He’s a Feminist! A Track Record of Canada’s Most Feminist Prime Minister
“I am a feminist.”
Boldly spoken by Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau ambitiously told the world of his commitment to gender equality. His courageous words caught the attention of many, but six years after his statement, perhaps they were just that - words.
Feminism has evolved into a token term in Canadian politics. What started as a movement of equality and anti-oppression for women has become a box to check off for politicians’ campaigns. Trudeau’s comforting claims, namely that “it’s okay for men to say that they’re feminists,” or that “it’s 2015” is but a taint on genuine feminist efforts. What’s bolder than Trudeau’s statement was his extraordinary 2015 cabinet ministry that balanced men and women; a first for Canada. This was an incredible feat and a step forward on Trudeau’s part, but it would take far more than a scale of the sexes to symbolize his commitment to feminism.
Contrary to his applaudable committee and subsequent reports for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) campaign, Trudeau excluded Indigenous women and girls from policies that would actively support them. Child welfare reforms on First Nations reserves that perpetuated sexism, in addition to discriminatory funding practices and increased police violence towards Indigenous women and girls are all tokens of Trudeau’s hypocrisy. Furthermore, with the rise of COVID-19 last summer, Trudeau’s government delayed its release of a national action plan on the inquiry of MMIW. The justification fell short of Trudeau’s boastful claims of supporting Indigenous women and girls, and was a disappointing excuse for meaningful feminist work. As far as an investment for Indigenous women goes, Trudeau’s efforts have been lackluster. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous shelters, in which 70% and 20% of the individuals are Indigenous women, respectively, are underfunded.
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Univeristy of Toronto Policython