It’s Giving Tuesday and LEAF has an important message for our supporters. In light of the United States election results (and events that followed in the USA and Canada) it is imperative that Canadians come together to defend our equality rights. For over 30 years, LEAF has advocated tirelessly for women’s equality rights in Canadian courts. A recent event in Hamilton, Ontario prompted LEAF to file a complaint and redesign this bright red hat for you today. It might look familiar to you, but trust us, it is different.
On November 9th, 2016 Justice Bernd E. Zabel of the Ontario Court of Justice arrived in court wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ red hat. He wore the hat as he entered the courtroom and even placed it on the bench during the morning session. Justice Zabel explained to the court that he wore the hat as “a celebration of a historic night.” The hat and slogan stem from president elect Donald Trump’s racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, and misogynistic presidential campaign. Many variations of this hat and slogan have appeared online, including ‘Make America White Again’. News outlets such as CNN have reported that both the slogan and the success of Trump’s campaign have emboldened bigoted American citizens. This has resulted in a wave of hate speech and hate crimes across the United States in recent weeks, and even provoked some hate speech and hate crimes here in Canada.
Judges need to remain impartial in court. A judge wearing any branded piece of clothing in court is worrisome enough, let alone a judge appearing to endorse a major campaign that has been tied to sexism and bigotry.
Canada is a wonderfully diverse country, but we have issues, many of which LEAF fights to address in court. A major issue in Canada is that we do not treat women equally, despite equality rights being enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We also have a long way to go to end racism and homophobia in this country. Now is the time to come together for true equality for all women, before we find ourselves in a similar sexist political climate that jeopardizes the rights we have fought so hard to obtain.
LEAF has been, and will continue to be, a strong voice for women’s rights in Canadian courts. We need your support to continue our vital work. Donate to LEAF today for Giving Tuesday to ensure true equality for women in our judicial system.