COLUMN

When gender equality is a bad joke

Allan Fotheringham September 21 1992
COLUMN

When gender equality is a bad joke

Allan Fotheringham September 21 1992

When gender equality is a bad joke

COLUMN

ALLAN FOTHERINGHAM

For some time, those of us who are still sane have had the deep suspicion that too much Constitution-watching can be damaging to the brain. It is quite clear—by watching the lawyers, academics and terribly serious Ottawa pundits who have been making a living off the cottage industry that is Constitution-hatching—that their grey matter has become seriously addled and they have lost all connection with real life.

There are two clear examples of this—not to mention the 47 ancillary examples, apparent to anyone who can recognize a red light at 30 paces. The first is the boggling promise, by several politically correct premiers, that they will make sure—in fact turn into law—that exactly half the new elected senators in the new elected senate shall be of the female persuasion.

The second, proof indeed of premature senility, is the amazing announcement of Quarterback Don Getty that he is retiring from the political gridiron. Brilliant! After threatening to lie down on the carpet and kick his heels in threatening to veto Quebec unless he got his useless Senate, he now decides he will turn himself into a lame duck as the real struggle on a national referendum approaches. A class act. Quite clearly, the Constitution-wrassling has unhinged his upper cranium.

My close friend Mike Harcourt, the premier of almost all of British California, is of the stem pronouncement that he will ensure that three of the six senators dispatched by his province to Ottawa will be female. Now, you must understand, I have taught Premier Mikey almost everything he knows. It took me 15 minutes one Tuesday morning.

This here scribbler nurtured him when he was a junior alderman on Vancouver council, a streetfront lawyer who always maintained he is a socialist while resembling a liberal who has slightly gone astray. Because with his balding head and funny moustache he looks like a smalltown pharmacist, he never frightens anyone and the voters think of him as innocuous.

This here scribbler told Harcourt’s wife one night that her innocuous husband would end up mayor of Vancouver on the way to becoming the provincial head of the NDP and eventually premier of the Wet Coast. She thought I was nuts, which indicates I knew more about her husband than she did.

Now it is Mr. Moustache who is appearing nuts, promising the earnest feminist claque within his party that he will pass a law making sure that the six shiny-new senators in fact will not be elected in a free vote. Three of them, by decree, must be those who wear pantyhose.

This is goofiness supreme. I could name off the top of my head six B.C. women—from Pat Carney to Kim Campbell to Diane Farris to Lana Underhill to Nancy Morrison to Láveme Barnes—who are all brighter than the men they lunch with. Under Premier Goofiness, three of them wouldn’t be eligible before the voters since, if there is a law demanding three females there perforce must be a law demanding three men. Gender equality is the dream of any sensible person, but destined to be laughed out of existence because of such premiers as Harcourt and the terribly logical Bob Rae of Ontario who push it over the brink of common sense. (We note that the third semi-socialist premier in a land where more than 50 per cent of the unwashed—and two-thirds of English-speaking Canadians—are now run by the NDP, Robert Redford Romanow of Saskabush, has not opened his beak on the subject, his constituents being the most politically sophisticated voters in the country, and therefore knowing poppycock when they see it.)

Since we are into nonsense, we have the follicularly disadvantaged Getty, who has never met a golf course he didn’t love, providing prime example of psychic distancing. After threatening to veto any idea of Quebec as a distinct society—and getting his goofy elected

Senate where females, lefthanded people, plumbers, those under five-foot-six and those who can’t ride bicycles will demand their own proportions—he rides off into the sunset on his motorized golf cart, leaving the remains of the confusion to the purse-lipped Presto! Manning who in the accurate words of the PM is such a leader that he had to poll his membership before deciding whether he would support the Anne of Green Gables accord.

It is entirely wrong—the perception by foreigners that this is a dull country, The Great White Waste of Time as Fleet Street calls us. This is a most intriguing country, populated by politicians who are run by thenwives or their secretaries or the third assistant chairperson of the Sexual Equality League, guaranteeing that every second garbage-

person hanging from the back of a truck must possess ovaries.

Premier Getty, running away from a fight he initiated (and delighted the Blocheads of Lucien Bouchard with his intransigence), is of the equal logic with the NDP premiers who think the way to Valhalla is to legislate that in fact there are not differences in experience, in intellect, in common sense among the honorable candidates thrust in front of voters—handing out brochures at the bridge entrances leading to their elections.

It is all due, as mentioned, to Constitution overload, the 11 guys in suits locked up so long with one another over club sandwiches and not enough wine that their eyeballs glaze over and they actually think they are coming down with the Sermon from the Mount.

Someone has to take them out and rough them up a bit, slap them around the chops. The voters, perhaps.