Last night, some very lucky ladies in Toronto had the chance to spend an evening getting to (really) know the so-called “future prime minister” at an event billed as “Justin Unplugged.”
Those willing to pay $250 for a ticket to the event were given the chance to #AskJustin anything they wanted. The event poster had some helpful suggestions for queries, including “What’s your favourite virtue?” “Who are your real life heroes?” and “What is the biggest issue facing women?” Thank God for that last one there too, how else would we know what women’s issues are in this country if Trudeau wasn’t around to inform us? Most importantly, though, there were cocktails. And we all know how crazy things can get after a couple of Manhattans with the girls, amIrightladies?
It is also reassuring to know that an evening with Justin Trudeau in a room of women doesn’t have to get bogged down by totally boring questions about policy or annoying information on his economic platform. Instead, the discussion involved “candid conversation” and “curiosity-inducing ideas.” Personally, I think that’s so nice of him. I’m super curious about politics and like, whatever. (If anyone asked how he keeps his hair so shiny – please please please email me)
Who knows where this night could have gone? It’s like a flirty, sexy episode of The Bachelor, only instead of voting women off of the show, Justin is trying to get them to vote him into office.
As some commentators, such as Kathryn Marshall pointed out, this isn’t exactly new behaviour for the Liberal Party. We are talking, after all, about a group who has issued not one but three versions of their “Pink Book” – a roughly 30-page document of policy recommendations that specifically have to do with women. There’s even a pretty flower on the front!
The thing about this is, the Liberals don’t even need to be outrageously flirting with women, feeding them cocktails and explaining politics. They are already way ahead of the other parties when it comes to the support of female voters. And despite what the Conservative pundits would like to think, that’s not because we’ve all been wooed by Trudeau’s good looks and pretty hair (but seriously, guys. If anyone asked about it…). Maybe our motives don’t just lie in wanting to replace our stodgy, boring prime minster with a younger, prettier model. Maybe it has to do with the fact that since 2006, we have seen the Harper Conservatives put too many policies in place that have eroded women’s issues and decreased gender equality. Maybe we are sick of being treated as second-class citizens, and would like a party that doesn’t have so many issues with women’s rights and problems with abortion to run our country. Maybe we would like to favour a party that at least bothers to listen to women and hold events to discuss women’s issues, even if the chosen tactic is decidedly inappropriate.
Or – you know what? Maybe “female voters” aren’t just one big group that you can court all at once. There is no “Blue Book” of policies for men. There is no discussion of “the male vote” or which candidate is more likely to win it. Why are women and minorities treated like fringe groups in this country, while white men are the average? Any time there’s an election in this country, pollsters try to determine which party is going to pull ahead by scoring “the ethnic vote” or “the female vote.”
Maybe it’s more like The Bachelor than they think. Maybe it turns out that all of the women are individuals who each have pros and cons and even though Sarah would be so great to introduce to their families, her opinions on corporate taxes might just be too hard to forgive. And then you have to deal with the fact that even though you and Jessica like, totally agree on Senate reform, her views on legalizing marijuana could be indicative of a wild side some future prime ministers are a bit afraid of.
Joking aside, if these parties stopped treating us like airheads who can be won over by an e-vite with curvy fonts or a few photo-ops near election-time and started listening to us, appointing female senators and cabinet ministers, and crafting policies that address serious issues that matter to us, maybe then they would see that we’re more than just a couple of key votes that can help push them into office.
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