3 min

In brief

Vancouver and national news

Credit: Tom Yeung


The Davie Grind just got a new lease on life. Local gay entrepreneur Phil Moon has purchased the financially ailing coffee shop and plans to someday turn it into an another Oasis-like pub-café. The Davie Grind closed suddenly last month after it allegedly fell almost $50,000 behind in its rent. Now, Moon, who also co-owns the Oasis and Fountainhead pubs plans to put Davie St’s only gay-owned coffee shop back in business by Dec 1. It’s important to keep the café in the community, he says. As for someday adding a pub, Moon plans to approach city hall for a liquor licence soon.

Attempted bashing A gay man walking home with his groceries was chased down Pacific St by a would-be gay-basher on Sat, Nov 2 at around 2:30 pm. The man, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, says he was minding his own business in broad daylight when a man walking ahead of him suddenly turned around and started yelling “fucking faggot” and “cocksucker” at him. The gay man ran into the street to escape but the basher followed him. “The screaming was echoing through the whole neighborhood,” the man says with a shudder. He eventually made it to his apartment without injury but says he is now scared to stand alone at the bus stop on his way to work in the morning. The man says he called 911 when he got home and was pleased when two officers promptly showed up to take his statement. Insp Dave Jones says police are on the look-out for a man matching the suspect’s description. Jones says he’s glad gays are calling 911 when they need help.


The Gay and Lesbian Educators of BC (GALE-BC) want to know which school board candidates are going to push for anti-homophobia policies in schools and which aren’t. “Our schools remain hostile places for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students and yet we see a profound lack of educational leadership by most school trustees and superintendents,” says GALE’s James Chamberlain. Take the NPA, for example, he says. They’re still opposing the establishment of a gay advisory committee in the Vancouver school board. NPA trustees currently dominate that board, holding six out of nine seats. The remaining COPE trustees, Adrienne Montani, Allan Wong and Allen Blakey, have been very supportive of gay students’ needs. The civic election is this Sat, Nov 16. People can register to vote at the polls.


An Anglican student is suing the University of British Columbia and four of its teachers for allegedly discriminating against her as a Christian. Cynthia Maughan, 43, says she was exposed to hatred and contempt when her graduate English teacher, Lorraine Weir, held a seminar on a Sunday. Weir, an out lesbian, is well known for testifying in Robin Sharpe’s defence and helping the court see the artistic merit in his written work. She says she can’t comment on the lawsuit because it is still before the court. Maughan’s lawyer, Gerald Chipeur, is a well-known Christian legal activist. He intervened in the Vriend case on behalf of Focus on the Family and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. (The Vriend case led to the Supreme Court of Canada reading sexual orientation into the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Charter of Rights.) Chipeur’s groups tried to block the court from extending protection to gays and lesbians. Chipeur also intervened in the Trinity Western case on behalf of Canada’s Seventh-Day Adventist Church. That case addressed gay-friendly curriculum requirements for teachers in training at a private Christian college.


There’s good news and bad news in the Criminal Code amendments federal Justice Minister Martin Cauchon is expected to introduce before Christmas. The good news is, Cauchon says he wants to change the provocation defence, which would presumably include eliminating the homosexual panic defence. (The homo panic defence has resulted in some murderers getting reduced sentences by claiming the victim’s “homosexual advances” drove them to kill.) Cauchon is also likely to add gays and lesbians to the list of groups protected from hate propaganda in Canada-a move NDP MP Svend Robinson will surely welcome. Robinson’s private member’s bill on the matter is still working its way through Parliament, having garnered support from police associations across Canada.

The bad news is, Cauchon has also announced plans to limit the artistic merit defence to child pornography. And he’s leaning toward expanding the Criminal Code’s sexual exploitation provisions, which deal with relationships of unequal authority. Still, Cauchon has ruled out raising the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years, a move the gay community has been trying to block for years.

In related news, Cauchon and federal Solicitor-General Wayne Easter are also planning to introduce Canada’s first national sex offender registry. If the bill passes, convicted offenders will have 15 days to register their address and phone number with police after they get out of prison. The government has yet to specify which sex-related offences will be included in the list.