International Women’s Day turns into a major embarrassment for Alberta’s tone-deaf opposition

Posted on March 08, 2017, 2:06 am
6 mins

PHOTOS: Wildrose Opposition Leader Brian Jean – nothing to do with us, really. Below: Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips and former PC leadership contender Sandra Jansen, all New Democrats.

It’s International Women’s Day and, whatever Alberta’s two right-wing Opposition parties would rather be doing, one doubts it’s insisting they have nothing to do with a group of their campus supporters in Calgary who posted a social media advertisement promoting a screening of a “men’s rights” movie today that declared “feminism is cancer.”

But it looks like the Wildrosers will be spending another day bleating unconvincingly that Wildrose on Campus Calgary’s breathtakingly stupid publicity effort had nothing to do with them. No! Really!

Just to share the pain, the same campus Wildrose club last month endorsed Jason Kenney’s effort to lead a united right-wing party by taking over the Progressive Conservatives.

Alas for the Wildrosers, as political commentator Dave Cournoyer pointed out yesterday on his Daveberta.ca blog, this is turning into another in a long tradition of “bozo eruptions” reminiscent of the Lake of Fire brouhaha that may have cost the party led by Danielle Smith the 2012 provincial election.

The timely discovery of a blog post by a Wildrose candidate predicting a hellish eternity for gays and lesbians certainly contributed to the election in 2012 of a government led by Alison Redford, who subsequently demonstrated her own unsuitability as premier. That in turn helped set the stage for the election of the New Democratic Party led by Premier Rachel Notley in May 2015.

This has made some Alberta conservatives almost crazy with frustration, fuelling the competing campaigns by Progressive Conservative leadership frontrunner Kenney and Opposition Wildrose Leader Brian Jean to unite the right and lead it back to the promised land of permanent power.

So the IWD-eve commentary perpetrated by people who just hours before both men would have hailed as fine young people with impeccable conservative credentials really doesn’t help their effort to portray their parties as a common-sense alternatives to the increasingly credible Notley NDP.

If Alberta’s conservatives can impose some message discipline on their supporters, though, this incident is unlikely to turn out to be as serious for them as the Lake of Fire. Still, it’s symptomatic of the mentality of both parties’ base, and thus represents a problem for them that isn’t just going to go away.

“You and I both know that feminism is cancer,” said the Facebook ad, borrowing from disgraced alt-right demagogue and pedophilia apologist Milo Yiannopoulos’s typical commentary. “To create a dialogue on campus, we have decided to take action,” the ad went on.

The social media response was predictably harsh. The fact mainstream media picked it up was more of a surprise – and should be more of a concern for Wildrosers and PCs alike.

The fact that such well-known and articulate NDP figures as Environment Minister Shannon Phillips and Health Minister Sarah Hoffman stepped up and demanded the opposition parties say what they thought of their supporters’ offensive commentary suggests the NDP has learned from the pummelling they’ve taken from Wildrosers and Tory supporters for the past couple of years and aren’t going to take it any more.

For its part, Wildrose tried manfully to edge away from the club. Mr. Jean insisted yesterday the group wasn’t authorized to use the party name – and it’s now been told not to. “We will be taking steps to make sure it’s a more formalized procedure, when people use our logo they do get permission to do so beforehand,” he told reporters at the Legislature, slamming the barn door shut in acknowledgment of the horses’ departure.

Both Mr. Jean and Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon both Tweeted disapprovingly about the commentary – although a photo circulating on Twitter last night showed both of them attending a meeting of the same group not so very long ago.

New Democrat MLA Sandra Jansen – who not long ago was a candidate herself to lead the PCs, until she was hounded out the door by some of Mr. Kenney’s supporters – reminded the Legislature that her new party is bringing forward a bill to help victims of sexual and domestic abuse. “While we take action on domestic violence, they say feminism is a horrible disease,” she said. “That is the Wildrose.”

The campus Wildrose club fired its publicity director – a pretty meaningless sanction under the circumstances – and pulled the plug on its role in the screening, also a day late and a dollar short.

Well, this is Alberta, where another day often means another right-wing bozo eruption.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

17 Comments to: International Women’s Day turns into a major embarrassment for Alberta’s tone-deaf opposition

  1. Ryan Spinney

    March 8th, 2017

    Have any of people calling it a bozo eruption actually even seen the red pill?

    You do realize the woman making it was a feminist when she made it right, a big name feminist no less which is why she had the connections to get interviews with big name feminists, it was only afterwards she stopped
    being a feminist.

    Before you judge her work, doesn’t it behoove you at least see it?

    Or are your belief in feminism so fragile it can’t withstand the slightest, most well meaning challenge to it?

    And trashing the movie and WOMAN film maker Cassie Jaye seems like a shitty way to celebrant women’s day.

    And I am no Wildrose supporter, I’ve always voted NDP, used to be a feminist myself, so this no social conservative rightwing dinosaur saying this.

    I say it because when normal people see the movie and realize Cassie Jaye isn’t the woman hating right wing monster you suggest she is, that she is a nice, caring individual and normal person it’s the left that will end up looking like bozos, and it will be Wildrose who ends up laughing.

    I like Premier Rachel Motley and I’d like to see her remain Premier, but if the left goes after Cassie Jaye, IT WILL BACKFIRE.

    Reply
    • Val Jobson

      March 8th, 2017

      So you hav e stopped being a feminist? You mean now you do not believe women should have equality?

      Reply
      • Peter hardy

        March 8th, 2017

        I think they are implying “new feminist” the Women first men can go die type that now hold the feminist microphone and scream the loudest.
        Many females and males who supported the feminist movement in the past, now want no part of that monicker.

        Reply
        • Val Jobson

          March 9th, 2017

          Hogwash. You don’t actually know any feminists, do you?

          Reply
          • St Albertan

            March 9th, 2017

            Val, none of them do. These guys are all in on moving us back to the late nineteenth century using some “bigly” brew of nihilism, threats, and stupidity. Whining fear and loathing. That’s their schtick.

      • Telomere

        March 10th, 2017

        People who “used to be feminist” were usually the type who thought that Feminism is a sort of philosophy where people ought to be treated equally, as if all people have the same resources and lack of barriers. These people tend to feel betrayed when they find out that you can’t treat all people equally, because all people are not equal. Some people have access to opportunities that others don’t have. Some people have significant barriers to opportunities that these former “feminists” like to pretend don’t exist, or don’t matter.

        In fact, Feminism is a political movement with the goal of freeing females from being oppressed because of our sex. If people who are not female benefit from the activism of Feminism, cool! Good for them! But Feminism is for females.

        Reply
    • Expat Albertan

      March 8th, 2017

      The issue is not the film, it is the ‘feminism is cancer’ comment.

      Reply
  2. David Khan

    March 8th, 2017

    Derek Fildebrant and the Wildrosers engender this type of thing so whether or not it was some kind of an official club or not, the Rosies are responsible and soon Kenney will be too.

    Reply
  3. Dorian Clampitt

    March 8th, 2017

    Needs rephrasing. Why is the screening of the Red Pill, a documentary by noted feminist Cassie Jaye in quotations as a “Men’s rights film” and please note the film doesn’t say “feminism is cancer”

    Reply
    • Expat Albertan

      March 8th, 2017

      The issue is not that the film claims that ‘feminism is cancer’, the issue is that the U of Calgary’s young Wildrose club did. I’m getting tired of explaining these things.

      Reply
  4. David Climenhaga

    March 8th, 2017

    I have moved the location of the photo of Health Minister Sarah Hoffman so that a fragment of the text containing Premier Rachel Notley’s name does not appear to be a caption. Thanks as always to the reader who pointed out this glitch, an occasional feature of the web site’s content management system. DJC

    Reply
  5. David

    March 8th, 2017

    Wildrose was doing fairly well for a while, managing to avoid a bozo eruption for at least several weeks. It is true that as a party they never have had the discipline and control that Stephen Harper and his protege Jason Kenney have somehow managed to impose on the federal Conservatives. It also tends to hurt Wildrose from time to time and I suspect they have a genuine conflict about wanting to minimize political damage vs. silencing the “grassroots”.

    I suspect as the unite the right campaign goes on there will be more bozo eruptions to damage Wildrose, likely again by those who favour Kenney and want to embarass Brian Jean or Wildrose. I do not think this is at all coincidence, but part of Kenney’s plan.

    Reply
  6. J.E. Molnar

    March 8th, 2017

    Brian Jean and the Wildrose mafia can deny all they want, but a letter from a Wildrose constituency executive endorsing the campus group was tabled in the Legislature on Tuesday. In addition Wildrose MLAs attended various WROC events through the years. Online photo evidence is compelling. There’s no walking this clusterf**k back Wildrose supporters.

    Reply
  7. Brett

    March 8th, 2017

    Nothing new. Why the surprise?

    Reply
  8. jerrymacgp

    March 11th, 2017

    “Message discipline” is just communications-speak for “don’t let the voting public know what you really think”. I for one think it dishonest and deceptive. If you don’t want bozo eruptions, don’t let bozos run for your party and don’t propose bozo policies in your platform.

    Reply

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