Commentary  Stop appropriating radical discourse for an Conservative agenda

Re: “Right to choose” | Commentary | February 3

To Eleanor Vaughn,

Your use of the argument “right to choose” is at once: 1) offensive: it trivializes the essential right for women to bodily sovereignty and access to abortion, the denial of which results in the deaths of thousands of women worldwide every year due to unsafe abortions; 2) ironic: freedom of choice has historically been fought for by those same “radicals” you condemn, and systemically denied by the conservative forces you endorse; and 3) irrelevant: since the right for students to “opt-out” has never been threatened. In fact, QPIRG was the one to first instigate the “opt-out” option for its fees in the nineties and maintains the right of students to get informed about its services, events, and working groups, and to decide whether to opt-in or not. And I mean really get informed, and not just accept unfounded accusations such as yours that “QPIRG uses its funding to support external activism for radical causes.” One of QPIRG’s “radical causes” (as you put it) is to “oppose all forms of discrimination on the basis of: class, gender, race, sexual orientation, and dis/ability.” Do you really think these issues are “external” to McGill? You are right that supporting the Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble, which sings chants for equality and the end to oppression, is quite different from hosting a wine and cheese. That’s because QPIRG and its working groups, such as the CIE, are actively struggling for social and environmental justice. These struggles are unfortunately terribly under-funded in our society, and do not receive the same political or financial support as groups working under a Conservative agenda. $150,000 may seem like a lot at first, but it is barely enough to sustain all the incredible work QPIRG does on campus and in the community each year.

Jessica Blair

B.A. 2010, Women’s Studies

Board member, QPIRG-McGill