Monday, January 23, 2006


Demotion time

Lost in the shuffle to get a few posts up this weekend, I forgot to address Peter Mackay's comments on an Atlantic radio program. His "stick to your knitting" comment to Alexa McDonough was in my view - offside - and showed him to a real classless individual. Some have called this a sexist remark, including Alexa.

Although this probably was his intention, the question remains whether this remark was in fact sexist. There are a couple of interpretations that one can think of:

a) the implication in the phrase is that women should stick to traditional women’s roles and leave politics to men - this being the most offensive interpretation of the phrase - the most likely.

b) since both men and women now knit, maybe the comment isn’t offensive at all since it has become a gender-neutral activity (I don’t think I really buy this one, I don’t personally know any guys who knit, although I know there are some out there) - not very likely.

c) the comment isn’t actually offensive, just out of touch. Knitting is so hot right now, you could bring your knitting on the campaign trail and it would probably win voters over to your side. So the phrase doesn’t actually mean anything, because you don’t have to stick to politics or knitting, you can do both at once. Knitting IS political - somewhat likely.

d) by implying that the phrase was sexist, Alexa McDonough was actually offending knitters, by implying that there is something wrong with knitting (i.e. that it is granny-like, feminine, domestic, in the negative sense). Further, her own remark was offensive to women, because even if knitting is a traditionally female task, can’t women politicians be feminine or domestic without it being perceived as a negative trait? From left field.

Unlike Andrew Coyne, I did find the comment offensive.

Mackay was once a rising star until he sold his credible down the river with his sneaky deal with David Orchard. Alexa, for her part, is taking the high road and offered to even knit for Peter which is far more than he deserves.

Remember this...
Text of the agreement signed by Peter MacKay and David Orchard forming the basis for Orchard's final-ballot support for MacKay at the PC Party Leadership Convention, May 31, 2003. This agreement was published in the Globe and Mail, June 5, 2003 under the heading "Tory leadership deal. Peter MacKay won David Orchard's support at the Tory leadership convention based on a deal hastily scrawled on a piece of paper."

May 31, 2003 Agreement between Peter MacKay and David Orchard

1) No merger, joint candidates w[ith] Alliance. Maintain 301.

2) Review of FTA/NAFTA - blue ribbon commission with D[avid] O[rchard] w[ith] choice of chair w[ith] P[eter] M[acKay's] agreement. Rest of members to be jointly agreed upon.

3) Clean up of head office including change of national director in consultation (timing w[ithin] reasonable period in future, pre-election) and some of DO's people working at head office.

4) Commitment to making environmental protection front and center incl[uding] sustainable agriculture, forestry, reducing pollution through rail.

[Signed by Peter MacKay and David Orchard]

Maybe Harper could tap him to restore accountability in government.

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Many thanks
Going back on that dealt was Mackay's single greatest act for all Canadians. By joining the two conservative parties, we are slowly turning away from a one-party state. I think Mackay deserves the Order of Canada for his sacrifice.

I was born & raised in the Maritimes and the expression Peter MacKay used isn't common anymore as it was used by the older generations. My grandfather used to say it and he died in 1998 in his 90s.

His version of it was somewhat longer than what Peter said, to wit: "Stick to your knittin' or you'll mess up your mitten." and it was kind of a funny way of saying mind your own business instead of mine. When I heard Alexa asked if that was supposed to be a sexist remark, I was surprised since I'd never heard that remark made in a rude way.

As for the Orchard/MacKay deal, that's a tempest in a teacup.

Peter MacKay is a solid MP and he deserves to go far because he put the right before his ego or his partisan loyalty. I wouldn't mind seeing Peter as deputy Prime.
F & B
Thats interesting- I live in Nova Scotia and I have never heard that saying. But sounds like something folks 'round here would say.
Funny how a regionalism can be offensive in the wrong context.
I'm from PEI but my mom was from Pictou. Now I'm in Vancouver. How's that for coast to coast?
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