BY ROB SALERNO – As the federal NDP’s leadership race enters its final eight weeks, Xtra is examining what the candidates are offering queer Canadians as prospective leaders of the country’s most leftwing party.
We’ve already published two stories profiling Churchill MP Niki Ashton and Parkdale-High Park MP Peggy Nash, and we’ll have profiles of each of the other candidates in the coming weeks. My own interview with Thomas Mulcair will be online next week.
While there doesn’t yet appear to be a great deal of daylight between the candidates on most queer issues — not surprising, since the federal party has been one of the most reliably pro-queer parties — it is a bit disappointing that no one is pushing any of the radical queer issues Xtra has supported as a paper, like decriminalizing sex work or polygamy.
I suppose that was inevitable when Libby Davies announced she wasn’t going to run. None of the eight candidates is an out queer person.
What’s left at stake, perhaps, is where queer issues will land on each candidate’s list of priorities.
Mulcair speaks passionately about queer rights when asked, but at a recent town hall event he held at the 519 Church St Community Centre in Toronto’s gay village, the words “gay,” “queer” or “LGBT” never crossed his lips once.
As I noted in my coverage of the candidates’ Agenda for Cities debate in Toronto, the only candidates who mentioned queer issues were Ashton, who said she wanted to support queer communities facing discrimination in her opening and closing remarks, and Mulcair, who referenced the government’s recent gay divorce boondoggle by (inaccurately) stating that the Harper government believes that “if you’re gay, you’re not really married.”
In the interim, former party president Brian Topp has released this video to support his candidacy, in which actor Peter Keleghan explains why he’s supporting Topp. It’s about as queer as this race has gotten so far.