2 min

No net gain in gay MPs

Siksay replaces Robinson, other faces remain the same

Credit: Kevin Teneycke

Canadian queers from coast to coast breathed a sigh of relief Jun 28, as Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party fell significantly short of the majority mark in this year’s election. Though Harper himself handily won his Calgary Southwest riding (beating his closest opponent by more than 25,000 votes), his party did not manage to gain control of the House of Commons.

Of course, neither did the Liberals. To hold a majority in the House of Commons, a party must win 155 seats. The Liberals only won 135. That means they’ll have to rely on other parties, such as the NDP, to back their bills. But even with NDP support, they will fall one short of the number of yeas required to pass any given bill.

Some observers predict this won’t be a problem for same-sex marriage legislation since the Bloc Quebecois supports gay rights, too. But they are worried that the government could fall before the Liberals introduce a gay marriage bill. It depends how quickly the Liberal government moves this fall to turn the Supreme Court’s suggestions into legislation.

So far, none of the other parties seem anxious to send Canadians back to the polls. But they can always defeat a major bill and send the Liberals packing.

Turning to the question of queer MPs, voters re-elected the Bloc Quebecois’ Réal Ménard by almost 16,000 votes in his home riding of Hochelaga. They also sent Nova Scotia’s Scott Brison back to Ottawa, albeit as a Liberal this time around. Voters weren’t as kind to former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray who lost to his Conservative opponent by about 800 votes.

Locally, Vancouver East voters handed lesbian NDP MP Libby Davies a resounding triumph. Final score there: Davies 23,452; Liberal Shirley Chan 10,768.

In Burnaby-Douglas, gay NDP candidate Bill Siksay won a very close race against his Liberal opponent to hold onto Svend Robinson’s old riding. Final score there: Siksay 15,470; Bill Cunningham 14,544.

Over in Vancouver Kingsway, bisexual NDP candidate Ian Waddell came close, losing by just 1321 votes to David Emerson, one of Paul Martin’s hand-picked contenders.

On Vancouver Island, gay NDP candidate Randall Garrison also came close in his Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding, losing to Keith Martin, his Alliance-cum-independent-cum-Liberal opponent, by about 2500 votes.

In West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, gay NDPer Nicholas Simons came in third, garnering 13,156 votes to the winning Conservative’s 21,372.

In Vancouver Centre, gay Conservative candidate Gary Mitchell also came in third, earning 10,118 votes to Hedy Fry’s 21,181.

In Delta-Richmond East, lesbian Green candidate Dana Miller came in last with 3,066 votes, compared to the winning Conservative’s 21,308.

And in Calgary South Centre, gay NDP candidate Keith Purdy came in fourth with 4,349 votes.

Final queer MP tally: three out gay men and one out lesbian. Same as last time.