O.K., I'm going to stray into politics for a few minutes, so bear with me. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. I didn't vote for him, and I disagree with pretty much all of his policies... including his decision to make half of his cabinet women. When asked the reason for this, his response was "Because it's 2015." Implying of course that it's hopelessly outdated to have more men in the cabinet than women. Yes indeedy, heaven forbid that people be appointed for their competence rather than their sex or race... what a backwards, parochial idea. Let's face it: because there are so many more men than women in parliament, it's statistically improbable, not to say impossible, that insisting half of the cabinet be women will result in the most competent and deserving people being appointed. I'm relating this to point out that Trudeau has expended a lot of time and effort to present himself as a bastion of women's rights... the "pope of feminism," as one snarky online commentator called him. Which makes the incident which I'll discuss below particularly galling.
I read Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time when I was in junior high school, then saw the film when I was in grade 10. I was of course horrified by the endemic racism which was so much a part of life at that time in Alabama. I was particularly struck by how the scene in court exemplified this, with all of the black people being forced to sit in the balcony because they weren't allowed to sit with white people. How terrible when one group seeks to demean and devalue another group based on unchangeable and unimportant characteristics like race or skin colour. Which brings me back to Mr. Trudeau.
On Monday September 12, Mr. Trudeau visited an Ottawa mosque to celebrate the end of Eid al-Adha. We will leave aside the fact that the lead Imam at this mosque has ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, a recognized terrorist organization, and instead concentrate on another point. See that balcony in the back of the room? Well, that's where the women are, because they aren't allowed to sit with the men. Also, Trudeau brought a couple of his female MPs with him; I'm not sure if they were some of his "empowered" cabinet appointees or not. They were not permitted to enter the mosque with their leader... they had to enter from a separate door, and stand separately with their heads covered while Justin spoke. Being women, they of course were not allowed to say a word. Personally, I wouldn't darken the door of an establishment where I would be treated as a second- or third- class citizen, but if these ladies choose to do so, whatever. For Trudeau, however, who basically said it was sexist to have less women in the cabinet than men, to participate in an event where women- including his colleagues- were subjected to literal segregation, thereby giving tacit approval to this behaviour, is beyond hypocritical. You know what, Mr. Trudeau? This isn't seventh century Medina... it isn't even 1930's Alabama. It's Canada, and yes, it's 2016. "Equal rights for all, special privileges for none."