Don’t blame the U.S. — we’re the prob­lem

Vit­riol against fe­male politi­cians worse here: PM at T.O. con­fer­ence

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - NEWS -

Two of the most rec­og­niz­able peo­ple in the world put a face to key gen­der is­sues dur­ing a global con­fer­ence on women: Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and An­gelina Jolie, the ac­tress and hu­man rights ac­tivist.

Trudeau has po­si­tioned him­self as a cham­pion of gen­der equal­ity since tak­ing of­fice when he ex­plained his de­ci­sion to ap­point a half-fe­male cab­i­net with the head­line­grab­bing quip “be­cause it’s 2015.”

But he told the Toronto edi­tion of the Women in the World con­fer­ence on Mon­day that de­spite his govern­ment’s ef­forts to bol­ster the ranks of women in pol­i­tics re­ten­tion has proven a chal­lenge in large part be­cause vit­riol aimed at fe­male politi­cians.

Even the rene­go­ti­a­tion of the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment isn’t im­mune to back­lash against is­sues like gen­der equal­ity. Yet, Trudeau said, the strong­est op­po­si­tion to such dis­cus­sions over NAFTA hasn’t come from the United States but from within Canada.

“The push­back we’re get­ting is ac­tu­ally not from south of the bor­der, the push­back we’re get­ting is from Cana­dian Con­ser­va­tives who said, ‘Oh no this is about economics, it’s about jobs ... it’s not about rhetor­i­cal flour­ishes of be­ing good on en­vi­ron­ment or be­ing good on gen­der,’” Trudeau said.

The Con­ser­va­tive party said it had no com­ment.

For her part, Jolie said that with so many hu­man­i­tar­ian crises in the world, it’s ev­ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to ed­u­cate them­selves and con­tinue push­ing for democ­racy and hu­man rights. “We have to just get the best ed­u­ca­tion,” Jolie said. “We all need to do, I think, even more than we’ve ever done be­cause we’re at a very dark time.”

The push­back we’re get­ting is from Con­ser­va­tives. Justin Trudeau

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