This Is Not My Canada

23 Oct

The Conservative government wants you to believe that they’re not interested in re-opening the abortion debate. They want women to think that they have no intention of infringing on their reproductive rights. The carefully-worded Motion 312 assures you that they aren’t looking to criminalize abortion, they just want find “medical evidence” to determine when a fetus becomes a person.

Most of us realize that changing the abortion legislation in Canada is, in fact, on the agenda of most members of the Conservative Party. However, they are usually able to twist facts and words in such a way that it becomes difficult to argue with them.

Which is why I would like to thank Saskatchewan Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott for being so openly against women’s rights. Thank you, Mr. Vellacott, for showing us the true face of the Conservative Party of Canada.

You see, Mr. Vellacott recently awarded one of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals to Mary Wagner. These medals are meant to “honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians“; 60,000 of them will be awarded over the course of this year. Every Canadian MP was given the chance to nominate 30 people for the medal. The medals are, according to the medal’s website, supposed to go to people who, “have made a significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community within Canada, or an achievement abroad that brings credit to Canada.”

Maurice Vellacott chose to give one of his medals to Ms. Wagner, to honour her activities as an anti-abortion activist.

Mary Wagner, who has repeatedly been charged with mischief and violating court orders at abortion clinics, is currently incarcerated at a women’s correctional facility in Milton, awaiting her next court appearance on charges of violating her probation. Her most recent arrest was in August of this year, when she was apprehended at a Toronto abortion clinic. She was also arrested at an abortion clinic in November of 2011 with charges of mischief and breaching probation.

So what do all these charges mean? What, exactly, has Mary done?

Mary goes to abortion clinics and harasses the patients there. She hands out roses and anti-abortion propaganda to patients and tries to convince them not to terminate their pregnancies. Mary preys on women when they are at their most vulnerable; she targets those who have likely already struggled with guilt and fear before deciding that abortion was the best option, and causes them to experience even more grief and pain. Instead of going through official channels to try to have abortion legislation changed, Mary prefers to attack and manipulate individual women.

Along with Mary, fellow anti-abortion activist Linda Gibbons also received a Diamond Jubilee medal from Vellacott. Although Linda is not currently incarcerated she has, in the past, spent a total of nearly ten years in prison for harassing women and abortion clinic employees.

And what does Vellacott have to say about Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons? He likens them to Martin Luther King and “other human rights activists”. He refers to their activities as “civil disobedience”.

Canadians, this is your government.

I am so angry about this. My hands are actually shaking as I type this out. I am angry, and also afraid. It’s scary to live in a country that rewards people for infringing on the rights of others. The thought that these medals, which are being distributed in honour of one of the longest-ruling female monarchs, are being given out to people who are so decidedly anti-woman makes me feel sick.

I’m glad, though, that Vellacott did this. I’m glad that he’s shown the true face of the Conservative Party to the public. I’m glad that he’s done something so appallingly misogynist that people will have to sit up and take notice.

Please do something about this; this is something tangible that we can fight. You can share this post and bring awareness to what Vellacott has done. You can contact your MP, the Governor General or Stephen Harper. There is even specific contact information for the Diamond Jubilee Medals. I have included all the details below.

If this is something that you care about, please say something. If this isn’t the Canada you want to live in, for the love of all that’s holy please take a stand on this. If enough of us make a stink, then at the very least the public will become aware of what their government really stands for.

You can find your MP and their contact information here.

You can email Governor General David Johnston at info@gg.ca

You can email Stephen Harper at  pm@pm.gc.ca

You can contact the Diamond Jubilee Medal program directly at diamondjubilee@gg.ca or by calling 613-998-6790 or 1-800-465-6890.

Not sure how to word your letter? Here is a sample that you are welcome to use:

Dear [MP, Prime Minister, Governor General, etc],

I am writing regarding Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott’s decision to award the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal to incarcerated anti-abortion activists Mary Wagner and Linda Gibbons. Wagner and Gibbons have been arrested multiple times on charges of mischief at abortion clinics; they have also been arrested for breaching her probation. 

Mary and Linda have repeatedly broken the law, and a member of the Conservative government is rewarding them for it. Mary and Linda are harassing women and attacking their rights, and our government is giving them medals for it. The Governor General’s website describes these medals as being intended to honour people who “have made a significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community within Canada, or an achievement abroad that brings credit to Canada”. Is this really how our government views a “significant contribution” to our country? Is this truly something that the Conservatives believe brings credit to Canada?

I urge you to take action on this issue, in whatever way possible. Please keep me up to date on the actions you plan to take, and the outcomes of these actions.

Kind regards,

[Your name here]

Mary Wagner (right) with fellow pro-life activist and jubilee medal recipient Linda Gibbons

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8 Responses to “This Is Not My Canada”

  1. Carolyn Thériault October 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    I don´t understand your outrage. This is the Conservative party. They have always been intrinsically anti-abortion and this is just another page from their playbook. The good news is that these ham-fisted attempts at securing the moral high ground won´t sway anyone on either side of the divide. So yes, this *is* your Canada: a country which hasn´t had an federal abortion law since 1988. That´s what you should be outraged about.

    • Audra Williams October 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      Yep! This is how it goes! Anne posts a blog and you post that it’s pointless! I cannot figure out how you are not completely embarrassed by this pattern.

    • bellejarblog October 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      I’m not so much outraged as I am concerned by the fact that the Conservative party are becoming more and more brazen about their anti-woman views. Like I said, they’re usually pretty careful about how they word things to make it sound like they’re not REALLY trying to take away our rights – in this case, though, they’re giving out medals to people for harassing women and violating their rights.

      Don’t worry, though, I am also outraged about our lack of federal laws protecting a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy. I am outraged about everything! All at once!

  2. gaylenepaula October 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    Vellacott is supposed to be my mp. He in no way represents me, or most of the people who live in Saskatoon. It’s the folks in the ‘Bible Belt’ of Osler/Rosthern etc. that support him. Ick.

  3. Chantal October 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Unforutnately, you’ve stated, “It’s scary to live in a country that rewards people for infringing on the rights of others”. This is funny considering that the babies you want to abort are human beings. Also, you said, “If this isn’t the Canada you want to live in, for the love of all that’s holy please take a stand on this”. Well, I hate to break it to you but if you know what is holy, it is definitely not murder. I am not “anti-women” or their “rights”. I’m more concerned about the rights of the ones that have no voice.

    • bellejarblog October 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      I’m not going to debate whether or not fetuses are human beings. It’s not going to lead anywhere.

      The rights that I am referring to are the rights of women to seek medical services without suffering abuse or harassment. I respect that Mary Wagner is anti-abortion (even if I don’t agree with her), but there are legal ways to try to change abortion legislation in this country. She has broken the law, repeatedly. It is totally inappropriate for a member of the government to hand out a government award to someone who is incarcerated in his own country.

      And I greatly suspect that you and I hold different things to be holy.

  4. Pam December 1, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    So… I figured out how I made it to your blog. Mary Wagner and I were roommates at university. I’d lost touch with her and was well surprised as her/this story broke. A google search for her led me to you. I’m well pleased that it has. Please keep writing!

    • bellejarblog December 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

      Whoa, that is crazy that you were her roommate! Also, a crazy, funny way to find my blog 🙂

      And thank you for your kind words ❤

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