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Keep calm & carry on

Keep calm & carry on

Friends, the next four years are going to be a difficult time for progressives in Canada. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives — in winning a majority May 2 — no longer need to be responsive to centrists and lefties and can pursue their projects unfettered. Expect swift, sweeping changes in the first 12 months of his time in office.
 
Harper’s majority is doubly dispiriting to my friends here in Toronto, friends who are already fighting privatization, service reductions and ideological cuts at the municipal level. The spectre of a Tory sweep in this fall’s Ontario election only adds to their worries.
 
But resistance, contrary to what they say, is not futile.
 
Some battles will be winnable, by the sheer force of our shaming the Conservatives, of making our case loudly and publicly. On crime, on human rights, on sexual freedom, we have the better arguments. It’s important we not stop making them. Let us not give up before we’ve begun.
 
Some battles we will lose. But even losses aren’t in vain. Even if we don’t change the minds of those in power, we can change the hearts of our neighbours. We can create room for future decision-makers to undo what’s being done.
 
We can and must create a climate where there is a political cost for bad decisions. I believe that to be important.
 
In the coming weeks, I suspect we’ll see artists, pro-choice activists, harm-reduction advocates and gays and lesbians reaching out to each other. If we’re willing to put in the work, together we can build a strong, non-partisan movement that cannot be ignored.
 
At the same time, please consider doubling your contribution to charities and causes to which you give. If you haven’t considered donating before, please do. Any group that deals frankly with sex and sexuality is likely in trouble. If you haven’t given already, Planned Parenthood is a good place to start.
 
As you’re probably aware, the omnibus crime bill is now virtually certain to pass. It includes provisions that would severely limit the right to privacy on the internet and make it easier for police organizations to watch what you do, keystroke by keystroke. Gays have always suffered disproportionately under the weight of government surveillance. If we can’t get Conservative backbenchers to break rank, it’s a fight that’s destined for the courts. The BC Civil Liberties Association is a good bet, no matter what part of the country you live in. Its national counterpart, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, has recently been reinvigorated; it’s looking more solid by the day. Your money won’t be wasted if it goes to either organization.
 
Arts groups will need your money, if cuts come to any of the federal granting agencies. Policy changes could also hinder cultural production, such as the changes the Conservatives introduced for Canadian magazines, which take effect this year, and ones that were proposed but withdrawn that would manipulate movie production in favour of family-friendly films. If you’re in the position to subscribe to a magazine or buy season’s tickets to the theatre, now’s a good time to do so.
 
Planned Parenthood, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association or a local theatre troupe — any way you slice it, organizations that help sexual minorities and push boundaries are going to need your help. And, for better or worse, they may prove better situated to fight the immediate battles than either Egale Canada or the fledgling Queer Ontario.
 
If I were made of money, of course, I’d donate to each of them.
 
For many, making substantial donations is simply out of reach, and that’s okay. All of these fights are going to need volunteers, organizers, planners, letter writers, poster designers, proofreaders, cooks, bike couriers and party planners. Volunteers are the lifeblood of any organization. Your unique skills are needed.
 
If I had the time, my first offer would certainly go to Queer Ontario, which has the potential to become the most important development in gay activism in a decade. I admire the work they do, and if I weren’t here at Xtra, I’d be with them.
 
Keep calm. But let’s carry on fighting.
 
Marcus McCann is the managing editor of Xtra.
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Comments

Gimme a break
GaySolomon, if anyone is loathsome around here, and prefering the politics of WE, it's you and others on the left who have chosen to put politics ahead of sexual orientation. You're destroying the unity of the "gay community" by shoving your politics down everyone else's throats. The gay community (may it rest in peace) used to be big enough for people on the left and the right.
@ George
Hi George,

That there are gay men who do not espouse progressive values is not news to me or anyone else. There are many gay men such as John Baird, Jason Kenney, Ted Haggard, George Rekers etc... who either actively oppose the legitimate aspirations of our community, or support oppressive governments that oppress us. These men are loathsome, but not because they are gay, and not even because they betray the well being and freedom of their fellow LGBT citizens, but because they put their own narrow self-interests above the common good.

That you embrace the politics of ME over the politics of WE is your right. It is also our right to challenge you and encourage our leaders to appeal to the better natures of our fellow citizens.

Enjoy the fruit of your electoral victory. I for one, will redouble my efforts to bring about a better Canada.
I'm not a Con Bot
But of course, gay men are all a bunch of ultral left wing, ultra progresive, war resisting peace-nick queens that feel the need to be chained to the past and hide in the getto, rather then integrating into larger society by getting married, rasing families (if we so choose) working for money and spending it. I have a career and while I do support public health care and funding of post-secondary schools and a basic social net, I have serious reservations about handing over large amounts of money to lavish social programs, crappy movies and over entitled university students who belive that post secondary education is a ''right'' rather then something that you work for and save money for, like I did. At some point we have to be able to take care of ourselves don't we?
something easy to do
I encourage everyone concerned about some or all of the Harper Cons policies to make sure their MP as well as Harper know your viewpoints, email is very easy to use and an excellent way of letting your MP, especially if they're a Con themselves, know what you think as one of their constituents. I think its especially important now that the opposition in parliament can be so easily ignored, not that they weren't before in the minority situation, that Con politicians hear from people opposed to their policies. Its also not enough to just say that you're opposed but explain why you're opposed. In many cases its likely to have no effect but lets not allow the Cons to believe that they have our support due to our silence. One of the most offensive and repugnant pieces of legislation which will now surely pass is bill s-10, the one that will send people growing a personal amount of pot to prison for a minimum of six months, not only is that bill a great boon for organized crime in Canada as people become too afraid to grow their own pot and resort to buying it it will see organized crime make increased profits, people aren't likely to stop smoking pot, a small majority support legalizing/decriminalizing pot already. However this bill will have an extreme effect on people with health problems such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and others who will be going to prison for a minimum of 6 months if there's a delay in their paper work or if they were unable to get a Dr to sign the paper work approving the medicine they need, pot, to ease their suffering. Already someone was arrested for illegally growing pot because there was a delay in the paperwork approving him to grow his own, luckily he served no jail time since this bill isn't yet in effect but he suffered a big financial loss and suffered unnecessarily because he was denied access to the med he needed. I have no doubt we'll be seeing seriously ill people being sent to prison over late or missing paper work approving their pot use.
Thank you
Given how the Conservatives have already governed in a minority, we have no reason to expect fair treatment under their majority rule. It was hard not to feel disheartened by the May 2nd results - with good reason! Thank you for the encouragement. I will see you on the barricades? @ Jeff: do not discount the likelihood that many of the comments above are from paid conbot trolls. They appear to relish rubbing progressives' electoral defeat in our faces. Gracious to the end...
Bravo Marcus
Thanks for the sombre editorial, Marcus. As I read all the comments, I am reminded that just because we share the same sexual orientation does not mean that we share the same points of view. However, I find it disheartening that people so readily forget that the rights that gays now enjoy were hard-fought by so-called liberalists, and that conservatives were in large opposition to those rights (and still are in many cases). You guys keep on hiding your heads in the sand and hang out with your closet cases in the conservative party. I'm just glad that we managed to pass gay marriage before there was a conservative majority or else it would have failed for sure!
Depressing
Don't you ever get tired of fearmongering or delivering pointed statements towards your fellow human beings? I'd have thought that winning an election might have made you less bitter and spiteful, but if anything it seems to made you angrier.
Perhaps once the Government starts addressing your fear of everyone not sharing your worldview, you'll relax some. It's just not healthy.

I have the same complaint for this article, it's nothing but absolute fearmongering, regardless of what title the article receives. Yes, it's a Conservative majority. No, the world is not about to be destroyed by a tidal wave of bigotry and right-wing viewpoints. Keeping calm and carrying on with our daily lives is what we SHOULD be doing, but this article makes the case that we should give up our money to charities we believe in, and then hide in a bunker until the next election. What a depressingly negative and cynical viewpoint to take.
TERRIBLE ARTICLE
In case this editor has been buried int he gay village for too long the world is a very different place today. I too am a homo, and really the only thing that matters to me these is economy and productivity. Sexual freedom? Perhaps Liberalism can be blamed for the DISASTROUS state of affairs many gay men have gotten themselves in with disease and drugs? Conservative is not the enemy, maybe and just maybe liberalism was the enemy all along! If you want true liberalism look at Scandinavia!
Hilarious
Only druggies, pedophiles, and violent criminals have anything to fear.
Really??
''non-partisan movement that cannot be ignored'' That's one of the problems Marcus. In order for anyone to take you seriously you would need an ideological center and base. That ties into the whole idea that everyone who is an ''enemy'' of the Conservatives will get together under one big umbrella to unite and stop them. It is unrealistic and lacks truly critical thinking. For example I am a gay man who is pro choice, pro internet surveillance, anti-harm reduction. I also believe in enhancing our military with new equipment and I think Canada should take a stronger and more interventionist role on the world stage. I also support the ''cuts to the arts'' that you are mentioning, our movie industry is, for the most, part a joke by enlarge because of it's over subsidization and subsequent lack of focus on making profits. Also, what about ending the family reunification program? That's a good thing, I fail to see why an older person who is to old to work and has never once payed taxes in this country should come here and start befitting from our health care system. The point I guess that I am trying to make is that the issues are too complex for us all to just come together and ''stop the big bad Conservatives''. It's a lesson that the Liberals and all of the strategic voters I hope have learned this past election.
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