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Rise of the rainbow hawks
August 24, 2013 4:20 PM   Subscribe

How the Conservative Party in Canada got in bed with Gay Rights in two decades or less: The move allowed the Conservative government to poke a stick in Iran’s eye, and help a genuinely in-need refugee constituency, all at one blow. As a bonus, such steps help create a bulwark against radicalism in our immigrant population. “When you’re dealing with a country like Iran, gay asylum seekers are exactly the ones you want,” says Mr. Raphael. “In general, these are precisely the people who you can guarantee don’t support the Iranian regime back home. They’re going to bring in a more secular, moderate perspective.”
posted by skermunkil (28 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the NP article:

His government has fiercely rebuked draconian anti-gay laws in Africa, to the point of infuriating the social-conservative group REAL Women of Canada, which this month publicly denounced Mr. Baird for using his position “to further his own perspective on homosexuality.”

Well, except that Harper, Baird & Co. are talking out of both sides of their mouth on this one. For example, until recently their government has been giving taxpayer dollars to churches who promote anti-gay activities in Africa.

I think these people are sociopaths who will do anything to hang on to power, and Jonathan Kay in the National Post is one of their main apologists.
posted by sneebler at 4:49 PM on August 24, 2013 [13 favorites]


I think it doesn't hurt that John Baird is, himself, widely understood to be gay.
posted by Dreadnought at 5:02 PM on August 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


There is a bit of a cabal of closeted gays in Harper's parliament isn't it--there is an article to be written, that is hinted at in the Bottoum article in Commonweal down the page, that in the 90s, there was a fight b/w conservative, white gay men and radical (often lesbians and people of colour) who would decide the future of the party--and much of that future was about how to integrate men who were barely closeted and had a lot of power--to make their private interests public and explciit. I am sorry that Bloom died before he saw marriage happen, but you can see this in Sullivan, Bower, and others. You can also see it in the Canadian Tories.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:26 PM on August 24, 2013


That circle is in almost any conversative movement, or any one where blackmail can be used WRT sexuality.
posted by The Whelk at 5:28 PM on August 24, 2013


by party i mean queer agenda, i dont mean tory party of canada.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:33 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, Politics ...Is there nothing you can't do if we just twist you hard enough?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:34 PM on August 24, 2013


I disapprove of this use of "hawks."
posted by rtha at 6:19 PM on August 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Canada's hard right, for all their unpleasant policies, make the human rights of LGBT people an integral aspect of foreign policy and domestic conservative values, Canadian-style. Britain's Tories push for same-sex marriage as a social institution. Meanwhile in Australia, both the right and mainstream centre-left oppose gay marriage and deport gay asylum seekers to face persecution.

As usual, mainstream politics in Australia is not just behind the curve, but aggressively denouncing the very idea that curves exist.
posted by acb at 7:11 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


they are working at making sure that their kind of lifestyle is perserved while other glbtq expressions can be safely left aside, while at the same time working out that the only way to be queer is to be discreet and safe and v. v. low key. not progress.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:27 PM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Tories are so laughably unsophisticated when it comes to "foreign relations." No subtlety, and everything about their foreign policy is aimed at speaking to a domestic audience, rather than actually advancing Canadian interests in the world.

It's a fucking tragedy that the Conservatives are so wilfully ineffectual on the international stage, because the traditional hedge of good relations with the Americans has vanished when Obama and the Democrats - traditionally indifferent or hostile to Canada - took over.

No Keystone XL. No free trade with Europe. Maybe China will listen to us - we're about the same size in terms of population as one of their average-sized cities.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:26 PM on August 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


How the Conservative Party in Canada got in bed with Gay Rights in two decades or less:

The Liberals made it so and the Cons can't figure out how to undo it. The End.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:28 PM on August 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


John Baird and Jason Kenney are both gay and it is fucking past time that they both came out publically.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:44 PM on August 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why should they come out publicly? No one cares which MPs are married, much less for details of their dating or screwing habits. Canada doesn't want to know who or how its MPs bump their uglies. It doesn't need to know if Steven screws Lauren; it doesn't need to know if John screws Larry.

I prefer my MPs and journalists focus on law-making and budget management, not sexy funtimes.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:52 PM on August 24, 2013


While I normally agree that personal issues shouldn't be part of political debates - and I really have no desire to hear about any politician's sex life - being out really isn't about sex. It's about destigmatising homosexuality (or bisexuality, or being transgendered). Coming out is the single best way to change homophobic attitudes, when people realise that their friends, family, even their MPs can be LGBT. I'm in an opposite sex relationship, but I came out as bisexual to my family (as awkward as that can be) because I worried some of them thought that they didn't know anyone LGBT - and some of them do hold homophobic attitudes about marriage equality, etc. They didn't realise that even if they weren't hurting me directly, they were hurting people like me. (And, for better or worse, most people care more about people they know than strangers or abstract concepts).

It's always a personal decision to come out. But it's also usually a good idea.
posted by jb at 12:21 AM on August 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, this is totally LGBT 101 again, but you knowing about someone's sexual orientation is not as the same thing as knowing about someone's sexual activities. Just because we know Stephen Harper is straight doesn't mean we have to know all about his favorite positions with Lauren. In a heteronormative culture like ours where everyone is assumed to be straight until they come out as otherwise, we "know" - or more correctly, we assume we know - everyone's default orientation as heterosexual unless they choose to declare otherwise. So that's why Baird and Kenney need to publicly out themselves - otherwise, they are contributing - passively, but still contributing - to the erasure and suppression of LGBT people in Canada.

Furthermore, in a culture like Canada's, where homosexuality is widely accepted and expression of intolerance against LGBT people is largely viewed as shockingly inappropriate, there is absolutely no reason why Baird and Kenney should not make the final step in publicly announcing their sexual orientation especially since both are already well-known to be gay. The only reason why they aren't is because they don't want to lose votes from the very fringe extremists (yes, intolerance of homosexuality is generally considered an extreme in our culture) who will deny any evidence that the two MPs are gay except coming from their own mouths.

Which isn't to say that the LGBT rights struggle is over in Canada, its just a different form - the marginalization and oppression of LGBT people tend to occur in more subtle gestures as opposed to open expression of hate and legislative discrimination that occurs in other countries. But that doesn't mean that it's less important for MPs to be openly queer - rather, it's even more important because visibility goes a huge ways to combat subtle and passive homophobia.
posted by Conspire at 12:28 AM on August 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, what a terribly written, slanted piece. It sorta just randomly careens in a stream if consciousness way, bashing the left when it can, kissing Harper's throne, and implying that the Cons' stalwart defence of gay rights abroad helped move the cause forward at home, which is utter bullshit. The issue of gay rights was settled a while back in Canada, and the Conservatives were late to the party, only tacitly coming along when it was obvious that they would never get elected while their candidates were so publicly homophobic. The same is true of abortion.

Canadians, happily, like moderation from the politicians, and Harper only gained power once he accepted that.
posted by dry white toast at 5:31 AM on August 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I keep boggling at the idea that any conservative party would not (a) to encourage marriage, with all the stability that implies; and (b) a bunch of supporters, many of whom are stereotypically wealthier and with more free time than the average voter.

If I were in charge (and it's a good thing I'm not) I would present support for gay marriage as a tactic to split good gay men (wealthy voters who own their own homes) from bad ones (who go to wicked nightclubs and read alternative newspapers while they discuss ways to bring down the State). I bet my motions would be carried unanimously with a vote of thanks apologising for their previous blindness.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:51 AM on August 25, 2013


Furthermore, in a culture like Canada's, where homosexuality is widely accepted … there is absolutely no reason why Baird and Kenney should not make the final step in publicly announcing their sexual orientation especially since both are already well-known to be gay.

IMO this perfectly argues why Canadian politicians should be as public or as private about it as they themselves want. We've had a number of gay politicians. It wasn't a big deal back then and by now, IMO, we are well past the point where gay politicians must make examples of themselves.

If Baird were a pro hockey or football player, I'd agree that going public would be significant. I'd still argue that he'd be under no obligation to do so: his privacy is his business, not ours.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:52 AM on August 25, 2013


Wow, what a terribly written, slanted piece.

It's in the National Post, so, um, yeah.

In particular, the Israel Good, Iran Bad stuff is pretty much par for the course for any NP article into which the Middle East can be wedged. To their credit, they're at least pretty transparent about where their loyalties lie.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:34 AM on August 25, 2013


It is talking about foreign policy by he ConGov influencing the mainstream conservative view of homosexuality, which is not necessarily the mainstream Canadian view of LBGT rights and issues.

It does suggest that Harper et al got "on board" when they realized the mainstream Canadian view had moved, but suggests other reasons for key moments. It is a fact that the Russia/Uganda/Iran "statements" came from a party that ten years ago was aggressively anti-equality itself, something that should give pause and probably suspicion, but that the average Canadian will not question because they view it as Harper aligning with them rather than a manipulation of a talking point to advance something they may not support
posted by skermunkil at 9:51 AM on August 25, 2013


IMO this perfectly argues why Canadian politicians should be as public or as private about it as they themselves want. We've had a number of gay politicians. It wasn't a big deal back then and by now, IMO, we are well past the point where gay politicians must make examples of themselves.

Do you not see how steeped of a statement in privilege it is to imply that just because LGBT people have some legislative protection in Canada, we live in some sort of post-homophobia culture?

Just in the past five years, and this is by no means comprehensive:

Hate Crimes against Gays Doubled in Canada in 2008

Bill C-279, passed just this year to grant human rights protections to transgender and transexual people, passes with unanimous acceptance from every party but the Conservatives - of which only 18 out of 166 voted in favor

Raymond Taavel Murder: Prominent Gay Activist In Halifax Killed

Homophobic insults force gay restaurant owners in small Manitoba town to close up shop

Letters Threatening LGBT Individuals Received in Kingston

Real Women attack on Baird a lesson for multicultural Canada

Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger on gays: “You will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell.”

Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford declines to attend Pride Parade on multiple occasions - Newsmaker: How does Rob Ford’s Pride Parade attendance compare to past mayors?

Gay Ottawa teen who killed himself was bullied

P.E.I. town fears fire was hate crime

Two lesbian youth found dead in Orangeville, Ontario

Assault motivated by 'virulent homophobia': judge

Immigration Minister pulled gay rights from citizenship guide, documents show

Spencer Herbert calls on Liberals' Marc Dalton to resign over "disturbingly homophobic" e-mail - Marc Dalton is still currently a MLA

Kill gays, Sudsbury, Ontario candidate says

Lesbian parents attacked in Oshawa, Ontario in front of son

Listen. Coming out as queer is no more about parading your sexuality as it is being straight. Lack of visibility doesn't just mean we have less representation on your favorite TV show - it means we're likely to grow up without any role models or support systems and with bullying from our peers, leaving us much more susceptible to suicide and depression; it means we have to deal with a constant uncertainty of whether someone's going to be uncomfortable with who we fundamentally are - and whether we'll suffer violence due to that; it means that we're forced to deal with massive repercussions from what should truthfully be a small aspect of our lives - you don't see straight people's straightness creeping into every conversation - in every arena from legal to medical to psychological to economic to identity.

Coming out is a personal decision; but given how much privilege and protection these MPs have in their high, lofty positions - and given that they've already been outed, these men stand nothing to lose personally from coming out. But because the benefits of coming out as a public figure won't impact them as much as the incredible majority of LGBT people who do not enjoy as much privilege and protection as these white, male, middle-class MPs with secure political careers, they step around the issue. Can we be faulted for interpreting that as selfish?
posted by Conspire at 1:35 PM on August 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


We're seeing radical social change in compressed time. I suppose Baird might be important. I wouldn't actually know what the general gay public thinks about his role. I think we should be well beyond him. Religious traditionalists promoting tolerance, that seems to me to be more important.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 PM on August 25, 2013


Holding opinions about whether our gay MPs should out themselves or not does not in the least bit detract from promoting acceptance with the religious right. In fact, it does an incredible amount to further the latter cause. In your argument you treat the two as separate; in reality, since the Conservatives are by far the party of the religious right, sending a clear and distinct message that the Conservatives are willing to stand behind publicly out members while still retaining its ideological identity would do much to serve as an example to members of the religious right.

But by all means, if you consider that cause important, I would encourage you to get involved in the political advocacy and activism behind driving tolerance in religious spheres. That seems like more productive of an outlet to me than commenting on the internet about how the "queers are doing it wrong"?
posted by Conspire at 10:16 PM on August 25, 2013


I never used the words you quote and, if anything, you're the one accussing Baird of doing it wrong.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:23 AM on August 26, 2013


Yes, the Conservative Party of Canada who is always the only national party to not participate in the City of Ottawa's Pride Parade (which was held yesterday). Not even Baird. They're so totally in bed with gay rights.
posted by urbanlenny at 9:12 AM on August 26, 2013


Yes, the Conservative Party of Canada who is always the only national party to not participate in the City of Ottawa's Pride Parade (which was held yesterday). Not even Baird. They're so totally in bed with gay rights.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:12 PM on August 26 [+][!]


This. I watched the entire Toronto Pride Parade two months ago. I saw a large Liberal Party float led by Kathleen Wynne, Justin Trudeau and Bob Rae. I saw a large NDP float led by Andrea Horwath and Thomas Mulcair. Didn't see any Conservative Party float, federal or provincial.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 12:10 PM on August 26, 2013


Cons non-support for the parade goes hand in hand with their attitude toward every minority/not their base issue. They are cold-hearted mofos.

I bet they'd show up in droves for an oil parade.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:15 PM on August 26, 2013


I think Baird and Kenney's sexual orientation and identification is a personal matter. None of my business.

On the other hand, the refusal of Conservative politicians to participate in gay pride events etc. is mystifying, since a majority of Canadians support gay rights and all that stuff. It's a non-issue for most Canadians.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:48 AM on August 27, 2013


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