Cross Posted from Care2 Causes: Government Failing To Support Women In Fight Against AIDS

by , on
August 31, 2012

Published August 16, 2012

Canada currently lacks the political will to do what it takes to protect women, transwomen and girls from contracting HIV/AIDS, according to a report card put out by the Coalition for a Blueprint for Action on Women and Girls and HIV/AIDS.

The failure is especially apparent in First Nations populations. While Aboriginals only make up three percent of the Canadian population, then make up 10 percent of the population of Canadians affected by HIV/AIDS.

The Coalition points out that Canada is a resource rich, developed country that should be able to provide everything that women need to educate and protect themselves against the virus. They gave the Canadian government poor grades in several areas including diagnosis, treatment, prevention and education.They particularly focused on funding cuts and laws that are moving counter to what evidence shows as necessary to address the AIDS epidemic in the female population.

Funding cuts have affected the Canadian Human Rights Commission, agencies that focus on women’s health and specifically Aboriginal women’s health, and the National Association for Women and the Law.

Confronted by the Coalition’s report card, the government ignored their evidence. The Health Minister declared that this government has invested in front-line health services.

Louise Binder, a lawyer diagnosed with HIV in 1994 who co-founded the Coalition, told the CBC that young women should not continue to be infected at rates they’ve seen in Canada in a country that should be able to provide education and resources.

“It is primarily happening because of federal government laws and policies that actually hurt women and do not protect them from infection,” she said. “For instance the government has recently cut the Aboriginal health funding so that Aboriginal populations that take up really up to 10 percent of new infections and more than half of them were women, will not have the health services they did.”

Binder also pointed to the refugee health care cuts the government is currently trying to push through, which will affect women coming into the country already infected with the virus. The government will not provide any of their medications which could cause the disease to progress.

Sadly, it is unlikely that this government will pay any attention to the report card.
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Learn One New Thing Every Day

by , on
August 29, 2012

I love working. I put my soul into my work. I love gathering information and figuring things out. I love feeling accomplished at the end of the day.

I’ve had a few different jobs and some of them seemed like tests. I’ve had great bosses and bad bosses. I’ve had some wonderful coworkers.

And then there are the people that I can just never figure out. You wonder how they got the job and how they keep it. You wonder if they actually do any work at all in a day. You wonder if you’re crazy because there’s no way management doesn’t see the incompetence.

Often you wonder how you and this person ended up in the same place.

You see, I care about my work. It’s a part of me. I dedicate myself to it and I stress over it. I try to give more than what’s asked. I want people to see me as smart and a hard worker, dedicated and passionate.

When I see someone else who doesn’t give a damn, who puts in a half effort most days, who doesn’t learn from their mistakes or get embarrassed when they’re pointed out, I wonder if it’s all worth it.

I have spent so much of my life looking for jobs. I kept a list of all the jobs I applied for after I got my diploma and I think it tops 60. When I graduated from university it took four months to find a new job. Some people seem to have it so easy.

And I spend too much time wondering why I don’t know the right people and I don’t get the breaks and when is it going to start being easy for me. Sometimes I slog through and it feels as though I’m paying the price for something though I’m not quite sure what.

Today I was told that Care2 Causes is going through some changes and they won’t need as many bloggers. I was disappointed to lose the income, certainly I was, but my second thought was that I lose the writing and the digesting and analyzing politics.

I love to work. I love to write and research and discover. I love to be engaged. I need my next thing. I need to gather all my strength and find my next thing.



by , on
August 28, 2012

I’ve been struggling with the last photo in the ABC Challenge: Night. Our kid? She goes to bed early. It’s still light out as we go through the routine.

Last night I finally got the opportunity to snap this picture, representing night:

It’s out of focus with a bad flash and it shows my Baby Girl, sick with a cold, fighting sleep.

I hate being sick. (I hate being sick more since becoming a mother). I hate it when my husband is sick. But nothing, nothing is worse than when your kid is sick. I don’t know if it gets better as they get older and understand a little bit more and can explain what’s wrong a little better.

But the sniffing, tired, achy and feverish toddler? It sucks. She fell asleep easily last night and then around 9:30 she started crying out. It took three visits to figure out that her nose was running. It took three visits for her to just start crying because she was awake enough to realize how uncomfortable she was.

That was when she asked to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed. She asked for some apple slices and I refilled her water, and I lay there stroking her head, hoping she would get some more sleep.

A restless night, waking to check on her, covering her with the blanket after she kicked it off. This whole caring for another person to the detriment of your own health and sanity is still so amazing to me.



by , on
August 26, 2012

I was so scared of having a daughter. I’ve blogged about it before. Daughters are scary. I was a hard kid to deal with – I was emotional and destructive and when I was a teenager it was that much worse. Girls go through a lot, and if I couldn’t handle it while I was going through it, how would I handle guiding my kid through it?

When we found out we were having a girl I was scared. All I could think of was all the ways I’m not girly. No way can I teach her to do her hair or put on make-up. Menstruation I could explain, but it’s not something I’ve ever celebrated like July Blume taught me I should.

I can say that I probably pushed my kid towards being a tomboy. I shopped in the boys section, I avoided dresses, I bought the most neutral of neutral toys. I raged against the pinkification of classic toys – who wants pink when you can have a rainbow?

My daughter? She loves dresses. She loves pink. She doesn’t mind get dirty, and she’ll play with cars and trucks and have as much fun as with any other toy, but she is a stereotype and I can’t deny it any more.

Today, this happened:

And, you know what? My world didn’t end.

The fact is, I grew up wearing pink and loving dresses (even wearing skirts under snow pants, which is terribly uncomfortable). I played with dolls – there was even a Barbie in our house, though Jem always won out.

My kid plays with Cabbage Patch Kids just like I did, and she trips over herself and scrapes her knees just like I did. She loves to bake with me, and she runs around the backyard chasing the dog.

A daughter, in the end, is just a kid after all. Even when she asks you to call her Princess.

Play time

by , on
August 24, 2012

When I was a kid I had a wild imagination. From my family with New Kid Joey McIntyre to my performances in Les Miserables, I was a star. For a while I was considering a career as an assassin or an archaeologist or a Broadway star (despite, of course, quitting dance lessons and never taking singing lessons and also being petrified of speaking in front of people).

From the time I could write I would make up stores. I made a book for my Mom that she kept – a selection of short stories. I would create characters and stories in my head and they would come out of me.

Somewhere along the way I feel as though I lost a lot of that imagination. It’s much harder to write fiction now, I struggle with ideas a lot.

When I played with other people’s kids, before I had my own, I had a hard time playing along with their imaginations. If their doll was talking to my doll I would struggle with what to say back. Playing with my daughter and engaging with her was actually one of the things I was most worried about as I thought about her growing up.

It’s something her Daddy is much better at than me. There are days when I feel like a total failure in terms of play. It was so much easier when she was just a baby and I could make her smile just talking to her and sitting on the floor with her, squeaking toys and making faces.

I can sit and read to her. I can watch her in the bath. I can sit with her and blow bubbles. I can lie with her and watch a show on TV.

When she asks me to help her cook in her play kitchen or to play with her people in her little toy house, or when she asks me to cheer for her while she plays pretend soccer, I’m just not good at it.

I’m the mom that signs her up for activities or takes her to the park and let’s her play by herself or with other kids. I’m the mom that has her computer open because there are things to pay attention to. I’m the mom that says ‘just a second’ or ‘I’ll be right there.’ I’m the mom that feels like she’s falling down.

I lost my ability to play.


by , on
August 22, 2012

I didn’t know Jack. Not really. Not any better than most Canadians.

I worked in his office from 2008 until he died. I worked two central campaigns and attended two national conventions. I met him a handful of times. I can think of six or seven.

The last time I saw him he was out on the dance floor with Olivia at the Vancouver convention. Smiling, dancing with his wife, still celebrated the party’s amazing breakthrough.

The times I will cherish is the day, at the end of the session, that he brought all the staff from the leader’s office together. I got to attend two such meetings. He gathered us in a room and asked us what we thought about what had just happened. He asked us about our experiences of the session and then he sat back and listened.

I’ve heard many people say that when Jack spoke to you he made you feel like you were the only person in the room and this was my experience. When he spoke to a room he held everyone’s attention.

And then there’s Olivia.

Olivia may be the definition of strength. I was a little scared of her when I was at work. She is very straightforward and direct. She doesn’t like her time to be wasted. She is passionate and the love between the two of them was palpable. I wish I had half of Olivia’s strength and drive.

Today, Wednesday, marks one year. I remember the day exactly. I remember seeing the press release on my Blackberry, I remember telling my mother and calling my husband. I called my sister and she answered the phone by saying ‘So it’s true?’

I went downtown desperate to be with my co-workers, but once I got there I was in the way, totally useless. My daughter had a doctor’s appointment, but when it was done we went down to the Hill. I broke down in tears. I saw people I knew along the street and got hugged. I tried to explain to my daughter, then just a year and a half old, that something very important had just happened, that a very special man was gone.

That night I went to the candlelight vigil and saw all the people I worked with. There was silence. It just didn’t make sense and it couldn’t possibly be real.

A year has past and it still doesn’t make sense. I still follow him on Twitter, I still have his phone number in my contacts. I still see a great picture and cry at the realization that he’s gone. I didn’t know I could miss a man so much when I only met him a handful of times. Now we have only his legacy, and I strive to make him proud.

Let Us Be Loving, Hopeful and Optimistic


by , on
August 20, 2012

My father studies disasters. Seriously. He writes papers about how communities react to disasters. Plane crashes, toxic spills, train derailments, tsunamis, what have you. See here: Current Projects – Pandemic Death.

You would think with this as part of my family I would be more prepared myself. In some ways I am. He’s quizzed me on how I would react in certain situations and explained what’s good and bad. But to this day we do not have a proper first aid kit of emergency kit in this house. We don’t have an escape plan either.

Now we own a home, we have a child, these things need to get done.

Today I got a package from Energizer and Mom Central, and we put aside a flashlight and some extra batteries as the start of our emergency kit. Now we can carry on and build on it as we have the money available.

The list of what we need – and I am accepting suggestions:

  • Water
  • Canned food
  • Manual can opener
  • First Aid kit
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Crank radio
  • Pet Food
  • Forks, spoons, plates and cups
  • Money
  • Utility knife
  • Warm blankets
  • Spare clothing
  • Activities for the kid
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Whistle or something else that makes noise to draw attention
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • A bag/backpack to keep all the supplies together

There are lots of resources online to help us build our kit with helpful hints like having a few cotton balls with petroleum jelly that can be used as fire starters. The Canadian Red Cross actually has an emergency preparedness kit that you can buy, fully stocked.

Now to build this kit, and prepare our escape plan in case of fire and we can make my father proud.

ABC Challenge

by , on
August 20, 2012

I’m stuck.

I have two words left for the Kids in the Capital ABC Photo Challenge – the first one is green, and I think this fits the bill:

Surrounded by trees

My problem lies with the last word: Night.

You see, my kid goes to bed between 5:30 and 6 pm. We put her to bed that early because she doesn’t nap during the day and she wakes up between 5 am and 6 am pretty well every morning.

This means that I need to get metaphorical to represent night – or something.

I’m so far at a loss.


by , on
August 19, 2012

Since I’ve had jobs, they have almost always been part of who I am. When I’m working I dedicate myself to it, I identify with it. It’s one way that Joe and I are totally different people. The source of my income is ingrained in me, while the source of his is a job. While he usually loves what he does, it doesn’t take away any of his life. At the end of the day, no matter what job he’s doing, he has a home and a wife and a daughter and a dog and lots of other things to think about.

I don’t find it quite so simply to separate the things at home from the things at work. I think it’s part of what burned me out last year.

Right now I’m struggling. I have work – paying work – and I’m a full time mother which is harder than any job I’ve ever done. (There is so much up in the air, so much planning and scrapping plans, so many frustrations – hers and mine).

I strive to do things at work. Every turn my career took I mapped out the future. When I was a sports journalist I had a grand plan to work and save up and then travel. I wanted to spend a year in Belfast and write a book. (Writing a book has been a constant, actually).

One of my goals on my bucket list reads “make a name for myself in my industry.” It would, of course, be helpful if I knew what industry that was.

So now I’m here, wondering who I will be a few years down the road.

I love being a mother to my daughter. I adore her and I am fascinated by her and she entertains me non-stop. But I need to be my own person as well. I need something that is me that’s not her.

So for a little while I’ll be swimming around looking for me, with a few distractions.

Thank you Jason Clermont

by , on
August 15, 2012

My kid has been going on the potty for a while now.

She just hasn’t done it with any consistency. At all.

She says she’ll start using the potty when it’s time for pre-school, but since I’d like her to be ready for pre-school before it actually starts, I’m trying to figure out what might move her along.

Yesterday I made a deal with her. While we were doing a diaper change I told her that when the current box of diapers is empty that she will need to start using the potty. I talked to her about it a few times during the day and she said okay. At bedtime she asked me if the box was empty yet, and I said not quite, but I asked her if she wanted to try and use the potty before bedtime.

She said she wanted to wear a nighttime pull up diaper, and that she would sit on the potty before bed.


She got on the potty, she seemed excited and she asked me to start reading one of the books we keep in the bathroom (this book, thank you @LaraWellman for handing it down). I was two pages in when she peed! I was so excited, and she was happy that I was excited and I remembered all the advice that you make a big deal when they’re successful.

And then I remembered this tweet that my husband re-tweeted a couple of weeks ago:

Now, Jason Clermont is a former Saskatchewan Roughrider which makes him pretty popular in our house. The tweet included a picture of his daughter standing on top of a stool smiling, happy with her accomplishment.

Joe re-tweeted this and then tweeted at me that maybe that’s something that would work for us. That all came back to me as I was celebrating on the bathroom floor.

I got her set up to brush her teeth, and I told her I would be right back. Then I ran around like a madwoman. I cut a circle out of construction paper and got a ribbon from my mother and presented the kid with her gold medal for peeing on the potty:

The smile on her face was awesome. She wore the medal to sleep (and then I snuck in and took it off her to prevent her choking, or at least my being awake all night worrying about her choking).

Thank you Jason Clermont, this might just be our strategy.

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