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ARCHIVES: Sep 24, 1993: Books banned; Supreme Court OKs handjobs; & more

Pink Triangle Press moves to York St, Kanata's gays get partner benefits

The following was first printed in Capital Xtra issue 1, Sep 24, 1993.

Kanata benefits

The City of Kanata has extended its health benefits to include same-sex partners of lesbian and gay employees. The benefits were extended Sep 1, on the same basis as heterosexual common-law spouses.

“Kanata employees, regardless of sexual orientation, will now be treated with equality,” says city councillor Alex Munter, who publicly came out earlier this year.

Locally, the City of Ottawa and Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton also cover lesbian and gay partners.

Gay vote

The gay and lesbian vote could determine the federal election in up to 30 ridings, including Ottawa Centre, when ballots are coast on Oct 25, according to Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE).

EGALE President Dennis Leblanc says the concentration of lesbians and gay men in many downtown urban ridings gives the community a lot of political clout.

The federal lobby group has released a detailed questionnaire on sexual orientation issues that was sent to all Members of Parliament and gives good marks to the NDP and Bloc Quebecois candidates.

However, it appears the majority of MPS are note overly concerned with the pink vote. Only 28 of the 295 MPs responded to the survey.

There no local MPs included in the survey results. The only Ottawa-area respondents were Liberal MPs Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre) and Beryl Gaffney (Nepean), both of whom responded after the official deadline.

Rights bill dead

The Senate bill that would have added sexually orientation protection to the Canadian Human Rights Act fell victim to the Sep 8 election call. All outstanding legislation in the Commons and Senate dies when the election writ is dropped.

Conservative Senator Noel Kinsella’s private member’s bill, S-15, passed the Senate on Jun 3 and was awaiting debate in the Commons.

Kinsella, a former head of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, told Capital Xtra that if the new Government does not move to amend the Act, he will reintroduce the bill in the next session of Parliament.

Unity Bus ’94

Club Mustache hopes to make the Gay Games IV, to be held in New York in June, more accessible to local sports enthusiasts. The group has organized Unity Bus ’94 to provide affordable return travel between Ottawa and the Big Apple. Tickets are $125 for club members and $145 for non-members. The reservation deadline is Jan 15.

Gay Games IV will coincide with New York’s pride day celebrations commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the annual conference of the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

Charitable deeds

Pink Triangle Services (PTS) launched its annual fundraising drive on the Labour Day weekend.

The campaign raises the bulk of PTS’s annual operating budget for its social and peer support services.

About 50 canvassers are taking part in this year’s campaign. PTS hopes to top last year’s collection of of $45 thousand, as additional funds are needed this year to relocate the group to its new home at 41 York St in late October.

From ACT to CAS

Former ACT Toronto chairman Russell Armstrong has relocated to Ottawa to assume the post of national programs director for the Canadian AIDS Society.

Elected as the chair only months ago, Armstrong resigned from ACT on Sep 13. “The timing of this isn’t great,” Armstrong says, “but the move to CAS is an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up.”

Armstrong replaces David Garmaise, who was recently promoted to the CAS executive director. Bill Flanagan is ACT’s new chair.

Cop votes

The Canadian Police Association is endorsing politicians for re-election. Tom Wappel, the Liberl MP for Scarborough West, is one of the anointed few. Wappel helped draft the so-called kiddie porn law, which bans sexual presentations of anyone under 18 or appearing to be under 18. Artists and civil libertarians say the law is so wide-ranging that it could ban performances of Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, a tale of two underage lovers.

No Ontario equity

Lesbians and gay men aren’t included in the Ontario NDP’s employment equity bill, Nick Mulé complained to the legislative committee holding hearings on the proposed law.

Mulé, of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario, says the provincial NDP claims lesbians and gay men aren’t included because of fear of outing.

“Our response is this is impossible. Any employee can voluntarily provide info or not. You don’t have to if you don’t want to — so we’re protected there.”

Remic outreach

Safer sex outreach efforts at Remic Rapids have been a tremendous success, according to the AIDS Committee of Ottawa.

ACO volunteers visit the park weekly and last month discussed safer sex issues with over 50 men who frequent the park. By comparison, similar outreach activities at the local bathhouse reach about 20 men a month.

Volunteers are also tackling the “sex litter” problem by organizing a clean-up of the trails through the NCC parkland.

Morality squad

A Toronto police constable has been visiting Glad Day Bookshop to make sure that advertising in Now magazine and Xtra are not “Obscene”, according to the store’s manager.

Kim Mistysyn said the officer, Pat McVicar of Project P (for pornography) said she regularly picks up Now magazine and Xtra to ensure they’re not running any obscene advertising.

McVicar helped lead the successful Bad Attitude obscenity prosecution against Glad Day.


Banning books

Canada Customs border guards detained 773 pounts of books destined for 20 bookstores on Aug 16. All the seized books have entered the country before without any problems, according to Dennis Mahoney, customer service manager at the US distributor Inland Books.

In the last two months Inland has been forced to courier lists of books to Canadian officials. Customs sends back a list of titles which they think might be a problem — and Inland removes them from regular shipments. The questionable books are them sent to Customs for inspections.

Niagara anger

Politicians in the Regional Municipality of Niagara have passed a motion calling for the defeat of the provincial private member’s bill that would entrench same-sex spousal benefits.

The Aug 19 motion says the definition of sexual orientation could include “pedophilia, sodomy and other forms of sexual deviance.” It urges that the bill not be passed because it has “the potential of criminalizing the behaviour of ordinary citizens who are applying the standards of prudence and moral judgment.

Sex busts

Nine of the men arrested in a sex sweep of Oakville’s Shell Park pleaded guilty and were fined up to $400 earlier this month.

Another three dozen were remanded to a later date for trial. Three others were sentenced earlier and another man, who had AIDS, killed himself soon after being arrested.

In Kitchener, police officers who say there grabbed in the crotch have charged two men with sexual assault after incidents in Homer Watson Park.

The June arrests were made after complaints of gay sexual activity in the park.

Hand jobs

Furthering the judicial interpretation of community standards and tolerance, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Sep 2 that men can masturbate in front of nude female dancers when in private rooms at strip clubs.

The 3-2 decision allows Montreal’s Pussy Cat club to reopen after beating charges of running a common bawdy house for the purposes of prostitution.