OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Elections
Canada has a new, openly gay MP this week after a byelection on Monday filled Jack Layton’s old seat with the NDP’s Craig Scott. Congratulations, Craig!
So, there’s an election happening in Canada. If you live here, I’m sure you’ve been following it very closely and consequently have lost most of your hair due to exasperated tugging. If you live outside of Canada, you’re probably still up to speed since the international news media incessantly reports on Canadian politics, just like they do for the United States. (Snicker.)
Now, with 308 seats up for grabs and most of the major parties running a candidate in each riding, there should be some queer representation out there. And, indeed there is! According to Xtra, here’s how it adds up:
At the top of the list, we’ve got the New Democratic Party (led by Jack Layton) which has 10 openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual candidates. Next up is the Green Party (led by Elizabeth May) with 5. The Liberal Party (led by Michael Ignatieff) comes in third place with 3. And, to the surprise of no one, the Conservatives (led by Dillwad McHamsterface) are dead last with zero.
These numbers are exactly what I’d expect. The NDP have always had a pretty good record in supporting equal rights for GLBT Canadians, alongside the Greens who also include equality in their platform. The Liberals are mostly supportive, with some division within the party, and the Conservatives, bafflingly, fight against equal rights with clockwork consistency, often even trying to strip these rights away. It’s no wonder then, that GLBT Canadians with political aspirations are largely associating themselves with the NDP and Greens.
Will any of these translate into seats? That’s a different question—and it’s up to you. Yes, you. Well, unless you don’t have Canadian citizenship, in which case please don’t vote in this election. That’d be illegal.
Canadian Internet sensation and all around sweetheart, Maria Aragon, was paid a visit by Stephen Harper last week to help kick start his election campaign for the Conservative party.
Surrounded by the media, the 10 year old sat beside the Prime Minister and performed Lady Gaga’s “Born this way,” the song that made her a viral hit online after it caught the attention of Gaga herself. Even with the added pressure of performing before reporters and cameras, Maria played magnificently. I particularly like the confidence with which she sung this verse:
No matter gay, straight or bi
lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to survive
Such a nice affirmation that GLBT people, despite facing discrimination simply for how they were born, have worth and value.
It reminds me of something Stephen Harper once said in the House of Commons:
Sexual orientation or, more accurately, what we are really talking about here, sexual behaviour [...] was not included in the Charter of Rights when it was passed by parliament in 1982. It was not included, not because of some kind of accident or oversight, but deliberately and explicitly.
Wait, sorry—what I meant to say was that it reminds me of the opposite of something Stephen Harper said in the House of Commons. How silly of me.
You see, from listening to what Harper has had to say about GLBT Canadians over the years, I’d say that he doesn’t think gay people are “born this way” at all—and his actions are even worse than his words. In late 2006, for example, Harper attempted to revoke the rights of same-sex couples to marry equally in Canada. And in February of this year, he voted against a bill that would have protected transgendered Canadians from discrimination in employment, housing, and public services.
But, yet, here he is—sitting beside Maria and smiling at the cameras while she so wonderfully affirms the inherent worth of GLBT citizens. Yes, clearly, the adorable Maria has changed Harper’s mind.
A quick tap, followed by a booming sound and some metallic, resonating clatter!
Uh, that was supposed to be a rim-shot. They don’t come across very well in writing, do they?
(A very special hat tip to Montreal Simon for the story)
It’s civic election day in Toronto today, and the polls indicate a dead heat. By the end of the day, the new mayor of Canada’s largest city will likely either be George Smitherman, who happens to be gay, or Rob Ford, who has been featured on this site twice for ridiculous, homophobic conduct.
Having no patience for intolerance, it should go without saying that I would prefer Smitherman to win over Ford. There are, of course, those that would prefer otherwise—and while they’re of course entitled to vote for whomever they choose, some of their messages have taken a turn for blatantly homophobic.
Catholic Insight, a politically-motivated religious publication, heartily endorsed Ford over Smitherman last week, calling Smitherman “ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil, that of homosexuality.” While the publication tried to remain as polite in phrasing as possible, there was nothing civil about it. “While those attracted to same sex orientation have the right to be treated with dignity like all other persons,” their endorsement stated, “they should not be appointed or elected to leadership positions.”
Gosh, how respectful of them. We gays are perfectly entitled to human dignity, so long as we not take any initiative on any public matters and remain as isolated and invisible as possible. Still, at least Catholic Insight had the decency to use their own name to deliver their hateful message that gays are inferior, incapable as role models, and shouldn’t be elected to any position of influence. Late last week, an anonymously produced, paid radio ad began airing on the Canadian Tamil Broadcasting Corporation. Translated, it begins thus:
- Man #1
- Elder brother, who are you going to vote for?
- Man #2
- (Snickers dismissively) What a question! We are Tamil. We have a religion, a culture. Take Rob Ford, he is married to a woman.
Meanwhile, near Victoria Park, crudely-designed posters began to appear overtop of existing election signs asking “Should a Muslim vote for him who married a man?”
Calling the ads “blatantly homophobic,” George Smitherman issued a statement to the press. “I will remain focused on offering a Toronto that finds strength in our diversity and builds for the future, not divides,” he said.
The Rob Ford campaign, meanwhile, posted a response on Twitter. “I do not condone the recent Tamil Radio ad,” the campaign stated, “I support diversity & have no issue with others’ lifestyle choices.”
Uh, OK. Except being gay isn’t a “lifestyle choice.” And, frankly, from Ford’s past actions as a city councilman, he very clearly doesn’t believe that gay people should have the same legal rights as straight people, let alone think the gay community should receive any city support or recognition for its renowned cultural events.
Toronto’s a great city that deserves a great mayor. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you guys today!
Marc Dalton, a candidate in the upcoming B.C. election, has drawn criticism over the surfacing of a homophobic email that he authored back in 1997. The email, which was sent while Dalton was an elementary school teacher, tiresomely equates gay people to adulterers and gamblers:
There are [...] behaviours and acts that most of us would not condone: rape, robbery, assault, drunken driving, pedophilia, incest, and so on. There are other moral issues that large segments of our society do not see eye to eye: gambling, adultery, pornography. I believe that homosexuality fits in this category.
As is increasingly customary amidst elections, the email was revealed by a rival party, accompanied with a demand that Dalton resign for its content. NDP rival Spencer Herbert called the email’s message “disturbing,” adding “to say people like myself and other gay people are the same as pedophiles is an offensive remark.”
In fairness to Dalton, I don’t believe the email equates gay people to pedophiles, and frankly, the whole tone of the email seems like just another woefully misinformed repetition of religious morality talking-points. Still, Dalton, who is also a former pastor, has only provided a meaningless—even snarky—apology, saying “if Spencer Herbert or any other individuals have taken offence in their reading of this 12-year-old e-mail, I extend my unequivocal apology.”
The email is old, but much like the Tom Lukiwski fiasco, I think the age of the offending comments is irrelevant. I also think that all this talk of the email content and when it was made is a distraction from the larger issue.
Dalton’s email wasn’t sent out of the blue; it was sent to a fellow teacher in response to an anti-bullying initiative brought up by the B.C. Teacher’s Federation. The initiative was to protect children who were being bullied and harassed for having gay parents, or for being gay themselves. Not only did Dalton disagree with protecting students from this anti-gay harassment, but he actively started a counter-petition, circulating it among teachers, trying to get the anti-bullying initiative struck down. In Dalton’s words:
There are many, many people who hold homosexuality to be an improper and high-risk behaviour. [...] I am against the BCTF ram-rodding the homosexual motion against the wishes of great numbers of parents (and teachers) in this district and in this province.
This, the act of actively thwarting an initiative to protect children from bullying under the disingenuous guise of somehow protecting parental freedom to oppose homosexuality, is the true vulgarity here. This important character revelation has relevance to the current election, and its in this respect that I agree with Spencer Herbert. MLAs are required to represent everyone in their community, and Dalton, having shown that he is not up to the task, should quietly remove himself from candidacy.
I had to prepare this before the polls closed yesterday, but I really wanted to send my greetings after your historic election, so I prepared a special message. Just close the appropriate eye to reveal the hidden greeting.
Finally, whatever the outcome happened to be, congratulations on replacing George W. Bush. Here’s to a new era!
Just to pre-emptively explain why I haven’t been working on Wednesday morning’s post…
After reading about an anonymous vandal who wrote anti-gay slurs all over a gay MP’s election posters, I got to thinking a little bit about election sign vandalism in general.
I’m not a fan of election signs, to understate the matter a tad. Election season is visual mayhem at its most mayhem-y. It’s like if Satan, Attila the Hun, and Cruella de Vil all got together to form an advertising enterprise, enslaved humanity in the corrugated plastic mines, and used all their resources in a conspiracy to eliminate depth-of-field. Trees? Think of them as nature’s signposts! Lampposts are just long necks for headshots. Heck, why not use election sign pillars as a post for even more election signs?
That said, I can’t say I understand the purpose of vandalizing election property.
For one, vandalism actually makes the signs uglier. Second, as far as communicating one’s political leanings goes, it’s not worth the effort. I mean, say you really, really disagree with an election candidate. Will painting an eyepatch on him sway voters? Would anyone walking along the road suddenly believe the candidate has switched gears partway though the election to reveal himself as a fearsome, swashbuckling pirate? (Whatever swashbuckling means, anyway.)
There’s also a chance that sign-seers would feel compassion for the vandalees. While all parties are surely victims when it comes to poster-haters, those that draw the most shocking or widespread vandalism could garner at least some sympathy, maybe even in the form of votes. That’s why vandalism as a means of political expression is fundamentally counterproductive.
Personally, I think seeing the word “fag” scrawled over Scott Brison’s signs should be cause enough to remind people that homophobia is very much alive and well, and has definitely reminded me why we absolutely need gay representatives and supporters who will help put a stop to it.
So, for those of you who absolutely feel compelled to damage, cut, or otherwise modify election property, may I suggest that you just indiscriminately remove the freakin’ eyesores altogether and write a letter to the editor instead. The horizon will thank you.
- Vandals hit Nova Scotia ridings [Globe and Mail]
Chris Reid, one of very, very few gay Conservatives, has resigned his candidacy in the riding of Toronto Centre over some pretty odd comments.
In a now defunct blog entitled Political Thoughts from a Gay Conservative, Reid said the gay community was intolerant and only capable of “promoting promiscuity, drug usage, and prostitution” and declared that Canadians had become “a castrated effeminate population” because they don’t carry concealed handguns:
[Concealed handguns are] the only proven way to reduce violent crime and murder. If women and gays really wanted to stop being victims of hate crimes, they’d be in support of this, but judging from discussions, they’d rather be helpless and rely on government.
Oh yeah, Toronto Centre would be so into this. The only proven way to reduce violent hate crimes: thousands upon thousands of handguns!
Tip o’ the hat goes to Montréal Simon for the story.
Vancouver’s Lorne Mayencourt, a gay Liberal MLA with a strong record of supporting AIDS research and anti-bullying campaigns, is running for a seat in the federal election as a… Conservative candidate?
Yes, after vehemently opposing equal marriage rights, fighting against adding gays to protective hate crimes legislation, axing the minority protections in the court challenges program, appointing an anti-gay lobby member to an influential government job, appointing a Supreme Court Judge that had formerly called equal marriage unconstitutional, and even drafting a bill that would make it legal for public servants to discriminate against gay people, the Tories have welcomed an openly gay MLA from a provincial Liberal party.
While I don’t take this as evidence that the Conservatives are no longer hostile toward gays, I do think it would be nice to have a gay influence among the Tory seats. If it came down to it.
- Mayencourt announces he’ll run for Conservatives [Xtra West]
So what’s his top election issue? Timely road repairs? Discount transit fares for war veterans? Let’s take a look at his official platform’s opening paragraph:
As your mayor Bill Whatcott is committed to protecting Edmontonions from homofascism. Bill Whatcott loves children and he loves truth. He believes children have the God given right to have a mother and father and not have to be indoctrinated into embracing homosexuality by our public schools and media. [...] Homosexuality is wrong and as your Mayor, Bill Whatcott is committed to denouncing homosexuality, warning young people about the consequences of indulging in the practice and calling on those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle to repentance, forgiveness and healing through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Yes, that ought to resonate with the mainstream voter. Oh, and his campaign photo (I swear, this is all real) is a full-torso shot, arms folded behind the back for maximum legibility of his T-Shirt: “Sodomites will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven.”
Of course, though they may try, municipal leaders are about as powerful as multicoloured baby marshmallows when it comes to overriding civil rights. Given this, I think I’ll give Whatcott my full endorsement. Seriously, who’s in for a couple of years of hilarious “Edmonton’s frothy mayor” stories?
(A tip o’ the hat goes out to Pam Spaulding)
- Mayor Stephen Mandel is pro-homosexual Bill Whatcott is your pro-life, pro-family, pro-father, pro-gun, alternative [Whatcott Election Platform]
Poor Diane Haskett. After finishing a distant third in the London by-election last month (behind both the Liberal and Green Party candidates), she has decided to flee the country.
In a parting message on her website, Haskett explained her rationale in deciding to move stateside only a month after the by-election results. She cited wanting to spend more time with family, but not without drawing special attention to last month’s same-sex marriage vote, which apparently didn’t quite turn out her way:
If for nothing else, I believe my candidacy was for the purpose of offering the people a choice on the marriage issue.
Now that the final vote has been taken in the Parliament of Canada, this issue is firmly and finally decided. The people of London and the people of Canada have spoken through their elected MPs. And present and future Canadians will bear the consequences of that decision.
So, there you go. Gays get marriage equality, Diane Haskett leaves with a dire warning for the rest of us. A darn good deal, if I may say so!
(Oh—And, Diane? You’re all paid up on the $5000 fine you got for violating the human rights of gays back in 1997, right?)