Federal governments in the UK and US are marking Pride this month with parties and policy promises, but there’s only silence from Canada’s Conservative government.
Is it all just tokenism? Efforts to achieve legal equality have been slow under Obama’s administration, but Obama at least deserves some props. When was the last time you heard Stephen Harper even say the word “gay” in public?
US President Barack Obama, Canadian PM Stephen Harper, UK Deputy PM Nick Clegg and UK PM David Cameron
Across the Atlantic, the UK’s new Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition hosted a pre-Pride party today. The UK government also just launched a queer issues policy plan, which includes:
- allowing gay people to have religious civil partnerships;
- lobbying other countries to repeal homophobic laws and recognize UK civil partnerships;
- removing historical convictions for consensual gay sex from criminal records;
- tackling homophobic bullying;
- better recording of hate crimes;
- ending deportation of LGBT asylum seekers fleeing homophobic countries.
Here in Canada, the Tories won’t be hosting a Pride reception, and Stephen Harper won’t be making any Pride proclamations.
And why would he? The Harper government’s record on queer issues is shameful, most recently including:
- erasing queer rights from the Canadian citizenship guide;
- dragging its heels on the trans rights bill;
- changing federal cultural funding rules to deny queers.
Just something to think about this Pride season.
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