On the eve of her preparations to address a mock House of Commons sitting, Taqtu Sabrina Montague received an email saying there had been “a misunderstanding.”

Montague says she believed she was on the roster of 30 young women scheduled to address the April 3 parliamentary session with Daughters of the Vote — a four-day event that invites 338 women, ages 18 to 23, from across Canada to sit in their respective MP's seat in the Commons. But, organizers told National Observer, after this article was published, that they had no email record of any such invitation to Montague.

This was the second time the biennial conference had been organized by Equal Voice, a multi-partisan group with the goal of empowering young women and achieving equal representation in politics. Montague and her Inuk friend Jaelyn Jarrett were the only two representatives of the Inuit community at the event and both were among the last to be accepted into the delegation. When they got in, they pushed to be able to address the topic of suicide among Indigenous people in front of the prime minister and Canada's top policy makers.

Initially, the two women were told that there was nothing the organizers could do to add them to a speakers list, which they said had already been finalized. Montague said that the additional spot was created after much discussion and requests from delegates and supporters in person and on the Daughters of the Vote Facebook page, a young woman gave up her time to allow Montague to speak.

That woman later made a point of letting Montague know she "felt pressured to give up her spot" and cried about it to one of the event organizers. The speaking time at the parliamentary sitting was extended to allow both Montague and this young woman to speak.

Daughters of the Vote delegate Taqtu Sabrina Montague in Ottawa on Apr. 4, 2019. Photo by Andrew Meade

While headlines lauded how Daughters of the Vote was a rewarding experience for young women with an interest in politics, six women reached out to National Observer to share stories that present a less-than-rosy image of the event.

In a video clip of her speech, Montague wipes tears from her eyes and pulls her hair to one side. She looks down at the piece of paper on her desk, not making eye contact with any of the 337 women silently sitting around her.

She takes a deep breath.

"I never saw myself becoming successful, educated, and proud of my Inuit heritage," she says. "I also never saw myself living past of the age of 20 due to a constant feeling throughout my life to make the impulsive decision to commit suicide."

Crying, she urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to establish trauma healing centres and mental health training for Inuit people. "I am tired of living in constant devastation," she said.

After, Montague said she received faint praise from other delegates who seemed to have little knowledge of her experiences or awareness of her identity. One woman congratulated Montague for making a powerful speech and asked if she lived in an igloo. Another asked if Montague had a cold since she sniffled.

What should have been the most powerful moment in Montague's young life became one of her "most traumatic experiences."

This year's Daughter of the Vote made headlines across the country as it landed in the middle of a debate about female representation in politics. On the second day of the four-day conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expelled Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal government caucus for their roles in the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Both woman had resigned from cabinet in protest, after Wilson-Raybould said that as attorney general she faced inappropriate pressure from the prime minister and some of his top officials to intervene to stop a criminal prosecution of the Quebec engineering giant for bribery charges related to contracts in Libya.

Trudeau struggled to say Philpott's name in his April 3 address to the women, in which he also touted that "diversity only works if there is trust."

A few dozen of the Daughters of the Vote delegates protested Trudeau's speech by turning their backs to him during his speech. One called him a "fake feminist." The minute Trudeau finished talking, the women turned around to ask him questions.

While headlines lauded how Daughters of the Vote was a rewarding experience for young women with an interest in politics, Montague was among six women who reached out to National Observer to share stories that present a less-than-rosy image of the event. They describe a series of discriminatory encounters that left them feeling unsafe, unacknowledged and traumatized.

The six women called from an Ottawa hotel room where they spent much of four days hiding, crying, and trying to deal with what they describe as "a constant feeling of hostility."

These six women received messages on the Daughter of the Vote Facebook page calling them "disgusting" for being among 40 or so delegates who turned their backs on Trudeau in protest of his expulsion of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott. (National Observer has seen screenshots of the messages.)

These six women were among protesters who were called "characterless" by their peers for walking out during Conservative leader Andrew Scheer's speech to protest his ties to white nationalist groups.

And when they tried to get help and support from the organizers of the event, the six women say all delegates were told the event was “a safe space," that they couldn’t possibly feel threatened, and that the event wasn't the place to air any political grievances.

In a statement to National Observer, Equal Voice spokesperson Nasha Brownridge said that the organization was "aware that delegates had differences of opinion regarding the protest events on multiple speakers. Equal Voice supports the diversity of opinion, and is proud of all delegates who took part in the program, regardless of their opinions or whether or not they took part in protest activities. We do not condone bullying in any form, and took all possible steps to provide a safe environment for delegates."

"I am not aware of any Equal Voice representative telling delegates they should not protest," she wrote.

'Every one of us has cried and felt unsafe at multiple times this past week'

Of the 338 young women who attended this year's Daughter of the Vote event in Ottawa, some 146 identified as a visible minority, 39 were Indigenous, 70 identified as LGBTQ and 16 identified as having a physical disability. Before their attendance, every woman was asked to sign an anti-harassment policy, which in the face of this year's experience, the six women who spoke to National Observer found ironic.

Serisha Iyar-Singh, an Ottawa-based policy analyst and daughter of refugees who left apartheid South Africa, said she had heard "awful" stories similar to the experiences she and her friends shared with National Observer before she joined the program. Still, she joined with "very high hopes" that her program experience would be constructive. "I was prepared for it, or at least I thought I was," she said. "But this program wasn't set up for people like us."

Daughters of the Vote delegate Serisha Iyar-Singh in Ottawa on Apr. 4, 2019. Photo by Andrew Meade

The organization did a good job of bringing a number of women from diverse backgrounds and from across the country to the event, all six women said, but they didn't do anything to constructively make them feel included in the proceedings. As a result, these six women found themselves banding together in an secret support group, despite the existence of various practices and supports at the event, including:

  • A full-time equity coordinator on staff
  • A full-time Indigenous coordinator on staff
  • Anti-racism and anti-oppression training in advance of the event for staff, and on the first day of programming for delegates
  • Support workers on site 24/7
  • Elders on site 24/7
  • A decompression room
  • A prayer room
  • An Indigenous forum
  • A workshop conducted by Operation Black Vote
  • Diversity of panelists and presenters
  • Travel, accommodation and food provided at no cost to participants to ensure financial accessibility
  • Dietary options for those with complex allergies or dietary restrictions

But the delegates who spoke to National Observer said that while these supports were available, they were inaccessible. Several of these women used the decompression rooms, only to have other delegates confront them while inside and criticize their decision to protest in the House of Commons. Those who reached out to support workers said no constructive action was taken. Autumn LaRose-Smith, a 22-year-old Metis woman from Saskatoon, recalls one support session where a white female delegate said she was "walking on eggshells" because there so many "upset" racialized and Indigenous members in the delegation.

LaRose-Smith also recalled that the Indigenous Forum was sponsored by Imperial Oil — inherently problematic when Indigenous communities in western Canada are protesting oil pipeline projects. (Equal Voice's Brownridge said Imperial Oil was one of the sponsors that supported the entire Daughters of the Vote event, along with a variety of corporate and community sponsors and the Government of Canada.)

Daughters of the Vote delegate Autumn LaRose-Smith in Ottawa on Apr. 4, 2019. Photo by Andrew Meade

In these secret support groups, these women shared how undermined they felt at the conference. On Thursday, their last night together, they, along with many others, sat in a room for six hours and cried over their experience, lamenting that they were leaving discouraged by what should have been an empowering experience.

At panels, questions about inclusion and succeeding as a racialized female were dismissed, they say, cut off for time. The presence of politicians such as Conservative MP Kellie Leitch and Senator Linda Frum, made these women feel uncomfortable, they said, because of anti-immigrant views they have shared publicly.

Every panel began with a note about how the event was "a movement for equality," LaRose-Smith, recalled. Yet the panels would have one token racialized or Indigenous woman.

Equal Voice's Brownridge said in a statement that "the program included panelists and speakers from diverse backgrounds, with diverse opinions and political views, consistent with Equal Voice’s mandate as a multi-partisan organization."

But LaRose-Smith said the organizations efforts to be multi-partisan may have taken away from making considerations for delegates like her who were made to feel uncomfortable.

"Every one of us has cried and felt unsafe at multiple times this past week," LaRose-Smith told National Observer. "No one has checked in. No one has heard our complaints. And this is how we've all felt the moment that we got off the plane and arrived into this group. We've felt that our identity had to be pushed to the side and kept secret."

'The only thing that Daughter of the Vote has given me is real trauma'

When Trudeau took questions after his spech, Rubab Qureshi was the first to raise her hand and asked what "concrete action" he would take to address Islamaphobia in Canada. Would white nationalist groups be put on terrorist watch lists? Would leaders with ties to these groups face "actual consequences?"

A video clip of Qureshi (who represented Edmonton Mill Woods) spread quickly. Just as quickly though, the hijab-wearing 20-year-old psychology and gender studies student at the University of Alberta was subjected to online hate and discrimination from various right-leaning online groups.

Qureshi contacted Equal Voice to implore Facebook who was a sponsor of the event to take down hateful posts targeting visibly Muslim delegates. (The company launched the #SheLeads safety guide for women leaders in partnership with Equal Voice at the Daughters of the Vote event. It “aims to equip women leaders with the tools they need to use Facebook and Instagram effectively and safely during campaigns." One of these tools included learning how to ban and remove people directing abusive comments at them.)

The organizers told Qureshi they could take her biography and picture down from the Daughters of the Vote website (where all 338 delegates are listed with their photographs and bios) to make her "less visible" an offer Qureshi declined. Brownridge confirmed that option was provided: Delegates were told they "can take down or re-post bios and photos at anytime, and that it was entirely up to them." Facebook was also investigating the posts, she added.

But the lack of an immediate and constructive response from Equal Voice when the hateful posts first started circulating was frustrating for Qureshi. It felt lackluster. Similar examples of online bullying were evident in the private Daughters of the Vote Facebook group, where some of the delegates shared a tweet by Georganne Burke, a senior member of Scheer's campaign who has been linked to alt-right and anti-Islam groups.

Burke tweeted during the House of Commons mock sitting: "Torturing myself listening to (Equal Voice Canada's Daughters of the Vote) speeches in (House of Commons). I'm afraid for our future. Some of the ideas being expressed are so shallow and poorly thought out that I'm stymied about the purpose of this event."

One of the girls who shared Burke's tweet told Montague, specifically: "Maybe if you didn't throw a tantrum and leave while the leader of the official opposition was speaking you wouldn't be subjected to these types of statements."

When LaRose-Smith spoke to an organizer about the hateful comments she and other women who had protested were receiving, she says the organizer told her that she had to learn to work with people who disagree with her. She says another organizer told she'd be reprimanded if she kept complaining and if they created secret groups, separate from the delegation's official support groups.

Equal Voice spokesperson Nasha Brownridge said that "at no time did Equal Voice reprimand, or say they would reprimand, delegates for voicing their concerns," and found the comments on the Facebook page "deeply concerning." Because it was a private Facebook group just made for and used exclusively for the delegates, Equal Voice staff could not view the activity and "were unable to moderate comments or posts," she wrote in an email statement. "Equal Voice unequivocally condemns bullying and harassment in all of its forms."

But delegates like Qureshi say they were reproached by organizers and bullied for the remainder of the event. "There were all these uncalled-for accusations about how we weren't showing professionalism and the characteristics of politicians," she said, noting that, previously, members of government have been loud and banged constantly on their tables to disrupt House of Commons procedures or speeches. "We were silent. There was no disruption. It was powerful. And the point was to be disrespectful."

LaRose-Smith said she hasn't been able to eat all week because she's been too overcome with fear of being bullied or reprimanded. "If we tried to help them understand why we turned our backs on Trudeau, they thought we were threatening. If we were to seek acknowledgment, that was threatening," she said. "If we were upset for a very valid reason, such as feeling unsafe and being pushed out and attacked by members and being called disgusting, we were threatening."

"I feel like I've been tricked into coming into something that would empower me and instead I've been emotionally and mentally attacked every single day," LaRose-Smith said, crying on the phone. "The only thing that Daughter of the Vote has given me is real trauma ... Otherwise they have offered nothing, nothing at all."

'I'm leaving with imposter syndrome'

Megan Linton was one of the few delegates who identified as a disabled women. She said didn't have access to proper accessible transit for the entiriety of the trip. At one point she was "trapped" on Parliament Hill for two hours waiting for transit that hadn't been arranged.

Linton is a towering figure who uses a cane in her day-to-day life. She is in her final year of studies at the University of Winnipeg.

Brownridge, Equal Voice's spokesperson, said in an email statement that "accessibility needs were communicated in advance to all venues throughout the program, having been identified and discussed multiple times ahead of delegates arriving in Ottawa", adding that they "understand, however, that accessibility needs were not always met by all venues, and are committed to ensuring such instances do not happen at future events."

"Equal Voice is taking the necessary steps to meet with venue operators, including the House of Commons and Senate, to communicate the absence of certain accessibility measures and are committed to working together to ensure we improve for future programs," Brownridge wrote.

Linton believes the organization didn't value accessibility needs, as evidenced by the fact that they invited Ontario Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod to speak a the Autism Awareness Day (April 2) dinner with all 338 delegates.

Linton, who is neurodivergent, recalls that she decided to protest MacLeod's speech on Autism Awareness Day (April 2) by holding up a poster that said "Fund Autism" in black marker.

Daughters of the Vote delegate Megan Linton in Ottawa on Apr. 4, 2019. Photo by Andrew Meade

MacLeod has been under fire for weeks for proposed changes to autism services, which she has since scaled back. According to Linton, some 50 girls walked out of MacLeod's speech to protest of Doug Ford's cuts to education, autism and more. (Qureshi said some delegates, like her, boycotted it entirely.) But when Linton held her protest sign up, an organizer rushed over and told her that she couldn't protest because the dinner was "a safe space," and that the delegation was "above protest" implying that the event was neither threatening, nor a place to air any grievances.

"It didn't make any sense because they're the ones who gave (MacLeod) the space. They gave her a literal platform with three stairs leading up to it to share her opinion, and which I could not personally access," she said. "If you are going to give someone a platform to speak who has been actively oppressing my community then I'm going to have the right to speak as well."

The organizer told Linton that she would arrange a meeting with the minister, Linton recalled. When MacLeod did indeed approach her after her speech, Linton refused to shake her hand. MacLeod told her that the Ford government was providing an additional $350 million for autism funding. Linton asked her if she was consulting members of Ontario's autistic community, but MacLeod was ushered away by the organizer before she could answer.

Later, Linton says an organizer yelled at her that she wasn't being respectful and that the event was not a space for protest. The organizer told Linton she needed to be civil.

Afterward, MacLeod touted on Twitter that she was "proud" to be a founder of the organization.

"I don't think she's proud of all of us because she certainly was not proud of me," Linton said. "We were most certainly not proud that she was there and that we fundamentally reject her as a person who continues to oppress marginalized voices every single day in her job and in her government."

"In the application process they asked for strong, focused, independent women, and when we got there they basically told us to shut up and sit down and go through with the program," Qureshi said. "I didn't come to shut up and sit down. None of us did."

Jaelyn Jarrett, an Inuk, Black woman from Nain, Nunatsiavut, who helped Montague get on the roster to speak in the House of Commons, said that after everything she has witnessed and experienced at Daughters of the Vote, she "leaving with imposter syndrome, that I don't belong in any of these spaces and nothing was done to address that."

She said she watched women complain to board members that Montague's request to speak was taking away from other people's experiences. She shared screenshots of all the hateful messages she and her friends had received for merely asking for time to speak.

Brownridge explained in her statement that both Jarrett and Montague were "late registrations to the program and joined after the speaker list had been selected and confirmed." The vast majority of the delegation wanted to speak in the House of Commons, so the selection process "was extremely difficult," she said, "and took into careful consideration linguistic, ethnic, and racial diversity and geographic representation."

"After these delegates communicated their concerns with staff, Equal Voice deliberated and added additional speaking spots for these delegates (one in the House of Commons and one in the Senate)," Browridge said.

Daughters of the Vote

Daughters of the Vote delegates Jaelyn Jarrett and Taqtu Sabrina Montague in Ottawa on Apr. 4, 2019. Photo by Andrew Meade

But Jarrett, a fourth year law and Indigenous studies student at Ottawa's Carleton University, said Equal Voice staff gave them "no support whatsoever" during the process, and "no tools as to how to move on" in the wake of the backlash from their peers.

"They kept just telling us that this whole thing was a safe space so we shouldn't be protesting and we shouldn't be upset but like it was not a safe space for us," Jarrett said. "We signed their anti-harassment file, but it didn't count for the oppressive statements we received."

"For me, freedom of democracy is that we are able to freely criticize our government regardless of how we do so," Iyar-Singh said. "And the fact that we did so in an organized manner, in a respectful manner, by protesting silently, and faced such heavy criticism and backlash...to me it makes it seem like this was all for nothing."

Editor's note: this article was updated on April 12, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. with additional information from Equal Voice organizers who said they had no email record of inviting Taqtu Sabrina Montague to address the Daughters of the Vote event, despite her statements that she believed she had received such an invitation.

I emailed the founder of Equal Voice before this years event about the discrimination against women and other minorities federal refundable political tax credits cause including my 2015 message to the PM, cabinet and Clerk of the Privy Council, along with the Finance Ministers reply “Refundable credits are used in only a limited number of cases in the personal income tax system…where there is a clear policy rationale for doing so.” What clearer rational for fixing rigged campaign finance rules favouring men, especially white men, over women and all others is there for a feminist government? I received no reply but that is likely to the fact that Trudeau funds this organization that is supposed to be multi-partisan but in truth represents incumbents and the three major parties while excluding all others.

A rich man’s game
https://torontosun.com/2017/03/11/a-rich-mans-game/wcm/74cd3dba-9dbc-46b...

Seriously?

"Strong young women"....spent all their time crying in their room, or wandering around feeling "unsafe" and unheard? Legions of support staff to make them feel safe?

The woman I was raised by, and the women who are my sisters would laugh in your face and call you worse things than you were called on Parliament Hill. They would be embarrassed for you...because God knows you aren't embarrassed at yourselves. But you should be.

Daughters of the Vote? Sounds more like "Victimhood 101"

I think it's hard for people to step up and speak about their painful experiences and it is only empowering if it occurs in a context of strong support. Otherwise, it does just feel like being a victim. Traditionally, as women we expected that if we wanted to step into the political arena we should be armoured and ready to take all sorts of abuse. I think it's now become clear that is not an acceptable situation, and neither is it constructive. Politics needs to become a more civil activity to allow the diversity of voices in this country to be heard. I believe that would not only be fair, but be to all of our benefit: if we only hear from the most powerful, how will we know how to improve the wellbeing of our population?

I have a lot of respect for Equal Voice, they have done a lot to raise issues of equity in politics, and am guessing that they had good intentions. They clearly made some efforts to prevent the sort of problems that arose but these simply were not sufficient and seem not to have been entirely well thought-through. I think that EV needs, on the one hand, to acknowledge that this is a political event, that participants will use in political ways, and on the other to build a different way of doing politics, one that makes everyone feel included. I'm hoping that they learnt from this experience.

I for one absolutely loved hearing all the speeches from these young women, it opened up many perspectives for me. They are really worth listening to, they can no doubt be found through a google search and/or on the CPAC website. I am hoping that even those who felt hurt and disempowered by this experience will ultimately realise that they made an important contribution to Canadian political life and that their dreams are worth pursuing. No progressive change has ever been made without struggle.

Get over it James. Strong women cry. They persevere and they put up with whiners like you who think the old mould is the only way. Guess what it isn't. They get things done, crying or not crying is their business, How they express their emotions up to them. I'll tell you how to act, express yourself, and you just sit there an take it since you think it is acceptable, cause it isn't. These are fine women. The world is a better place for having them. It took a lot of courage and conviction not to just play the part and shut up. Thank you, my friends.

Not getting it: Exhibit A.

Given that this was an intense and highly visible event, is it any wonder that a small fraction, less than 2% of the delegates, would be vocally unhappy with the experience? To base an entire article on these six is to give a very lopsided perspective on this year's Daughters of the Vote.

What a total waste of taxpayers dollars - why is it OK to bash the immigrants from Europe but "racist" to talk about our present day immigration which is mainly from the continent of Asia (including the middle east)?
Do they even know what the true meaning of freedom of speech and healthy debate is?
Wonder how many members of the Jewish community were involved?
I am getting so tired of the left owning our thoughts words and actions being controlled by the left "social justice" sponsors that are actually following socialists like George Soros and Bernie Sanders.
Grow up girls and start acting like real women instead of bunch of helpless victims. Most women have suffered from all kinds of negative issues and we only heal when we start to grow - and putting a stop to people saying things you do not like to hear is not the way to go

. . . Except nobody bashes immigrants from Europe. So the question of whether it's supposedly "OK" is kind of moot. And come on, don't pretend--when you have the same people making openly racist comments in one venue, and then coded ones in another, people start to learn the codes and you start looking really stupid when you wring your hands and whine, "Oh, my, how could anybody think these racist code phrases were racist, just because they're the same ones the white supremacists always use when they're in polite company?"
Incidentally, George Soros is a centrist, capitalist, small "l' liberal, and Bernie Sanders, whatever he may occasionally say, is a social democrat. Socialists, whether you like them or hate them, are people who want corporate property to be actually taken away from billionaire owners, to be owned instead by the workers or the public. It it's not about social ownership of the means of production, it's not actually socialist.

As to the girls themselves . . . sure, I find it a bit precious, although that's more about the language they're using than about the facts. On the other hand, I find the whole event a bit precious, and it seems not to have been living up to its billing. You can debate if there should there be a need for "safe spaces". But if an outfit bills itself as being all about the safe spaces and inclusiveness and all, then it shouldn't let people get pursued into their safe spaces and harassed. They made a commitment and did not honour it.

...and the bullying continues here within this space.

The concerns these women have expressed must be acknowledged as being valuable. There are lessons in this that we would be fools to ignore. One might conclude that the partisan nature of politics in Canada, including the increasingly toxic nature of conservative politics has something to do with their less than inspiring experiences within that organizational structure.

I am many years past the age of these delegates but, despite their accomplishments and their dedication they are certainly disadvantaged when it comes to the "real politik" of the daily workings of establishment organizations. Those who felt marginalized, must harden their body armour because they have miles to go and decades ahead in which their battles will continue. Now is not the time to give up nor to feel discouraged or dismissed. Being heard only happens when you continue to raise your voice.

For whatever reason, the organizers of this patronizingly titled event seemed unable to convey their laudable objectives, or carry out their promises of "safety and accomodation" Part of the problem may lie in the composition of the organizing committeee? If it did not contain representatives of the non-establishment population it walked blind into the situation.

The other reason for the disrespect that seemed to have erupted is that as the old order passeth, it is fading, kicking and screaming and disrupting - just as all the retrograde "nationalist" (read entitled white european) groups are doing. Now that the marginalised are actually speaking out, the old order rails at their temerity, or trolls them or ignores them. For many decades, the feminist movement has been lambasted, justly, for being solely focused on the ills of the (comparatively) entitled white women. It is a continuing shame that feminism is still overwhelmingly driven by white women and it takes the hide of a buffalo for women of colour or women of disability to make their voices heard.

We, in the white world are still not "hearing". We are still playing the zero sum game men have played for millenia. Giving up power to the "other", necessarily diminishes me.

In reality, only inclusion makes humanity stronger. And frankly, in the panic and existential uncertainty we face, we need all the varieties of strength we can muster.

Some of these women turned their backs on Trudeau while he was speaking and then turned around to ask questions after he’d finished. That doesn’t sound like respect. Trudeau has put more women in his cabinet than any other PM in history and this is how they repay him ? JWR and Philpott weren’t kicked out because they were women. They were kicked out for being a disruptive distraction that damaged the party. These ‘Daughters of the Vote’ should grow a bit thicker skin if they want to be politicians.

After, Montague said she received faint praise from other delegates who seemed to have little knowledge of her experiences or awareness of her identity. One woman congratulated Montague for making a powerful speech and asked if she lived in an igloo. Another asked if Montague had a cold since she sniffled.

If this is a representative sample of Canadian voters present and future, the prospects for the nation are bleak.

This whole story strikes me as odd. A group of emotionally fragile women get involved in a political protest and then are shocked that some people disagree with them. They lock themselves in a room and cry about how unfair everyone is being. Were they expecting to walk into so-called enemy territory and receive praise from those same people for their actions? If you refuse to shake someone’s hand, why should you then expect a fair hearing? They seem to have forgotten that the “other” side is just as human and also feeling just as righteous as these women imagine themselves to be. If they could acknowledge that, they might be able to start an honest dialogue and make progress on being heard. Such open conversation usually requires maturity, and a tolerance for dissent.
As for the lack of accommodations for those with special needs, that is between themselves and the organizers and has nothing to do with the reaction to their protests.

I feel bad that these young women took to heart the criticisms levelled at them when they attended "Daughters of the Vote". That being said, this is the type of thing that is likely to happen when we "get out of our silo" and find ourselves sharing space with people who have different points of view than we do, about which they are likely equally passionate. One way of looking at this is to see a series of missed opportunities. 1. Delegate Montague was said to be a "late registrant". If so, it's fortunate she was given a space, and of course she did not receive one of 30 speaking spots. So when another young woman gave up her spot, did Montague thank her? Did she make sure the other young woman was alright with giving up her spot? When the other young woman complained, with the result that they BOTH got to speak, did Montague reach out and express pleasure that they both get to speak? If not, these were missed opportunities and hopefully she would do better next time.
2. Autumn LaRose-Smith, a 22-year-old Metis woman from Saskatoon, recalls one support session where a white female delegate said she was "walking on eggshells" because there so many "upset" racialized and Indigenous members in the delegation. Did Delegate La Rose-Smith consider asking the young white woman WHY she felt like she is walking on eggshells? Reach out to increase mutual tolerance and respect?. If not, this was a missed opportunity.
I'm not saying La Rose-Smith and Montague bear sole responsibility for reaching out to make things better. I'm saying it is something they could have done, and might have emerged feeling good about building bridges, or trying to, rather than crying in a room with a few fellow victims.

Reading through the article, then perusing the comments makes one realize that this just may be a language barrier. When I read the word DISCRIMINATION, I understand it to be an unfair judgement or action towards another person based upon something they cannot change, but the DAUGHTERS in the story seem to think DISCRIMINATION means ANY WHITE PERSON WHO DISAGREES WITH ME..........

I stand by my original comments, if this is the type of person who expects to be leader in the future, they need to understand they will be leading everyone....not just the folks who agree with their ideology. We already have a virtue signalling moron as the prime minister....we do not need him to have a bunch of company in parliament. Get strong PEOPLE in positions of power, and dump the identity politics found in this article. The women in this story are not strong. They are weak and shallow, and need to WOMEN-UP. Try to emulate folks like Wilson-Raybould, Phillpot, Lisa Raitt, or Michelle Rempel.

that is what a STRONG leader acts like...they just happen to be women.

Still not getting it.

I'm sorry they found it so tough to participate in this exercise, but this story is not very inspiring to read when compared with the civil rights struggles of American blacks, or Gandhi's fight for the end of colonialism. People who fight for justice against great powers that profit from injustice need a huge tolerance for criticism, outright insults, and lack of support.

Those who have achieved success in these struggles have always needed to put up with a lot more pain that was suffered by anybody in this article, and I believe they need to crank themselves up to face much worse than this if they are to have any impact.

I'm not saying that's just or right or anything like that; just, 'it is what it is'.

I was intrigued by the mention of "elders, 24x7", but none of these people were identified, much less interviewed for their opinions on how badly the program was run. By definition, they're respected as indigenous leaders, so their input about these people's experiences would have been very helpful.