Updated: May 4
Government-funded misogyny is a new low for Canada
We are appalled that the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN) has recently accused Canadian Women’s Sex-Based Rights of hatred and attacked our women’s organization with pejorative terms.
In December 2020, the Department of Canadian Heritage awarded CAHN a contribution valued at over a quarter million dollars. The contribution is to be used to increase the CAHN’s capacity to identify, monitor, and publicly report on the activities of groups, their members and their supporters that CAHN deems to be hateful. CAHN has committed to publishing 30 “explanatory pieces” by March 2022.
It is not difficult to understand how the propaganda produced by CAHN influences public opinion and affects parliamentarians who seek to be perceived as virtuous and inclusive above all else, in spite of whether such propaganda is representative of the truth.
The truth is we are a grassroots, non-partisan network of women and male allies from across Canada who are deeply concerned about the reframing of the word “woman” in law and public policy.
This re-definition of woman as “gender identity or expression” -- rather than adult human female -- has negatively impacted women’s sex-based Charter rights. The erosion of our rights and protections affects women’s ability to freely and fully participate in Canadian society.
While our public education efforts to promote women’s rights have been met with an outpouring of positive responses, and our network grows steadily each month, it is unconscionable that we're now being labelled by CAHN as a “hate group” and “anti-trans.”
It should be noted that recent CAHN articles targeting caWsbar never provide a rationale as to why our position is supposedly “hateful.” They never mention it is women they are ruthlessly targeting and attacking with unfounded slurs of “bigotry” for refusing to be redefined. Indeed, they never state what we’ve actually written or said.
This disingenuous and toxic reaction to our work illustrates that we have a long way to go before women are treated as truly equal members in Canadian society, and viewed as capable of our own thoughts and opinions concerning our material reality.
Since our launch in December 2019, caWsbar has been advocating for the right of women to assemble, protest and establish boundaries as to who can visually and physically access our bodies in places where we find ourselves vulnerable, such as locker rooms, domestic violence and homeless shelters, and prisons. We maintain that women and girls have a right to participate in single-sex sports, and that lesbians have a right not to be coerced into accepting male-bodied persons as romantic and sexual partners.
We assert that we have the right to expect fact-based information and language about our female bodies, as well as accurate statistics on male violence against women, and other sex-specific census data that is crucial to planning and providing social services for women.
caWsbar is committed to engaging in respectful conversations. We believe that all Canadians deserve to be free from discrimination as per the Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- but never at the expense of women's rights and protections.
We have compassion for people who struggle with identity and mental health issues. All Canadians should have access to employment, healthcare, shelter and social supports. This is a highly complex issue that would benefit from thoughtful dialogue with all citizens.
Unfortunately, Canadian women have been actively excluded from this conversation, by both the government and mainstream media. We are now exercising our fundamental democratic right to protest sweeping changes that were made to law and public policy without our consultation. Only when we, as concerned women, are heard, will we move forward in achieving a truly progressive Canadian society where everyone is valued equally.
caWsbar is a principled and diverse group of women from all across Canada and we will continue to speak up for the rights and protections of females -- especially the voiceless and the most vulnerable. Through our ongoing efforts, we stand with women all around the world who are rallying together to advocate for women and girls as fully embodied humans with our own distinct issues, needs and concerns.