4 min

Harper comes out as a fruit

“If I had to choose, I’d be a fruit,” Stephen Harper said on Sep 9, 2008. “Because I’m sweet and colourful,” he continued.

Sweet? Vicious is more accurate.

And colourful? Puh-lease. He’s the whitest man in the country.

The quaint yet unusual question came up at a press conference. He was standing in front of bushels of vegetables trying to sell his election promise to cut taxes on diesel fuel and implying that a tax break to trucking companies would result in cheaper prices at the supermarket. The so-called “trickle down” effect. Which never actually trickles anything down to average folks. Except maybe puffin poop.

“If you were a vegetable, which would you be?” the reporter asked.

And so it came to pass, that Harper came out as a fruit.

An interesting thought-one I’d love dearly to subscribe to. But I just don’t believe it. If Stephen Harper is a Fruit why was his first order of business in 2006, to threaten same-sex marriage with a “free” vote on legislation that had already passed? If Stephen Harper is a Fruit, why did he slash 44 million dollars in arts funding last month? Everyone knows Fruits love arts and culture. But Stephen Harper hates the arts. If Stephen Harper is a Fruit, why has he never marched in a pride parade? If Stephen Harper is a Fruit, how come I’ve never seen him at the Fountainhead?

Regardless of what he claims, Stephen Harper is not now, nor has he ever been, a Fruit. He has not even been remotely Fruit-friendly. If he returns with a majority government, the queer community should not only be panicked, we should be hysterical. As fruity as he’s claiming to be (this week) Stephen Harper is not a friend to the GLBT community. He is our enemy. Let’s take a look back in history and see what a Prime Ministerial friend looks like.

In 1969, with a stroke of his liberal pen, Fruit friendly Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau decriminalized homosexuality in Canada. “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation,” he declared, as he changed the law that paved the way for every civil right the queer community has gained ever since. With that decisive act of courage, Trudeau changed everything. The fact that queers can get married, won’t get fired from our jobs, kicked out of our homes, have our children snatched or end up in jail because of who we love or have sex with-all the basic civil rights that un-Fruity folks take for granted-stemmed from the moment Trudeau passed this legislation. That was 40 years ago. Trudeau was using the power entrusted in him by the Canadian People for the greater good, to right a wrong, in the pursuit of justice for all. Stephen Harper is using the power entrusted in him by the citizens of Canada to pander to the fundamentalist values of his political roots-the Reform/Alliance party. Do not for one second forget that his party is not the Progressive Conservatives. Do not for one second forget that Harper’s main dudes are Reform/Alliance folks, who wouldn’t know a Fruit if one sat in their laps at a blueberry festival. And though in a minority government, Harper was not able to further his anti-Fruit agenda, if he were to win a majority, his Reform/Alliance MP’s are going to come out of their moldy apple crates and bring on their fury. They’ve been waiting patiently, trigger-fingers itching, ready to bring out their herbicides to squash any Fruits in their path.

Stephen Harper is the most anti-fruit Prime Minister Canada has ever had for dessert (or the main course). He will do anything to retain power and seize more.

As “sweet”, “colourful” and “fruity” as Harper is making himself out to be during this harvest-time election campaign, do not be fooled by the rhetoric. All of the civil rights we have gained over the last 40 years can be taken away from us in as quickly as an apple can be picked from its tree.

Stephen Harper is sitting high in the seat of his John Deere tractor, ready to turn our community into applesauce. He’s got legislation waiting in the barn that’ll roll back the clock on our civil rights. He’s just waiting for the power to do so.

We owe it to ourselves, and to our foremothers/fathers who fought the long, hard fight, who sacrificed their personal lives forming the early gay and lesbian organizations, getting arrested at the bar, living with AIDS and battling for our dignity and pride.

We owe it to the Papayas of yesteryear and  ourselves to make sure Harper does not form a majority government.

Not now. Not ever.

Voting is a right. It is also a responsibility.

Every single queer Canadian has the responsibility at this moment in history to get educated and make an informed choice. It is not enough to vote with your pocketbook in mind. Each and every one of us must vote with our community in mind. Without community, we are nothing.

When the chips are down —and they will be if Harper gets a majority government —even the most affluent and privileged amongst us will be searching for the sun in our collective orchard.

If Harper had a shred of honesty in his soul, he’d say he was a coconut.  Hard, hairy shell on the outside, and once you crack him open and pour out the, uh, white fluid to see what’s inside, what do you find? A hard nut inside.

Think about it.

Before heading to the voting booth, do you really want a nut running your country?