Elizabeth May to Harper

March 26, 2013

Elizabeth MayMr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Langley, as well as the hon. member for Vegreville—Wainwright. As a specific case, may I say this is one of the most important points of privilege I have heard in the brief two years, almost, that I have been serving here? It cuts to the core of what is wrong with parliamentary democracy that the hon. government House leader could put before you a sports metaphor that we are here as teams, as brands or colours, and we are all to take instructions from our team boss.

We are not here as teams. The principle of Westminster parliamentary democracy is that we are here as representatives of our constituencies and our constituents. We are merely incidentally members of political parties. Political parties do not exist in our Constitution. They are not an essential part of our democracy. They have grown to be seen to be the most interesting thing going on, and we have grown to see politics as some sort of sport. However, democracy is not a sport. We are not playing on teams, and each individual member has individual rights, and the members for Langley and Vegreville—Wainwright feel their rights have been infringed.

I would add that I rose on a point of order to you some many months ago on the question of S.O. 31s and the fact that they were increasingly being used for purposes that, while not against our Standing Orders as they are written, are against the spirit of Standing Orders as described by former Speaker Madam Justice Sauvé, who pointed out that they should typically speak to matters of local concern in our constituencies and should not be used as a place for attacks on others, specifically ad hominem personal attacks.

At the time you said you might comment on that later. Perhaps this point of privilege might give you a chance to further elucidate when it is inappropriate for the approved S.O. 31s from the Conservative war room to be very vicious attacks and the ones that members wish to make about the concerns of their own constituents to be censored and prevented from being presented in this place.


Reebok and Rape

Did you hear the new single frou7y66m Rick Ross? In it, the Reebok spokesman and rapper talks about drugging and raping a woman, saying “put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.”1

“Molly” is a popular street drug similar to ecstasy, which is used to distort reality and reduce inhibitions.2 His lyrics aren’t vague, he’s not hinting that he raped a woman–he’s clearly and proudly saying that he drugged and raped a woman who was not capable of consent.

Rick Ross has nearly 3 million Twitter followers3 and is releasing his 6th album this year.4 His last album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 2005–he’s well-known and has a huge following. Now, Reebok is paying him to promote their shoes and their entire brand.6 They’re holding him up as something to aspire to, thereby sending the message that raping a woman is cool–and that’s a dangerous message to send the boys and young men that Reebok markets to.

When a company rewards a man who raps about raping women, that’s promoting rape culture. Reebok needs to know that we won’t stand for this. Will you sign the petition telling Reebok that rape is NEVER okay and they should drop Rick Ross right away? Rick Ross is starting to get a lot of negative press over his song and companies are very sensitive about their brand.7 If we all push Reebok now, while the news is breaking, we can make sure they do the right thing and drop him.

Add your name to demand that Reebok drop Rick Ross.

Lots of blogs and other publications have been calling Ross out for his awful lyrics, including Huffington Post, Ebony, and The Grio.8 Jamilah LeMieux at Ebony explained the problem with his lyrics particularly well:

“What’s so scary about Ross’ line is that this is something that a good number of men and boys actually do… This is not just another terrible rap lyric to be dismissed. This is an important teachable moment for young men, boys and even some full-grown adults who don’t understand consent. Who don’t understand that yes, even the girl who brought the molly and the Magnums to the party can be a victim if she was not able to decide when and how they were used. THIS IS RAPE CULTURE…”9

Rape culture is alive and well in the US. Take, for example, the horrible assault on the 16-year-old girl in Steubenville and the awful coverage of the trial from CNN.10 Or the attacks on rape survivor Zerlina Maxwell for speaking out against the idea that women are responsible for stopping men from raping them.11 Or the fact that only around 2-8% of all rape reports are fabricated, but college students think that half of all reported rapes are fake.12 And Reebok is promoting rape culture by rewarding Rick Ross for glorifying rape with lucrative endorsement deals.

But Reebok isn’t just marketing to young men–they also have a major marketing effort aimed at women consumers. If we can convince them that public outcry over their Rick Ross endorsement will help drive customers straight to their competitors, we’ll show them that it doesn’t pay to support rape culture and they should drop Rick Ross right now.

Add your name.

The Acadian Flycater

Nature Conservancy of Canada Asks you to consider The Acadian Flycater.

Picture the long journey home…weak and hungry, a tiny, olive-green Acadian flycatcher throws himself on the north shore of Lake Erie. He has been flying from South America – for thousands of kilometres – and is just about out of energy. But this songbird is almost finished his journey. He just needs to find a place to build his nest.

flycatcher_sketch_13H3The Acadian flycatcher needs large areas of mature, undisturbed forest to breed. He will search for a tree, hanging over a stream or lake, deep in a vast forest, where insects are plentiful.

And what will he find, when he looks for a suitable place to build his nest? Picture the long journey home…weak and hungry, a tiny, olive-green Acadian flycatcher throws himself on the north shore of Lake Erie. He has been flying from South America – for thousands of kilometres – and is just about out of energy. But this songbird is almost finished his journey. He just needs to find a place to build his nest.

He’ll find that the Carolinian forest he needs is disappearing.

In fact, 90 percent of Canada’s Carolinian forest has already been destroyed, making its protection an urgent priority.

You can help protect the lands that our migratory birds depend on by making a gift today.

Recent estimates counted only 20-30 breeding pairs of Acadian flycatchers scattered through fragmented Carolinian forest in southern Ontario and the forests of southwestern Quebec, making this one of Canada’s most endangered songbirds.

The habitats they rely on for food and safe breeding grounds are disappearing or being altered at an alarming rate.

By protecting these key lands, you can help protect their very chance at survival. That’s why the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) work protecting their habitat is so urgent, and that’s why your gift is so important.

NCC has been working for 50 years to protect natural habitat so that when migratory songbirds come home they’ll have a place to build their nests and raise their young.

Scientists agree that the number one threat to species is habitat loss. NCC addresses that threat in the most direct way possible. We identify the lands and waters that must be saved, we protect them for conservation and we care for them in the long-term. Our work focuses on the long term, and that is what Acadian flycatchers need to survive.

Your gift today will help all Canada’s migratory species, including at-risk birds like the Acadian flycatcher.

Ēostre Easter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ēostre or Ostara (Northumbrian Old English: Ēostre; West Saxon Old English: Ēastre; Old High German: *Ôstara) is a goddess in Germanic paganism who, by way of the Germanic month bearing her name (Northumbrian: Ēosturmōnaþ; West Saxon: Ēastermōnaþ; Old High German: Ôstarmânoth), is the namesake of the festival of Easter. Ēostre is attested by Bede in his 8th-century work De temporum ratione, where Bede states that during Ēosturmōnaþ (the equivalent to the month of April) feasts were held in Eostre’s honor among the pagan Anglo-Saxons, but had died out by the time of his writing, replaced by the Christian “Paschal month” (a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus).

By way of linguistic reconstruction, the matter of a Proto-Germanic goddess called *Austrō has been examined in detail since the foundation of Germanic philology in the 19th century by scholar Jacob Grimm and others. As the Germanic languages descend from Proto-Indo-European (PIE), linguists have traced the name to a Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn *H₂ewsṓs (→ *Ausṓs), from which descends the common Germanic goddess that Ēostre and Ostara are held to descend. Scholars have linked the goddess’ name to a variety of Germanic personal names, a series of location names in England, over 150 2nd century BCE Matronae (the matronae Austriahenea) inscriptions discovered in Germany, and have debated whether or not Eostre is an invention of Bede’s, and theories connecting Ēostre with records of Germanic Easter customs (including hares and eggs) have been proposed. Ēostre and Ostara are sometimes referenced in modern popular culture, and are venerated in some forms of Germanic Neopaganism.

Hares and Freyja

An Easter postcard from 1907 depicting a rabbit

In Northern Europe, Easter imagery often involves hares and rabbits. Citing folk Easter customs in Leicestershire, England where “the profits of the land called Harecrop Leys were applied to providing a meal which was thrown on the ground at the ‘Hare-pie Bank'”, late 19th-century scholar Charles Isaac Elton theorizes a connection between these customs and the worship of Ēostre.[18] In his late 19th-century study of the hare in folk custom and mythology, Charles J. Billson cites numerous incidents of folk custom involving the hare around the period of Easter in Northern Europe. Billson says that “whether there was a goddess named Eostre, or not, and whatever connection the hare may have had with the ritual of Saxon or British worship, there are good grounds for believing that the sacredness of this animal reaches back into an age still more remote, where it is probably a very important part of the great Spring Festival of the prehistoric inhabitants of this island.”

Some scholars have linked customs and imagery involving hares to Ēostre and the Norse goddess Freyja. Writing in 1972, John Andrew Boyle cites commentary contained within an etymology dictionary by A. Ernout and A. Meillet, where the authors write that “Little else […] is known about [Ēostre], but it has been suggested that her lights, as goddess of the dawn, were carried by hares. And she certainly represented spring fecundity, and love and carnal pleasure that leads to fecundity.” Boyle responds that nothing is known about Ēostre outside of Bede’s single passage, that the authors had seemingly accepted the identification of Ēostre with the Norse goddess Freyja, yet that the hare is not associated with Freyja either. Boyle writes that “her carriage, we are told by Snorri, was drawn by a pair of cats — animals, it is true, which like hares were the familiars of witches, with whom Freyja seems to have much in common.” However, Boyle adds that “on the other hand, when the authors speak of the hare as the ‘companion of Aphrodite and of satyrs and cupids’ and point out that ‘in the Middle Ages it appears beside the figure of Luxuria’, they are on much surer ground and can adduce the evidence of their illustrations.”

Words to Escape a Really Bad First Date

“It was so nice to meet a new friend.”
“It was great meeting you. Drive safe.”
“I think you’re great — and I love your sense of humor — but I don’t think we’re a good fit.”
“You know who you should date? My old roommate. She’s a huge Tarantino fan, too!”
“Look at the time…”
“Hi, Julia! Pull up a chair!”
“I’m sorry to do this, but I really have to go.”