Credit: The Canadian Press/Paul Chiasson; Francesca Roh/Xtra
Salty Queers
42 min

All the queer and trans people Maxime Bernier should dine with

If Mike Pence can do it, so can the People’s Party leader!

Maxime Bernier is one busy bee this election season.

The Quebec MP—once in the running for the Conservative Party leadership and now the leader of his own People’s Party of Canada—has been appearing on billboards denouncing immigration, tweeting that a teenage activist is “mentally unstable,” shoehorning his way into national leaders debates and reminding us that marginalized identities don’t matter. Such a multitasker. What a guy.

Given the long shot odds for his party’s success, Bernier may want to woo some of the constituents he’s alienated, like queers, for instance. Perhaps he could pull a Mike Pence: Like the US vice-president he might try to play down accusations of homophobia, by, well, dining with The Queers.

To help PPC party leader navigate the next steps, here are some of the LGBTQ2 people he could potentially dine with to, you know, prove he respects all people.

A same-sex couple 👬👭

Bernier has a history of flip-flopping on same-sex marriage. When he was first elected as a Conservative MP in the Quebec riding of Beauce in 2006, Bernier was among MPs who voted in favour of Motion 12, which would have re-opened the debate on the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But 10 years later, Bernier was seen marching in the Toronto Pride parade after the Conservatives decided to change its party definition of marriage and finally took a positive position on LGBTQ2 rights in Canada.

Meeting a same-sex couple would hopefully force Bernier to reveal whether he truly supports marriage equality. After all, he’s very proud of his support to remove the Conservative definition of marriage three years ago. Maybe it’s time for him to get to know a few married gay couples and their families by popping by for a potluck.

Any of the white gay MPs

Most of the LGBTQ2 MPs in the 42nd Parliament were white gay men: Seamus O’Regan, Scott Brison, Randy Boissonnault, Rob Oliphant, Randall Garrison. Bernier could have his pick of any of them for a quick lunch in the capital. It might help him understand politics from the inside from a queer perspective—and one that isn’t too radical for his tastes. Maybe a bit of politico-to-politico empathy would make Bernier more inspired to vote in favour of queer and trans rights the way he used to.

Because, in case he missed it, Bernier could have a lot of queer coworkers after the coming election (if he wins his seat, that is). According to our count, more than 30 openly LGBTQ2 candidates are running in all of the major political parties (and his own!). Time to get friendly with the queers in the House! 🏠🏳️‍🌈

A trans or non-binary person

Here’s another Bernier flip-flop: In 2016, he supported the passing of Bill C-16—the Liberal bill that former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould described as a law that will “ensure Canadians are free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate.” This is great right? Well, Bernier doesn’t think so.

In 2017, less than a year after the passing of the bill, Bernier issued a statement reversing his support. In the statement, Bernier said: “If the vote were held again today, I would vote against it.” This decision was influenced by his meeting with author, YouTuber and University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, who is entitled white-man stubborn and has refused to use gender-neutral pronouns.

Following his discussion with Peterson, Bernier wrote in a statement: “Prof. Peterson believes that if adopted, C-16 will, in conjunction with the Ontario Human Rights Code, become a clear threat to [freedom of expression].” Under the Human Rights Code, misgendering someone is seen as discrimination.” I mean, it is. 👀

Bernier also decided to broadcast his regrets. In an interview with commentator Mark Steyn, Bernier talked about his change of heart.

“When I voted for that, I thought that this bill won’t have any impact on the freedom of speech,” he said after Steyn asked him about his decision to reverse his support. “I had a nice chat and a nice briefing with [Peterson]…The impact on free speech is enormous.”

Bernier also kind of implied that Peterson should credit him for his fame: “That professor was notable because of that deal that I voted for—and I think it was a mistake that I voted for.” 👀

We think Bernier could use an image cleanse once he chooses to dine with a trans or non-binary person (if someone was willing to join him for a meal) and give them a compelling reason (which we doubt there’s any) for his hot and cold treatment of their rights.🕵

Ellen Page

It might be an intense meeting, but dinner with Ellen Page could teach Bernier a thing or two. Given all of her international documentary work, travelling the world to hear firsthand about LGBTQ issues and rights outside of North America, Page could school the party leader on the queer and trans issues he ought to know about, from people on the frontlines of their activism. She’s also known for calling out homophobes when she sees ’em. Lesson number one for Bernier: respecting that marginalized identities do matter.

A drag queen

Bernier is in need of good reading from a drag queen. Honestly, we could spill piping hot tea based on his history and previous choices—but we wouldn’t be able to do it in a way a seasoned drag queen could.

A dining experience with a queen would give him a chance to explain himself after his failed attempt at reading drag performers via Twitter earlier this year, when he reacted to the Government of Canada’s tweet celebrating the first Canadian competitor of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Brooke Lynn Hytes.

In his tweet, Bernier criticized what he called “government-sponsored leftist logic” that equates diversity to “men wearing female dress and makeup.” Wild.

We suggest Bernier dine with a queen (or two) over drag brunch and not serve homophobia eleganza extravaganza—you know, if he wants to successfully sashay his way to the hill. 💃👑

Bonus: Thirst traps 🍆☔️

Consider this one dessert. Why not dine with two hot, toooftenshirtless young twins who unabashedly love Canada? We’re not sure Bernier get anything too political out of it, but hey—The Gays will stan. And can you imagine the photos?