Today’s article will be short and sweet, asking a simple question- does Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry misunderstand the workings of democracy, or is she just a grandstanding political hack? This of course is a trick question, our political system eventually turns most of our representatives into hacks. And, unfortunately, this leaves many unabashed to twist the meaning of democracy for political gain.
Yesterday Fry made a posting on her Facebook page complaining about a poll Conservative MP Jim Hillyer included in his government funded flyer where he asked his constituents their opinion on his standing on abortion. Fry’s criticism was that Hillyer was “spending taxpayer’s dollars on this garbage”. Huh?
Fry, obviously, disagrees with Hillyer views on abortion. I don’t share Hillyer’s position either, and I welcome Fry’s contribution to countering it. That said, there are issues that are more important to me than the abortion debate- one that’s most important is that we need more honesty and less dirty tricks. One of the most fundamental parts of being a politician is to understand what’s important to your constituents. Newsletters are one of the most common tools MPs use to communicate with their constituents, they often include polls. It’s disingenuous (or just plain dumb) to say it’s a waste of money for an MP to poll their constituents.
Fry also used Twitter to share her criticism, sending two consecutive tweets- one that included @JimHillyerMP, and one that didn’t. One of the main differences between the two was that the tweet without Hillyer’s address invoked his gender, labelling him “yet another male Conservative MP”. Once again, this is entirely disingenuous- the pro-life movement is supported by as many women as it is men. It’s also a great example of shameless gender-baiting.
Cheap tricks Hedy, people see through this crap- it only ends up hurting the movement. And, if you’re so deeply concerned about MP spending, can you explain why you had the fourth highest MP expense account in 2013?
“Consider the Source” Dear Hedy was the same out to lunch MP that saw burning crosses in Prince George years ago!! The KKK never made it to that neck of the woods
“One of the most fundamental parts of being a politician is to understand what’s important to your constituents”. True enough. But, did you read the questions? If you honestly want to find what your constituents think, this truly is a garbage “survey”. The wording of the questions makes the answers opaque. This is a survey worded by someone who intends to get opaque answers that he can reinterpret to fit and support his own agenda.
To begin with, you don’t start questions with “Do you agree with me that… ” if your goal is actually to get people’s opinions. And you don’t ask questions worded in a negative sense, which could be clearer if worded directly.
Someone seems to have composed the survey to the following brief:
(a) Come up with a couple of questions about abortion, contrived and constructed so as to obtain the maximum possible number of ‘yes’ answers (with ‘yes’ being in the anti-choice direction), and at the same time, make it clear that Mr Hillyer opines in the ‘yes’ direction.
(b) Given that questions arising from (a) will of course be worded so that a ‘yes’ answer could arise from any number of quite different positions on the actual issue (or, on other issues), it would of course be very useful to ask two or three further questions in that direction (e.g, “do you feel that health care in general is a human right?”). BY NO MEANS ask such questions. Can’t be clouding the water with useful information about what’s actually important to constituents, when we can instead just have numbers to wave around and say “All these people are on my side!”
Except that they are entitled to agree or disagree with Mr Hillyer, or sent him an email, phone his office, or write him a letter by post if they don’t like the survey. So let me ask you a clear question since you believe that Mr Hillier’s questions. Do you believe that government should use tax dollars to pay for abortions in other countries? Do you believe that paying for abortions in other countries is the best use of foreign aid, given all of the other public health issues one encounters in the developing world? Keep in mind that in many of the countries to which Canada offers foreign aid do not allow abortion at all, by law!. Are you suggesting that Canada’s foreign aid agencies commit what amounts to a criminal act in these countries, in the name of social advocacy?
My chief issue with most abortion advocates is not that you disagree with the other side, it’s the fact that you will not tolerate any debate at all. So it isn’t Mr Hillyer’s position that bothers you it’s the fact that he has dared raise the issue. The fact that there are numerous alternative means of birth control that are inexpensive, effective, with minimal health risks, and minimal ethical concerns seems to be brushed aside. Then of course you will segue into debating from the extreme, such as if an unwanted pregnancy was initiated through rape or incest, even though 99% or more are not.
Hedy Fry is a well noted moron, has been for as long as she’s been in public office, how she became a doctor of any sort is beyond comprehension, even a diploma mill would not hold teh bar that low. Curious how she being of West Indian origin is supporting the position of Margaret Sanger, a notorious eugenicist and founder of Planned Parenthood, who once advocated the elimination of the negro race.
Wow, all these views and positions I didn’t know I had until you pointed it out to me…
“… you will not tolerate any debate at all. So it isn’t Mr Hillyer’s position that bothers you it’s the fact that he has dared raise the issue.” Wrong, and wrong. It’s the fact that he’s ‘raised it’ in an a very indirect and muddled way, likely with an intent to get a survey result which he can then misrepresent as ‘opposition to abortion’. And, as I’m sure you’re aware, people who ‘don’t like this survey’ will almost invariably ignore it, since there’s clearly little point in asking Hillyer to change it.
You want to have a debate about abortion? Then go ahead. Raise the issue directly, don’t beat around the edges of it and deliberately muddle it with other issues such as foreign aid, the laws of other countries, and the overlap between health care and ‘human rights’. If you find that the conversation doesn’t go the way you want, it may be because most people don’t agree with you; that we’ve had this conversation decades ago, and it was settled then, and still most people don’t agree with you. Is that ‘refusing to have a debate’? It’s likely you will encounter a fair number of people who are just plain tired of refuting the same viewpoint and its frequent misrepresentations and distortions and appeals to irrationality, so allow for that before judging ‘refusal to have a debate’. Also, make an effort to understand the positions of other people, and discuss those positions, instead of making stuff up and then telling them what they really think.
Remember that you are still perfectly free to not have an abortion.
Birth control, properly used, still doesn’t always work. Am I now ‘debating from the extreme’? Also, bringing up rape & incest is not ‘debating from the extreme’ when the anti-choice position doesn’t allow for those cases, is it?
Your ad hominem against Fry is irrelevant, I didn’t quote her or build on anything she said, only on the Hillyer survey.