What does Nancy know?

Okay, back to today’s gloriously blunt-spoken, curt and crusty remarks from conservative senator Nancy Ruth.  Glorious?  Huh!??   I know I know, people are mad, and I might be too if this friendly advice to “shut the fuck up” had been delivered by just about anyone other than such a longtime proponent of womens’, LGBT and other human rights.

Ruth made the remarks in question as she addressed a meeting of international development aides still clamouring for abortion to be included in Canada’s G8 maternal health initiative. While many took exception to her bluntness, some did a doubletake and said “Waitaminute”:

Stop shooting the messenger and pay attention to the message, A message based on insider information.

Yes.  There might be a reason that the senator didn’t want to nuance her message.  Her ominous suggestion there would be a “backlash” if the abortion issue was pushed in the G8 context didn’t come across to me as a threat, but a warning.  A warning from someone who’s in a position to know a lot more than we do about what kind of political gamesmanship the CPC might be considering for this dire and desperate election year.

It doesn’t matter that Stephen Harper generally responds to the abortion issue by doing a 180 and hotfooting it like he’s being run down by rabid wolverines.  The next election is likely Harper’s last kick at the can, and desperate times call for desperate measures.  I wouldn’t trust him — would you?  I wonder if Nancy Ruth does.

More importantly, I wonder what Nancy Ruth knows.

11 Responses to “What does Nancy know?”


  1. 1 ck Monday, May 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Her warning / threat just confirmed what I already knew. Go to my place, I have a 3 year old Dean DelMastro speech pretty much giving Harpercon intention if given a majority.

    I don’t know why so many don’t believe that Brother Steve would do that and so many more hideously unspeakable deeds if unleashed with a majority.

  2. 2 Niles Monday, May 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Ms JJ, all I know is, I’ve been through bullies of several degree and the one thing they have in common is, if you shut the fuck up and let them get away with what they want, it doesn’t matter. They’ll do what they want anyway. And it always gets WORSE until they’re stopped or you fight free of their control. If you’re going to go down bloody anyway, at least go down fighting.

    Senator Ruth might have the best of intentions, and she might be scared, but if Harper really has the power to make it WORSE for women’s rights if they don’t toe his line…stop him here and stop him now and stop him hard.

  3. 3 Calgal Monday, May 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Woohoo! Abortion caravan!

  4. 4 David B. Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 3:18 am

    To be honest, I’d never heard of Nancy Ruth before this brouhaha. However if she is such an outspoken advocate of women’s rights (and others) then what the hell is she doing sitting as a Con with this lot in the lower house? If she really wanted to help she’d cross the floor or sit as an independent.

  5. 5 smelter rat Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 3:44 am

    What David B said.

  6. 6 Reality.Bites Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Nancy Ruth is from an old Ontario PC family and has always been something of a loose cannon. She is the sister of former Ontario Lt. Governor Hal Jackman and the daughter and granddaughter of MPs.

    She dropped her last name and adopted her middle name as a surname in the 1990s (no reason was announced publicly).

    She was appointed to the Senate by Paul Martin as a Progressive Conservative (not a Conservative), one would imagine primarily as a means to embarass Stephen Harper. She did join the Conservative Party in 2006. She claims credit for the proposed changes to O Canada earlier this year.

    From what I’ve read about her over the years, she’s always struck me as a rather inconvenient person to have as one’s ally or opponent.

    I haven’t a clue whether this was intended as an off-the-record warning to pro-choice people that it’s best to lie low, or said in the knowledge it would get out, in the hopes it would blow up in Harper’s face.

  7. 7 JJ Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    ck – Call me a conspiracy nut, but the more I think about this, the more my takeaway is that there are already things in motion that will ensure abortion is eventually included in the Mat Health initiative. What Ruth might have been trying to convey is that going full-metal protest mode might corner Harper and that could be dangerous.

    For all we know, Harper may have intended to capitulate on it all along — but meanwhile he got to dog whistle his base AND position himself as a frugal fiscal conservative AND embarrass Iggy with that motion that he couldn’t even get his own caucus to vote for.

    I don’t seriously believe that Harper wants to go to an election with this issue on the agenda, but if he’s cornered like a rat and could figure out a way to use it to his advantage, who knows.

    With regard to MPs speaking at the march for life, I wouldn’t worry about it — there is almost always an MP or 3 there, both conservative and liberal. I wouldn’t assume any of them are speaking for their entire party — they’re speaking for their own personal beliefs, which they have a right to do.

  8. 8 JJ Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Niles – Well that’s right, but what if something else is going on besides the usual garden-variety Harper bullying? That is the impression I get from Ruth’s comments.

  9. 9 JJ Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    David B – As RB explains in his comment a little further down, Nancy Ruth is from old OnTORYo stock — a red tory with little resemblance to the reform party refugees that make up a lot of the CPC today.

    I think her message was thoughtful, and I think she is right.

    Ever since the maternal health initiative flap first started, I’ve had a bad feeling about where pushing the issue could lead, which is why I’ve never blogged much about it. In view of the kind of vindictive government we have right now, I just don’t think this is the hill we want to die on.


  1. 1 On shutting the fuck up : Canada's online magazine: Politics, entertainment, technology, media, arts, books: backofthebook.ca Trackback on Friday, May 7, 2010 at 9:24 pm
  2. 2 Anti-Choice is Anti-Awesome: Weekly Reader Trackback on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

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