Tom Mulcair and Stephen Harper don’t want to talk about women’s issues. That wasn’t a generalized statement about the state of women’s issues in this country, but rather a solidified fact after the cancellation of the Federal Leader’s Debate on women’s issues. Yesterday Mulcair backed out of what was to be the second Leader’s debate, which the Prime Minister had already declined to attend, and thus forcing the event to be cancelled.
The NDP took a page out of the Conservative birth control plan and decided pulling out was the best way to go. The issues to be discussed would have obviously forced the leaders to answer tough questions. Mulcair and Harper’s fears of answering tough questions on the subject is troubling, given answering tough questions and finding solutions to tough problems is exactly what Prime Ministers need to do. The debate in which those old white men (and Elizabeth May), vying for the highest office in the country, would have had some awkward moments. However, the only thing worse than old white men talking about women’s issues is no one talking about women’s issues.
This story is as heaped in depressing irony as Rob Ford’s support of stiffer criminal penalties on drug users. The debate was being hosted by an alliance of women’s organizations called Up for Debate. After initially committing to the event, Mulcair, joined Stephen Harper in not wanting a women’s issues debate. Up for Debate, and the poor coalition of women’s groups involved, were reminded that federal politics was not their place.
What can be said of the state of our country when the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader refuse to attend a debate about the realities facing half the population during an election campaign? Justin Trudeau, who Canadian women’s only issue with is his insistence on wearing clothes to debates (swoooon), of course fully intended on joining the debate. He’s just not ready to table all debate at every opportunity like the current Prime Minister.
A spokeswoman for the Up for Debate group said the cancellation was “disappointing“, and that there were not enough leaders participating to make this a worthwhile stand alone debate. Women being able to stand alone is clearly not something the Prime Minister and Mulcair are in favour of.
The next federal Leader’s debate is set for September 17th. The Globe and Mail Debate has declined to include Elizabeth May, the only female federal leader in its lineup.
Let’s get three cheers from the men in the room– for equality in Canada!