3 min

Catching up

Glad Day, bigots battle on

Just because issues aren’t grabbing headlines doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Here’s a rundown of stories still brewing.

Glad Day

BACKGROUND: In February of this year, an Ontario court upheld the charges laid against the Glad Day Bookshop by the Ontario Film Review Board for selling an unapproved film. The bookstore was fined $2,001. Glad Day plans to appeal the court’s decision; a date hasn’t been set yet.

UPDATE: Since the court decision, Glad Day has removed a few thousand dollars worth of their inventory; their video inventory is now less than one-quarter of what it used to be. Manager Toshiya Kuwabara says unrated videos cannot be returned to suppliers, but cannot be possessed by the bookstore either. OFRB regulations demand that retailers pay to have unrated movies classified, to the tune of $4.20 per minute. Only after they have gone through this pricey process can retailers stock the movies.

Despite the financial strain the court case is placing on the bookstore – Kuwabara estimates their legal costs could be upwards of $100,000 after the appeal – Glad Day will not give up.

“We’ve been fighting to make sure that our voices are heard and our presence is known. We’re just trying to protect the integrity of that resource for the community.”

Richard’s Home

BACKGROUND: Richard’s Home, a shelter for homeless, HIV-positive youth, was to be a new part of the Out Of The Cold program. Out Of The Cold provides shelter and meals for homeless people.

UPDATE: Richard’s Home hasn’t opened – and it’s not going to.

Christopher LePage, who used to be chief operating officer of Out Of The Cold, blames a lack of funding and a new board of directors. He says the new board has not given proper support to the volunteers or to the people they are supposed to be helping.

“The whole thing seems to be down at the moment,” says LePage, who had his contract with Out Of The Cold cancelled two months ago, without warning. “The whole thing is just so frustrating. Anybody that was any good is pretty well gone from that organization now.”

A spokesperson for Out of The Cold said she wasn’t familiar with the Richard’s Home initiative.

Royal Bank

BACKGROUND: Last February a Montreal branch of the Royal Bank Of Canada refused to open an account for the No Committee 2006, a rightwing group opposing the Gay Games scheduled for 2006 in Montreal.

UPDATE: This month the No Committee 2006 filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission against the Royal Bank. The committee’s members include REAL Women, Campaign Life Coalition Quebec and the Christian Heritage Party.

Ron Gray, the leader of the Christian Heritage Party and a member of the committee, says the bank discriminated against the group based on their sexual orientation, and denied their rights to freedom of speech.

He explains that the purpose of the committee is to present citizens with the negative side of the Gay Games.

“We want to make the case that, on balance, it is a detriment to a city to have this event come,” Gray says.

“The truth is that we are the best friends that homosexuals have – we’re the only ones that actually care about them as people rather than political fodder,” because his group wants to release homosexuals from their “addiction.”

The committee is concerned that the games, aside from putting extra demands on the city’s police force, are not really about sport – queer athletes are allowed to compete in other sporting events, after all.

“The reason for it has nothing to do with athletics, but the promulgation of the gay lifestyle.”

Beja Rodeck, RBC’s senior manager of media relations, says the bank doesn’t buy it. They still don’t plan to open an account for the No Committee 2006.

“We believe we’ve interpreted the law correctly -They [the committee] clearly go against what we believe to be the spirit of the law of human rights in Canada and our own standards of conduct and our values as an organization.”

Last November, the Quebec Human Rights Commission dismissed a complaint against the No Committee 2006 made by the Quebec Gay And Lesbian Coordinating Council. But Gray is still expecting the Human Rights Commission will be biased against them.

The No Committee 2006 hasn’t tried to open a bank account anywhere else.