Out of the closet
As he said at the time,
Multiculturalism doesn't mean that anything goes. Multiculturalism means that we celebrate what's best about our backgrounds, but we do so on the basis of common Canadian values and respect for our laws.
It's no secret that we've seen instances of culturally rooted abuse of women, so-called 'honour killings,' forced marriages, and spousal abuse, and even female genital mutilation. We want to make sure that people understand that multiculturalism doesn't create an excuse to engage in those barbaric cultural practices.
Which is fine, I suppose, except for its wide-brush tarring of these unspecified "people.'' That's code if I ever heard it.
But now it looks like anti-same sex rights Kenney, whose latest mispokement was to talk out of both sides of his mouth on the defunding of KAIROS, flat out lied about why Canada's proud history on gay and lesbian rights were left out of the guide.
The gay-rights group Egale Canada met with the minister in early December after learning the booklet made no reference to gay and lesbian rights, and is negotiating with the department to have them included in the next printing, about a year away.
Kenney told the group that gay rights had been “overlooked” when the guide was being prepared, executive director Helen Kennedy said in an interview from Toronto.
“I’m hopeful and optimistic that we’re going to get it fixed because we’re not happy with it.”
No. They weren't ''overlooked.'' Not according to documents obtained by the Canadian Press. Indeed, it has emerged that Kenney himself chopped any references to gay rights.
Kenney, who fought same-sex marriage when it was debated in Parliament, ordered those key sections removed when his office sent its comments to the department last June.
Senior department officials duly cut out the material — but made a last-ditch plea with Kenney in early August to have it reinstated.
“Recommend the re-insertion of the text boxes related to ... the decriminalization of homosexual sex/recognition of same-sex marriage,” says a memorandum to Kenney from deputy minister Neil Yeates.
“Recommend the addition of ‘equality rights’ under list of rights. Had noted earlier that this bullet should be reinserted into the list as a means of noting the equality of all based on race, gender, sexual orientation etc ...”
In the end, however, Kenney’s view trumped that of the bureaucrats. The 63-page guide, released with fanfare last November, contains no mention of gay and lesbian rights.
Talk about re-writing history.
Imagine how many gays and lesbians attempting to flee violently homophobic regimes in Africa and the Middle East might not get the message that Canada is gay-positive.
For now anyway.
UPPITY WOMAN DATE: Dr. Dawg makes some great points about classes of citizens in Harper's Conada.
EVEN UPPITIER WOMAN DATE: Emily reminds of us of this little nugget from last year:
A longtime Conservative who opposes same-sex marriage has been appointed to the tribunal that decides whether gays get refugee status in Canada.
Doug Cryer, a former director of public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, has also publicly defended the right of churches to denounce homosexuality.
"Doug Cryer of the EFC said the church has a right to say that homosexual behaviour is sinful, just as it can say that adultery is sinful," according to a November 2006 edition of CanadianChristianity.com.
"It is part of God's teaching," Cryer told the publication.
Cryer is among a dozen people appointed by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney last month to Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board -- an independent administrative tribunal that hears applications for refugee status.