Okay, so I’m about a day late, but better late than never, right? Three major political parties were representing in the parade this year, but Ottawa Pride was woefully short on MPs. A couple of MPPs were there and hung around, but the only MP to march in the parade was Paul Dewar – and he didn’t exactly stick around the grounds after, nor did the Liberal nomination candidates. (Another MP did show up on the grounds later, but I’m not allowed to say which one).
That's Ottawa Centre nomination candidate Scott Bradley in the hockey sweater
The '69 – A Liberal Position signs
The Liberal table at the info-fair had a card with the “’69 – A Liberal Position” logo, featuring two girls kissing on the English side, and two hippy boys kissing on the French side. The text on the card reads, “In 1969 a Liberal Government decriminalised homosexuality. In 2005 a Liberal Government legalised same-sex marriage. Liberal Governments support the LGBT community. Let’s work together again.” And then it directs people to their “40 years” page on their website. I noticed the language there – “Let’s work together again.” While interviewing one of the candidates for the Ottawa Centre nomination, he made a point of saying that the party was looking to regain the queer vote, which seems to be acknowledgement from the party that they’d taken it for granted.
That's Paul Dewar in the brown shirt – the only MP in the whole parade
The NDP had a whole range of brochures to choose from, both federal and provincial. Most of them were standard party fare about CEOs making too much money, gas price gouging, and so on. I did note that on their membership application, they had a box to tick if you’re from the LGBT community to receive additional info. The Ontario NDP also had cards from their LGBT Caucus on display, which had “Brothers! We want you!” on one side, featuring pencil drawings of a muscular guy with a spiked Mohawk, a nerdy guy in glasses and a tie, and a muscular black man, standing in front of an orange flag. The back had Andrea Horvath’s face on a Rosie the Riveter body, again before the orange flag, with the Ontario NDP LGBT Caucus information. They also had two petitions at the tables – one for recognising gay and lesbian veterans who received dishonourable discharges, the other for trans rights.
The Greens also had brochures and membership forms available, but nothing specifically queer.
Incidentally, Fair Vote Canada also had a table, apparently under the assumption that the queer community will feel more included in a system of proportional representation.
Elsewhere, with the Liberals holding their summer caucus retreat in glorious Sudbury (the Rome of the North), Michael Ignatieff said the Conservative government had been on “life support” for the past ten months – and he may yet pull the plug. Because apparently he hasn’t entirely backed down from calling an election this autumn (but just not likely to be at the first opportunity). After all, the EI “working group” isn’t going anywhere, and apparently the bureaucrats at HRSD haven’t given the Parliamentary Budget Officer the numbers he needs to do the analysis the Liberals on the “working group” have asked him to do. Because everyone’s really trying to Make Parliament Work™.
The NDP, by the way, sent out what was possibly the snarkiest press release ever to welcome the Liberals to Sudbury. Just trying to be helpful, of course.
John Baird wants you to know that an autumn election will stall all that stimulus spending. But wait – isn’t it more than 80 percent out the door already?
And finally, Maclean’s intrepid blogger Kady O’Malley tries to get to the bottom of just what each of the party leaders feel about torture, given that everyone keeps saying that Ignatieff is in favour of it. Surprisingly, everyone – Ignatieff included – is against it. Who would have guessed?