My first introduction to Peter MacKay was back in 2003 when he became leader of the progressive Conservative party of Canada partly by making promises that he would not attempt a merger with the then Canadian Alliance party. That promise lasted about 3 months. Later, he showed considerable disrespect to Belinda Stronach after their relationship ended. He is not a man who has ever garnered much respect from me.
Today, The Star newspaper reports on some very disturbing statements from MacKay.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay stunned several lawyers at a meeting in Toronto when he appeared to turn aside a question about the dearth of women and visible minorities on federally appointed courts, saying they just “aren’t applying” for the jobs.
MacKay went on to say women fear an “old boys” network on the bench would dispatch them on circuit work to hear cases in courthouses across a region — a prospect he described as unappealing for women with children at home.
According to people in attendance last Friday, MacKay said that as a new father he understands women’s reluctance to leave their children because, while he didn’t want to downplay the role that fathers play, women have a special bond with their children.
That is just offensive to parents. He’s flat out stating that men don’t have a close enough bond to their children to avoid a job that involves travel, while relegating women to their role as caregivers.
Several of the men and women at the meeting of the Ontario Bar Association’s council described the remarks to the Star variously as “disappointing,” “bizarre,” “frustrating” or “offensive.”
These remarks follow on the heels of him voting against a bill that would support rights for transgender individuals. And we must not forget the new prostitution law that does nothing to protect sex workers and apparently he doesn’t have a grasp of the consequences of the law.
Is MacKay racist and sexist? Just listen to his words and watch his actions, and make the decision yourself.