58

The meaning of STFU


 

Senator Elaine McCoy considers Senator Nancy Ruth’s four-letter word.

How galling it must be for one of Canada’s most outspoken feminists to come to the conclusion that the best way forward is to “shut the f*** up“.  Senator Nancy Ruth (ON) has never in her life shied away from a fight.  When women stormed the barricades in 1981 to insist on including gender equality in the new Charter of Rights and Freedoms, for example, she was right there.  Ever since then, she’s dedicated herself to supporting women, and even maintains a website called Section15.ca which helps keep the Charter success alive. Now, thirty years later, she’s reduced to advocating silence for fear of escalating backlash against women’s rights.


 

The meaning of STFU

  1. The fact she has to say it out loud as a warning, not a threat, must be a huge disappointment for her.

    That must be such a professional downer, to have to teel the people you support there's not a damn thing you can do for them but damage control…

    • I don't think she's the only parliamentarian who feels this way.

    • Everybody has a price.

  2. If Ms. Ruth was a woman of principle, she'd leave her $132,300 a year job as Senator and get on with her life's passion of aiding the feminist cause which seems to be under fire from the Harper government. Surely she knows that, with this government, staying and fighting the cause from within is futile.

    My suspicion is that she'll stay. It's just too cushy.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  3. If Ms. Ruth was a woman of principle, she'd leave her $132,300 a year job as Senator and get on with her life's passion of aiding the feminist cause which seems to be under fire from the Harper government. Surely she knows that, with this government, staying and fighting the cause from within is futile.

    My suspicion is that she'll stay. It's just too cushy.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

    • No need to give up her position.

      She could just leave the Conservative caucus.

      • Another indy Senator. Just what the government needs! Betcha thats why Harper hasn't turfed her. He needs her vote.

        • Is the senate whipped?

          • Yep, both the Libs and Cons have party whips in the Senate, and with a plurality, but not majority, I doubt the Conservatives allow their Senators to free lance on much.

    • If the Tories have their way, she wouldn't even be able to do that for the next five years. And I personally think that she must have some principle or she wouldn't have made that comment in a public setting.

      • Or she's working on a backdoor solution and knows enough to see that the louder and hotter this issue gets, the harder it is to get anything accomplished.

        • The simple fact that she would need to go through a "backdoor" on this issue reinforces the main point here.

    • Indeed they did: "Access to abortion, therefore, should be part of the conversation around how to reduce maternal mortality rates."

  4. I've never understood politicans who believe (or pretend) that their quiet work behind the scenes is impeded by public advocacy. Seems to me that the potential for vocal public oppostion to a policy or program would help the internal advocates to win concessions while the decisions are being made.

    Unless it's a lost cause, in which case, why bother at all?

    • What I read from Ruth's comments is that: she sits in caucus with Harper and the socons, she knows very well what they are trying to do, she is trying to hold them off as best she can in a losing/uphill battle, she knows that Harper is a vindictivie prick, and whatever concession she might possibly get – which likely isn't much – is made more difficult by uppity women exercising their right to free speech.

      She's was right and wrong at the same time. I can totally see her predicament and what she was getting at. But it is very frightening that this is the kind of sneaky ideological government we are dealing with. And it is sad that she now has to, or feels she has to, resort to that kind of action to protect women and their rights.

    • "Seems to me that the potential for vocal public oppostion to a policy or program would help the internal advocates to win concessions while the decisions are being made."

      Hello? Have you met our PM?

    • It really depends on a number of things, but generally speaking, if you stand to lose votes on an issue – which Harper does by opening abortion – you don't want to make any decisions (especially in favour of abortion) when there's a supreme focus on that issue.

      You either a) don't want to make any decision at all or b) bury the decision you do make.

      And it's impossible to bury a decision when there is a strong public focus on the issue that decision concerns.

      • I think that is quite right.

        He's been forced out into the light on this issue. He doesn't even want to fund contraception and family planning and was forced to concede that they "may" include that. No doubt his socon base was opposed to that and gave him big flak and so he had to solidify things with them by clarifying he was not going to fund abortion. That's how I read his sudden desire to clarify this one single part of the maternal health plan.

        And I also think that that is why so many conservatives are so angry with Ignatieff over this. They – both socons and procons – would prefer their policy of "don't ask don't tell" and let Harper go on doing what he is without having to admit/concede that he really is the socon that liberals claim he is. I suspect they know that this is extremely dangerous electoral ground for the CPC. To wit, the recent polls show a quickly widening gender gap among CPC supporters.

  5. That would make them truthreasonbacklashophobic – unless you're implying that truth, reason and backlash are all foreign to Canada.

  6. They also said: "The more subsumed we become in the abortion debate, the less time is spent lobbying for other critical health services for women and children. The issues are many and include: ways to stop mothers from transmitting HIV to their babies; vaccine programs and nutrition; access to medical care before, during and after labour; and access to contraception, which would help women plan pregnancy and avoid the need for abortion."

    It really is a shame that we can't see the forest for the trees.

    • Sort of an odd comment coming from Helena Guergis Central and a publication that employs Jane Taber.

      • Agreed, I was surprised when I read it!

      • "Helena Guergis Central" is actually the Toronto Star.

    • And where does that problem lie?

      For 3 months the Conservatives have refused to say what they are proposing. They still do other than to say, vaguely, they "may" fund family planning but no to abortion.

      I have never known a government to be so reluctant to tell Canadians what they are doing or planning on what is supposed to be a major initiative.

      • You've probably already guessed where I think the problem lies, Ted. A weak, poorly led Official Opposition that's more interested in pursuing contrived "culture war" debates than in having an honest conversation about how Canada can take bold steps to save lives in the third world.

        I'll give you this though: the government has indeed been clumsy in its response to this issue, and, as always, deserves its share of blame for the whole "abortion debate" sideshow.

    • The G&M's editors can't seem to make up their minds in their own editorial. On the one hand, they say, "Access to abortion, therefore, should be part of the conversation around how to reduce maternal mortality rates, but it shouldn't be the only conversation." But then they willfully ignore the lengths that Bev Oda, John Baird, the PM and Sen. Ruth are going to to avoid the other conversation … the one about abortion. On the one hand, the G&M says Sen. Ruth is right. On the other, they say, " A full debate about women's reproductive lives should include access to abortion." But such a full debate is not happening in the House or with government Ministers … and Sen. Ruth overtly suggests that even aid groups avoid the topic. This editorial position is far from coherent, and it ignores the Conservatives refusal to engage in a balanced conversation … while at the same time calling for one.

    • Totally agree with you, Crit, there is more than just abortion that we are talking about here. So why not just fund everything in the most efficient way, to get the best outcome? Why do NGOs and hospitals and everyone have to bend themselves into pretzels removing access to safe abortions in order to get any money for all the other things?

      Why is it only those who wish funding for safe abortions who must STFU?

    • who says anyone can't see the forest for the trees. I am sure that most of are able to support that work in all those areas is important and urgent at the same time as we make clear cutting out one additional important element in the battle to improve maternal health is not reduced or eradicated.

  7. there isn't one angry feminist in this country that ever has or ever will vote Conservative, so who gives a f*&% how they feel about it?

    • I don't like "angry feminist". I like strong, polite, compasionate women (feminist, and they are many, luckily!) and I personally don't care the way they vote as long as they do.

    • "there isn't one angry feminist in this country that ever has or ever will vote Conservative, so who gives a f*&% how they feel about it?"

      Silly me – I have this old-fashioned notion that a government serves all the people, not just its "base."

  8. No scholarly review of The meaning of STFU would be complete without reference to Midnight Run (1988) when Jack Walsh (Robert DeNiro) berates his seatmate Jonathan 'The Duke' Mardukas (Charles Grodin), stating:

    "I have two words for you: Shut the f**k up"

    1:40 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_tWmEfrJcs

  9. Now, thirty years later, she's reduced to advocating silence for fear of escalating backlash against women's rights.

    Too bad Nancy Ruth has decided to do the bidding of a xenophobic Conservative Government rather than stand by her reputed ideals.

    • xenophobic – one unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin.

      They're hardly xenophobic. In fact I would say they're extremely engaged on the world stage.

      But even if they were, what would that have to do with senator Ruth and the abortion issue????

      • Perhaps he confused "xenophobic" with a different ten-dollar word, like "misogynistic".

      • Um… they're afraid of truth, reason and the backlash of the "base" they hold in contempt?

  10. Much better would be if she took a principled position and denounced Mr. Harper and his supporters as a member of the Conservative caucus. Let them throw her overboard so that everyone understands what is going on.

    • Totally agree.

    • exactly! someone needs to demonstrate that the leader is not all powerful or to what degree we have let them act like they are.

  11. It must be painful for the "intolerant left" to not accept the "Big Tent Party" has died many years ago. Senator Nancy Ruth was appointed by Paul Martin and has joined the CPC. Instead of looking at her record and career is it possible they now attack her comments by taking them out of context.

    She has stated the "political football" being played by the opposition has nothing to do with abortion or women's rights in Canada. Just another example of the ongoing cultural war in dividing Canadians on gender and pitting region and region.

    • Intolerant left

      …Said the pot to the kettle.

    • Nancy Ruth was never a liberal. She was appointed by Martin as a Progressive Conservative. Paul Martin also appointed Hugh Segal, as a Conservative member.

      Can you imagine Harper, no more no less in a minority situation as Paul Martin, having the courage to appoint a Senator knowing that he or she would sit on the Liberal side? Not me!

      • Are you suggesting as soon as the Conservative have at least 30 extra conservative senators they should follow the Liberals record in appointing non-Liberals?

        or should they not follow the Liberal track record, tradition of stacking the senate for years? Another double standard.

    • "Just another example of the ongoing cultural war in dividing Canadians on gender and pitting region and region."

      Worked for the Conservatives.

      Monkey see Monkey do… bananas!

  12. If a province held an election and a Liberal senator won, Harper would appoint them in a second.

    • Based on what do you reach that conclusion?

      • I'm not a Harper fan either, but I agree with LBJ. Harper's been pretty clear about that and does, on occassion, do what he says he's going to do.

        • I guess.

          But we really have no idea. Say Anything Steve is such a partisan, has made pretty much every everything he does a partisan issue, and has broken so many significant promises and abandoned so many fundamental principles and has shown such disdain for the opposition and democracy that I would not be surprised in the least if he just ignored a Liberal or found some excuse not to appoint him/her like they didn't like the process or something.

          Frankly, he speaks well about his desire for an elected senate but his actions don't show that he is that committed to the idea.

          • I am with you Ted. From what Harper has proposed so far, it seems to me that he would still have the choice to name whoever he wants. Reminds me more of the fixed elections date law than anything else. If he has the choice, he'll do as he pleases!

  13. women can vote?

  14. Fixed election dates is the perfect example, Loraine. Should have thought of that myself.

    Say Anything Steve will say anything. And if putting an elected senator into the senate would lose his majority there, I would not be surprised in the least if he found some grounds to reject them.

  15. Will future generations of Canadians be curious about why so many of their predecessors just shrugged when a member of the governing party sitting in the Senate warned us to be silent and do as we're told by the government or suffer the consequences?

  16. This is comical. I love this phony rights nonsense that comes from most of the brain dead media and politicians in this country. Let's take a look at the so called equality that now exists in Canada. 1 – Bilingualism – Ghetto French only in Quebec and this phony bilingual policy only outside Quebec. A hiring quota fro frenchy who I might ad is usually not fluently bilingual. Ya, that's fair. All sorts of hiring quotas in all levels government, where merit now counts for absolutely nothing. Gender, colour of skin, language, sexuality, race now dictate who gets the job. Ya, that's fair. Just go look at the latest stats form the government and ask why women are over-represented in all departments. Ya, that's really fair…I think you get the point. Equality does not and can not exist. Someone will always complain. We have created a cesspool of complainers, brain dead socialists, tax and spend government officials, bloated departments, skyrocketing government salaries…etc in Canada…(next page)

  17. …A complete mess!!! No one will reign in spending, cut staff, lower taxes…etc. This Quebec disease is now spreading right across the country and no-one seems to care about the future any longer. Some of us do get, you government clowns are all entitled to your entitlements. Well just look at the debt loads of Greece and Quebec because that is what's now happening to all of Canada. Just take a close look at Ontario as it follows Quebec's lead in government growth and debt. We don't teach our proud BNA history and longer. We don't teach our real and proud English speaking, UEL history any longer…So sad! Just look at the mess you are leaving future gereneartions.This is not what our forefathers built and fought for.

Sign in to comment.