Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner March 21, 2020
Two-time elected member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, Pam Damoff. NIKKI WESLEY/TORSTAR
We can't go very long or very far today without witnessing, though we may be reluctant to see it, an incident of bullying, harassment or just plain nastiness against a stranger.
These situations tend to defeat me: I am a slow reactor. The Enneagram (a personality test) tells me I am a number 3, acting from the heart, whereas courageous, quick-acting people are ones and eights, acting from the gut!
Whatever the analysis, I have been seeking to extend my competencies, and just needed a push.
That came when I read about the assertive and helpful action of a woman in Ottawa recently. At midnight, at an LRT stop, with few people around, she intervened.
So I called her.
It was December in snowy, downtown Ottawa, after a Christmas party on the Hill. The two-time elected member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, Pam Damoff, was taking public transport home, when she saw "a man coming on to a young woman, asking inappropriate questions, and I just felt something wasn't right."
"I am tall and I am older and I would probably have said something like, "Get lost, mister." But this was a twenty-year-old and she looked uneasy. I walked up, put myself between them and gave my attention to the young woman, chatting about her backpack. The man moved off. Then the girl, Abby, asked me to ride with her on the LRT to her stop, which I happily did. I thought nothing more of it, until Abby posted the story and even came to my office on the Hill to say thanks again."
I call that intergenerational solidarity. The feminist kind.
It was the reaction of a strong, fit woman, a champion for cycling in her riding, who, after a career of 25 years working on Bay Street, ran for office and former co-chair of the House of Commons Committee on the Status of Women, along with being parliamentary secretary to Hon. Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services.