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What’s a Feminist Government? Canada, and Trudeau, Grapple With the Question

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“I know some women who are wonderfully kind and generous and loving,” she added, “and I know some men who are — and I know some women and men who are tough and ruthless and cunning. The moment you start attributing any kind of characteristic to one gender or the other, you’re not reflecting the world I live in — and you’re setting the women up for failure.”

She said, too, that a minister should support the prime minister “99 percent of the time in private, and 100 percent of the time in public.”

Arguing that he is far better than the alternative, supporters of Mr. Trudeau point to measures like the introduction of gender-based budget analysis; the enactment of a parental leave policy for second parents; and heavy investment in public housing as examples of programs that specifically benefit women.

“By any objective measures — and I would put this in bold, in italics, underlined, highlighted — this is, bar none, the most feminist government Canada has ever had, period,” said Kate Bezanson, the chairwoman of the sociology department at Brock University.

“The charge of #fakefeminism is a handy alliterative stance for a party that is anti-choice, anti-gun control, anti-childcare legislation,” she added of the Conservatives.

One of Mr. Trudeau’s problems may be that, much like President Barack Obama, he has raised expectations.

“Something there is kind of bubbling up that has nothing to do with politics, but is more of a generational discontent,” said Penny Collenette, a prominent Liberal who now teaches at the University of Ottawa, citing the anger expressed by the young women at the parliamentary event earlier this month.


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