Canada Working Ontario Women organization plans pre-election ad blitz

22:11  12 october  2017
22:11  12 october  2017 Source:   Toronto Star

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WOW aims to prevent a Trumpian outcome of next June’s Ontario election .

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WOW’s ads will urge voters to vote for progressive candidates who “elevate women’s issues and advocate for women’s rights.” The group is concerned about protecting a woman’s right to choose, although all the major political parties, including PC Leader Patrick Brown, currently support abortion rights. © Peter Power WOW’s ads will urge voters to vote for progressive candidates who “elevate women’s issues and advocate for women’s rights.” The group is concerned about protecting a woman’s right to choose, although all the major political parties, including PC Leader Patrick Brown, currently support abortion rights.

Call it the WOW factor.

A well-financed, new organization called Working Ontario Women (WOW) is set to launch a new ad blitz to prevent a Trumpian outcome of next June’s Ontario election.

Bankrolled by the powerful Service Employees International Union, which has 2 million members in North America and has supported the governing Liberals in the past, WOW will be advertising on television and online in the coming days.

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It appears to be modeled on — but is separate from — the Working Families coalition of unions that has helped swing the past four Ontario elections to the Liberals with ads attacking the Progressive Conservatives.

While campaign financing rules imposed in the wake of a Star probe have placed spending limits on so-called third-party groups like Working Families, new organizations such as WOW are springing up.

“What happened in the States was the catalyst really for putting together this organization,” said WOW’s Megan Lorius, referring to Donald Trump’s unexpected 2016 presidential election victory over Hillary Clinton.

“That is a great cautionary tale and (I hope) that people are paying attention in Canada,” Lorius said Thursday.

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Women Play a Crucial Role in Development – Justified.

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“We don’t want to be complacent ourselves. We can get into our own bubble and think ‘oh, it won’t happen to us.’ We don’t want to make that same mistake here,” she said, noting many Americans sat on their hands, enabling Trump to win.

To that end, WOW’s ads will urge voters to vote for progressive candidates who “elevate women’s issues and advocate for women’s rights.”

Lorius said the non-partisan group is particularly concerned about protecting a woman’s right to choose — even though all the major political parties currently support abortion rights.

“Women understand what the potentials are for losing some rights in the next election,” she said, emphasizing WOW wants to keep “access to health care and the right to choose top of mind.”

That has resurfaced as an Ontario political issue because when Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown was a Conservative MP in 2012 he voted in favour of a motion to reopen the abortion debate.

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Although Brown actively courted social conservatives during his successful 2015 campaign for the Tory leadership, he has since changed his stance and is now pro-choice.

To underscore that, the Conservatives will not allow any such divisive social issues to be debated at their policy convention in Toronto on Nov. 25.

“Any policy that attempts to limit a woman’s right to choose or the ability of same-sex couples to marry are off limits, period,” Brown said in an interview with Canadian Press earlier this week.

“I’m not going to say it’s even up for consideration when I personally could not defend that or support it,” he told CP.

Indeed, the 139 resolutions Tory members can vote on at the party’s website between Nov. 2 and Nov. 6 steer clear of anything controversial.

PC activists can debate cutting taxes, liberalizing booze laws to make then more “consumer friendly,” stopping rural school closures, and dozens of other more anodyne motions.

But there will be no discussion of a carbon tax, even though Brown has promised new measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Liberal Deputy Premier Deb Matthews warned voters should be wary.

“You can’t run from your record,” Matthews said of Brown’s past votes in the Commons opposing abortion and same-sex marriage.

“It’s fascinating to look at what’s not there (in the PC resolutions). The word ‘woman’ is not mentioned, the word ‘doctor’ is not mentioned, the word ‘nurse’ is not mentioned,” she said.

“So I think it’s really telling what’s not there.”

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