Readers respond to contentious columns

Editors, the Gauntlet,

Re: "Platforms should contain more than fiscal policy," Nov. 2, 2000

Election platforms should contain more than just fiscal policy, and indeed the Alliance’s platform does, including issues surrounding health care, economic development, justice, immigration and equality for and among all Canadians. I find it offensive that Ms. Steeves implies that the only way women can achieve high-profile, powerful positions is through affirmative action, whereby a person’s ability to perform the duties entailed in such positions are secondary to that person’s gender. Women shouldn’t need, and don’t need for that matter, special treatment to succeed.

Let’s examine what special treatment accomplishes by looking at some examples of women who occupy key positions in our government not because they are qualified but simply because they are women. Do you really want more Heritage Ministers like Sheila Copps and her GST debacles of 1993, or more HRDC Ministers like Jane Stewart, who lose a billion of your dollars and thought nothing of it? Or maybe you’d like more Justice Ministers like Anne McClellan, whose promises to toughen-up the Young Offenders Act have yet to be kept?

The Alliance calls for an end to affirmative action, and in doing so, an end to a practice that benefits few but hurts many. Success and achievement should and must be based on merit, not on ethnicity or gender in this case. As a government-sponsored form of discrimination, affirmative action is wrong. All Canadians are free and equal; these are fundamental rights that must be respected to ensure fairness and justice for all. Ms. Steeves belittles the achievements of people like myself and other women like Canadian Alliance MPs Diane Ablonczy and Deborah Grey. Both are fine examples of women who have succeeded in politics not because they are women but rather because they are good at what they do.

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