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Courting the women's vote in 2011

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Every party is courting the women's vote. They are the undecided -- more women than men are still parking their vote. That's typical of most elections -- women listen for longer, decide later in an election campaign. When the time comes, they will be the kingmakers, if you'll pardon the reference.

It leaps to mind because Stephen Harper just said, in the middle of the election campaign, "The successor to the throne is a man. The next successor to the throne is a man. ... That's our position, and I just don't see that as a priority for Canadians right now at all." He is, of course, correct that how the next monarch gets selected is not an issue for Canadians during this election campaign. But it was a surprising answer to a question about how he would address systemic bias against females in the rules about succession. (Lucky Steve wasn't around when Liz was queued up for the job 59 years ago.)

His position (or, as he says, "our position", in the royal tradition) lines up perfectly with what he put on offer for women on the very first day of this campaign. It's a new initiative (a "vision" really, since it wouldn't kick in til 2015): income splitting for young families. One breadwinner. One homemaker. Of course most young families cannot take advantage of this sweet deal, but Harper knows best.

And now, the latest: the Harper government, which if you will recall is in the middle of a job interview to assess if it still has that position, is cutting Planned Parenthood.

Now that is straight out of the Bush League. Or what's left of it in the U.S.

The Republican manoeuvre to cut Planned Parenthood was featured on The Daily Show last night.

Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl was featured lying outright about what Planned Parenthood does -- "90 per cent abortions" was the quote. When caught flatfooted with the facts (abortion accounts for 3 per cent of what they fund) he said, I kid you not, "that statement wasn't meant to be factual". (By the way, 97 per cent of Planned Parenthood's resources goes to STD treatments, cancer screening and prevention, contraception, etc, in that order)

Coming to a neighbourhood near you. Courtesy of SUN TV.

So barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen is what they think women want eh? That's probably not what these men want.

Tasha Kheiriddin has a tour-de-force column today about SUN TV's portrayal and use of women. "If this is the tone they want to strike, I won't be watching." Harsh, coming from a "small-c conservative", but right on target. By the way, Kory Teneycke, former director of communications for Stephen Harper, quit Sun TV a few months back, but he's now baaaaack. Which may account for the incessant pro-Harper message track.

Today, on the front page of the Globe and Mail online edition, there's a link to a video that's gone viral -- The Best Pickup Line. (Spoiler alert: It's "I'm not Stephen Harper".) It's a sassy indictment of the Harper record on women, and well worth considering as women head to the polls.

To the age old question "what do women want?" on May 2nd Canadian women should resoundingly answer with the age-old answer: "Not a turkey".

This post first appeared on Making It Count.

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