thought would be that government, only to be left questioning if that is what they got after watching the antics of the past 6 years unfold.

A society that supports women doesn’t push strong women out of their parties when they are just seeking to serve. We have, however, seen soo called feminist political parties do just this.

Because these women have through their strength, leadership, and determination opened a path for women like me I will thank them here right now.

Thank you Jane Philpott, the best Minister of Health Canada has ever seen. Critically, a doctor that understands medicine and how medical policies affect a doctor’s abilities to interact with their patients, she solely focused on the needs of Canadians until she was pushed out over the proven unethical behaviour of our current Prime Minister.

Thank you Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s first Indigenous Minister of Justice and Attorney General. She is likely the very first MOJAG that actually understands the Constitution, the relationship Canada should have to Indigenous People as a result of its fiduciary responsibility to them, and the path that we needed to follow in order to realize true Reconciliation as a Nation. She was forced out of Cabinet because she would not lie.

Thank you Celina Caesar-Chavannes whose work as Parliamentary Secretary first to the Prime Minister than to the Minister of International Development ended up bringing more attention to issues of race and gender inequality in the Government of Canada than to her experience and expertise in Biology and Healthcare Management. Her extremely undervalued skills and abilities remain a testament to the façade of our current government, and a telling story of the extreme mismanagement of talent in the current caucus. She left politics after being labeled an ‘angry black woman’, a racist and misogynistic title used to cripple those strong enough to speak their truth.

Society isn’t designed well for women, and this is part of the reason so many people, both men and women, fight so hard for change.

I am a woman. I was born female, was a child through the 80’s, attended high school in the 90’s, and have attended seven different post-secondary institutions. I have an interdisciplinary background both educationally and professionally in Environmental Sciences, Emergency Management, and Pandemic Planning. I, like so many others in my generation, was witness to the rise of the Internet and online platforms, the shift in education to a social science base rooted in equity and anti-racism, and the push for access to education and services that so many of us had historically been excluded from.

My grandmother had a grade 8 education. My mother received her grade 12 diploma. I am the first woman in my family to obtain anything past high school.

I am not unique in this, and I follow the same pattern of many people in my generation. We were raised by those who lived through the depression, WWII, the generation of free love, inflation through the 70’s, and all of the misogyny and racism that went with it.

The most important lesson I learned from the women that came before me is to stand in truth. Always. Things may seem hard now, but they only get harder when you try to live up to someone else’s expectations and reality. It is especially difficult when their reality isn’t really rooted in reality at all, but some kind of fantasy wrapped up in pretty but hollow words.

Several systems that are in place to ‘help women’ are really only a window dressing that puts them deeper into a system that makes the government money. The unfortunate thing about systems is that they are just policy on paper, that aren’t even worth the time of the people that enforce it. A great example of this is the Canadian court system. I can speak to this at every level, but the big take away is that it is a system that makes the government money.

The courts themselves are supposed to be a neutral place for people, businesses, and entities to find just resolutions to their problems. In theory it sounds great, but in practice it is a confusing system that is only accessible to those who can afford the absurdly expensive ventures, and the decisions and resolutions of the court may not be rooted in truth. Sherry Sherrett-Robinson and Tammy Marquardt are amazing examples of court decisions gone wrong. Sherrett Robinson was known as the ‘baby killer’, her conviction for murdering her infant was overturned 13 after the fact; Tammy Marquardt’s wrongful conviction of the murder of her infant son led to her 15 year incarceration and separation from her second child (who was born in prison). Not only did they go through a system that is designed for them to fail in, they beat it, and they are generally forgotten about as little more than a footnote in history. And to further demonstrate how differently women are treated than men by this system one needs to look no further than the cases of Guy Paul Morin, David Milgaard, and Steven Truscott: the names of men most Canadians think about when they consider wrongly convicted in this country. When men are vindicated after a wrongful conviction we gladly discuss their matters decades after the fact. Women just do not get the same courtesy or consideration.

As a society the shift we need to realize is valuing women on their merits. Diversity hiring solely based on a woman’s gender does not work any more than hiring a man based on the social preconceived notion that maleness leads to capabilities. We need to help vulnerable people and populations so that we can all experience equality. Hollow words and ceremonial back patting is clearly not working. The system that we currently have is allowing women to find positions where, if they were allowed to do their job, they could potentially make the world a better place if they were allowed to do their job- but is mostly rewards women who ‘toe the party line’ and allow apparent misogyny to flourish to continue in the positions that toxic men allow them to occupy.

And for those of us brave enough to go through one of the many systems that are designed to ‘help’ us become equal members of society, it allows individuals who are in a mower powerful social position to vilify those who needed to lean on those systems to bring them up as somehow less-than. Almost as if branded by the scarlet letter of days long past reserved for women deemed not fit for society.

Amanda Moddejonge
Green Party Candidate
Thunder Bay Superior North

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