Nov. 18th, 2016

jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
I like to imagine that it went down like this:

"B****, c***, s***, *assorted other slurs aimed at women*"
"Hey! That shit is not acceptable ever, and certainly not when I'm running for the leadership of a political party in the 21st century."
"Oh yeah?!? Well, if you're so thin skinned, why don't you just go over to the party of" *ptui* "respect and tolerance."
"Fine. I'll do that!"
Sandra Jansen has crossed the floor from the Progressive Conservatives (one of Alberta's two right-wing parties - don't let the "progressive" part fool you) to the New Democrats (Alberta's center-left party. Federally they're just plain left, but that doesn't really fly in Alberta, so they've softened some of their stances with regards to the oil and gas industry, hence center-left). She's cited the misogyny she faced while running for the party leadership as the cause. Which makes me wonder at this Damascene conversion, since it's not like they were particularly welcoming to women to start with. I imagine they're fine with women in the clubhouse, provided they never notice or bring up women's issues. I was especially taken with this quote from Jansen:

"The dog-whistle politics that I heard at the PC policy conference were chilling to me: eroding public education, taking away women’s reproductive rights and trying to out gay kids in schools," she said. "It was frightening to see that element."
To which I have to add, I guess you weren't paying attention over the last twenty years.

Forsetti's Justice makes the point that a lot of progressive ideas don't penetrate some people's bubble until it affects them personally. I wonder if that's what happened here.

Being more charitable, Jansen might be one of those people who recognize the problems with their party, but wants to work within it to change things. That happens a lot when there's a de facto one-party system in place, like the PCs had for forty years in Alberta. Ideological wars took place at the riding nomination level, since no one was ever going to elect anyone else. At least until 2015, when Alberta had a choice between the assholes and the losers, and opted for neither.

Was Jansen an in-party reformer, or simply blind to its faults until it affected her personally? I don't know, but I hope she gets a progressive-101 from some of her new caucus. I'm happy she's found a home in the New Democrats. It might be short lived though, since I expect the NDs to fall in the next election unless the price of oil doubles; and that's not exactly in their power to influence.

More generally, I was reminded of Belinda Stronach, another woman who left a right-wing party and moved leftward. And I thought to myself "I wonder if, when women cross the floor, if it's always left-ward. Could there be something about conservative parties that is toxic to women?" This matches my own bias, but I figured I'd better look it up.

There were a few who moved right-ward. In this century, there was only Lise St-Denis (A Layton-ND who crossed to the Liberals after Layton died), and Anne Cools, a liberal senator who moved to the PC party (they later kicked her out for disagreeing with Harper, make of that what you will) before settling as an independent.

Mostly, they stayed still, going to independent status due to disagreements with their own party, or they switch to new parties that are ideologically similar (PC to Wild Rose for example). Of the sixteen since 2000, ten basically didn't move, four moved to the left and two moved to the right. Going back to nineties, there were only four floor-crossers, and they all moved right. Huh. So much for my bias. Politics, and the individuals in them, are too complex to show-horn people into, men or women. Something I need to remind myself of, since stereotypes affect all of us.

Still, the PCs did treat Sandra Jansen horribly. I'd jump ship to if I got that sort of treatment, so I certainly don't hold it against her. I do hope she sees conservative politics for what it is now.


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