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Tory embrace just for show

Tory embrace just for show

When politicians change their minds on a major issue, especially something of a social nature, it is usually for political or financial reasons. Either they have miscalculated the views held by their electorate, overplayed their hand with budgetary “commitments,” or the winds of change have left them in the dust and they are trying to catch up.

These changes of heart quite often come after elections, when promises made cannot be promises kept. They are referred to as flip-flops, U-turns, what Europeans call volte-face – an about-face.

So it is with some suspicion that many queer Canadians now look on the Conservative party’s belated embrace of our community and its international needs.

It is perhaps most interesting that Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney has taken up the mantle. He who so successfully played the Tory’s preelection point man in Canada’s ethnic minority communities, effectively working to convince many potential voters of his party’s about-face on issues of multiculturalism and immigration.

I suspect the gay community will not be as easy to win over, especially when here in Canada we’ve spent these past six Conservative years trying to hold on to and claw back rights, programs and funding with those same faggot fingernails Tory MP Tom Lukiwski once said are laden with dirt that transmits disease.

It will surely take more than a self-congratulatory email like the one Kenney sent Sept 24.

Of course, the note championing his fight to rescue queer Iranian refugees should not be taken too seriously — the minister is known for congratulating himself. He even recently hosted a petition on his website on which fans could leave personal thank-yous.

And then there’s the curious case of Foreign Minister John Baird. The National Post on Sept 22 told Canadians the Conservative bulldog has an “aggressive agenda” to stand up to countries where homosexuality is still criminal. It’s a shame (considering his position of influence) that Baird has not been able to stand up and take pride in his own sexuality. This speaks volumes.

And while for once it is nice not to feel compelled to turn away in shame when a Conservative minister speaks on the world stage, these types of aggressive agendas take more than words. So far neither Kenney nor Baird has offered much in the way of money or cohesive policy.

In a recent column in Embassy, Canada’s foreign-policy newsweekly, Akim Adé Larcher, the former director of policy and research at Egale, said that in terms of promoting queer rights abroad, “Canada has seated itself at the global table without resources or a clear direction in terms of what it wants to achieve.”

A 2012 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) review also criticized Canada for recent cuts to its foreign aid budget. It said Ottawa lacks transparency, and its work with Canadian organizations promoting human rights abroad has become “ad hoc and selective.”

With this in mind, Baird’s criticism is empty; it seems simply a way of embarrassing other states our government doesn’t like. If Baird is so anxious to promote gay rights abroad, what is he doing about the myriad human rights abuses against our community perpetrated in parts of the United States? By the Vatican? By our new buddies the Chinese?

Similarly, Kenney’s gay refugee fight seems to start and stop with Iran, underscoring the government’s dangerous use of ideology to guide its policy decisions. While Iran is no model for gay rights, the Rainbow Refugee Committee’s Sharalyn Jordan notes that there are more than 78 countries with criminal sanctions against queer people, including several other countries with the death penalty.

Kenney’s government has had no problem deporting gay refugee claimants from these countries, including sending Kulenthiran Amirthalingam back to Malaysia in 2008. The gay man had previously spent time in a prison there. Kenney’s recent email, astonishingly, touts his work with the Rainbow Refugee Committee. Meanwhile, representatives at that group have excoriated most of the minister’s decisions on this file.

These slick politicians have taken the country’s temperature and found most Canadians (including many of the 60 percent who did not vote for them) are okay with the whole gay thing. That does not mean they have any intention of doing anything about it other than congratulating themselves and hanging a bunch of shiny new window-dressing.

Comments

Jason Kenney - it;s a start...good job
...(Jason) Kenney’s gay refugee fight seems to start and stop with Iran, ... While Iran is no model for gay rights, the Rainbow Refugee Committee’s Sharalyn Jordan notes that there are more than 78 countries with criminal sanctions against queer people.... SO WHAT DO YOU WANT? THAT CANADA ALONE SHOULD RID THE WORLD OF HOMOPHOBIA...so it starts and stop with Iran...so what? at least it starts...what are the other countries of the United Nations doing?
John Baird - Give credit...
...Foreign Minister John Baird. ....the Conservative bulldog has an “aggressive agenda” to stand up to countries where homosexuality is still criminal. It’s a shame ...that Baird has not been able to stand up and take pride in his own sexuality. This speaks volumes ---- WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? GAYS IN OTHER COUNTRIES ARE BEING HELPED BY BAIRD -- as long as there is help do they care whether John Baird is gay, straight or transsexual? --- this is merely digging the bottom barrel - give credit where it is due
Why the gay left in the first place??
Tim says - "Gay leftist like the editors at Xtra will never, ever acknowledge any postive action that a Conservative government or an individual Conservative may do for LGBT people" - XTRA SHOULD BE NEITHER GAY LEFT OR GAY RIGHT - it should be non-politcal and UNITE the gay community in gay rights and gay pride -- it should not push its leftist political agenda --- Tim is correct - united we stand and divided we fall f
The gay Left
Gay leftist like the editors at Xtra will never, ever acknowledge any postive action that a Conservative government or an individual Conservative may do for LGBT people. The gay Left will never accept gay Conservatives. Ideologically, leftists hate Conservatives and their hate will always rule (they enjoy it too much). Gay Conservatives like Jaime Watt totally waste their time raising money for charities favoured by the gay Left, like Casey House (an anachronism from the worst days of AIDS in the early 1980s, before the super anti-HIV drugs were developed).
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