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Toronto keeps Tories out

Queer MPs keep their seats across Canada

QUEER POLITICAL VOICES. Openly gay Liberal candidate Rob Oliphant celebrates his victory in Don Valley West with Ontario's openly lesbian education minister Kathleen Wynne. Credit: Dominic Chan photo

While Stephen Harper was able to add 10 seats in Ontario, Toronto voters soundly rejected the Conservatives.

Toronto ridings remained solidly Liberal or NDP. In Toronto Centre — which includes the Church-Wellesley village — Liberal Bob Rae won by more than 18,000 votes over a Conservative candidate who entered the race three weeks into the campaign. Openly gay NDPer El-Farouk Khaki finished third, 20,000 votes behind Rae.

Openly gay Liberal Mario Silva won reelection by more than 5,000 votes over an NDP opponent in Davenport. Openly gay United Church minister Rob Oliphant won election for the Liberals in Don Valley West, defeating the Conservative candidate by less than 3,000 votes.

Across the country the other gay incumbents all held their seats. In BC, NDPers Bill Siksay and Libby Davies won reelection in Burnaby-Douglas and Vancouver East, Siksay by 798 votes over a Conservative and Davies by more than 15,000 votes over a Liberal. Liberal Scott Brison was reelected in Nova Scotia’s Kings-Hants riding by about 7,000 votes over the Conservatives. Bloc Québécois MP Réal Ménard held his seat easily by 13,000 votes over a Liberal opponent.

The NDP’s Megan Leslie, a self-identified queer activist with a male partner, was elected in Halifax by 7,000 votes over lesbian Liberal candidate Catherine Meade.

Openly lesbian NDP candidate Amy Darwish finished in fourth place behind a Liberal victor in the Quebec riding of Lasalle-Émard, while gay NDPer André Chauvette finished in fourth place in  Berthier-Maskinongé, 19,000 votes behind the winner from the Bloc.

Clint Davidson, an openly gay NDPer in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, finished second about 10,000 votes behind Conservative Maurice Vellacott, who has attacked the “small but aggressive homosexual lobby.”

Gay Green candidate Andre Papadimitriou placed fourth in Toronto’s York South-Weston riding, more than 14,000 votes behind Liberal Alan Tonks.

Gay Conservative Lorne Mayencourt placed second in Vancouver Centre, about 5,000 votes behind incumbent Liberal Hedy Fry.

All of the MPs who have been most vocal in their opposition to gay issues were handily reelected.

Liberal Dan McTeague, who was vocally opposed to same-sex marriage and gay rights, was reelected in Pickering-Scarborough East.

Conservative Cheryl Gallant — who equated sexual orientation with paedophilia — won in a stroll in Ontario’s Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke riding. Garry Breitkreuz, who accused the federal government in 2000 of pandering to homosexuals, won easily in Saskatchewan’s Yorkton-Melville riding. Harold Albrecht, the Kitchener-Conestoga MP, who said same-sex marriage would “wipe out an entire society in just one generation,” defeated the Liberal by 12,000 votes.

Tom Lukiwski, who was caught on tape from 1991 talking about “homosexual faggots with dirt under their fingernails who transmit diseases,” easily won over the NDP in Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre. Pierre Poilievre, who attacked Ontario for relisting sex reassignment surgery under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, defeated his Liberal opponent by more than 23,000 votes.

In Ontario health minister Tony Clement, who has presided over cuts to AIDS funding and attacked safe injection sites, easily won reelection in Parry Sound-Muskoka. Immigration minister Diane Finley, who has vastly increased power over who will be allowed into the country, won by fewer than 4,000 votes over her Liberal opponent. John Baird, who cut the Court Challenges Program, won by 5,000 votes over his Liberal challenger.

In Quebec Josée Verner the minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women — who was responsible for millions of dollars in arts cuts and the ill-fated film censorship bill — won her riding of Louis-Saint-Laurent by more than 10,000 votes.