“The poor will always be with us,” “prostitution is the oldest profession,” and “men are just naturally that way.” These essentialist positions or attitudes are not promoted in CASAC centres. Rather, we see that among other things, each corporate move, social policy, and interaction of the state and its subjects moves us toward or away from the desired future. Class, race, and gender division and domination are social and economic constructions always in the making. As is equality.
There are those who see it differently. We have had to defend our positions rather rigorously in the last few years. The government has applied only formal equality when attending to equality at all. It has sometimes ignored both the Supreme Court rulings against formal equality and the reverse impact of the application of these polices. Huge economic and political forces have been mounted to oppose any government role beyond armies and prisons. Sometimes we have found ourselves reeling from many simultaneous blows.
Read this chapter in Canada’s Promises to Keep: The Charter and Violence Against Women, p. 93-166.