Gender equality issues disrupt Hamilton mayoral debate

News Oct 01, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Gender inequality in Hamilton upstaged a mayor’s debate Oct. 1 at St. Giles United Church in downtown Hamilton that had been focused more on infrastructure, jobs, transit, and bike lanes.

A few of the mayoral candidates didn’t seem to be taking a question about gender equity seriously when a member of the audience demanded to know why Michael Baldasaro was “cracking  jokes” about it.

Hamilton resident Halima Hatimy, 25, who said she was a feminist and has organized social justice events including the vigil “Bring Back Our Girls” last spring,  submitted her question about gender inequality that she says persists in the city and asked how the candidates would improve the situation.

Ejaz Butt said the only thing he is fearful of “is my wife.” But it was Michael Baldasaro’s response that prompted Hatimy’s outburst. Baldasaro said if he was about to get married, he would get a pre-nuptial agreement. And while he said his father taught him how to be respectful to males and females, Baldsaro said that “equality begins in the cradle.”

Hatimy then demanded “why are you cracking jokes? You were not laughing at the other questions.”

Baldasaro said he couldn’t hear what Hatimy was asking. But then he responded “You can’t lose your sense of humour sister.”

A few male members of the audience shouted out to Hatimy to sit down and be quiet.

“I don’t have to sit down,” she responded.

Baldasaro in his closing comments reiterated that he couldn’t hear what Hatimy was saying.

“I was not making light of anything,” he said.

During an interview, Hatimy who was still “boiling” after her outburst, called the nearly two-hour debate “disgusting” saying the eight candidates during the debate didn’t properly address issues that are impacting the city.

“There is an increase in domestic violence against women, transwomen and children in the community and this was absolutely repulsive,” she said “All they were talking about was infrastructure rather than talking about real social justice issues that are affecting the marginalized community.”

She identified health, racism, gender equity, and a lack of inclusiveness in the city as particular topics that were missed by the candidates.

“They didn’t talk about any of that, and I was just disgusted,” she said. “When they were talking about infrastructure and municipal projects they were very serious. It was a humorous tone when they were talking about gender equity. They were not taking it seriously. Why should I vote for a mayor who doesn’t take gender equity serious?”

Hatimy did single out mayoral candidate Crystal Lavigne as directly addressing the gender issue.

Lavigne, the only female candidate among the 12 in the race for mayor, said in response to Hatimy’s question that gender equity issues should be promoted throughout the community.

She told the over 100 people in the audience that the type of questions she gets from people are if she is single and if she wants to go out on a date.

“Is it just because I’m a woman? Am I pretty, or what? Why should I be treated any differently? Is anyone of my counterparts getting asked those questions?

Former mayor Fred Eisenberger said he has in the past encouraged more females to get involved in politics and run for council.

“It’s unfortunate there isn’t more female representation on council or in our national government,” Eisenberger told the audience. “If my wife was running for mayor she’d be winning the race right now.”

In the current council term there are three female politicians: Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge, Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson, and Stoney Creek councillor Brenda Johnson.

Brad Clark said even though there are laws in Canada that makes all people equal, the reality is that doesn’t happen.

“We need to talk about being an accepting community,” said Clark. “And that comes with leadership. That women are treated exactly the same way. That all newcomers are welcome.”

Brian McHattie promoted the continued existence of the many committees that provide a voice for all kinds of people at city hall. He also backed the creation of an anti-racism centre that would help victims of racist incidents.

Also attending the mayoral debate was Michael Pattison and Francis Warrand. Absent from the event were candidates Mike Clancy, Nick Iamonico, Phil Ryerson and Ricky Tavares.

Pattison at the end of the debate praised Hatimy for her courage in challenging the candidates.

“Thank you for standing up for yourself,” he said. “I am trying to bring a level of equality to all of us. I hope you all have the same fire in the belly.”

Gender equality issues disrupt Hamilton mayoral debate

News Oct 01, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Gender inequality in Hamilton upstaged a mayor’s debate Oct. 1 at St. Giles United Church in downtown Hamilton that had been focused more on infrastructure, jobs, transit, and bike lanes.

A few of the mayoral candidates didn’t seem to be taking a question about gender equity seriously when a member of the audience demanded to know why Michael Baldasaro was “cracking  jokes” about it.

Hamilton resident Halima Hatimy, 25, who said she was a feminist and has organized social justice events including the vigil “Bring Back Our Girls” last spring,  submitted her question about gender inequality that she says persists in the city and asked how the candidates would improve the situation.

Ejaz Butt said the only thing he is fearful of “is my wife.” But it was Michael Baldasaro’s response that prompted Hatimy’s outburst. Baldasaro said if he was about to get married, he would get a pre-nuptial agreement. And while he said his father taught him how to be respectful to males and females, Baldsaro said that “equality begins in the cradle.”

Hatimy then demanded “why are you cracking jokes? You were not laughing at the other questions.”

Baldasaro said he couldn’t hear what Hatimy was asking. But then he responded “You can’t lose your sense of humour sister.”

A few male members of the audience shouted out to Hatimy to sit down and be quiet.

“I don’t have to sit down,” she responded.

Baldasaro in his closing comments reiterated that he couldn’t hear what Hatimy was saying.

“I was not making light of anything,” he said.

During an interview, Hatimy who was still “boiling” after her outburst, called the nearly two-hour debate “disgusting” saying the eight candidates during the debate didn’t properly address issues that are impacting the city.

“There is an increase in domestic violence against women, transwomen and children in the community and this was absolutely repulsive,” she said “All they were talking about was infrastructure rather than talking about real social justice issues that are affecting the marginalized community.”

She identified health, racism, gender equity, and a lack of inclusiveness in the city as particular topics that were missed by the candidates.

“They didn’t talk about any of that, and I was just disgusted,” she said. “When they were talking about infrastructure and municipal projects they were very serious. It was a humorous tone when they were talking about gender equity. They were not taking it seriously. Why should I vote for a mayor who doesn’t take gender equity serious?”

Hatimy did single out mayoral candidate Crystal Lavigne as directly addressing the gender issue.

Lavigne, the only female candidate among the 12 in the race for mayor, said in response to Hatimy’s question that gender equity issues should be promoted throughout the community.

She told the over 100 people in the audience that the type of questions she gets from people are if she is single and if she wants to go out on a date.

“Is it just because I’m a woman? Am I pretty, or what? Why should I be treated any differently? Is anyone of my counterparts getting asked those questions?

Former mayor Fred Eisenberger said he has in the past encouraged more females to get involved in politics and run for council.

“It’s unfortunate there isn’t more female representation on council or in our national government,” Eisenberger told the audience. “If my wife was running for mayor she’d be winning the race right now.”

In the current council term there are three female politicians: Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge, Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson, and Stoney Creek councillor Brenda Johnson.

Brad Clark said even though there are laws in Canada that makes all people equal, the reality is that doesn’t happen.

“We need to talk about being an accepting community,” said Clark. “And that comes with leadership. That women are treated exactly the same way. That all newcomers are welcome.”

Brian McHattie promoted the continued existence of the many committees that provide a voice for all kinds of people at city hall. He also backed the creation of an anti-racism centre that would help victims of racist incidents.

Also attending the mayoral debate was Michael Pattison and Francis Warrand. Absent from the event were candidates Mike Clancy, Nick Iamonico, Phil Ryerson and Ricky Tavares.

Pattison at the end of the debate praised Hatimy for her courage in challenging the candidates.

“Thank you for standing up for yourself,” he said. “I am trying to bring a level of equality to all of us. I hope you all have the same fire in the belly.”

Gender equality issues disrupt Hamilton mayoral debate

News Oct 01, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Gender inequality in Hamilton upstaged a mayor’s debate Oct. 1 at St. Giles United Church in downtown Hamilton that had been focused more on infrastructure, jobs, transit, and bike lanes.

A few of the mayoral candidates didn’t seem to be taking a question about gender equity seriously when a member of the audience demanded to know why Michael Baldasaro was “cracking  jokes” about it.

Hamilton resident Halima Hatimy, 25, who said she was a feminist and has organized social justice events including the vigil “Bring Back Our Girls” last spring,  submitted her question about gender inequality that she says persists in the city and asked how the candidates would improve the situation.

Ejaz Butt said the only thing he is fearful of “is my wife.” But it was Michael Baldasaro’s response that prompted Hatimy’s outburst. Baldasaro said if he was about to get married, he would get a pre-nuptial agreement. And while he said his father taught him how to be respectful to males and females, Baldsaro said that “equality begins in the cradle.”

Hatimy then demanded “why are you cracking jokes? You were not laughing at the other questions.”

Baldasaro said he couldn’t hear what Hatimy was asking. But then he responded “You can’t lose your sense of humour sister.”

A few male members of the audience shouted out to Hatimy to sit down and be quiet.

“I don’t have to sit down,” she responded.

Baldasaro in his closing comments reiterated that he couldn’t hear what Hatimy was saying.

“I was not making light of anything,” he said.

During an interview, Hatimy who was still “boiling” after her outburst, called the nearly two-hour debate “disgusting” saying the eight candidates during the debate didn’t properly address issues that are impacting the city.

“There is an increase in domestic violence against women, transwomen and children in the community and this was absolutely repulsive,” she said “All they were talking about was infrastructure rather than talking about real social justice issues that are affecting the marginalized community.”

She identified health, racism, gender equity, and a lack of inclusiveness in the city as particular topics that were missed by the candidates.

“They didn’t talk about any of that, and I was just disgusted,” she said. “When they were talking about infrastructure and municipal projects they were very serious. It was a humorous tone when they were talking about gender equity. They were not taking it seriously. Why should I vote for a mayor who doesn’t take gender equity serious?”

Hatimy did single out mayoral candidate Crystal Lavigne as directly addressing the gender issue.

Lavigne, the only female candidate among the 12 in the race for mayor, said in response to Hatimy’s question that gender equity issues should be promoted throughout the community.

She told the over 100 people in the audience that the type of questions she gets from people are if she is single and if she wants to go out on a date.

“Is it just because I’m a woman? Am I pretty, or what? Why should I be treated any differently? Is anyone of my counterparts getting asked those questions?

Former mayor Fred Eisenberger said he has in the past encouraged more females to get involved in politics and run for council.

“It’s unfortunate there isn’t more female representation on council or in our national government,” Eisenberger told the audience. “If my wife was running for mayor she’d be winning the race right now.”

In the current council term there are three female politicians: Flamborough councillor Judi Partridge, Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson, and Stoney Creek councillor Brenda Johnson.

Brad Clark said even though there are laws in Canada that makes all people equal, the reality is that doesn’t happen.

“We need to talk about being an accepting community,” said Clark. “And that comes with leadership. That women are treated exactly the same way. That all newcomers are welcome.”

Brian McHattie promoted the continued existence of the many committees that provide a voice for all kinds of people at city hall. He also backed the creation of an anti-racism centre that would help victims of racist incidents.

Also attending the mayoral debate was Michael Pattison and Francis Warrand. Absent from the event were candidates Mike Clancy, Nick Iamonico, Phil Ryerson and Ricky Tavares.

Pattison at the end of the debate praised Hatimy for her courage in challenging the candidates.

“Thank you for standing up for yourself,” he said. “I am trying to bring a level of equality to all of us. I hope you all have the same fire in the belly.”