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Sexism in the House

From August 31, 2008

Belinda Stronach. Business mogul, rising star of the Red Tories, partner of Conservative MP Peter MacKay. When she crossed the floor to join the Liberals, some said it was a betrayal of her principles. Some argued that it was betrayal of her electorate. Some acknowledged the disloyalty but granted that it was her choice to make.

Some, like Con MP Maurice Vellacott, said other things: "Some people prostitute themselves for different costs and different prizes. She sold out for a cabinet position."

Conservative MLA from Alberta, Tony Abbott, couldn't contain himself. "She whored herself out for power."

Later, during debate on the Cons environment plans, Peter MacKay was asked about the impact of pollution on humans and animals. David McGuinty asked him, "What about your dog?" MacKay gestured to Stronach's seat and replied, "You already have her."

This sort of outrage did not follow the defection of other, male, MPs. Outrage yes, but not disgracefully sexist outrage. Other MPs can "sell out for power" but not receive insulting labels.

Now it is wrong to say that the Conservatives are a Boys-Only club. In 2008, fourteen women represent the Conservatives in Parliament. But that is 14 out of 126. One out of nine. By way of comparison, of the NDP's 30 MPs, 12 are women.

It's no wonder the Conservatives' notions are skewed.