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Canadian MRA Dan Perrins launches hunger strike, demands the arrest of those who’ve “libelled” him UPDATED

Dan Perrins on Day 4 of his hunger strike
Dan Perrins on Day 4 of his hunger strike

UPDATE 5/16: Perrins has called off his hunger strike. Here’s his explanation

Dan Perrins, a famously confrontational Canadian Men’s Rights Activist and staunch supporter of A Voice for Men,  has launched a hunger strike outside the Queen’s Park Legislative Assembly in Toronto. As of this writing, he’s on his fifth day, taking in, he says, nothing but liquids.

What does he want? Surprisingly, that’s not an easy question to answer. Perrins’ demands are vague and grandiose — and probably impossible for the Ontario government to meet — and he has not set any specific conditions that would need to be met in order for him to end the hunger strike.

This seems, at the very least, reckless. A hunger strike is a very serious thing.

The idea of the hunger strike came to Perrins, as he explained in a video discussion with AVFM head man Paul Elam, while he was in the midst of a 75-mile walk across Ontario that was supposed to raise awareness about male suicide and mental health issues.

Not altogether happy with the diffident reception his walk had gotten from police and government officials in some of the cities he passed through, he decided to launch the hunger strike when he finished up his walk in Toronto. It was clearly not very carefully planned. Neither Perrins nor his supporters at AVFM seem to have consulted medical professionals and (at least at the time of Perrins’ last video update) no one from the group is there to monitor his well-being, which seems to me unconscionable.

And then there is the question of his demands, which even Perrins’ supporters at AVFM have had a hard time figuring out. In a post announcing the start of Perrins’ protest, AVFM’s Dean Esmay wrote that

Dan has already delivered his demands at the footsteps of the Queen’s Park Legislative Assembly, who at first refused to even accept his demands for review. After some discussion they reversed and accepted the documents.

But the document Perrins handed over — or at least the document that Esmay linked to — wasn’t a list of demands. It was a muddled manifesto titled “Men’s Rights March 2013 Internet Statement,” ending with a laundry list of goals for the Men’s Rights movement including “[d]evelopment and availability of a male fertility control device, drug or method that is safe, affordable, effective and reversible” and a call to “[f]oster the emergence of a new cultural narrative where all men and women are encouraged to live their lives as they see fit, without preferential treatment, while also being expected to bear the responsibility for their personal choices.”

Perrins then explained that these were not his demands at all. In a comment left under Esmay’s post, he wrote

dandemands

Yes, one of his demands is that those who’ve “libelled” MRAs like himself be arrested and brought before a criminal court.

The first demand is not only so vague as to be almost meaningless — what is “full funding,” how quickly would the government need to provide it?  But it also would require the government to do several impossible things.

Ontario’s premier Kathleen Wynne — as far as I can figure it, she’s the person Perrins expects to respond to his demands — cannot dramatically alter hundreds of millions of dollars of government spending with some dramatic proclamation in order to appease a man on a hunger strike. Or for any other reason; that’s not how government works.

Even if Wynne could suddenly produce “full funding for men’s DV shelters” out of a hat, where exactly would this money go? Domestic violence shelters don’t grow like flowers after you sprinkle the requisite amount of money on the ground. They have to be built, by devoted activists prepared to raise a lot of the money on their own, and prepared as well to deal with endless obstacles and opposition along the way.

The only reason we have DV shelters at all is because feminist activists built them, starting in a time when there was precisely zero government money to help them and a lot of public hostility towards even the idea of them.

Like a lot of Men’s Rights activists, Perrins seems to want a duplicate version of the network of DV shelters that feminist activists have worked for and fought for over the course of many decades to be simply bestowed upon MRAs by government fiat.

Instead of banding together in a serious attempt to build the DV shelters they think should be theirs by right, MRAs have largely devoted their energy to attacking DV shelters for women — including some that actually offer services and shelter (usually in the form of hotel vouchers) to men. Indeed, in his online discussions with Elam, Perrins seems as angry about the money women’s shelters are getting than he does about the lack of money going to non-existent men’s shelters, complaining several times about what he sees as excessive spending by shelters to provide beds for women.

Frankly, Perrins seems a good deal more invested in his second demand: that those who libel “non-feminists” be arrested and criminally charged.

This is not quite as bizarre a demand as it sounds: in addition to having extremely plaintiff-friendly civil libel laws, Canada also has criminal laws against “defamatory libel.” But, as Ontario’s Law Times reports, “[c]riminal charges for defamatory libel are rare in Canada.”

Further, according to one expert the Law Times spoke to,

[t]he line between what constitutes criminal libel and what constitutes the more commonly used civil libel is often blurred, and there’s doubt as to whether these criminal provisions are constitutional in the face of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms … .

Indeed, the Law Times notes, s. 301 of the Criminal Code — under which “anyone who publishes a defamatory libel is guilty of an indictable offence and can be imprisoned for up to two years” — has already been declared unconstitutional in four Canadian provinces, including Ontario, where Perrins is conducting his hunger strike.

Under section 300 of the Code, Canadians in these provinces can, at least theoretically, still be charged with criminal libel, but only if they know what they are publishing is false.

Perrins, for his part, claims he’s been libelled by Canada’s Sharp magazine, by GQ, and by other publications. He’s evidently angry at Sharp’s Alex Nino Gheciu for saying that

Perrins wrote a hateful missive against [a feminist activist], labelling her “Little Red Frothing Fornication Mouth” and posted her pictures and personal information online.

Well, Perrins did indeed write a hateful AVFM post attacking the activist in question, in which he called her “Little Red Frothing Fornication Mouth.” The post was accompanied by a drawing of the woman. But, as far as I know, Perrins did not himself post her personal information online, though it’s possible, I suppose, that the folks at Sharp know something I don’t.

Perrins seems angrier still at writer Jeff Sharlet, who, in his highly unflattering GQ account of AVFM’s summer 2014 conference, wrote that Perrins claimed to have taken the infamous red pill of Men’s Rightshood on

the day he ended up in jail, after he says he lodged a complaint against his ex, the beginning of a legal battle that led him to a hunger strike. “I should have killed the bitch five years ago,” he tells me. “I’d be out by now.” 

Unless Sharlet simply made up the quote, and GQ’s factcheckers let it stand, I’m not exactly sure how this would count as “defamatory libel.” It’s not libellous to quote what someone has said to you.

Sharlet lives in the United States, where Canadian law (as you might imagine) does not apply. But never mind; Perrins (and Elam) want there to be an arrest warrant waiting for him in case he ever crosses the border into Canada.

In one of his discussions with Elam, Perrins also goes on at length, and with considerable anger, about the alleged evils of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Elam reminds him that there isn’t much the Canadian government can do about the American organization either.

It’s not exactly clear to me what Perrins expects the Ontario government to do about any of this alleged libel. The Premier of Ontario cannot order the Canadian police to arrest all of those whom Perrins thinks have defamed him, nor would anyone with any sense want politicians to have this power.

It’s also not clear why Perrins doesn’t simply sue for libel in civil court instead of going on a hunger strike to compel the Ontario government to do things it cannot actually do.

In his discussions with Elam, Perrins talks a lot about how his life isn’t worth any more than that of the Canadian men who commit suicide every day; he also says that if he ends up in the hospital he wants a Do Not Resuscitate order enforced.

It’s hard not to worry that Perrins’ hunger strike — evidently launched without medical consultation and with vague and impossible demands that it’s not clear he’s even presented to government officials — is in fact a form of slow-motion suicide, a bid for Men’s Rights martyrdom.

Those who are encouraging him in this hunger strike are, I think, playing a very dangerous game.

EDIT: I added a reference to the specific section of the criminal code that is still considered constitutional in all Canadian provinces.

EDIT 2: A May 14 post by “Solaris” on AntiMisandry.com, a long-running message board that Perrins now runs, claims these are Perrins’ demands:

Dan has stated that he will end his hunger strike when assurances are made that men in Ontario will receive equal funding for domestic violence shelters as women, and when the Director for Public Prosecutions commits to launching appropriate criminal investigations under Section 300 of the Criminal Code against those libelling MRAs for their support of men’s rights.

Of course, even these slightly more specific demands would be impossible for the Ontario government to fulfill.

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Paradoxical Intention
7 years ago

Huh. Some people.

Whelp, we can only hope that he realizes what’s up soon and doesn’t starve himself to illness or, worse, death.

I mean, if he can’t sue the people he wants to sue, and he can’t get his men’s shelters by magical government fiat (I think he confused the government for David Blaine), then maybe he can stop this farce before it gets to dangerous for him.

anemonerosie
7 years ago

Not to mention that the CBC informs me that it’s 9 degrees (centigrade! Don’t panic!) in Toronto today. http://www.cbc.ca/weather/s0000458.html I imagine that it’s a little bit warmer downtown but the legislature is one large wind gust away from the lake… and that lake Ontario is a cold one. But even the high of 15 isn’t exactly room temperature. Although it’s getting there.
Hopefully he brought a coat and maybe a hat. Hypothermia and hunger sounds like a really terrible combination and we don’t need them coming together in bad ways.

In other news from Toronto that reporter who stood up to the soccer/football hooligans is pretty rad, eh? She was totally fed up.

damselindetech
7 years ago

A 75 mile march across Ontario? The distance between cities on opposite sides of the province (Thunder Bay & Ottawa) is approximately 929 miles according to Google Maps. 75 miles is basically the effect of taking a stroll to the next town over. O________o

anemonerosie
7 years ago

Also, Toronto has men’s shelters. They’re not specifically DV shelters, but they are shelters for men. Yes there is overcrowding, conditions are not great, and people freeze to death every winter on the street. That is a tragedy and he is right that we should be revolting over that. The thing is… people do care and run out of the cold programmes and that sort of thing for that reason. It’s currently an imperfect solution. But do you know who runs shelters in Toronto, aside from charities such as the Salvation Army? The City of Toronto. The Mike Harris Government (governed Ontario during the mid-90s) downloaded a whole lot of social services from being provincial responsibilities onto the cities so that he could attempt to balance his budget. So he’s not even protesting at the right venue, really! Good thing Toronto City Hall is a few short blocks from Queen’s Park. It’s even walkable unless, weak from hunger, he’d rather take the subway?

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

Oh dear. This sort of existential anguish is the sort of thing that Paulie likes to prattle on about — but more or less ensures that the men who feel so badly about themselves and their lives have no personal or other resources to draw on.

I haven’t been there lately and I won’t do so now, but last I saw at Paulie’s place there are no resources or links to suitable services nor past articles on self care. Neither the regular kind nor the crisis kind. Considering the number of unhappy, lonely people he talks to and about, you’d think he’d have some general advice on maintaining links with people and how to go about getting support.

Whether it’s support for a project or just the day to day human contact kind of support, you’d think that Elam and his “team” could have cobbled together something useful by now. I’m fully aware that some people, maybe this particular man, would ignore or reject any such advice or support but it should be a routine part of what AVfM offers for its customer/ target audience.

No idea what “the government” or anyone else can do for this bloke, though. Cops and ambos are pretty good at dealing with difficult people in stressful circumstances, but there has to be a specific reason for them to be called in. People are probably trying to find friends, relatives and neighbours who might be able to talk to him and/or be the ones to say I’m calling an ambulance. Good luck to anyone who tries to help him.

alaisvex
alaisvex
7 years ago

“[d]evelopment and availability of a male fertility control device, drug or method that is safe, affordable, effective and reversible”

A male fertility device that is safe, affordable, effective, and reversible? Do you mean…

Penny
Penny
7 years ago

One would wonder why AVM hasn’t gotten off its ass and maybe acted like an actual advocate by , oh I don’t know… raising money to build such a shelter? Of course that would cut into Elam’s cash cow. God this is disgusting.

M.
M.
7 years ago

The cynical part of me half-wonders if the other MRAs are going along with this because they want a recent death to (falsely) attribute to feminism, like there are a good number of recent deaths (correctly) attributed to the MRAs. But surely, even they can’t be that heartless?… =/

freemage
freemage
7 years ago

The whole libel thing is just amazingly stupid, especially since if he had any sort of case at all, he’d be in civil court faster than you can say “actual malice”. Since civil cases are actually easier to win (from the accuser’s side) than criminal cases are, if he can’t get a civil case off the ground, the odds in criminal court would be astronomically bad.

And of course, it’s clear that on the DV shelter issue, he wants the money for these men’s shelters to come specifically from funds dedicated to women’s shelters, rather than, say, expanding programs for DV to be more inclusive of men.

M.
M.
7 years ago

… “[d]evelopment and availability of a male fertility control device, drug or method that is safe, affordable, effective and reversible” …

That’s called a “Condom.”

… “[f]oster the emergence of a new cultural narrative where all men and women are encouraged to live their lives as they see fit, without preferential treatment, while also being expected to bear the responsibility for their personal choices.”

That’s called “Feminism.”

Iogrey
Iogrey
7 years ago

You can survive indefinitely on liquids. Did he mention what sort of liquids he’s drinking?

” . . . a male fertility control device, drug or method that is safe, affordable, effective and reversible”

They have that one — it’s called a condom. Also, female birth control is not necessarily so safe, effective, and affordable. I personally, developed dangerously high blood pressure from birth control pills and couldn’t afford Depo shots. IUDs can cause sterility, so many women might not want to risk it.

M.
M.
7 years ago

And ninja’d on the condom joke. Guess I’m even more blind than usual today. XD

sunnysombrera
7 years ago

@mildly
I think he does have some helplines for men linked on the right hand side of his site. It took him long enough. Now if all he could do is stop blaming women and feminism for everything he might be able to make some measurable achievements towards genuinely helping men.

sunnysombrera
7 years ago

 But surely, even they can’t be that heartless?… =/

Every time one of us says that they then find a new level to sink to. Don’t underestimate them.

AAAtheist
7 years ago

It’s not libellous to quote what someone has said to you.

EXACTLY.

Egads, Dan Perrins has potential family annihilator and suicide-threatening emotional abuser written all over him. (“How dare you expose the heinous misogyny I actually engaged in! You are now responsible for my survival if you don’t succumb to my control!”)

Dipshit move, Dan.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

Maybe he should go on hunger strike until Paul Elam agrees to do some actual activism, such as, I don’t know raise money for a men’s shelter, instead of just yelling at women on the internet? I think magical government funds are more likely though.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

If this man dies Elam will find a way to milk it for cash. Cash that would inevitably end up in his pocket. I hope this guy realizes that before it’s too late.

I also hope he realizes that being a misogynist is what is making him miserable, not his ex wife.

Ox-ee-mor-on (@JoeKlemmer)

Call me cynical but the first thing that came to mind on this was publicity stunt. The second was crazy dude acting crazy.

M.
M.
7 years ago

… *glares*

Come on, Joe, you know that doesn’t fly around here.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

A person in good health can live up to 3 weeks without food. Rule of three: 3 min without O2, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. He looks too thin to pull off the full 3 wks, but he has time to realize he’s making a mistake. Hopefully that time will save his life. Ketosis isn’t fun. It’s painful. That might change his mind too.
It was pointed out that the liquids he’s drinking could sustain him for a long while. Raw juicers do it. Still, he’s taking one hell of a gamble for no reason at all. His manifesto and decision to starve himself may end up landing him in 72 hr observation. The guy sounds suicidal and he’s being encouraged to harm himself. It’s not good.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

Ox-ee-mor-on (@JoeKlemmer) ,
You know who is acting crazy right now?
Me. I’m “crazy”. I’m listening to kids play Legos like a dangerous madwoman. Someone stop me before I go make them lunch! The horror. The horror.
Asshole.

dudeinthewoods
dudeinthewoods
7 years ago

He’s obviously ignorant of Ontario’s financial situation if he thinks he’s going to get fully funded male DV shelters (whatever that actually means).

On top of all the other listed issues.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

Pelagic,
Yes. You are supposed to hope a man does not sacrifice himself on the alter of another man’s ego.

M.
M.
7 years ago

*does the “Shut up, Pelagic” dance*

(Said dance looks like a bunch of twirling middle fingers.)

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
7 years ago

So am I supposed to hope he doesn’t starve himself to death?

Yes. Preventable deaths are bad.

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