Bob Rae
3 min

Gay-baiting and impolitic suggestions

The Sun chain has again shown its gay-baiting
ways by putting the NDP’s associate queer-issues critic, Dany
Morin, in its crosshairs. It was reported that Morin felt the government
needs a federal minister to represent queer issues in the same way that the minister for status of women represents women's issues. Not surprisingly, Rob Anders was not a fan of this plan, and Alberta MPs were not impressed by Morin
’s characterization of the province’s human rights record. Morin said that he didn't give an interview to the Sun and that his comments were
taken from a French-language radio interview. He also said that he had not asked for a special minister but had instead asked that the government have someone who can answer questions on queer issues, considering that the Conservatives didn’t know who to put up to speak when he asked about hate crimes
against queers. Fair enough, but…

Sun gay-baiting aside, there are still a
couple of problems with Morin’s comments. Asking for a designated
spokesperson for queer issues may end up being more trouble than it is worth, as it can ghettoize those issues, leaving them to be fobbed off onto some lowly minister of state
who can recite only trite talking points rather than giving them the attention of a
full minister with a portfolio. The question about hate crimes should have been answered by the minister
of justice or the minister for public safety.
That neither could was telling, and Morin was doing his
job as the critic in bringing that to light. But isn’t there a minister for status of women, one might ask? Yes, but there is also a department called Status
of Women Canada. There is not a department called LGBT Canada, or however long
the eventual acronym might become. End of story. I would like to make note of the impolitic nature of Morin’s comments regarding human rights in Alberta versus Quebec. As
a Quebec MP, he should be keenly aware of the dangers of making blanket
statements about a province without a raft of statistics to back them up. While this could be chalked up to inexperience, Morin should take the warning about
making such a blunder in the future.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin added her
voice in support of the Canadian Bar Association, which previously called out
Jason Kenney’s criticism of federal judges who are not toeing the government
line on immigration cases. I think that she, too, can expect a sarcastic and
dismissive letter within a few days. McLachlin also spoke about the need for better access to legal services in Canada, while the Bar Association has shown that it’s no fan of the government’s “tough on crime” agenda.

Quebec NDP MPs have refused to answer a
questionnaire from the Toronto Star
about previous political party memberships and whether they considered
themselves federalists, sovereigntists or something else. They’re also whining to Quebec media that English Canadian media
are conducting a witch hunt. Seriously? Do we need to place a call to the minister of state for poor little bunny?

On Friday, a senior military official told the Commons
defence committee that pulling troops out of Libya now would be a “calamity” as
they are currently allowing humanitarian aid to get through and are keeping
Gadhafi’s forces from rearming. Meanwhile, we have extended sanctions on

Government officials are looking to study
the true cost of killing the Canadian Wheat Board – not that the Conservatives
will actually listen to anything they say since the government is determined to kill it

Both Bob Rae and Nycole Turmel were at
Montreal’s Pride parade this past weekend. Rae, by the way, says that the
Liberals face a “particular challenge” when it comes to rebuilding in Quebec, but he hopes that the near elimination of the Bloc means that the province’s
electorate will move on from that chapter in their political history.

And here is a debate I took part in over
the Twitter Machine this weekend regarding MPs' accountability and the use and abuse of private member's bills. (Hint: I think MPs spend too much time on useless PMBs and
almost no time on their actual job of holding the government to account.)

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