Skip to main content

Update: Slacktivist to Abolitionist

Remember the time I emailed my MP about human trafficking and the sex trade here in Canada? (Here's why I did it.)

Well. Last Thursday, I got an email from her assistant; would I be available for a phone call with Dr. Bennett tomorrow at 10:30am? No…but after 12:30? 1:40 it is.

A personal phone call. From my MP. I was a bit nervous, let me tell you. I am not politically savvy. I am not well-informed. And people in positions of authority intimidate me.

Then I realized that BillC-310, the specific bill I’d mentioned in my email, was being debated at 1:30pm that Friday. Wait a second! I thought, If she’s talking with me, she can’t be at the debate! That seems counter-productive…

And then she called. And I was nervous. And it was fine.

Here are the take-aways from our phone call:

  1. Ending human trafficking should be a non-partisan issue.
  2. Human-trafficking & the victimization of women and children through the sex trade is a multi-faceted, complex issue.
  3. The solutions to these problems lay in the intersection of legislation, enforcement, and awareness-building. I need to be pro-actively considering my responsibilities as an awareness-builder, even as I call on my legislators to do their part.
  4. My MP is listening and encouraging community engagement and involvement on the issues that matter.

I will admit, I hold onto a level of uncertainty about how much impact my one voice can have. But I do feel that I’ve established an initial connection with my MP, and that Dr. Bennett is, at the very least, amenable to hearing more from me and open to being involved in a round-table event in our community. I also feel that she was gracious with my lack of political savvy (I’m not sure whether I am less-informed than the average Canadian or whether an MP, after years of public service, simply speaks a language I am not remotely fluent in).

As the Critic for Aboriginal Affairs, Dr. Bennett has some keen concerns about trafficking and victimization of women within our own borders, and I was reminded that we (as a nation) have failed aboriginal peoples in so many ways… this is a related and tragic vein of thought that opens up an entirely separate, complex and massive area in which I would like to see growth and change…

It turns out she was in the House while calling me (how does that work??); shortly after we spoke, the House passed Bill C-310 and it’s on to the Senate. And the federal government is appealing the Ontario ruling regarding legalizing prostitution, so things are happening.


Problem-solving on a national level is never simple and threatens to overwhelm me today. But I can do a small part, and if all of us do just that much, I believe it would add up to significant change, increased safety for vulnerable people, and perhaps even get us closer to justice.

Comments

Laura said…
This is awesome!! I truly believe that the majority of people who go into politics actually want to do a good job, serve their constituents and see things change for the better. It just gets messy after a while.
Wow. Great job, Beth. I'm encouraged and inspired to speak up for things I am passionate about and that need to be said - whether or not I feel that I'm the most knowledgeable about all things surrounding these issues.
vanman91 said…
You are more informed and articulate than many of your peers and have chosen your isues with care and sensitivity. Keep up the good work (and pressure)!

Popular posts from this blog

5 Rules for Being a (North) American Adult or No One Wants You to Love Yourself

5 Rules for Being a (North) American Adult
(paraphrased from a lecture by Anne Lamott, whose priest friend shared them with her many years ago)

1. Have it all together. 2. If you don't have it all together, fix whatever is broken in you so that you do have it all together. 3. If you can't fix whatever's broken, pretend that you have. 4. If you can't pretend to be fixed, don't show up - it's a bit embarrassing to the rest of us. 5. If you do decide to show up broken, at least have the decency to be ashamed of yourself.
--
We are encultured towards self-loathing and self-avoidance. 
Be perfect. Do it all, do it right.  If you can't be better, pretend you are. Don't look any deeper. Keep busy. Keep your chin up. Keep up appearances.
It takes so much energy. It takes too much energy.
--
What would happen if I just loved myself? is the question I have been asking since my last post.
It's the question I hear when I see photos of lovely fat ladies who refuse…

Fostering FAQ: How Can You Say Goodbye?

It seems I finally have something(s) to say... Here's the first in a short (or maybe long?) series on Fostering FAQs. If you've got a question to add, feel free to comment/email/text/message me and maybe the next post will be in response.

--

8:30 am on Day 4 of parenting. I woke up in a panic two hours ago because I remembered that there is a baby and I am responsible for her (at least at 6:30am, when the man beside me will snore through anything). Now, I have put on clothes and eaten breakfast. The dogs are walked, there is a loaf of banana bread in the oven. My tea is steeping. Most importantly, Dream Baby is already down for her first nap.

Despite my morning efficiency, I'm already beginning to see that even with the happiest, most easygoing, and smiliest baby, like we somehow managed to be given, parenting is a grind. On Friday night, I couldn't join friends for $5 pints at a local joint. Instead, I blearily washed the same 8 bottles again, and then made another ba…

Fostering FAQ: How Long Will She Stay/Will You Adopt Her?

Our first foster baby came with about 18 hours notice; it was respite care, which means we had him for a few days while his regular foster family had a break/dealt with a family emergency. He stayed 3 nights, long enough to come to church and have a dozen people cooing over his little sleeping cheeks.  With each new visitor to our quiet corner, I explained again that he would be going back to his foster family the next day.

Barely a week later, we got a 9am phone call with a fostering request and by the same afternoon, we were snuggling her. This time, we had her for 4 days before church came around. Again, our community was keen to see the little one we had in tow. Again, the question, "How long will she stay?" And this time, "Are you going to adopt her?"

--

Here in Toronto, when a child is placed in foster care, it is always for an indefinite length of time. It depends on the parents' situation, and whether they are able to make a safe home environment for th…