Monday, November 27, 2006

Belinda and Judy.....Liberal Defenders of the Sisterhood.

By now many of you are familiar with this article from the venerable G&M. Some of the most interesting text:

The federal Liberal women's caucus is accusing the Conservative government of trying to keep females “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen,” saying the government is pursuing an ideological agenda that ignores women's needs and cuts funding to those who need help the most.

The Liberal women released a set of party policies Monday aimed at what they say are the most pressing social and economic issues facing Canadian women, particularly working women and their families, caregivers and seniors.

Improving the social and economic equality of women is the driving force behind the first volume of what the Liberals are calling their “Pink Book.”

The document is the product of cross-country working sessions with women and women's groups held last July, and is slated to be part of the party's election platform.

The recommendations are also aimed at countering what Belinda Stronach, chair of the Liberal women's caucus, described as the Conservative government's “attack” on women's progress.

The recommendations include commitments to reinstate the Liberal child-care and early-learning plan the Tories scrapped after the last election; to reverse budget cuts to social programs and Status of Women; to develop a national caregiver agenda; to provide more benefits to the self-employed, and to secure equal pay for work of equal value.

Judy Sgro said it's not so much the dollars as the message the Tory cuts send.

“I think Harper and his Conservative government, based on their policies, would clearly prefer women would stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and move us backwards 40 years,” she said.

Now I must applaud Belinda and Judy on the brilliant imagery utilized in naming their report the "Pink Book". The intelligence required to associate empowered women with all things pink is positively breathtaking! Given Judy's propensity to empower women through the fast tracking of immigration "stripper permits" I'm sure the published "Pink Book" will be bound in hot pink spandex with handy velcro fasteners.

Some insights into Judy's plan to empower women through the exotic arts:

Sgro has consistently come under attack in the House of Commons over her office's decision to extend a residence permit to a Romanian stripper, and Ottawa's controversial program to allow foreign strippers to get special work visas.

"I deny any allegation," of wrongdoing, Sgro told the House Friday during question period.

Alina Balaican received the ministerial permit three days before the June 28 federal election, which returned the Liberals to power with a minority government.

Sgro said Balaican was allowed to stay under "humanitarian grounds." She said Balaican was "an individual married to a Canadian citizen, working in an industry that she no longer wanted to work in."

When asked about how the case was handled, Sgro said she'd do it "again today."

As for the fact that Balaican worked on Sgro's re-election campaign, Sgro told Canada AM had no knowledge of that.

"I wasn't even aware of the fact that she had worked on the campaign," she explained.

"I had vertigo -- very bad -- for most of the summer. For the last two weeks of the campaign I was not in the campaign office."

The matter has been referred to the ethics commissioner, Bernard Shapiro.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper accused the federal Liberals of "breathtaking hypocrisy" for allowing the import of strippers, while complaining about sexual exploitation.

Sgro also has come under fire over a meeting in a Toronto strip club at which her chief advisor, Ihor Wons, discussed visa requests with the owner. That owner donated $5,500 to Liberal coffers.

"My staff went and met with the owners of one of these strip clubs," Sgro told Canada AM. "He paid a courtesy call at the request of a friend, met with him, told him that they couldn't do anything for them," she said.

"That was the end of the issue."

As it turns out it wasn't the end of the issue and poor Judy was forced to resign. On a happier note Judy was later exonerated by then ethics commissioner Bernard ( I never met a Lib I couldn't clear) Shapiro.

As an aside Judy, I've found that when one spends extended amounts of time subjected to strobe lights and disco balls it's best to wear shades to avoid those nasty bouts of vertigo.

On the other hand Belinda takes a much different approach to supporting her sisters in arms.

A few pertinent clips to set the stage:

In some dish'n'dirt quarters, the alleged romantic alliance of Tie Domi and Belinda Stronach has been tacitly framed as Beauty and the Beast: Except she's no flaming beauty and he's no Neanderthal beast.

The accused Other Woman, she is a compelling combination of blond ambition, moneyed privilege, political inconstancy and suspect judgment, with a very public trail of intimate relationships gone bad behind her.

But the least-known protagonist in this alleged three-way tango of love and betrayal and anguish is The Wife, Leanne Domi.

A Mrs. of 13 years standing who has, already once before, forgiven her husband for what she says was a previous infidelity, on the promise that he would never again hurt her like this.
"If it wasn't for my husband's affair with Belinda, we wouldn't be getting a divorce," Leanne told the Star in an interview last night.

"We were happily married. If not for Belinda, I think we still would be happily married. But he's no longer my husband and he will never be my husband again."

It would be sexist to portray Stronach as some kind of man-eater who's now got her French-manicured talons into Domi, small-town boy made spectacularly good. By this point in the evolution of the sexes, surely women are just as entitled to their appetites and assignations as men. But the optics are lousy when a family goes bust because of it, and even more so for an elected politician who depends on the fealty of voters, one who — the irony is withering — is chair of the Liberal women's caucus.

Stronach appears singularly lacking in sisterly sympathies whilst also something of a balls-crusher, at least on the evidence of discarded, sad-eyed Peter MacKay — oh, we felt his pain! — dumped simultaneous with the Member from Newmarket-Aurora crossing the floor from Conservatives to Liberals, on the eve of an election no less. Her allegiances, like her love, are fickle.

This from the second Belinda link:

A decade before Belinda Stronach met Tie Domi, she had an affair with another ex-Maple Leaf, Jerome Dupont, his ex-wife says.

"It's obviously a pattern for her, but I don't think it should be used against her and her ability as a politician," says Caroline Dupont, who has two children, aged 15 and 17, with the former Leaf.

So to summarize......the Chair of the LPC Women's caucus seems to have a demonstrated appetite for other women's husbands. Her co-chair seems to have no problem with executive staff members seemingly brokering "stripper work visas" with strip club owners.

Hmmmmmmm. Methinks these hardworking Lady Liberal MPs seem to have something other than female constituents on their minds with the strategic release of the "Pink Book".

What could that be? Ahhh yes....they are in fact Liberal MPs.....sooo the answer could only be POWER for the sake of POWER!!!!

Check this out:

Judy Sgro has endured the gentle arm-twisting from her caucus colleagues, even rebuffed the offers of prominent positions within the leadership camps.

And now as one of the few MPs who haven't endorsed a Liberal leadership candidate, she's a rarity going into this week's convention in Montreal, which runs from Tuesday to Saturday.

I think everybody I know on the different camps has called," Sgro said.
And it's not just Sgro's vote the various leadership organizers hope to grab but also the dozen of undeclared delegates from her York West riding.

"I wanted to take my time and look at the various people, some of them I did not know very well. I just didn't feel there was a need for a rush," said Sgro, a former immigration minister.

So Judy and the delegates she controls are uncommitted! I wonder who Belinda has declared support for? Let's see!

Most other Liberal MPs have already declared their support for one of the leadership candidates. And among MPs from Greater Toronto, Michael Ignatieff is the big winner, getting endorsements from a dozen politicians, including former cabinet ministers John McCallum and Jim Peterson.

Gerard Kennedy, who quit as Ontario's education minister for his leadership run, has the backing of seven MPs, including Dan McTeague and Navdeep Bains.

Bob Rae has the support of four MPs and St├ęphane Dion can count on three Toronto-area MPs. But former cabinet ministers Joe Volpe and Ken Dryden didn't have much luck wooing the their caucus colleagues — Volpe has just two endorsements; Ken Dryden has none.
(As the party's interim leader, Toronto Centre MP Bill Graham has pledged to remain neutral in the contest.)

Just four local MPs remain on the fence, including Belinda Stronach and Sgro, who thinks that, after the ups and downs of the leadership campaign, some of her colleagues may regret making endorsements so early.

So there it is soul sisters!!!! Belinda and Judy are two of the only four undeclared Liberal MP's from the GTA. I suggest the timing of the release of this so-called "Pink Book" is really about oldschool, backroom, ball busting, old boys politics.

It would seem that Judy and Belinda have set themselves up as kingmakers at the upcoming LPC Leadership Convention.

That might explain the overblown rhetoric. To butcher a line from an old joke .....

"That's no lady that's my MP"


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