After all, the more fanatical Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) – those who keep angry blogs, send me vicious emails, denigrate "radical feminists," and act as if women get a better deal in life – have much in common with the TheoCons in Harper's caucus and inner circle.
Which would explain why Pastor Maurice Vellacott of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, past chair of the Pro-Life Caucus, proponent of spurious research on women's health, creationist and agitator against same-sex rights, could get away with introducing Bill C-422, which would amend the Divorce Act to automatically award, regardless of history, "equal parenting" to warring couples.
Note that, just because Harper's prorogation of Parliament killed 37 bills midstream, the private members' bills didn't die. They live on until they are passed – just as Conservative MP Candy Hoeppner's bill to scrap the long gun registry did last fall – or until they are voted off the island.
MRAs love Vellacott's bill because, if they're as seriously deranged as some seem to be, they can continue to exercise control over their ex-wives and children.
The joke is – although I am not laughing – they blame "femi- nazis" for judicial decisions that award custody to mothers. That despite how, thanks to feminists fighting for shared parenting rights, men are now being awarded joint custody in almost half of all cases.
Back in the little-wifey-stay-at-home day, women not only almost always got custody, they also got alimony – on top of child support. That's if they had the wherewithal to leave, of course.
Now what has this to do with the religious ideology apparently now driving both foreign and domestic policy? Plenty.
Consider the systematic attacks on women's rights. From the cynical $100 a month child care pay-off, to the repeated efforts to limit women's reproductive options, to the shutdown of the Court Challenges Program, which allowed women (as well as gays, lesbians, the disabled and other minorities) to fight for equality, the Harper government has been making it more and more difficult for women to gain economic parity with men.
Which is just as the MRA movement wants it. Me Tarzan. You barefoot, pregnant and bringing me a sandwich.
Just last week came word, via The Interim (www.theinterim.com), an anti-choice online publication billing itself as "Canada's Life and Family Newspaper," that, while we weren't looking, the Harper government has been eviscerating the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, formerly known as the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada. Since the Harper government's first minority win in 2006, federal funding has dropped by a whopping – wait for it – 99 per cent.
Which means that prenatal health care, emergency contraception and other maternity-related research and education have been gutted.
Not surprising considering some of the people – excuse me, men – advising Harper who, himself, looks to "God's verdict" rather than, as we have seen lately, the will of the people.
As bloggers such as A Creative Revolution (www.acreativerevolution.ca), Montreal Simon (http://montrealsimon.blogspot.com) and Pushed to the Left (http://pushed left.blogspot.com) have meticulously documented, Harper takes his counsel from the likes of Darrel Reid, the PMO deputy chief of staff and former president of the anti-choice Focus on the Family, as well as the ultra-conservative former Christian educator Paul Wilson, the PMO's director of policy.
No wonder Harper picks and chooses his causes, opting to support women as walking wombs – as I noted last week – rather than as autonomous human beings with more to contribute than babies.
No wonder that men's rights activists, religious or not, have put their faith in a government that would confine women to the cave.
Time they were called out.