As men's rights groups gain influence in Canada, a blogger faces charges for praising Marc Lepine, a man who murdered 14 women (including Anne St-Arneault, whose memorial is above) in an antifeminist massacre.
We've written about men's rights groups in the US and Britain, but at least according to Antonia Zerbisias of the Toronto Star, these groups have a troubling presence in Canada as well. She writes of a bill introduced to Parliament by one "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," which would automatically award equal custody to both parents in a divorce, "regardless of history." Zerbisias writes that men's rights activists (MRAs) back the bill because "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." She's concerned the bill will allow ex-husbands to "continue to exercise control over their ex-wives and children" — a serious issue especially if the bill makes no provision for prior abuse.
Zerbisias also notes that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's policies have harmed women's economic equality in Canada, and that he's no friend to reproductive rights. She points out that federal funding for the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (formerly the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada) has dropped 99 percent under Harper. Noting that many of Harper's advisors are anti-choice right-wingers, Zerbisias writes,
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.
But some in Canada want to do more than that. Blogger Jean-Claude Rochefort has been charged with "uttering threats against women" for his blog praising mass murderer Marc Lepine. Rochefort seeks to elevate Lepine, who claimed his 1989 murders at the the École Polytechnique in Montreal were a stand against feminism, to the status of a "folk hero," even proposing a holiday called St. Marc's Day that would include "Colored lights, candles, ammo belts hung by the gun racks, a picture of St. Marc above the fireplace: decoration of a man's home that make him feel there is hope." Of the women Lepine killed, Rochefort writes,
And when Marc Lépine opens fire, what were these 14 young, pure and innocent girls doing? No doubt they were reading Valerie Solanas' SCUM manifesto and planning a genocide ! Now, if Gendercide becomes kosher at some point and acceptable to those feminists in the feminine studies programs of our universities, then there is no reason why fémicide should not be okay too. If that is so, then Marc Lepine might not have done anything wrong at all? [...]
Who said that those 14 were not Hitler in person? Picking up this gun might have been an act of courage and shooting the Biblical Beast was perhaps the ultimate proof of bravery and personal valour. Marc overcame two taboos in doing it: killing young women (who are supposed to be so pure and innocent), and proclaiming to the world that this was an act of justice beneficial to the male gender.
While elsewhere he claims men are now "indifferent" to women (though "in the 1980s they were so mad at them that they wanted to kill them"), his words do seem like incitement to violence. As a tipster pointed out, the idea of punishing a blogger for his writings isn't all that appealing — but in this case, it might be necessary to keep women safe. Rochefort's blog makes him sound like a Canadian George Sodini, and perhaps his arrest — a judge ruled Thursday that he would remain in custody until the end of the trial — will prevent another gym rampage. At the very least, it's a good sign that a government not always concerned with women's rights is taking this case seriously.
Quebec Judge Calls Postings "Troubling" In Denying Marc Lepine Blogger Bail [Canadian Press]
Marc Lepine [Marc Lepine Blog]
Men's Rights Activists Drive Harper's Policies [Toronto Star]