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U.S. conservative pundit Ann Coulter and Toronto Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett are shown in a photo combination. (Associated Press and The Canadian Press)
U.S. conservative pundit Ann Coulter and Toronto Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett are shown in a photo combination. (Associated Press and The Canadian Press)

Morning buzz

Ann Coulter attacks gays and Muslims; <br/>Tories attack medical doctor Add to ...

1. Ann Coulter unplugged. The conservative provocateur mocked gay men last night, saying there are two things they can't do - "get married to each other" (they can in Canada and some American states) and "throw a baseball without looking like a girl."

Nice.

Ms. Coulter also told an audience in London, Ont., she thinks feminists, gays and illegal aliens all want to be black as they complain their rights are being attacked in the same way the rights of African-Americans once were.

This is just a taste of what's to come.

Tonight, Ms. Coulter takes on the nation's capital when she speaks at the University of Ottawa, the second stop on her three-city campus tour.

The topic of her speech - she is reportedly paid $10,000-a-talk -"Political Correctness, Media Bias and Freedom of Speech." However, that freedom came into question yesterday when she was not exactly welcomed with open arms in Ottawa.

The university provost a letter cautioning her to be aware of "what is acceptable in Canada," noting that "promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate but could in fact lead to criminal charges."

The letter was leaked to National Post, which is considered friendly to the hard-right conservative cause.

Ms. Coulter, meanwhile, spoke last night at the University of Western Ontario. All long blonde hair and heavily-mascaraed lashes, she did not hold back, according to the London Free Press. A frequent contributor to Fox News - Barack Obama's least favourite American network - Ms. Coulter took on a political science student who is Muslim.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she had joked that Muslims denied air travel should take "flying carpets." When the student challenged that remark, Ms. Coulter told her to take a "camel," adding that, "I thought it was just American public schools that produced ignorant people."

Ms. Coulter is to speak in Calgary on Thursday.

2. Carolyn Bennett admonished. Stephen Harper's Tories, likely feeling the heat from their missteps on contraception and maternal health, are taking on the Toronto Liberal MP and medical doctor.

Seizing on remarks that Dr. Bennett made in the local Parliament Hill newspaper, the party sent out an internal memo yesterday accusing of her diminishing the role of stay-at-home mothers.

"In a statement reminiscent of 'beer and popcorn', one of Michael Ignatieff's senior MPs, Carolyn Bennett, says raising a child isn't a 'real job'," according to the Tory memo.

The beer-and-popcorn reference goes back to the 2006 election when Paul Martin's communications guru Scott Reid famously criticized the Tory's $100-a-month child care program by saying parents would use that for "beer and popcorn." His remarks provoked a huge outcry and are still considered a turning point in the election for the Liberals.

Yesterday, the Tories also put up one of their female MPs, Newmarket-Aurora's Lois Brown, to deliver a critical statement about Ms. Bennett's remarks in the House of Commons.

"We already know the Liberal Party thinks that Canadian moms and dads spend the $100 per month universal child care benefit on beer and popcorn," she charged. "Now [Dr. Bennett]has suggested that stay-at-home moms raising their kids at home were not doing a real job. She should ask anyone raising a child at home if it is a real job."

The source of the Tory outrage comes from a Hill Times article about Helena Guergis, the minister of state for the status of women. In it, Dr. Bennett says, "Women of Canada want to hear about early learning and child care; that is the key to their economic independence, to be able to get back to school, to get a real job, to be able to go to work."

Well, the Tories went to work on the Liberal MP. Ms. Brown said Dr. Bennett should "apologize for insulting stay-at-home parents."

"The Liberals' real feelings about stay-at-home parents have once again come out of the woodwork," she said.

And the internal memo, sent to Tory MPs and supporters, is equally aggressive:

"Really? Raising a child at home isn't a 'real job'? Has Carolyn Bennett actually spoken to any real mothers lately?" the memo says. "For years Michael Ignatieff's Liberal party promised Canadians a national child care plan. It never delivered."

For her part, Dr. Bennett, posted a statement to her website: "Raising a child is probably the hardest work any of us have ever done," she said. "There is a difference between paid and unpaid work. All mothers work - not all mothers get paid.

"Affordable early learning and child care allows women the choice of getting an education and/or work that she gets paid to do and lift her out of poverty."

(Photos: Associated Press and The Canadian Press)

Follow on Twitter: @janetaber1

 

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