NDP MP Charmaine Borg formally complains about ‘misogynistic’ attack from Tory senator


Adrian Wyld/CP

OTTAWA – A New Democrat MP has formally lodged a complaint against a Conservative senator for what she describes as a condescending, “misogynistic,” personal attack against her.

Charmaine Borg has asked the Speaker of the House of Commons to rule that her ability to do her job as an MP was impeded by a letter sent to her last week from Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais.

In the letter, which was copied to all MPs, senators and their staff, Dagenais characterized Borg as a whiny, ignorant, useless Quebec MP who was elected by fluke and stands little chance of being re-elected.

Dagenais’ letter was sent in response to a flyer Borg sent out in her riding advocating the NDP’s long-held belief that the Senate should be abolished.

Borg says she was particularly insulted by Dagenais’ suggestion that she should get some books from the parliamentary library to inform herself about the Senate before criticizing the institution.

Borg, who is just 23 years old, says that’s the kind of “old-school mentality” that discourages young women from entering politics.

“The overall tone of this letter suggests that I am simply a little girl who does not take her work seriously,” Borg told the Commons on Monday.

Outside the chamber, Borg called the tone “very misogynistic” and added: “I think if I was an old white man, he wouldn’t have attacked me.”

The Speaker did not rule immediately on Borg’s question of privilege.

In an interview last week, Dagenais said his letter is part of a campaign by some Conservative senators, including Senate Speaker Noel Kinsella, to defend themselves and their institution after taking a year-long drubbing over the Senate expenses scandal.

Kinsella, who is normally a neutral referee in the upper chamber, last week issued an unprecedented statement blasting NDP Leader Tom Mulcair for accusing him of making fraudulent housing expense claims.

“When they will attack the Senate, from now on they will have to expect a reaction from senators,” Dagenais said.

“And I will be one of those … If they want a war of (parliamentary) chambers, we’ll give them one.”

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NDP MP Charmaine Borg formally complains about ‘misogynistic’ attack from Tory senator

  1. Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais is a failed Con candidate that got appointed to the Senate by Harper. Another old white guy that thinks well of himself for no reason.

    Abolish the Senate.

    • That’s like abolishing parliament due to the presence of a few criminals in it’s ranks. Without the Senate, corrupt leaders like Harper would have unfettered power for four years or more if they decided to change the rules. Without the Senate we would have a Stalin in charge.

      • No, it’s all part of their schtick….sober second thought, which they seem to have interpreted as running the country. ‘Short pants down the hall’, ‘the other place’ and so on.

        The Senate has done, and can do…absolutely nothing about Harper, or any other PM.

        We already have a Stalin in charge….in fact Harp’s running the Senate

        • They voted down democratically elected Bill C-311.

        • Yes the filth that is Harper politics has spread to the Senate but it can be repaired. It has a long history of working well and I for one am not ready to abolish it because of one corrupted criminal PM. The house is as bad as the Senate right now. Why aren’t you calling for it’s abolishment and proposing we make Harper king?

          • I don’t want to abolish the Senate because of one incompetent PM, or several bad apples on expenses, or the ‘appointed’ status of Senators.

            We will have other poor PMs, bad apples etc…and ‘elected’ doesn’t make a toss of difference. To wit: the HOC.

            I want the Senate abolished because it is purely a historical leftover….unnecessary and useless.

            Appointed…elected….or the names pulled out of a hat….they are simply an enormous waste of time and money.

      • If they are in the house, they can be voted out in the Senate it is almost impossible to get rid of them.

      • ‘Course, the fact that Harper has appointed more senators than any other PM and the Tories control the senate kinda refutes what you are saying, now doesn’t it?

        • I think he just likes to see his name up here.

      • Harper “already” has unfettered power!!!! Most of the senate are CONSERVATIVES !!! Where do you live?????

    • You are the only one raising the issue of sex and age. What a misandric comment. The fact that you got 53 thumbs up for insulting men is wrong. The fact that Charmaine Borg thinks that being called ignorant by an older white man is misogynistic is a joke.

      • Him insulting her is alright though? Give your head a shake.

      • You’re a joke and probably a white male… so surprising.

      • I am a mature male.Your statements appear so transparently misogynistic to me.The fact that you are so apparently threatend by a victim of male,”old boy” thuggery is very telling.If Ms.Borg had been a rape victim would you be commenting about how she dresses? Grow up.

        • If she is an ill informed MP then she deserves to be chastised. Rudi, are we talking about victim blaming or uninformed MPs? I think this has to do with uninformed MPs. She is in no way a victim, she is a member of parliament, so stop making rapey strawman arguments. Opposing critique of this ladies job performance due of her gender makes you hypocrites with regards to gender equality, and avoids the real issue at hand, her inexperience and lack of knowledge. An older white male judging her doesn’t deserve to be targeted because of his age and gender. She was targeted for her stupidity, and he was in turn targeted because of his gender. She deflected the critique well politically by claiming misogyny against her which is an emotionally stacked issue. She is the one using gender as a political tool, not him. No one addresses his points, just the fact that he is an older man critiquing a younger girl. Basically, your unwillingness to listen makes you all bigots; the assumption that she is morally right because she is a female makes you bigots. This doesn’t have anything to do with her vagina, it has more to do with her being an idiot. If such a large portion of the population believes that an MP should be shielded from criticism because of their gender, then my god we have a problem.

    • Ironic that he thinks he should comment on her election since he could not win his seat. What a joke he is! If he thinks he is all that, he should resign his Senate seat and run against her next general election.

      • Nah….much easier to sit back and sneer at an elected MP.

        • Like most bullies, he is essentially a coward.

          • True…..he expects others to back him up though. However times have changed.

  2. Why the scare quotation marks around misogynistic Macleans?

    • Because it’s a quote.

  3. Misogynistic. That’s a big word for a pretty little girl. I’M KIDDING!!! I happen to agree with her statement, if not her politics.

  4. It would appear that this Borg has ass-simulated at least one Senator ;-)

  5. I haven’t read the letter, so I’m running on incomplete information; but it seems to me that from the above, if anything he’s attacking her based on her age, rather than her gender. From the above, the letter was extremely insulting, but I’m not sure where gender comes into it.

    • “little girl” isn’t just about age … that’s where the gender part comes in. Do you really think this senator would have used the same terms or tone had his target not been a young woman? Would he have made the condescending suggestion that she educate herself about the senate if she weren’t both junior and female? Just because it’s not simply an attack on her gender but also a slur against a young MP doesn’t make it not misogynistic in the first place.

      • “Do you really think this senator would have used the same terms or tone had his target not been a young woman?”

        I have no idea. I can’t know what was in his mind when he wrote the letter, and I never heard of the man before this incident. Does he have a known pattern of making overtly sexist/misogynistic comments?

        “Would he have made the condescending suggestion that she educate herself about the senate if she weren’t both junior and female?”

        I took that remark as a sign of
        a) his arrogance, ego, and general sense of superiority, and/or
        b) his dismissal of someone who he considers too young to possibly know better than him


        • agreed, in the absence of having read the letter it seems condescending and ageist as much as anything…ageism is the only acceptable form of discrimination young and old

          young = incompetent, arrogant, naive, entitled, unruly, insubordinate, brats who walk on my lawn

          old = decrepit, senile, out-of-touch, slow, demented, entitled, delusional, deteriorating grannies who hold up traffic, sink the health care system, and have heart attacks while driving at the age of 86 running over 6 year old children

          of course gender is probably the better card to play for the NDP in this case because they don’t risk ticking off their old age security boomer vote by turning this into a young/old thing…their MPs may be young, and the young may disproportionately favour the NDP (although they don’t vote), but there’s a ton of old age security, union boomers who vote NDP (although curiously many of them vote Conservative in Oshaawaa) … but dippers young and old, men and women tend to be “feminists” … gender is a better wedge

      • Just a second here: we haven’t been given the letter, and it’s Borg who uses the term “little girl,” not necessarily Dagenais! I honestly wish she just shut him down herself, with her facts, instead of the party closing ranks and claiming misogyny — he DID suggest she is uninformed about the Senate and its work, but I don’t see where he went for any gender insults. I don’t mean to defend Dagenais over Borg, but if she wants to send flyers out to her constituents saying the Senate should be abolished — and it goes to the door of the senator, I would think she should be prepared to face some senatorial anger in a more factual and stronger way than just saying — he’s calling me a little girl; wah wah. Fight the fight on the same turf; she put herself down by playing the misogynist card.

        • Yes, Borg said ““The overall tone of this letter suggests that I am simply a little girl …”. She did not quote the phrase “little girl” from the actual contents of the letter, she attributed it to the tone of the letter. I initially thought that this was obvious, but in re-reading some of the comments it does appear that at least one person took it to mean that she was called a “little girl” in the letter.

          Having said that, the Senator was IMO way out of line in the letter. At least part (maybe all?) was nothing but an ad hominem attack on Borg. I’d call that unprofessional (to say the least!) and does nothing but contribute to the notion that Parliamentarians are just school kids who’d rather indulge in name calling rather than debate the actual issue.

          So, I say a pox on both their houses.

          • I can get behind that, Jim.

    • Because if he said that Borg was a whiny, useless, 23 year old ignoramus then that may be true, but it would be insulting to all 23 year olds. Nobody cares about 23 year olds. There is no questions in Parliament to the government about what they are doing for 23 year olds.
      But, plenty of concern about what the government is doing for women. So, it seems that Borg is a 23 year old but also a woman. It would appear to be more expedient to classify the insult to her as an insult against all women rather then an insult against the simple 23 year old.

    • He was attacking her because he could not defend his indefensible position.

  6. not why I pay taxes

  7. Let me see now. One is elected and the other was defeated so APPOINTED to a patronage appointment. The appointed one then tries to degrade the elected one as a fluke who he predicts will not be re elected ( not that he will have to ever be elected). All this said in DEFENCE of the unelected Senate which is anything but independent. The unelected one cannot mount a defence of the indefensible so resorts to a personal attack on the elected one.
    Have I got it right? This is the behaviour of a ” mature” man charged with ” sober” second thought? Shame!

  8. I think the good Senator should put his money where his mouth is and resign his seat to run against her. I would love to see this ” little girl” kick his butt. I would vote for her just help her win.

  9. Just another example of the old, tired Tories doing their best to tear down the young, energetic, and intelligent New Democrats. Unlike the old Tory senator, this young woman was ELECTED. ‘Nuff said.

  10. mr. harper should kick this dinosaur out of caucus immediately. to do any less is to sanction the behaviour as representative of conservative party support of these comments.

  11. Sad day for Canadians. Senior Parliamentarians of his stature are obliged by position to care for, coach, take under wing, culture, groom, father, educate, understand, breed. polish, nurture, pass the torch to, grow, encourage, refine, our younger MP’s? Dagenais showed contempt, lack of passion, personal ambition arrogance in his sickening approach to this young lady.

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