Ottawa Citizen
Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Skirmish fails to scratch the formidable feminist war machine

Dave Brown
The Ottawa Citizen

Calling themselves humanists, they came from across Canada Saturday to do battle on Parliament Hill against militant feminism. At the end of the day they looked like a patriotic ragtag militia that had fired a few shots at a professional army that paid them no notice.

Nor did the media.

Leading the charge were Senator Anne Cools and MP Roger Gallaway. They are the forces behind demands for changes to the Divorce Act. The cry is that current laws abuse children. They also want to adjust a playing field so tilted that Mr. Gallaway, a lawyer, said: "The system is broken and a disgrace."

The 82 people in the room, 32 of them women, had no argument with that. The veterans among them also know it's going to get worse.

The war machine that is the feminist movement is better organized and it has something the humanists don't: weapons. Money is the armament in this war and the humanists don't have any. Only women's issues are funded. Universities collect millions for women's studies. There are no men's studies. Nor should there be. It would only feed the idea that men and women should be warring against each other.

The only way to end this war is to convince political leaders feminist issues have been studied to death and it's time to stop the funding. Problem is, the militants now have members placed throughout the highest levels of leadership and cutting the supply line is near to impossible.

With billions of armament-dollars at stake, the feminist fighters need to identify an enemy to keep it flowing. The money is turned into studies that make the same claim over and over. Man bad. Woman good. It's now at a point one can find studies studying the results of other studies. One of the things that makes them so successful is that they read like mind-numbing Marxist tracts and the money-givers don't read them.

Toronto lawyer Walter Fox fired some of the best shots Saturday when he focused on the rapid expansion of domestic violence courts in Ontario. "This is a tearing of the fabric," he said. He explained that there are no protections in those courts, such as presumption of innocence and burden of proof. He called them "scary and pre-fascist and could lead us someplace really terrible."

He warned that men have to start believing a basic slogan: "Shout at your spouse and lose your house." The definition of violence is now so broad that if a woman complains she has been frightened, he goes to jail. Getting back into the home can take months unless he agrees to plead guilty to assault.

Family courts aren't much better, said Vancouver lawyer Carey Linde. He told of a case where a 27-year-old man sued his father and won $1,000 a month to pursue his dream of a doctorate. He reminded the gathering that 14 is the age of consent for sex. "Only in Canada are children treated as adults and adults as children."

Winnipeg psychologist Reena Sommer described herself as "a recovering researcher." She said her study of the silliness in the domestic abuse business became so distressing she decided to give it up. She described a case of "histrionic personality disorder" in which a woman had her husband arrested eight times. By the time the courts got it right he had sole custody of the children but had lost his business and his $200,000 annual income.

Many talked about an as-yet-unreported epidemic of male suicides, but with no money to study men's issues it's a hard one to prove. Ms. Cools said a desperate man recently found his way to her office seeking fairness; he committed suicide within a few weeks. She asked: "How can a man making $12 an hour be expected to pay $250 an hour to a lawyer?"

Delegates found some relief in laughter through social policy expert Martin Loney, who introduced himself as "a closet knuckle-dragger." His presentation was funny and effective. Unfortunately, that style doesn't come through in his book, The Pursuit of Division, Race Gender and Preferential Hiring in Canada.

As the day ended, a men's counsellor from Quebec shouted a question at Ms. Cools. What was he supposed to tell men back home he's certain are about to commit suicide?

The senator offered assurance she believes "the ground is shifting."

Artillery does that.

Dave Brown is the Citizen's senior editor. Send e-mail to dbrown@thecitizen.southam.ca Read previous columns at www.ottawacitizen.com

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