The connection between work camps and violence against women is real. But the camps are hard on men, too.

We need to listen to both women’s and men’s stories if we want to understand sexualized violence.

This is from our weekly Discourse newsletter. Make sure to share it and subscribe here.

When Justin Trudeau commented on how women are at a higher risk for sexualized violence near temporary work camps at the G20 in Argentina last week, Conservative Twitter blew up.

Alberta’s Conservative Party leader, Jason Kenney called Trudeau’s comments “hurtful” and dismissed his concerns.

Jason Kenney tweet


And federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said, “The person who is a threat to rural Canada is Justin Trudeau himself, not the workers who build communities everywhere.” He accused Trudeau of demonizing construction workers.


Truth is that both perspectives have some merit. The camps, and their workers, do contribute economically. But there is also a real connection to sexualized violence against women, as The Discourse reporters Emma Jones and Francesca Fionda found in their award-winning investigation Shadow Population, which dug into the human impacts of the camps.

The Twitter skirmish shows how Scheer’s gang is increasingly engaging in political dialogue purposely designed to polarize Canadians on wedge issues. But by pitting men in the resource industry against women, he is silencing victims.

Women’s perspectives are essential. Globally, women are only mentioned in 25 per cent of news stories, and usually in supporting roles. We need stories that highlight that.

But the reality is that we’ll never understand violence against women if we don’t listen to men’s stories too. Our Shadow Population coverage also revealed how workers deal with a unique set of physical and mental health challenges — and how services to support them vary significantly.

We need to engage in nuanced conversations that include all Canadians if we want to to create a country in which both women and men thrive. 

Help us investigate

Indigenous-themed souvenirs are common sights in Canadian tourist shops. But are they authentic?

Indigenous-themed art lines the shelves of souvenir and other shops across Canada, from mini plastic totem poles to dreamcatchers, carved masks and more. But no one knows how much of the art sold in these shops and galleries is actually made by or in collaboration with Indigenous artists.

And that’s a problem, artists and advocates say. When Indigenous artists are left out of making their own art, it harms their culture while taking profits from Indigenous artists who are trying to make a living.

So we’re asking you to help us investigate.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be digging into what exactly is on the shelves, who made it and who benefits. Watch this video to find out exactly how you can help.

Join us

The Discourse reporter Wawmeesh Hamilton spoke at RavenSPEAK: Amplified’s first storytelling event in June. 

In our ongoing efforts to listen to and build trust with the Lower Mainland’s urban Indigenous community, we are sponsoring RavenSPEAK: Amplified, an initiative founded by Métis leader Teara Fraser to amplify Indigenous perspectives in major events, media and politics.

RavenSPEAK’s second public storytelling event will occur on Dec. 11, 2018. The Discourse reporter Wawmeesh Hamilton will once again be among the storytellers.

We are supporting this event in part because the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on journalists: “Media has a role to play in ensuring that public information both for and about Aboriginal peoples reflects their cultural diversity and provides fair and non-discriminatory reporting.”

If you’re interested in joining us, you can receive a 25% discount on tickets HERE with promo code: thediscourse

And if you’d like to keep engaging in nuanced conversations, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here. [end]

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