It’s Speech From the Throne time today, and the government has decided to make this one a doozy – it’s expected to last over an hour. No, seriously – over an hour. Because apparently he couldn’t fit all the spin and nonsense into a short speech this year. Poor Her Excellency!
In case you missed it – Access to Information documents have shown that Immigration Minister Jason Kenney personally saw to the nixing of mentions of gays and lesbians in the new citizens’ guide, thus virtually effacing us from the face of Canada to newcomers. My article with the response by opposition MPs is here.
While writing the piece, however, I was reminded of an interview I did with MP Rob Oliphant a few weeks ago (*whispers* for another publication) where he talked about being an openly gay MP in a riding with a high immigrant population, including a significant number of Muslims.
“Many of them have not had either experiences or understanding of gay and lesbian people, and for them to be represented by an openly gay man, it provides some challenges for them. I think that that has been very good.”
Despite both his Conservative and NDP opponents attempting to use that against him, Oliphant won out because of his experiences as a gay man. “In the Muslim community, I think what happened was they began to see that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects me is the same Charter that protects them, and that they had more in common with me than they did with the other candidates. As a member of a minority group, I see the world through the lens of a minority person, and they could see that I understood their issues much more than they had realised, because I’m an invisible minority. So I think that has continued to grow and develop.”
By being ideological in his attempt to efface gays and lesbians from the face of Canada, Jason Kenney ignores these kinds of moments of bridging communities in this country.
(Maclean’s satirist Scott Feschuk also gives his take on the Jason Kenney edit of the Canadian citizens’ guide.)
Liberal MP Derek Lee’s breach of privilege motion is going to go ahead – but it sounds like it’ll be after the budget speech.
And the Toronto Star takes a look at Harper’s penchant for transparently bad photo ops with Olympians, hoping their shine will rub off on him just a little bit.
Up today – The fun gets underway at 2 pm.
PS – Stephen Harper is the Shawn Avery of politics? But he has none of the dress sense!
(Shameless excuse for shirtless Shawn Avery.)