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Interpreting Harper

What

GOOD WITH THE ENVIRONMENT OR JUST A GREAT DATE? What does Stephen Harper mean by John Baird's appointment? Credit: (Jake Wright)

We all know Stephen Harper and his Conservative government — that is, those less scary members who Harper has granted permission to speak publicly — talk in code. So, in the interest of clarity, here are Xtra’s footnotes to recent statements and actions by Canada’s so-called “new government.”

“In our party, there is room for all Canadians,” Harper told reporters at a Jan 5 press conference announcing that Mississauga-Streetsville MP Wajid Khan, who was born in Pakistan, had left the Liberals for the Conservatives. Harper says Khan shows the Conservatives are a “broad, diverse coalition.” Khan says he chose the party because of its “support for families.”

TRANSLATION. All Canadians are welcome among the Tories except out queers and MPs who are socially progressive, like Scott Brison and Belinda Stronach — they can go elsewhere or stay in the closet so the Albertans don’t see them. “Support for families” means “hates gay and lesbian relationships.”

“Jason Kenney has done exemplary work for the government with new Canadians and all multicultural communities. He will continue to work with them to ensure that Canada works for all of us,” said Harper on Jan 4, appointing Kenney as Secretary Of State For Multiculturalism And Canadian Identity.

TRANSLATION. Kenney’s “Canadian identity” seems only to include Canadians who share his values — and certainly doesn’t include gay people. In fact, much of Kenney’s purported “credibility” among diverse ethnic groups was earned by mocking queers. In 2005 Kenney, doing out-reach to a Punjabi newspaper, said: “Marriage is open to everybody, as long as they’re a man and a woman.” “Canada works for all of us,” means “Canada works for everybody who conforms to what this government defines them as.”

On Jan 4 Harper moved MP Vic Toews from the justice portfolio to the Treasury Board.

TRANSLATION. “I agree with Vic Toews in principle — sex outside marriage and/or between anyone under 18 and/or between anyone of the same-sex is intrinsically evil and should be harshly punished with the full force of the law — which is why I gave him the portfolio in the first place, but I have an election to win and Toews frightens Ontario.”

Also on Jan 4 Harper moved MP John Baird from the Treasury Board to the environment portfolio. Says Laureen Harper of Baird: “He is a great guy, he is fun to be around, he looks good in a tux and he is a great date. He is also a lover of felines.”

TRANSLATION. “As a single man, Baird will have lots of time to stop global warming and also to escort my wife Laureen around when I’m busy.” We knew pussies had something to do with it.