Trudeau, not Anand, should have apologized for military misconduct



OTTAWA — Is there a rule I don’t know about requiring women of color to clean up mess caused by white men? Is there a secret encounter of whiteness in hockey games? Is Tim Horton a sponsor?

In another iteration of the ongoing saga of sexual harassment and assault in the Canadian Armed Forces, new Defense Minister Anita Anand held a press conference to apologize to victims of the alleged sex scandal. have no chance of ending soon. Flanked by General Wayne Eyre and Deputy Minister of National Defense Jody Thomas, Anand offered an apology that seemed to show that she understood them. She understood the detrimental effects, ruined lives and broken souls of discrimination based on sex, for sexual misconduct is a pathological method of discrimination and it is systemic. She understood that the military “leadership” left its female and female members – who risk their lives for this country and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is dear to us – to bleed on the sidewalk, figuratively speaking. I’m not going over the ins and outs of this scandal as I’ve written about it before and my colleague Scott Taylor has done a great job of keeping us informed.

“I apologize to you on behalf of the Government of Canada. We need to recognize the pain and trauma that so many have endured because the very institution charged with protecting and defending our country has not always protected and defended its own members, ”said Anand.

Cool, but … why is she apologizing?

Current Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan is pictured in Ottawa on October 27, the day after his removal from the Defense portfolio. Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Former Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan prepared for this from the start, including unleashing a belligerent tirade to appease his ego, and when asked questions to which he should have known the answers at the Defense Committee of the United Nations. Bedroom in the spring of this year, Sajjan protected himself from criticism by using the club of color. “I had a lot of people, a lot of white men, who tried to tell me what my experience was,” he said. “Please don’t do this, don’t define my experience. CTV News continued to report how Sajjan tried to blame former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne, who initially complained to Sajjan. Everyone was to blame except the man in power, Sajjan, and he got away with no responsibility or discipline, because this government is so performative and superficial that it thinks it can survive on just one thing. brand image.

This brings me to the crux of the matter: this government treats women as expendable women and women of color with contempt while claiming the scepter of feminism, but without attacking patriarchy. Make it make sense.

Minister of National Defense Anita Anand, pictured in the West Block on November 8. Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

It’s disgusting to me that the Prime Minister trots Anand like a show pony to apologize for something he’s involved in. This is another example of the glass cliff that women are brought into organizations to clean up mess caused by men. And if you want to be a bit more intersectional, women of color are welcome to clean up the mess white men do. There is a gatekeeper aspect to this phenomenon, as women are always expected to take care of professional housekeeping. And women of color, many of whom came to Canada to do domestic work (I’m thinking of the Caribbean domestic program, which has changed over time to source domestic labor from Asian countries), will be still considered by some to be mothers. And this is how Justin Trudeau treats women of color in his office, like moms who are there to clean up after him and the other men around him. This treatment underlies the oppressive intersection of gender and race, and intersectionality is what this government committed to in its 2020 Speech from the Throne.

It was Trudeau who should have made the apology, not Anand. However, as has been demonstrated time and time again, Trudeau will use women of color to protect him from criticism. Anand is just the latest in a litany of political corpses of women of color who have dared to believe his best actor performances dedicated to diversity, reconciliation, intersectionality and feminism, even if he doesn’t. has accomplished nothing on these fronts.

I had the honor of being seated next to Jean Augustine at The recent Equal Voice Gala celebrating 100 years of women in Parliament, and she spoke about the struggle against patriarchy and a bit of what it was like to be the first black woman to serve in the Federal Cabinet. In the background, Deputy Premier Chrystia Freeland spoke poetically about how far she has come as women, and I wondered if she had even acknowledged the harm her government continues to inflict on women in the CAF.

What would have been different if Freeland had been Prime Minister instead of Trudeau? Answer: nothing. Because Patriarchy ensures that no matter who prepares the meal, the diners are always the same.

Erica Ifill is co-host of Bad + Bitch Podcast.

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