OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Politics

Burnaby Overwhelmingly Rejects Anti-Gay Municipal Party

November 21st, 2011

A campaign ad for Parent's Voice, featuring a chiuaua with the slogan: "Elect Parent's Voice: Disproportionately annoying!"

Parent’s Voice, the municipal political party whose sole purpose revolved around revoking the Burnaby District School Board’s anti-homophobia and anti-bullying policy, has been soundly defeated.

Parent’s Voice was a staunch opponent to the existing school board’s policies acknowledging GLBT students—policies that demonstrably help reduce harassment and bullying that has historically led to suicide. Thankfully, voters instead re-elected the entire city council and school board who had introduced and stood by these important policies. The highest placing of all the Parent’s Voice candidates, by contrast, came in tenth place.

This thorough rejection rather aptly demonstrates just how much of a minority these vocal opponents to equal rights and protections for GLBT people really are. Still, it’s important not to dismiss their actions as inconsequential, so I wish to congratulate all the students and supporters that helped get people out to the polls and counter the sort of nonsense that Parent’s Voice stood for.

Here’s to Burnaby’s much safer schools!

World’s First Openly Gay Leader Is A Big Deal

February 6th, 2009

Cue the 70s synthesizer sting

Last week, the world got its first openly gay leader: 66 year-old Johanna Sigurdardottir, the Prime Minister of Iceland. While a lot of people—especially the gay community—are turning somersaults over this rather spiffy milestone, I’ve encountered a somewhat less celebratory reaction across the web and in the traditional media, and it’s not exactly what you’d expect:

Does the hard-working citizen really need to be aware that the new Prime Minister is not heterosexual? Who cares? […] Whether a politician is gay or straight should be of no interest at all.

Hey, this guy must be from the future!

Here’s the rub: Gay people are still fighting for basic, equal, legal rights in the most developed of nations;  less-developed nations still imprison gays, or worse. Gay people struggle every day to gain acceptance from their own families, let alone an entire nation. Having a country overlook sexual orientation and judge a leader based on their governing qualities is freakin’ huge!

Congratulations, Johanna!

To My American Friends…

November 5th, 2008

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!

Tories Cut Funding For Gay Festival

October 6th, 2008

The Conservative government has denied funding for the world’s largest charity gay dance festival, Black & Blue, for the third consecutive year. The annual Montréal festival, which contains over 60 events and raises money for HIV/AIDS research and gay community groups, used to receive up to $50,000 annually from Canadian Heritage until the Conservatives took power. Since then, their funding has been consistently denied.

Robert Vezina, president of the non-profit group that organizes the festival, said he was frustrated by the unprofessional behaviour from the government since the Conservatives took power:

Ever since the Harper government was in power, we’ve got zero. The reasons are really nebulous—they’re really sneaky. They give us answers that contradict themselves from year to year, and then verbally, they tell us on the phone we’re not “family oriented enough,” and then of course when we ask them to put this in writing they don’t.

Mauril Bélanger, the former deputy chair of Canadian Heritage, said that he wasn’t surprised by the cuts, considering the government in power:

I think we’ve seen that time and again from this government—ideology trumps objectivity, trumps respect, trumps treating all of us equally. [This is] a government that makes decisions by ideology that is basically targetting some segments of our population unfairly, and that is not the country I know.

To compensate for their lost funding, Black & Blue will reportedly alter this year’s event schedule to contain fewer all-night dance parties and more family puppet square dancing afternoons.

Candidate Declares That Gays Should Be Killed

October 3rd, 2008

This illustration intentionally left blank. (Well, I guess it's not really blank; I mean, there's text here, but let's just say some people aren't worth the drawing time.)

An independent candidate in Sudbury, Ontario shocked an audience of high school students during a federal election debate by calling for the murder of all gay people.

David Popescu made the comments in response to a audience member’s question about same-sex marriage. Many in the audience were reported to have risen to their feet in disgust, while the other candidates from the Liberal, NDP, and First Peoples National Party watched in stunned silence.

In a telephone interview with The Sudbury Star, Popescu unabashedly re-iterated his position, indeed promoting the murder of every gay person:

A young man asked me what I think of homosexual marriages and I said I think homosexuals should be executed. My whole reason for running is the Bible and the Bible couldn’t be more clear on that point.

What a miserable, small man.

Inciting hatred and calling for the murder of identifiable groups is illegal in Canada, and Sudbury police started their investigation within hours of the debate.

While Popescu’s behaviour requires punishment by law, Sudbury Secondary School deserves strong condemnation for their lax reaction and for refusing to clarify whether or not they would allow Popescu to speak at the school again. Principal Paul Camillo said that the school “respect[s] all other opinions, although we may not agree with them.” What a cowardly, disgusting stance in the face of an invited potential policymaker who directly called for the execution of a large number of the school’s students.

Gay Conservative Candidate Resigns

September 26th, 2008

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.

Those Wacky MPs

September 17th, 2008

Now that it’s election time, Xtra has a great list of crazy MPs that maybe should have worn their muzzle just a little tighter in the past few years.

I won’t spoil all the fun, but the list includes such gems as Cheryl Gallant:

The danger of having sexual orientation just listed [in hate crimes legislation], that encompasses, for example, paedophiles.

Garry Breitkreuz:

In the 1950s buggery was a criminal offence. Now it’s a requirement to receive benefits from the federal government.

And who could forget Harold Albrecht:

Same-sex marriage will succeed in wiping out an entire society in just one generation.

For some added fun, guess the party from which most of them hail. OK, I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the Green party… or that yogic flying one.

Vatican Orders MP To Leave Parliament

September 5th, 2008

The Vatican has ordered a Bloc Québecois MP, Rev. Raymond Gravel, to quit his post in Canadian parliament and return to being a Roman Catholic priest. Vatican officials indicated that Gravel’s support of same-sex marriage and women’s rights were the cause of the order.

This isn’t the first time The Vatican has ordered a public official to leave politics. From a Globe and Mail article: (emphasis mine)

In 1984, the Vatican also ordered Rev. Robert Ogle to give up his New Democratic Party seat in the House, in a bid to avoid a blurring of lines between the secular and spiritual worlds.

You heard it here first, kids: The Vatican always abstains from debating or influencing public policy!

Rev. Gravel expressed disappointment at having to leave politics, but said he had no choice but to comply, as being a priest was his first calling.

Politicians Push To Ban Gay Pride Parade

June 6th, 2008

Protest protest

Religious politicians in Israel are pressuring the government to push through private legislation that will ban gay pride parades in the city of Jerusalem.

The National Union–National Religious Party, whose private member initiated the legislation, have held numerous protests denouncing the upcoming parade, and plan to hold ten more massive demonstrations on the day it is due to take place. An ironic initiative, considering pride parades are, well, a demonstration.

Pride parades are deeply rooted in protesting the policies that infringe upon human rights and deny gay people legal equality. The celebratory atmosphere and adoption of the term “pride” is a bold statement to say that gay people will not feel ashamed of who they are, despite pressure from others to do so. Attempts to ban parades, like the situation in Israel, simply re-enforce why Pride parades exist in the first place.

At least you know democracy is alive and kicking when people set about banning a demonstration through multiple, massive demonstrations. Still, Eliyahu Gabbay, the initiator of the legislation, has called opposition to his initiative anti-democratic:

It is unacceptable that [the chairman of the Knesset Constition] stalls decisions that were made in a democratic procedure. It is an anti-democratic move.

Yeah, sure.

The National Union has also asked police to ban the parade, saying that the gay demonstration, unlike the multiple National Union ones, would “infringe on the public order.”

Will The U.S. Permit HIV-Positive Visitors?

March 19th, 2008

HIV Travel Denied

It’s not well-known that the United States refuses to allow HIV-positive travelers to enter the country, even for a vacation. It’s been true since 1987 though, and the policy was codified by congress in 1993, requiring another act of congress to overturn it. Now, after twenty years, two U.S. senators have introduced a bill that, if passed, would end the ban.

The new bill has support from around the world, including Canada. Supporters gathered in Vancouver on Sunday to raise awareness of the bill, including Martin Rooney, who recalled his experience being turned away at the border:

I was fingerprinted, photographed, run through the FBI most wanted list and—two and a half hours later—sent home. I have never felt more violated in my life.

The ban hasn’t only affected HIV-positive travelers. HIV-negative employees of AIDS agencies have also had difficulties traveling to the United States due to the ban.

Hmm… Maybe this means I should reconsider buying that (Product) RED iPod.

Research Breakthrough: Homosexuality Causes Earthquakes!

February 22nd, 2008

Gay Earthquake Powers

Long thought to be the result of tension between tectonic plates, earthquakes have a new explanation courtesy of Shlomo Benizri, a Member of Knesset in Israel:

Why do earthquakes happen? One of the reasons is the things to which the Knesset gives legitimacy: To sodomy.

A cost-effective way of averting earthquake damage would be to stop passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes.

Isreal was hit by several earthquakes last week, including one that measured 5.0 on the Richter scale.

Mr. Benizri’s unique explanation has sent shockwaves through—I mean, rocked—I mean shaken—the earth sciences community. While a few seismologists remain skeptical, this new development may mean that textbooks everywhere will have to be re-written. I’ll report more on this stunning research development as information becomes available.

(Mr. Benizri, incidentally, belongs to the same political party as Nissim Ze’ev—who recently proposed that gays in Isreal “should be dealt with like the Health Ministry deals with bird flu.”)

Now, someone fetch me a cookie, or—so help me—I’ll rock your house to the ground.

Craig Chandler Hits Election Snag

February 13th, 2008

Craig Chandler MLA Stand

Craig Chandler, the Alberta Tory nominee rejected by Premier Ed Stelmach over anti-gay human rights violations, is desperately low on funds for his campaign to run as an independent. Despite extensive fundraising, Chandler says he is $23,000 short:

What we need it for is more signs […] and for more literature that we want to send to every home in the community

Not that he really needs the money, mind you. According to Chandler’s own closed, in-house polling, he’s already put himself in the lead against his Calgary-Edgemont rivals.

As a former Calgarian, I don’t doubt that running on an anti-gay platform would win votes in the city. But with Calgary’s recent growth, new voters likely won’t feel comfortable voting for someone as radically conservative as Chandler, who has been the subject of multiple human rights violations.

MK: Deal With Gays Like The Bird Flu

January 30th, 2008

Gay Bird Flu

Nissim Ze’ev, a Member of Knesset in Jerusalem, announced last week that gays and lesbians are “an epidemic [that] should be dealt with like the Health Ministry deals with bird flu.”

The bizarre proclamation came during a law and constitution committee as MKs were discussing a controversial bill that would ban gays from holding protest marches in the region. MK Zehava Gal-On called Ze’ev’s comments a revelation of ignorance.

And with that, the nutty theatrics displayed in Canada’s House of Commons don’t seem that—cluck—bad by comparison.

Gobble.

LifeSite Hearts Scare Quotes

January 2nd, 2008

Sneer Quotes

Bill Siksay, the New Democratic Party MP for Burnaby-Douglas, has introduced a bill that would explicitly add transgendered people to the list of identifiable minorities protected from violent hate crimes.

This is fantastic news, if a tad later than desirable. And, for the most part, the press has reported this story with professional neutrality.

Say, let’s see how those amusingly partisan scribes at LifeSite are reporting this:

Now its the “transgendered” who are being presented as an “identifiable group” against whom it would be a criminal offence to “discriminate.” […]

The “transgender” phenomenon, it is said, occurs when a person’s personal “gender identity” does not match that “assigned” by biology, their parents, or society’s expectations. […]

While those who consider themselves “transgendered” usually claim they were “wrongly” “born into the body” of the opposite sex and that this can be “corrected” with a combination of surgery and hormone treatments, the biological sex of an individual is genetically determined from the first instant of the fusion of ovum and sperm.

Ten pairs of quotation marks used inside three sentences? Why, I believe we have a new scare quote record! I can actually taste the sneers—the contempt! Why, they even incorporated one in the article’s title: Canadian MP Introduces “Transgender” to the Hate Crimes Act.

Kudos, LifeSite. “Kudos.”

By the way, Happy New Year, kids! I’m back from my little break and I hope you all had a fantastically amazing holiday. Here’s to another great year!

Tory Candidate Booted

December 3rd, 2007

Craig the Independent

It’s official. Craig Chandler, Tory nominee for Calgary-Egmont, has had his candidacy rejected by Premer Ed Stelmach over anti-gay human rights violations.

Undeterred, Chandler vows to run as an independent.

And with that, an Alberta tory has been ousted over anti-gay views. Do do do do do do do do…

(That was supposed to be the theme to the Twilight Zone.)

Alberta Premier Reviews Anti-Gay Candidate

November 23rd, 2007

Ed Stelmach Reviews Craig Chandler

Can I hear a “Whaaaa?

Alberta’s Conservative Premier, Ed Stelmach, is reviewing a party candidate’s nomination over anti-gay remarks.

Craig Chandler, who won the Calgary nomination of Calgary-Egmont this month, was sanctioned by the Human Rights Commission in January over a hateful, anti-gay letter published on his website and by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council for a libelous tirade against a gay man on his radio program.

Still, something’s askew. For those of you unfamiliar with Alberta politics, being reviewed by the provincial Conservative party for anti-gay remarks is pretty darn odd. Just last year, a private member’s bill that would have permitted civil marriage commissioners to deny their public services to gays and forced teachers to send out parental warnings before acknowledging the existence of same-sex marriage was defeated only through strategic means. Stelmach even awarded the private member that introduced the bill a cabinet position.

Now, I know things have changed in Alberta since the King Ralph days, but am I the only one that thinks this review could potentially amount to martyrdom?

Mind you, I suspect Ed simply wants to strategically distance himself further from Chandler’s potentially party-harming views. I’d certainly still be reeling from what Chandler wrote on his official political blog back in August: “To those of you who have come to our great land from out of province, you need to remember that you came here to our home and we vote conservative. […] This is our home and if you wish to live here, you must adapt to our rules and our voting patterns, or leave.”

That Gay Politician in Quebec Calls It Quits

October 17th, 2007

Openly Gay Politician

André Boisclair, the former leader of the Parti Québécois, has announced that he will leave politics on November 15th.

And the Nod-o-th’-day award goes to The Globe and Mail for reporting on this story without using the phrase “openly gay.” (Something I clearly can’t resist.)