Saturday, 22 September 2012

Are the Conservatives 'Warriors for Gay Rights'? Hardly!

If this writer responded to every idiotic article and statement passing through the pages of the National Post he would be unlikely to leave the confines of his desk. Nevertheless, there are moments when an article appears that is so earth-shatteringly naive and idiotic that it deserve a response. In today's paper, columnist Tristin Hopper raises the question "have the Harper Tories become unlikely warriorsfor gay rights?" He then proceeds to outline a litany of areas in which the Harper Conservatives have been advancing the cause of gay rights across the globe.

On the surface is does seem like the party has done a rather sudden about face on the issue. Its stance of queer issues has seemed to soften. This reflects a few factors. First, the reality is that the tide of public opinion has turned sharply against the social conservative membership of the party. By and large Canadians – by a healthy and steadily growing majority - support the gains made by the LGBT community. There is less outright hostility en masse to equality of treatment, whether it is for social benefits or the rights to marry. Moreover, this is broadly the view of the median voter, a segment of the population that was indispensable to the party’s victory in 2011.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Factually Inept: Media, the Quebec Election and the Distortion of Politics

It will likely strike many as odd to state that no Canadian, from 1867 to the present, has ever voted to elect a first minister, be it a provincial premier or a federal prime minister. The statement, it seems, flies in the face of popular wisdom. Indeed, we have elections and our political executive is headed by an individual called a premier or prime minister. How then is it possible to state that Canadians have never voted for such a position? Given the way our political system is presented by this country's political and media elite, it is no wonder that such a seemingly suspicious claim would raise vocal objections.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Constitutional Change and the Extinguishing of Denominational 'Rights'

So many contemporary debates end up mired in the past. Indeed, the present and past seem so often to meld, ignoring present realities and distorting the realities of the past. The ongoing debate in Ontario over the future of the the separate Catholic system is case in point. For many non-Catholics, a separate taxpayer-funded religiously based system of education is an affront on multiple levels. It is a clear violation of principles of fairness and equality. To many Catholics the issue is one exercising a centuries-old right under the Constitution.