Friday, January 26, 2007

Stelmach cares about women, see?

Iris Evans is now responsible for women's issues in this province.

She has battled her way through the male-dominated political realm and has been praised for doing so by both genders. Her mandate? To help Alberta women achieve their goal of full participation in the social, cultural and economic life of the province. Objectives include the betterment of women's lives by addressing gender discrimination, family violence and bullying. She has also been encouraging mroe women to enter the field of politics, stating that it is a "noble profession".

Apparently there was a conference this week called "Be on the Ballot: Women Impacting Local Government" which consisted of sessions that covered the spectrum of considerations for women interested in running for office. Guest speakers hailed from every level of government, including Iris Evans, Anne McLellan, and mayor of Wood Buffalo, Melissa Blake.

Oh how I wish I had known about this sooner, it would have been hugely interesting.

Actually, I really wish that I had found out about that conference earlier, it would have been amazing to attend. Strong women who believe in strong policies? Check. Check. Mentors, yes. Inspirational, uh huh.

The Books on the Bus (..go 'round and 'round)

Ah but the ride to/from work on the 1 is slightly longer than enjoyable, however, it does provide quite the opportunity to get some reading into my busy little life. What I have read on the bus thus far in 2007, in case you're looking for recommendations or something.

1. For One More Day -- Mitch Albom

Easy read, light but still thoughtful... not altogether different from The Five People You Meet in Heaven/Tuesdays with Morrie.

2. Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace -- Gordon MacKenzie

Brilliant. The importance of keeping your own creativity when in an organization rather than merely giving into to all of the corporate hoopla. Gift from a former Environment Minister, very easy to relate to organizations such as government(though the author talks about his experiences at Hallmark).

3. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West -- Gregory Maguire

This book was pretty good. I'm not usually into books which contain made up species and stuff like that, but because of the connection with the Wizard of Oz and because of all the buzz around it, I read it. And I liked it. It definitely provides a different perspective with some interesting plot twists. More importantly, it provides some compassion for the poor witch. Oh Elphaba!

4. Moral Disorder -- Margaret Atwood

Atwood is one of my guiltier pleasures. This book was okay, though no Blind Assassin or Handmaid's Tale.

Breaking news: Graduate Students? Not real people!

Overheard on the bus ride home last night:

Pretentious girl #1: "I just don't know how to talk to real people anymore. You know, those people who aren't graduate students."
Pretentious girl #2: "I know, so many people our age have real jobs! It's crazy! Once I get my PhD though, I'll be able to do anything."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Examples the West being so very different from Ontario #389

The job market in Ontario is close to impossible. Hundreds of candidates battle it out for low-paying jobs. However... in Yellowknife, an employer is attempting to recruit workers from the drunk tank.

Yes, Yellowknife is not Alberta, but things are pretty crazy here too. I've had friends that have been visiting and they've been offered full-time jobs. Help wanted signs are everywhere. Companies offer English as a Second Language training in the workplace. They fly people in and accomodate them from Sri Lanka. They fly over Japanese students in attempts to lure them into moving their post-graduate lives to this province. Workers make the demands and the employers jump through hoops to attract and retain skilled workers. Madness, I tell you.

Incredibly awesome madness. The opportunities really are endless.

Speaking of the arts...

... this is the absolute coolest photography ever. Love, love, love.

Commercials as the main event?

Tonight I'll be here.

It's the opening night for the World's Hottest Commercials, fundraiser for the Edmonton International Film Festival. Tonight, complimentary beer and pizza -- oh sweet love of all that is holy! $20 at Tix on the Square. Otherwise, check it out at a later date (it runs until February 8).

Date with the Night

Ah, Date night last night.

It's been a while since I've been out and about and going on dates... which is probably why I agreed to go on this one in the first place. However, it merely convinced me of two things I already knew:

1) Dude was really nice and everything went fine, but I'm just not that into him.
2) I really am not a fan of dating.

I'm surrounded by girls who tend to measure themselves with the amount of interest that accumulates around them and I'm just not one of these. In my girl-power, independent woman way, I'm entirely alright with not having a boyfriend or anything. My last uber-serious relationship ended because I got sucked into it and forgot what I wanted out of life... hell, if I was still in it, I would still be living around London (Ontario, not UK). I'm so much better off out here, knowing what I want, working towards my own happiness.

Lately, I've been trying to explain this to Kik, one of the sisters. At 18, she seems to think that if she doesn't have a boyfriend, she's undesirable. Please! There are so many beautiful, intelligent women out there making themselves crazy over the male population. I'd rather just go with the flow and ride that wave when it hits.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Calling all Edmontonians!

The Canadian Cancer Society is holding it's annual Relay for Life event this year at Foote Field on the University campus on May 25, 2007 from 7 p.m. to May 26, 2007 at 7 a.m.

Get your family and friends together and create your own team on the Canadian Cancer Society website.

Relay is an absolutely incredible event. It is a celebration of survival and a tribute to the lives of loved ones who have been touched by cancer. Come, take part in the twelve hours of fun, friendship and fundraising to beat cancer. Don't judge it by the name, you don't have to be a runner to relay. Relay consists of teams of ten (give or take), it's very non-competitive and the survivor victory lap and the luminary ceremony, where candles are lit in rememberance or in celebration of those who have fought this horrible disease, are absolutely awe-inspiring.

There was an estimated 153,100 new cases of cancer and 70,400 deaths to occur in Canada in 2006. On average, 2,944 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer every week. On average, 1,354 Canadians will die of cancer every week. Based on current incidence rates, 38% of Canadian women will develop cancer during their lifetimes. Among men, 44% will develop cancer during their lifetimes.

Sign up for Relay for Life and join us in the fight against cancer. Together, we can make cancer history.

I have a vagina! Vote for me!

Ah those women from my undergrad Feminist Philosophy courses would be at my throat if they knew how I was feeling right now.

I am frustrated with all the talk of women in politics and people scandalizing the number of women in the Stelmach cabinet. There are two women in cabinet. Two very capable women. I know little of Janis Tarchuk but I do know that Iris Evans is an absolutely astounding, very high energy, very smart woman. However, I hate the fact that these women are generally not seen for the things that they have done or that they have the ability to do... but rather, some people are more interested in anatomy. Yes, it is good that women are participating more in the political sphere but the reality is that there are still far more men. More men have experience in politics, more men run for office. Anatomy is simply not a reason to vote (or not vote) for someone.

I watched the Liberal leadership convention. Early on in the race, Martha Hall Findley was doing very well. Though not as experienced as the others, she has fresh ideas and is incredibly smart and charismatic. However, at the convention, she made me angry when she called on women to vote for her because it's time for a woman leader of the Liberal party. Because it's time for an [elected] woman Prime Minister. Personally, I wanted to hear about her great ideas for the country and the direction in which she would take us if she was elected. Not that she should be elected because she's a woman.

Maybe it's my own idealism speaking, but I agree heavily with John Stuart Mill. He wrote in The Subjection of Women that women should be allowed to do anything that men are allowed to do and society benefits when the disenfranchised are able to share their talents with others without constraint. In any job, society benefits when the best person for the job is hired. People should not be thought good for a position due to race, gender or creed but due to their qualifications and what they have the ability to do in that role. We shouldn't hold people back due to their race or gender, but we shouldn't promote them solely for those reasons either. To me, it seems hippocritical. Old white men shouldn't get elected because they are old white men, but women and minority groups should get elected because they are women and minorities? I fail to see the logic.

I know that women are underrepresented in politics. However, I believe that no one benefits when we elect a woman merely for the sake of her being woman, just as no one benefits from a man being hired because he is a man. Women should be encouraged to participate in this sphere if that is what they wish to do. My main problem is that if any of the other candidates at the leadership convention stood up and said, "vote for me, because I am a man!" there would have been an uproar. And yet, no one thinks anything of it when a woman does the same thing? Honestly!

For the record, I'm all for women in politics. I am just very against the direction feminism has taken.

On a different note, an analysis/defence of the cabinet shuffle which I quite agree with can be found on the Enlightened Savage's page under his entry entitled Introducing Ed Stelmach as "Fallout Boy".