OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Canada Family Action Coalition
A public elementary school in King City, Ontario has cancelled “opposite gender day” over concerns that it would result in gender identity issues or turn the students gay.
The day was proposed by the elementary school’s student council as a fun idea where kids could dress up as the opposite gender, if they wanted to. However, opponents, including Charles McVety—head of Canada’s largest anti-gay lobby group, the Canada Family Action Coalition—were infuriated with the concept.
“If this was so innocent, then why did the principal not stop this right away?” McVety asked the press rhetorically. “This was part of a greater agenda to teach gender identity and to confuse our children at a young age, and to tell them they can’t be truly happy until they discover their inner identity.”
In reality, this “greater agenda” was the idea of elementary school students, including Ripley Antonacci, an eighth grader and president of the student council. “We just wanted to have a fun day and came up with the idea,” he told a reporter. “A lot of people do it for Halloween and we just thought it would be a cool idea.”
“We didn’t mean to offend anyone,” he added apologetically. “I was a little confused because I didn’t know why people would say those things.”
And that’s how the kids at King City Public School were taught that taking a lighthearted look at gender roles, even in the context of a fun dress-up day, is never acceptable.
- School cancels spirit day after complaints about ‘gender opposite’ theme [Parent Central]
- School cancels cross-dressing day [Toronto SUN]
Charles McVety, the president of Canada Family Action Coalition, Canada’s largest anti-gay lobby group, has ramped up his opposition to Bill C-389. The bill, if passed, will prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, giving transgendered men and women equal rights in housing, employment, and public services.
This, of course, has thrown McVety into utter fits, conjuring some pretty bizarre ideas. “As adults,” he told the media, “we can handle these things, but my daughter turned 13 on Saturday, and I don’t want some guy showering beside her at the local swimming pool.”
McVety continued, saying that the bill would allow people like convicted killer Russell Willams, who was photographed wearing women’s lingerie, to enter gender-restricted spaces.
Well, I hate to alarm McVety, but convicted killers can already enter locker rooms in public pools. Karla Homolka could be in his daughter’s locker room right now. Heck, there could be murderers in the men’s locker room too. Who knows who’s waiting to jump out from behind the shower curtains? No one is safe from the these maniac killers—no one! What was that sound?! AAAAAH!
Bill Siksay, the Bill’s sponsor, put it eloquently: “I think this is Mr. McVety being his alarmist best, once again, when it comes to an issue of human rights, equal rights, for minorities in Canada.” Clarifying the obvious, Siksay continued: “There is nothing in this bill that will change our understanding of appropriate behaviour in public washrooms or in gendered spaces.”
Indeed, transgendered people can largely already use the gendered spaces with which they identify, and it hasn’t even entered my mind that they’d somehow be any more likely to be voyeurs or act inappropriately than anyone else. Bill C-389 is simply about ending discrimination, particularly with regards to employment and other standard rights. And as it enters its third and final reading, things are looking promising, regardless of whatever paranoia McVety is content on spreading.
- Evangelical leader accuses Tories of helping push NDP bill on gender [Globe and Mail]
Who’d have thought one could make an entire career out of being scared of change and gay people? In Part I of a new series of slaptacular mini-bios, we take a look at the very special, terrified folk who are lobbying against your rights.
Name: Brian Rushfeldt
Gayified Name: Bri
Works For: Canada Family Action Coalition
Favourite Colour: Whichever ones aren’t in the Pride Flag.
Actual quote: “It’s interesting that they would have chosen Alberta to film [Brokeback Mountain] in. I think that was a deliberate move on the part of some of the homosexual activists and some of the directors from corrupt, immoral Hollywood.”
What he does: Rushfeldt is a former Bible college dean and air traffic controller. He’s now the executive director of the Canada Family Action Coalition, which has lobbied against (among other things) same-sex marriage, tax credits for gay-themed films, and the adding of sexual orientation to the list of minorities protected by hate crimes. Brian was instrumental in legislation that forces teachers to require parental permission before acknowledging the existence of gay marriage in classrooms.
Craziest Moment: Brian led a boycott of the NHL for licensing the Toronto Maple Leafs logo for use in the film Breakfast with Scot, an adorable family comedy that features a gay hockey player and his partner who becomes the unexpected guardian of an 11-year old orphan. “The most disturbing aspect,” Brian said of the film “is that an 11-year old boy is being promoted as a poster child for gay sex.” The boycott of Canada’s national pastime wasn’t very popular.
Party invitation index: A neutral 5. While not an intentionally interesting guest addition, Brian’s air traffic controller skills would not only come in handy helping your other guests manoeuvre into tight parking spaces, but also likely make him an excellent charades partner.
One of Canada’s largest anti-gay lobby groups is seizing on Alberta’s Bill 44, a proposed amendment to the Human Rights Act that would disallow teachers from mentioning or discussing gay topics in front of students that did not receive parental permission.
The bill is ominously vague—a point which has piqued the interests of Brian Rushfelt, head of Canada Family Action Coalition. “It’s up to the parent to make [the legislation] as broad or narrow as they want,” he said, adding that neither “the schools nor the government should be the ones to put parameters on it and say it’s only sexuality classes or only evolution classes or only religion classes.”
Anti-gay lobby groups have been actively opposing measures to prevent the bullying of gay students for years, but now may have a new tool beyond the mere lobbying of school boards to get what they want. Parents, according to Rushfeldt, should file human rights complaints against teachers who promote tolerance of gay students so that the boundaries of the new law can be broadened. Broadened, of course, in a means befitting only to those crazy enough to devote time to this nonsense.
This proposed abuse should be enough evidence for even supporters to reconsider the bill, but the real flaw lies within its intended uses. The effect of this legislation is to always postpone discussion of gay rights, student reports on gay historical figures and role models, anti-bullying campaigns, and sexual education information until all parents can be consulted. But parents who want their children to be able to actively examine different sides of issues as they arise, who wish for spontaneous discussion to be encouraged, whose lives—if they are gay—will now be treated as a topic so dangerous that all discussion of it must be halted until every student’s family gives their blessing to proceed, and who would have to see their child’s fellow classmates ushered out into the hallway when their family is up for discussion, would have no say in any of these matters if Bill 44 passes.
Although, come of think of it, this bill may have its uses, too. Why, I actually heard of a teacher once explaining that her name was changed to “Mrs. so-and-so” because she had just married her husband. Can you imagine? Flaunting her heterosexuality and the myriad bedroom implications it entails to the whole class! And don’t even get me started on lessons that contradict the teachings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
- Parents must get say in all teaching, group says [Calgary Herald]
Before the holidays, I linked to an excellent blog post by Montréal Simon about St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and how anti-gay lobbyists had launched a campaign to tear down the rainbow Pride flag that is hung there.
Displaying the rainbow flag or a small rainbow flag sticker is something that many businesses and campuses across Canada choose to do—and many people probably can’t imagine the relief that this gesture can bring to a gay person.
Having the rainbow flag sticker affixed to a storefront window or an office door signifies to gay people that we can let our guard down and know that we will be treated fairly. To me, it means I won’t have a repeat of my experience at a walk-in clinic where, after answering questions about my sexual health and disclosing my orientation in the process, I was treated with a noticeable disrespect, ordered to have STD tests, and was put on antibiotics without any telltale symptoms—all for an upper leg / groin pain that ultimately turned out to be caused by a cheap, folding office chair.
On campuses across Canada, the rainbow sticker is known as the “positive space” or “safe space” program, and the University of Victoria is just the latest institution to consider it. It’s an accurate title for an important program—and it’s one that’s under relentless attack by anti-gay groups and lobbyists.
In 2004, employees at the Royal Bank of Canada launched an employee-driven, non-mandatory, safe space program. It meant that if I needed to go into the bank as a couple for a loan, mortgage, joint account, or other service—I could seek out agents displaying the rainbow sticker and know that I’d be treated with the same respect as any other customer. Almost immediately, The Canadian Family Action Coalition launched a boycott against the Royal Bank, instructing members to close their RBC accounts and send angry letters and phone calls to the company. The bank panicked and caved, and all RBC employees were forbidden to display the rainbow sticker.
The pettiness, disingenuity, and hostility toward safe space programs and rainbow flags has been a sore spot for me for quite some time. Anti-gay groups call these programs an endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle—whatever that is—and have the audacity to claim that it’s a discriminatory practise: That employees who don’t wish to display the sticker would be treated with disrespect (a notion I reject). Yet these groups encourage hostility toward anyone who chooses to display it.
So, if you run a business, or work with customers in an office—consider a simple gesture to signify that you will treat everyone respectfully. Put a rainbow sticker somewhere visible. And if anyone objects, clarify that they are welcome too; that it’s just a safe space.
Breakfast With Scot, an unbelievably sweet comedy about a closeted gay couple who unexpectedly finds themselves raising a bubbly 11-year old boy, is under attack once again by anti-gay lobbyists.
Previously, the Canadian Family Action Coalition led a boycott of the NHL over the film, which licensed the Toronto Maple Leafs logo. The boycott wasn’t very successful. (Go Habs!)
This time, though, Charles McVety, a spokesperson for the group, is seeking government intervention. He singled out the family comedy as being one that would have all its tax credits revoked by the government if Bill C-10, which is currently in front of the senate, were to pass into law. The bill seeks to deny tax credits to films after they’ve been produced if the content is found to be “objectionable.”
McVety—who previously claimed responsibility for Bill C-10, but has since backpeddled—summarized Breakfast With Scot as a film about “an 11-year-old boy who is being raised by a homosexual Toronto Maple Leaf to be a homosexual.”
Ignoring, for a moment, that the notion that someone can be raised to be homosexual is rejected completely by the psychological, medical, and academic community, I’m amazed by this misclassification. Either McVety has never seen the film, or he is lying about what he saw.
I had the privilege to see Breakfast with Scot last autumn in attendance with the director, producers, and its young star. It was a sweet, family comedy about a closeted hockey star and his lawyer husband who like to keep their lives discreet. They suddenly find themselves caring for a tragically orphaned 11-year-old, who enjoys cooking, dressing up in feather boas, singing Christmas carols in summer, and drawing exactly the sort of attention that his new guardians like to avoid. I won’t ruin the story, but to describe the film as anything but a gentle holiday comedy with strong, moral themes is dishonest.
Still, McVety has targeted and seeks to punish this film because the guardian characters are gay—a point central to the film’s comedic premise. “We are objecting to films that proselytize young people into homosexuality,” he told reporters. Laurie Lynd, the filmmaker, was stunned, adding that if the movie’s tax credits were revoked, it “could have killed the film completely.”
McVety has said multiple times that Bill C-10 is about ending the funding of pornography with tax dollars. That’s not what he’s demonstrating, especially since policies are already in place to prevent that. Instead, this bill is about revoking tax credits (not even funding) from any films that disagree with McVety’s ideology—and after they’ve been made, to boot. With this broad definition of what constitutes an objectionable film, and with an after-the-fact process, Bill C-10 will force filmmakers to reconsider producing anything with content as edgy as, well, a gay couple.
Sigh. Maybe I’ll just produce Slap Upside The Head: The Animated Film stateside.
- Activist decries tax break for gay comedy [Toronto Star]
- Rightwing activist decries tax credits for gay film [Xtra]
- Film tax credit proposal falls short, evangelist says [Globe and Mail]
Charles McVety, president of Canada’s largest anti-gay lobby group, has claimed responsibility for a bill in the Senate that would deny income tax credits to filmmakers who make “inappropriate” films. Once this bill becomes law, the Justice and Heritage departments will vet films for offensive content and withdraw tax credits, even a film has already been completed.
So, what’s the definition of “inappropriate” in this context? The Globe and Mail revealed McVety’s vision in an interview:
Mr. McVety said films promoting homosexuality, graphic sex or violence should not receive tax dollars, and backbench Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers support his campaign.
If McVety’s vision is realised, filmmakers will be pressured to remove any gay content in a film, or face the revocation of their tax credits.
Filmmakers are furious. David Cronenberg, an Oscar-nominated, Canadian director said that this bill amounts to censorship, comparing it to “something they do in Beijing.” The Canadian Family Action Coalition’s press release, however, scoffed at such claims:
Accusations that this [bill] is about censorship are ludicrous. There is no law that says [opponents] cannot produce whatever perverted movie they want to.
Of course, “perverted” films are already restricted by section 163 of the Canadian Criminal Code, and television and film regulations already exist that prevent pornographic and obscene films from receiving tax money. This bill is, instead, about punishing filmmakers based on ideological content.
Surprisingly, this amendment seems to have made it to the Senate without many MPs knowledge. Bill Siksay, an NDP MP, said it was a “significant shock and surprise” to learn that he had voted for the amendment, which was buried deep within a 600-page bill.
(Hat tip to Canadian Cynic)
Hey kids! I’m on the other side of the country for a little while to defend my master’s thesis, so I’m posting my very first Road Slap today! (For the astute, a Road Slap is just like any other post on this site, but thanks to soul-sucking jetlag, lacks illustrations or humour of any kind.)
While leafing through my usual news stories, I caught a handful promoting Breakfast With Scot. The Canadian-produced comedy film is a sweet tale about a closeted gay couple, each with “manly” sports professions, that unexpectedly becomes the guardians to a sissy and flamboyant 11-year old boy. Actor Tom Cavanagh shared what I thought were some nice insights into what the story is about:
I like the central conceit of the story. These two fellas who draw no attention to their private lives and sexual orientation are put in a position where they have to look after this young boy who doesn’t really understand what it means to be gay or straight, who is just being himself.
The story has been praised by reviewers, described as a film that that “celebrate[s] the uniqueness of children, and how they can teach adults.”
The anti-gay lobby, on the other hand, has burst capillaries over the movie’s production. Their reaction has been as funny as it is illogical: Both the Canadian Family Action Coalition and the American-based Americans For Truth Against Homosexuality started a public boycott of the NHL (whose Toronto Maple Leaf’s logo was licensed for the film), and bombared Richard Peddie—president of the Leaf’s—with emails he called “raw,” “live,” and “disappointing.” Brian Rushfeldt, head of CFAC, even went on record with this batty rant:
[The NHL’s endorsement of the film] is the epitome of almost evil intent. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the entire situation is that an 11-year-old boy is being promoted as a poster child for gay sex.
I’ve already made light of the phenomenal leaps of logic required to reach this conclusion, but considering that the lobbyists’ NHL boycott has failed so completely, I think it’s demonstrative of what the anti-gay industry has become: a cantankerous, disconnected minority.
So, for those available to see Sunday’s screening (6:30 pm Scotiabank 1 in Toronto), go and enjoy film; for those that aren’t, enjoy the NHL season. Others have tried to use their muscle, however atrophied, to ensure you would do neither.
I guess there’s an ill-reported eleventh commandment to note!
Religious conservatives in New Brunswick are positively rhapsodic over a Tory-introduced bill, known as Bill 37, that will allow government servants to refuse civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The bill, according to the Christian lobby group Canada Family Action Coalition, will protect the religious freedoms of civil servants.
Hey, how about that? Did you know that Christianity forbids its followers from performing secular duties for gays? I was raised Roman Catholic, but must’ve skipped past that part of the bible. Luckily I didn’t mention I was gay when I got my government health forms mailed out!
Both supporters and opponents of the bill admit that the whole idea is probably unconstitutional, and therefore illegal. But, now that the federal Conservatives have scrapped the Court Challenges Program, who can afford to challenge illegal laws anyway?
So who’s next on the list of people to protect? Probably chauffeurs who just don’t feel like transporting gays to city hall, bless their hearts. And, while we’re on a roll, maybe those fundamentalist vendors who don’t think women should be sold property of their own. Religious protections abound!
Hey, remember Brian Rushfeldt of the Canadian Family Action Coalition? In December, Brian called on Canadians to boycott hockey because of what he called the NHL’s promotion “of an 11-year-old boy as the poster child for gay sex.”
Now, what Brian was actually refering to is an independent film entitled Breakfast With Scot, which licensed the Toronto Maple Leafs’ logo from the NHL. The film, which just finished shooting, is about a macho hockey player whose life is transformed when he and his gay partner become the guardian of an 11-year-old boy. Paul Brown, the producer, described the comedy as a “crowd pleaser in the spirit of Billy Elliot or About a Boy—movies that celebrate the uniqueness of children, and how they can teach adults.”
Although this is enough to give Rushfeldt a hernia, the hockey boycott isn’t going quite as well as planned. As a result, the anti-gay lobby appears to have switched to Plan B, teaming together with other lobbyists to start an email campaign harassing the Leafs’ president, Richard Peddie. Americans for Truth, a US-based anti-gay organisation, even posted Peddie’s email address online, flooding his mailbox with what he called “raw,” “live,” and “dissapointing” emails.
Former team captain, Rick Vaive, said that both the Canadian Family Action Coalition and Americans for Truth need to “get over it:”
It is time people realized that [homosexuality] is part of real life. It doesn’t matter what the colour of your skin is, or what your sexual preference is, or what your religious beliefs are—we all have to get along. So get over it.
Well put! Though, personally, I’d have liked to see the hockey boycott continue. Given the right resources, I’m sure that lobbyists could have convinced Canadians to embrace an exciting new national pastime: Jesus Ball.
- Leafs brass face backlash for “promoting” homosexuality [National Post]
Foreigners should not be allowed to marry in Canada. At least, that’s what Brian Rushfeldt of the Canadian Family Action Coalition announced to the press late last week. “To me, it’s unconscionable,” he stated. “Why is Canada issuing marriage licences to people from another country? We wouldn’t issue a business licence to a company that had no intention of staying in the country.”
Of course, foreign marriages have been allowed in Canada for decades. Curiously, right-wing special interest groups such as CFAC haven’t expressed outrage on the topic until now, baffling everyone as to what could have caused such a shift in strategy. Quite strange, indeed. Hmm… I wonder…
Oh, well. On to some completely unrelated news!
Canada is seeing a gay tourism boost thanks to same-sex marriages! Stats Canada announced last week that over 50% of the same-sex marriage licenses issued in British Columbia in 2003 were to foreign couples! Tourism boards are delighted, as Canada now fosters a booming market for gay weddings and honeymoons, drawing thousands of couples from countries that don’t recognize equal marriage rights.
Perhaps even more interestingly, Canada has been getting a local boost as well. While the overall marriage rate continued to decline in 2003, the only provinces to buck that trend were the ones that recognized same-sex marriages, effectively revitalizing the institution.
Hmm… Do you think there’s between CFAC’s consuming prejudice against gays and their recent denouncement of foreign marriages? … Nah. I’m sure Brian has some very persuasive arguments against economic boosts and increased foreign interest.
Well, until Wednesday, folks!
Hey there, kiddos! I’m back from my little website holiday, and let me be the first—well, more likely the several dozen-th person to wish you a happy and prosperous new year!
And, of course, I come into the new year bearing some tremendously fascinating news from the anti-gay lobby! Our good friends at Focus on the Family Canada—in conjunction with the Institute for Canadian Values—in conjunction with the Canada Family Action Coalition—have formed an “informal coalition!”
Wow! Just think what new ideas they’ll come up with together! Do you think they have a name yet? If not, I’d like to suggest The Canadian Family Values Institute for Action Coalition Focusing. That, or The ‘I Rather Dislike Gays’ Club. Whichever communicates their objectives more effectively.
Anyway, their first goal is to lobby the government into ordering a royal commission on marriage and families. At least, that’s what they released to the press on New Year’s Day. (Sounds like someone had a wild new year’s eve!)
While the commission would ostensibly include everything from family tax policy to child care, a spokesperson for the coalition mentioned—in passing—that it could also “revive the gay marriage issue in Parliament.” But, I’m sure that’s really just a sideline for the whole movement. You know, if it comes up.
And if Harper doesn’t agree to this commission—the ol’ Family Focus Action Institute for Canadian Coalitions is prepared to do some pretty hefty damage. As spokesperson, Joseph Ben-Ami, threatened: “Don’t expect me to go out and vote Liberal. But I do have an alternative and that’s staying home.”
Well, until Friday, folks!
- PM still pressed on gay marriage [Vancouver SUN]
The Toronto Maple Leafs logo will be used in an upcoming film entitled Breakfast with Scot, the NHL announced last week. The film is a comedy about a gay ex-Leaf and his partner (the team’s lawyer) whose lives change when they become the guardians of an 11-year-old boy.
To the surprise of none, Brian Rushfeldt—spokesperson for the right-wing special interest group Canadian Family Action Coalition—nearly blew an eye vessel:
[The NHL’s endorsement] is the epitome of almost evil intent. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the entire situation is that an 11-year-old boy is being promoted as a poster child for gay sex.
I think we are definitely going to call upon Canadians and fans to have these people pay some price for this ludicrous business decision that they just made.
So… Brian wants Canadian hockey fans to boycott the NHL—our national pastime—because an independently produced comedy about a gay hockey player has licensed the Leafs logo? Yes, yes, the logic is flawless: The NHL is exploiting an 11-year-old child to promote gay sex. With evil intent.
Well, Canadians—you heard the man! Stop watching hockey.
- Activist Predicts Hockey Fans Will Body Check NHL Leafs [WDC Media]
- Leafs allow logo in comedy about gay hockey player [Globe and Mail]
Remember when Stevey promised to hold a free vote on same-sex marriage this autumn? Well, according to the anti-gay lobby, the vote’s been moved to winter! (I guess the summer break wasn’t long enough for them to convince our MPs that society has been thrust into a chaotic land of terror!)
So, what is the anti-gay lobby doing with all this new time? Well, the
Canada Anti-Gay Coalition, err… is forming a last-minute “national marriage caucus.” The press release was a little cryptic, but from what I can gather, the caucus’ first task is to build a fortified protective wall around every family. Or, at least, every family without gay members. So, for all those into cement stocks, BUY!
- Activists say Ottawa will delay vote to reopen same-sex marriage [Globe and Mail]