2.04.2011

diane finley and the harper conservatives insult all working parents

How could anyone take seriously a party that would say this out loud? And how could such a party come to govern this country for so long?
“It’s the Liberals who wanted to ensure that parents are forced to have other people raise their children. We do not believe in that,” Finley said in the Commons Thursday, the same day that Liberals were promising to revive the national program scrapped by the Conservatives five years ago this week.

Liberals are calling Finley’s remark an insult to working Canadian mothers and fathers and a clear declaration of bias in favour of stay-at-home parents — a rarity in Canada, where most mothers with children work.

“For decades we’ve realized that women are working, men are working and the second thing we’ve realized is that there’s a great benefit to children from working and playing with others and learning with others,” said Liberal MP Bob Rae. “The notion somehow that child care is some form of alien abduction is just completely preposterous.”

New Democrats, who have put forward their own national child-care legislation in the Commons, were also outraged by Finley’s characterization of child-care programs.

“Finley insulted all teachers, all early childhood educators, child-care workers, organizers of parents’ resource centres and even babysitters. She is trying to inflict guilt on all working parents — a truly shameful, divisive behaviour,” said NDP MP Olivia Chow.

On a sidenote, I find it shocking how this discussion in Canada focuses almost exclusively on working mothers. I was so accustomed to hearing "working parents" in the US that when I moved here, I was really taken aback by the difference. To me, this is akin to seeing the choice of "Miss" on Canadian forms, or "Dear Sir or Madam" instead of "To whom it may concern". But those phrases, although important, are largely symbolic. The unquestioned assumption that women choose between staying home or earning income, while men do not make similar choices, should have been retired at least 30 years ago.

In any case, the Conservatives are neanderthals on this issue. If there was any hope for any kind of coalition government, we'd be rid of them in no time.

8 comments:

impudent strumpet said...

Do they not have Miss on forms in the US? Do they have Mrs., or do they just have Ms.?

I was taught to use "Dear Sir or Madam" (in the rare cases where something more specific is impossible) because "To whom it may concern" leaves room for "Well, it doesn't concern me." I had no idea it could be perceived as marked. Interesting!

laura k said...

I believe forms in NY State have Mrs/Ms/Mr as choices. I can't swear to it, as I haven't seen one in 5 years, but when I moved to Canada, I was struck by the "Miss" choice, because I hadn't seen it in so long.

To me "Dear Sir or Madam" seems so antiquated, where "To Whom It May Concern" is gender-neutral. I thought "To Whom..." was the updated version of "Dear Sir".

Dharma Seeker said...

That is just gross. Oakville's federal NDP candidate believes the same thing. I believe if he thought legislation to force mothers to stay home and breast feed was possible he'd be all for it. I can only shake my head in disgust at the lot of them, and DARE them to try and tell me how to raise a child if and when the time comes. Or how to support that child (ie. my career choices) for that matter.

laura k said...

They can't tell you what to do, but it seems wildly inappropriate for the government to make sweeping public statements condemning how people raise their own kids. What's more, Conservative policies make it more difficult for parents to stay home. Impudent Strumpet brought it together really well: here.

Dharma Seeker said...

It doesn't seem wildly inappropriate, it IS wildly inappropriate. It's disgusting.

Dharma Seeker said...

This particular candidate also feels that women are forced to work outside the home and leave their little boo boos in the hands of strangers to raise them. The idea that many women want to work and want to have careers wasn't even a consideration.

laura k said...

Luckily he's not writing the party's platform. They're pretty clear on the child care issue.

Dharma Seeker said...

Indeed. He's been a great disappointment on a number of levels. It's just jarring to see so many similarities between Conservative "values" and his "values". I can only hope he'll pick up on some of the backlash and do some soul searching.