Recently Brad Trost and Jason Kenney made some troubling comments about the whole gay thing and the progressives just won’t let it go.
Trost, a “full spectrum” conservative, believes in all three conservative values: social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, and democratic populist conservatism. He recently shared his views on “the whole gay thing” in a campaign video.
Let’s consider what Brad’s campaign manager said on Brad’s behalf.
The whole gay thing
“Brad is not a big fan of the gay lifestyle but what you do in private is your business.”
This is offensive. Being gay is not a lifestyle choice, it’s a state of being that is protected from discrimination under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which incidentally also protects people from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age and physical and mental disability. Following Brad’s logic, he’s not a big fan of the Charter either.
“But what you literally do in the middle of the street needs to conform to some basic community standards. Brad’s concern is that parts of the Gay Pride parade have become so overly sexualized; behavior which is so inappropriate for public viewing that it’s unbelievable.”
People attend Pride parades to show support for the LBGTQ community. Complaining about “what goes on in the middle of the street” is as silly as planning a vacation in Provincetown and complaining you’re surrounded by gay guys in speedos when you get there.
If you don’t support the cause, don’t go to the parade. If you do support the cause and see something that shocks your sensibilities, there are laws against public indecency. Find a policeman and lodge a complaint the way you would if you caught a drunken sports fan urinating on a lamppost after a hockey game.
“If you want to have a parade, have a parade, but don’t ask taxpayers to subsidize it. The fact that we’re going out and borrowing money that future generations are going to have to pay back to subsidize a parade makes no sense to Brad.”
Not subsidizing the Pride parade while continuing to subsidize other parades is discriminatory and a violation of the Charter (see above) and the amount of money Brad would save for future generations by not subsidizing a Pride parade is minuscule.
Trost is running for the leadership of the federal Conservative party. This is a campaign video. It reflects Trost’s social conservatism while at the same time highlighting his appalling lack of understanding of basic human rights.
Outing gay students
Jason Kenney is a guarded and reticent about the whole gay thing.
Periodically he makes statements that sound like he’s catching up to the 21st century. For example, he criticized the Conservative’s opposition to same-sex marriage as being obsolete and failing to reflect the law or social custom.
However, his response to the NDP government’s legislation supporting a student’s right to create a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding and support.
Kenney says teachers, principals, and counsellors should use their discretion to decide whether to tell parents their kids joined a GSA. He says this is okay because “most parents are loving and caring, seeking only what is best for their children.”
Researchers for the Family Acceptance Project identified more than 100 ways families react to their LBGTQ children; roughly half of these behaviors were not accepting. They include physical and mental abuse, banishing LBGTQ kids from family events, making them keep their identity a secret, saying God will punish them and blocking their access to LBGTQ friends, events, and resources.
Unless Kenney is prepared to send teachers home with the kids they’ve outed to protect them from rejecting behavior he’s significantly increased the risk that outed kids will attempt suicide, suffer from depression, or turn to illegal drugs.
He’s also increased the risk that teachers and school boards will find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit because there’s no way to predict how the families of outed kids will react.
Conservative social values
Nineteen years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a Christian college could not fire a teacher simply because he was gay.
Some Alberta politicians toyed with the idea of invoking the Constitutional “notwithstanding clause” to allow Alberta to continue to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
Jason Kenney, then a federal MP, railed against the decision in Parliament. He made a prediction: protecting the rights of LGBTQ people would open the door for a far right, populist party with conservative values and an anti-LBGTQ ideology.*
Sadly, it appears that he was right, both on the provincial and federal levels.
And that’s why progressives won’t let go of this whole gay thing.
*Alberta Hansard, April 3, 2017, p 482
These people must love homophobic Russia and Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov has begun rounding up homosexuals, has killed a few and put the rest in concentration camps. Don’t think it can’t happen in USA or Canada.
Your comment nails it Blog Fodder. Initially Kadyrov denied the whole thing, saying there was no need to round up homosexuals because they didn’t exist in Chechnya. He said “If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.” Our Charter rights mean nothing if we don’t speak up on behalf of people who are being discriminated against–especially when the discriminatory language comes out of the mouths of politicians.
The Conservatives don’t know the meaning of Charter of Rights….This is appalling.
Indeed it is Leila, indeed it is.
Justices Cory and Iacobucci (of the Supreme Court on the case you noted) described equality rights as “fundamental to Canada” and stated that they “reflect the fondest dreams, the highest hopes and the finest aspirations of Canadian society.” In order to achieve “the magnificent goal of equal dignity for all … the intrinsic worthiness and importance of every individual must be recognized regardless of the age, sex, colour, origins, or other characteristics of that person.”
This is a well-stated judgement that reflects the sentiments of “Canadian values”, and I suspect your readers would agree. Kenny & Trost are easy targets of a certain part of the right wing spectrum, but in the hopes of being nonpartisan, will you also sometime rail against what modern critics call “the regressive left” who try to shut down any conversation that disagree with them? In the market place of ideas, I think Kenny & Trost will be marginalized – not by taking away their charter rights – but by the voices of cogent reason.
It appears that we are entering into what Fareed Zakaria wrote some 19 years ago: “The Rise of the Illiberal Democracy,” in which he worried about the rise of popular autocrats (right or left wing) with little regard for the rule of law and civil liberties. “Governments may be elected in free and fair elections, he wrote, and yet routinely violate their citizens’ basic rights.” (https://moreenigma.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/the-illiberal-alliance-with-the-regressive-left/)
Thanks for your usual well-thought post.
You’re welcome Rusty. Your post on the rise of illiberal democracy is interesting read. In an article in the Washington Post Zakaria described democracy as two intertwined strands: liberty and law on the one hand and popular participation on the other. He says these strands have come apart and points to examples where governments are democratically elected but the freedoms of speech, belief, and dissent enshrined in law are abused by the democratic majorities…rather like what might happen here in Alberta if a democratically elected conservative government decides to enforce a school’s right to out students who join GSAs.
What’s really interesting about the rise of illiberalism is how insidious it is.
Here’s the link to the Zakaria article https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/america-is-becoming-a-land-of-less-liberty/2016/12/29/2a91744c-ce09-11e6-a747-d03044780a02_story.html?utm_term=.128d2048d9b5
Conservatives as a rule dislike the Charter on principle, because it empowers the judiciary to overrule the tyranny of the majority. This is not new. The Charter is why women now have control over their own bodies, and why LGBTQ individuals have the same rights and protections as straight & cis-gender people do, and conservatives aren’t happy with these developments. Remember, the Charter only exists because of the tireless efforts of conservative politicians’ bête noire, Trudeau père. Conservatives claim to favour the supremacy of Parliament, which has the legal authority to enact laws in violation of our rights “notwithstanding” the Charter; fortunately, Canadians value the Charter too much for such a move to be politically palatable in most Canadian jurisdictions.
Jerry, well said. Canadians are beholden to PET, even if some of them refuse to acknowledge it. Not only did PET bring home Canada’s Constitution, he was influential during the Cold War. When east/west animosity was running particularly high Trudeau launched a peace initiative, meeting with world leaders from Japan, India, China, the United Nations, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania and the Soviet Union. While his plan was never adopted, Trudeau did have a chance to meet with Gorbachev prior to Gorbachev’s meeting with Reagan. Some of what Trudeau said resonated with both leaders who issued a statement after they’d met echoing Trudeau’s comment that “Nuclear wars can never be won and therefore must never be fought.” There’s a lot to be said for a thoughtful politician.
Here’s the link: http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/trudeaus-push-for-cold-war-peace
I always get suspicious when a person comes out so strongly against gays. In many cases it is to hide the fact that they themselves cannot accept who they are.
This subject is really a great waste of our precious intelligence.
In general most people do not care if heterosexuals share their wives or husbands, beat each other for pleasure, go to orgies, but God forbid that a man wants another man. Even lesbianism in many ways has been a source of porn pleasure for many men. Homosexuality between men is the only major problem according to these people. Why? In my opinion it all comes from the power of patriarchy which of course cannot accept this kind of relationship. Man has to be the dominant figure against women not another man.
As far as the religious outcries I really do not think anyone can throw the first stone.
Carlos, that’s a very interesting comment about the power of patriarchy–a society that accepts men being sexually attracted to men turns that belief upside down. Considering this through the lens of patriarchal power also explains why many homophobic men don’t object to lesbian women. Women by definition don’t count in the power equation.
As you said, the subject wastes our intelligence and yet Jason Kenney and others continue to whip it up because it’s an effective way to rally the masses. .
“L’État n’a pas d’affaires dans les chambres à coucher de la nation.”- His Hairness’ Dad
While I find his monetary policy (and its subsequent continuation) quite literally treasonous, Mr.Trudeau (Sr.) certainly got that one right. We all indeed ought to be the pilots of our own pillows.
Very off-topic, but I can’t help it because every loss for public ownership of monopoly services makes my ears simply steam:
Mayor Iveson apparently thinks a guaranteed-with-the-sale 15% increase in charges for consumers implemented over the next five years sounds good for Edmontonians paying it. How generous of him. ANd a cool billion for him to loudly proclaim, “Surplus! My Surplus! Oh Surplusss!!”, at least until next year’s budget; of course that’s not to mention that the $1billion will immediately disappear in the black hole of already accumulated debt anyway. More Golden toilets for banquesters’ bottoms, woohoo!
Because, as we all know, any temporary ‘efficiencies’ immediately resulting from union-busting or otherwise wage-lowering go to private business’ internationally invested, loyal to none but mammon top brass, whereas if higher costs are all labour related the money ~stays in and directly benefits the community.
Oh, I am told Edmontonians ‘own’ the private company; yes, but only so much as their captured audience. And private corps. get to operate in inscrutable opacity, instead of the transparent accountability required of public works.
Edmontonians, the public, did all the heavy lifting building the infrastructure, now it’s time for private business to leverage the debt they’ve foisted onto the taxpayer in the process and take the public’s works over for pennies on the dollar, then raze it while raising prices in preparation for selling the empty shell back to the public, via pocketed politicians, for dollars on the penny. It’s the neoliberal way!
Eg. Remember EdTel, or even Alberta Government Telephones? Those were also bought out for songs, and the price of airtime is now atrocious in the province. Saskatchewan kept their public phone company, and guess where the cellular deals are the best in the west.
With decisions like this being made, at least we now know why some Edmonton city council members are all for a piece of plexi-glass between them and the plebs, despite the fact it has never been necessary before they may well now need it.
“Those who voted against were Loken, Moe Banga, Ben Henderson, Tony Caterina, Mike Nickel and Bev Esslinger. ”
Edmontonians ought to take a moment to thank Loken, Moe Banga, Ben Henderson, Tony Caterina, Mike Nickel and Bev Esslinger for trying.
GoinFawr, I share your disappointment. I’d add Calgary’s Enmax to the list of public services that were spun out to the private sector only to blow up in our faces due to escalating costs resulting from ego-driven overbuilding and greed-driven overspending. Enmax CEO, Gary Holden, made the Forbes top 10 list for the 5th biggest screw up of 2010–he sent an email to his employees warning them not to leak anything to the press who reported on his $2.7 million pay packet and lavish house parties featuring rock stars especially flown into town for the occasion. (Surprise, surprise, the email was leaked).
I’ve never understood the rationale for outsourcing of public services–the public bears the risk while the private sector captures the reward. It’s nuts.
Not being very politically minded my first thought is not the political agendas but the personal ones. No one has the right to pass judgement on another person. No one has the right to out someone because it is “for their own good”. We are all very special people and should be allowed to live our lives the way we think best. Let’s stop trying to clean up everyone else’s backyard and focus on our families and then maybe there would not be as many people who are homeless and on drugs trying to hide from their problems.
Rose, I agree with you 100%. So far I’ve heard two explanations from those who support Jason Kenney’s position that schools should out kids to their parents (incidentally, he’s trying to soften that position by saying this would only be in circumstances where the school knows outing the kids would be OK, but he’s failed to explain why a school would be in a better position to assess a parent’s reaction than the kids themselves who’ve chosen not to tell them). The first explanation is that parents should be “included” in the kids decision to join a GSA. The answer to that argument is if the kid wanted his/her parents included he/she would have told the parents about his/her decision to join a GSA and the school wouldn’t have to out him/her. The second explanation is that the kids “belong” to the parents, not the school, therefore the parent’s right to know the kid joined a GSA trumps the school’s right not to tell the parents. The answer to this argument is that kids don’t “belong” to anybody but themselves and a parent’s obligation to care for a child does not extend to ownership. Children are people, not property. Slavery was abolished years ago. That’s why the government has the right to remove children from the family home (sometimes permanently) if their parents are abusive.