Mr. Speaker, the Collectif 8 mars celebrated International Women's Day with the theme “Feminist with All of Our Might”. That might is something we still need, now more than ever, I would say, because we are all growing more aware of the inequality and injustice that women still face. The worst thing we could do is pretend that equality is within reach. I would have liked to stand here and talk about everything women have accomplished, everything our mothers, our grandmothers and countless other women before them endured and won, but I really feel I have a duty to talk about freedom. Freedom is a precious thing. Few women can say they are truly free, free to think, free to choose and free to act without always having to justify themselves.
Even in the supposedly developed countries, women were once again marching in the streets demanding the right to make decisions about their own bodies. This is the 21st century, but there are still women around the world who do not have the right to abortion. In Argentina, the United States, Chile and even France, where the March 8 demonstrations were violently quashed. That is why, both at home and abroad, we still need to recognize the courage of women who dare to speak up for themselves, who dare to stand up for a more equal world. In many cases, these women are heroes who risk their lives to show their own children the value of freedom. This society belongs to everyone, but it belongs to me too.
I want my nieces and nephews to care about other people, to be interested in the wider world and to grow up truly believing that their gender identity has nothing to do with their abilities, their ambitions or their potential. I want them to learn tolerance and respect, but every year in Canada, religious communities take their kids out of their Catholic schools to join anti-abortion demonstrations on Parliament Hill. Ten- and twelve-year-olds are waving anti-abortion signs. This is as outrageous as it is sad. What message are we sending them?
People often talk about the great women of history, those who were involved in major social disruption. Of course they must never be forgotten. However, I want to take some time today to talk about ordinary great women, those who battle entrenched realities every day: architects, nurses, mothers, pregnant women, sex workers, refugees, politicians and homeless women. They are all making history, writing it and reshaping it as they strive to get ahead.
I also want to give a shout out to all the “crazy bitches”, the “drama queens”, the “whores”, the “sluts”, the “fat chicks”, the “fat cows”, the “butches”, the “bimbos”, the “negresses”, the “lil' ladies”, the “witches”, the “stuck-up prudes”, the “babes”, and the “hey girls”. I want to talk to all of these women because every woman has been one of those things to someone at some point.
Today, I would like us to work together and I want to invite the men to join us too. We never talk about them, particularly not on International Women's Day, but they are important because, as equals, we protect each other. We respect each other as equals. We help each other get ahead as equals. I would like for men to help us help ourselves, for them to help us by helping themselves, for them to continue to want to be good role models for their sons and to show them that little girls are not less strong, less good or less courageous. They are just different, that's all. Girls have the same rights and responsibilities as boys, but, most importantly, they have the same freedom.
I would like to take this opportunity, in my privileged position as a member of the House, to say that I hope that, one day, all women will not just flirt with that freedom but fully assume it and be proud of it.