The wrong kind of feminism: Meghan Murphy speaks in Vancouver
It was a quiet night in downtown Vancouver, like most nights are. The Vancouver Canucks were playing a home game a block down the street, but the main branch of the city’s public library was sleepy at 8:00pm on January 10th, 2019.
If I hadn’t arrived for the occasion, I would never have guessed that the most controversial lecture in the city’s recent memory was going to happen a mere hour later.
Since the event, billed as a discussion about gender identity ideology and women’s rights, was announced in November, it has drawn ire from trans activists and community groups. It even inspired an imposter to pose as an event organizer and to contact news outlets, telling them the event was cancelled.
The chief librarian of the Vancouver Public Library, Christina de Castell, although refusing to bow to pressure to cancel the event, called Murphy’s views “concerning” and stated that “VPL … does not agree with the views of the Feminist Current.”
That mild condemnation could constitute a breach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, since the library is a government institution that is duty-bound to uphold freedom of expression.
The library also imposed an additional security fee of $2,000 and forced the organizers to hold the event off-hours, from 9:30-11:30pm. Vancouver’s new mayor, Kennedy Stewart, even called Murphy’s views “despicable.”
So what are these views that are causing such a fuss? Meghan Murphy is a feminist—just not the kind that the intersectional elite approve of. She’s critical of gender ideology and thinks the “whole burlesque/sex work is empowering/feminist porn aspect of the third wave is making a mockery of the movement.”
She thinks trigger warnings are bad for discourse and can amount to censorship. She’s in favour of free speech and open to dialogue with people she disagrees with.
All this seems to push her over the edge of what is acceptable for public consumption in Vancouver, and a demonstration was planned for the library square the night of her talk.
It’s the first protest of a public lecture in a long time. Jordan Peterson has spoken in Vancouver more than anywhere else in the past two years, and Ben Shapiro spoke at the University of British Columbia in October, but despite some backlash, neither of them drew a single demonstrator.
Peterson has even commented that Vancouver’s leftists seem a little lazy. Most protests in Vancouver are ecological in nature, mostly in opposition to pipeline expansions and other industry projects that often conflict with indigenous rights. Aside from that, Vancouver is a laid-back place, so when I arrived at the library square and saw real, live protestors, I felt like I had entered a land of myth and legend, previously seen only in YouTube videos.
There were about seventy people loosely gathered in a circle. They carried banners with typical sayings—“TERFs Kill,” “Love, Equality, and Acceptance,” and most bafflingly, “Honour Trans Migrants.”
How specific, I mused as I wandered in and amongst the masses. There can’t be many trans migrants. And why is there a sign about migrants at all? That has nothing to do with radical feminism.
That became a theme, the more time I spent near the protestors. It seemed like none of them really knew what they were there to protest, or maybe just didn’t care. Most of the chants and rambling speeches had nothing to do with the event.
There was a veritable potpourri of progressive talking points as various activists took their turn at the bullhorn. Chants called for the abolition of borders and for an end to Islamophobia.
When I got in line to enter the event, the radical feminists around me were laughing at the chants. “No argument there!” one woman chuckled as the crowd took up a chant of “racist fascists go away!”
Although it was more relevant, one chant baffled me more than any other: “Trans liberation, not assimilation!” I listened to it a few times, trying to puzzle it out, before locking eyes with a bow tie-wearing older lesbian.
“That doesn’t make any sense!” I spluttered.
She shook her head ruefully and said, “They never do.”
There was one moment of hilarity during a break in the chanting. When one organizer invited anyone who wished to speak to take the bullhorn, one girl went up and began singing an a cappella rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” She only got a few lines into the song before some shouts broke through.
“Lady Gaga supports R. Kelly!” one woman yelled.
The singing girl either stepped back or had the mic taken away. The next amplified voice hastily apologized to anyone who had been hurt by the song.
It would be easy to endlessly critique the calibre of protestors, but I think it’s interesting that they were there at all. Progressive activists in Vancouver don’t bother standing outside Jordan Peterson’s or Ben Shapiro’s lectures.
No, it’s women defending women’s spaces, questioning intersectional dogma, and refusing to be silenced that makes them stand outside and hold up signs late on a January night.
It’s women discussing what they see as male oppression—male-bodied people seeking to stay in women’s domestic violence shelters, demanding that aestheticians perform services on them, and campaigning for the right to use women’s change rooms.
I don’t share the views of trans-exclusive radical feminists, but it’s hard to argue that they shouldn’t feel threatened by biological men trying to force their way into women’s spaces and using intimidation to make them afraid to speak up about it.
Though Murphy and the other speakers, Lee Lakeman and Fay Blaney, share this suspicion of gender activists, most of the topics covered in the talk were far from TERF fire and brimstone. A diverse range of opinions were represented. Murphy spoke about the library’s failure, in their handling of the event, to uphold their mission of providing free access to information.
Lakeman, a local feminist pioneer who works with Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, spoke about the suffering of women at the hands of men through harassment, rape, and murder, and the lack of justice for these victims.
The third speaker, Fay Blaney, an indigenous women’s rights activist and founding member of the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network, spoke passionately about those she sees as interlopers into the indigenous rights movement: young people who never lived on tribal land and didn’t grow up in their tribal culture who now feel emboldened enough to proclaim that indigenous cultures recognize five genders.
“That’s absolute B.S.,” Blaney said. A few minutes later, she spoke of white women on the board of a women’s march barring her from speaking.
That comment, about the censorship of an indigenous woman who survived Canada’s genocidal residential school system, drew gleeful applause from the few members of the audience who belonged to the opposition.
Morgane Oger, transgender activist and vice-president of the BC NDP (the political party currently in power at the provincial level), scoffed, “I’m disgusted at this conversation!” from her seat in the middle of the room.
The room filled with boos and one woman exclaimed, “You’re the real racist, Christ!”
The things that struck me most throughout the evening were the audience’s reactions. When a speaker made a point that resonated, it rippled out over everyone’s faces.
Women nodded fervently, on the edges of their seats, and they clapped and whooped at frequent intervals. People nodded at each other and leaned in to whisper stories to their seat mates. Heads tilted back in reverence and the whole room would exhale at once.
There was a confessional aspect to the night—it felt like many women in there were overjoyed to finally be in a room full of people who thought like them.
It felt like an Intellectual Dark Web event, where audience members talk to each other using language they’ve probably only ever typed out in YouTube comments, clumsily stumbling over terms they’re finally saying out loud, no longer feeling alone or afraid.
Though Lee Lakeman responded to an audience question—“do you believe in free speech?”—with “no,” saying instead that she believes in “freedom-making speech,”
Meghan Murphy loudly declared that she believes in free speech for all, and that spirit certainly won the night. That was my takeaway as I exited the Vancouver Public Library at 11:30pm and walked through a small group of straggling protestors, who inexplicably shouted “ableist TERF!” as I walked by.
There’s something stirring in radical feminists. A trusted institution like the library failing them so profoundly seems to have opened some eyes. I can only hope that it won’t be long until all of us have woken up.
One Vancouver Island resident was arrested yesterday as residents teared down a blockade that was stopping access to a highway, according to Global News.
The blockade was erected by protesters who are opposed to Coastal GasLink pipeline being built across Northern British Columbia. The pipeline is being built over traditional Wet’suwet’en territory.
These protesters were soon met by local residents who attempted to pull down the barricades. Many of the residents were wearing masks, and the police attempted to divide the two sides.
The confrontation was so heated that one resident drove a truck through the barriers.
During this, one man was arrested for obstruction after he repeatedly teared down the barriers erected by the protesters. Police refused to arrest any of the protesters who were blocking the highway as they did not have orders from their superiors to do so.
Over the past few days, anti-pipeline protestors have placed blockades throughout the country, bringing Canadian infrastructure to a halt.
In Ontario, protestors blocked the tracks at Bellville, cancelling all trains between Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal. In Vancouver, protesters blockaded the Port of Vancouver, which left workers without pay until the police enforced the injunction and arrested the straddlers.
The decision to allow Coastal GasLink pipeline was given consensually by all 20 First Nation band councils in the area. Some of these band councils even had referendums on the matter, which subsequently approved the pipeline.
MasterCard has received $49 million from the federal government in an effort to have the company place a cybersecurity centre in Vancouver.
The net income for MasterCard was almost $4 billion in 2017.
Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry announced the Cyber Centre with MasterCard. The announcement was made in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum last week.
True North reported that Bains said, “The centre will focus on creating technologies and standards to ensure that Canadians and others around the world can safely use any device that could be connected to the Internet—phone, tablet, computer, vehicle—without concern that their personal and financial information could be stolen.”
It is estimated that 380 people will be employed by the centre which Bains says will turn Canada into a “world leader in cybersecurity.” He also noted that the cost of cybercrime in Canada is about $3 billion annually.
MasterCard Canada’s president, Sasha Krstic noted that MasterCard customers from all around the world will benefit from the technology that arises out of the new centre.
According to Krstic the research coming from the centre “will help meet the growing demand for technology solutions to reduce the cost of cyberattacks, enable today’s connected devices to become tomorrow’s secure payment devices, and address the growing vulnerabilities associated with the Internet of Things.”
The Strategic Innovation Fund will fund the $49 million. The program has supplied more than $2 billion to mostly large corporations.
Other corporations that have received large sums from the federal government include Canadian Tire and Loblaws. Canadian Tire received $2.7 million in January for electric vehicle charging stations. Loblaws received $12 million for low emission refrigerator units to replace their current models.
Uber and Lyft have been approved to operate in the Metro Vancouver area, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The two Goliath ride-hailing companies will launch their operations imminently—perhaps within weeks or even days. Cars have been approved for the Lower Mainland and Whistler. The only thing they now have to do is to receive insurance from the ICBC and local approval.
In a victory for the ride-hailing giants, there will also be no set quota for the number of cars in the area, which was an original point of contention for British Columbian taxi drivers.
Uber has stated that its operations in Metro Vancouver will begin “very soon … once we have obtained a business licence from the City of Vancouver and purchased insurance from ICBC. In the meantime, we encourage all qualified drivers with a Class 4 licence to sign up on the Uber app.”
Lyft also began to put in place the companies infrastructure. In a statement, Lyft thanked “the provincial government and the Passenger Transportation Board for their dedication.”
This decision will come as a blow to the taxi sector in British Columbia, who has campaigned actively to stop Uber and Lyft from competing with them. The British Columbian government has vowed to work with the taxi industry so to ease the transition.
Meghan Markle is looking into real estate in the prestigious West Vancouver market according to The Sun. One particular mansion has caught her eye: a beautiful 6,900-square foot waterfront home selling at just over $35 million dollars according to the Vancouver Sun.
There are a total of six bedrooms and five bathrooms in the four-story mansion complete with full-length panoramic windows that offer breathtaking views of both the ocean and the city skyline.
Security is clearly a concern for the rogue royals but it won’t be a concern at this estate which is surrounded by gates, screen hedges and a 20-foot beachside wall behind the property.
“The neighbourhood is a known haven for wealthy people and has a very laid-back atmosphere. I’m sure they would be very happy there, and they would be welcomed with open arms.” said one estate agent source. “Meghan has expressed an interest in this beautiful house. It would be perfect for her, Harry and little Archie.”
The house is located in Kitsilano, one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Vancouver. The residence is 108-years-old runs along a street of prized billionaire’s dubbed “Golden Miles.”
“The area is particularly sought after by super-rich and image-conscious young achievers.” said one real estate expert. “But best of all for Harry and Meghan, it’s quiet and locals respect each other and value their privacy. They’d fit in very well.”
Canadian billionaire founder of the uber-trendy Lululemon Athletica yoga gear brand, Chip Wilson, would be a neighbour should the couple decide to buy. His mansion is worth about $64 million. Meghan Markle has been public about her love for yoga, pilates, and the Lululemon brand.
The new mansion is a long way from the Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Home Park, Windsor. The Queen is apparently “privately furious” at the couple for the money spent to renovate the Frogmore Cottage prior to the decision to move to Canada. Frogmore has been the home of the couple ever since their publicly-funded wedding that came in at $40 million dollars. The Queen is said to be “privately furious” at the money spent on Frogmore Cottage renovations following Prince Harry and Meghan’s announcement they are moving abroad. The royal couple have lived there since their publicly-funded $40-million-dollar wedding.