The Press Gallery continues to pick over the entrails of the whole Trost-Ablonczy conflagration, and interesting little tidbits keep creeping up. For example, the Toronto Star reported that real reason that Ablonczy lost the file was because she was so impressed with the polished and professional presentation that Toronto Pride made that she insisted on flying down there to announce it personally without the permission of the PMO, and the photos of her with those drag queens was what really did it. But Maclean’s Kady O’Malley pours cold water over that theory – given how tight the PMO’s control over the caucus is, especially over junior ministers like Ablonczy, and given that it was during a week of high drama where the government could have fallen, it’s inconceivable that they didn’t know she was headed to Toronto to make the presentation – especially when the list they provided to the media at the time included the Marquee Tourism Events Program on it as one of the programs “in danger” should an election happen.
Meanwhile, Trost had better watch out, because he’s pissed off the fag hags in the House. Not only did honorary drag queen Hedy Fry blog about leopards not changing their spots, but a press release later went out by Fry, Carolyn Bennett and Marlene Jennings. In it, they not only called on Harper to refute the fact that Ablonczy lost the file over this, but pointed out several other queer festivals and programs that are now in danger if they pull their funding. Indeed, Canwest’s David Akin has a list of queer events given government funds, which includes $9000 to the Saskatoon Diversity Network for their Pride Festival – and they’re in Trost’s own riding. Akin also has a copy of the email where the PMO told the Conservative caucus that Clement was now the lead minister on the MTEP file, but there was no mention of Ablonczy or Toronto Pride in there in case you were wondering.
While Charles McVety of the Institute of Canadian Values is linking the downfall of Paul Martin to divine retribution for his support for same-sex marriage (as opposed to alienating half his own caucus or making a staggering number of strategic blunders), we should perhaps be on the lookout for signs of apocalypse like the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair and the moon as blood – Montreal’s Divers/cité is defending the Conservatives! Okay, it’s not that dramatic, but the festival’s director said that they were treated fairly and equitably by the government in their application for funds. (And maybe we should give polite applause to The Canadian Press for picking up on my story on Xtra.ca a day later).
Elsewhere, it was reported today that the Chalk River reactor is likely going to be out of commission for the remainder of the year, as it will take at least two months to repair – if it can be repaired at all, and there are doubts – and another two months to power up after that. And yet, the Conservatives continued to insist that they could get it up and running in “at least three months” back when the shutdown occurred, which everyone knew was a blatant…bending of the truth. We should all be concerned at what they’re not telling us on other files as well.
There is another disturbing incident about a Canadian trapped in an African nation, this time a woman from the Toronto area in Kenya. She was arrested and imprisoned there after being told that she no longer looks like her four-year-old passport photo – though she maintains it was because she didn’t want to pay the airport officials a bribe, seeing as she was now a Canadian. But what’s really disturbing is that the Canadian government is not stepping up to the plate on this one – again. They won’t confirm that she is who she claims to be, even though she has dozens of people – including Liberal MP Joe Volpe – willing to vouch for her. She’s even offered to let them compare her fingerprints against those they took four years ago when she immigrated. And yet, the government’s only statement is this: “Following an extensive investigation, officials at the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi have determined that the individual arrested by Kenyan authorities is not Ms. Suaad Mohamud Hagi.” Huh? I’m sorry, but she’s offered you her fingerprints against her immigration documents. Why can’t you check those to confirm who she is? And why are we seeing a rash of incidents where the government seems to be unwilling to help out Canadians of African origin when they’re stranded abroad?
And finally, if you’re curious, the text of Michael Ignatieff’s speech in London can be found here. And yes, he even gives a shout out to same-sex marriage in it.
Up today: Not wanting to feel left out, seeing as Harper is off in Italy and Ignatieff is in London, Jack Layton is taking a trip abroad – to Mexico. There, he’ll discuss trade and labour issues, strengthen his relationship with sister social democratic movements, and show solidarity for the global labour movement. He’ll be there the rest of the week.