3.02.2010

jason kenney is a magician, makes gay people disappear

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney has been at it again. He's been re-writing Canadian history, and this time he set his sights - or should I say his blinders - on gay and lesbian Canadians.

It's not the first the man MP Olivia Chow calls the Minister of Censorship and Deportation has rewritten Canadian history to conform to the Harper Conservatives' vision of Canada.

First Kenney's CIC removed from its website all reference to Canada's proud history of welcoming draft resisters and military deserters during the Vietnam War. Then they re-wrote the Canadian Citizenship Guide to emphasize military conflict and no longer characterize Canada as "a nation of peace".

In fact, it's the former change, regarding Vietnam War deserters, that caused a member of the War Resisters Support Campaign to file an Access to Information request, which in turn led to our discovering how closely the Harper Government follows our campaign. If you said they are obsessed with war resisters, you'd not be far from the truth.

Now it's been revealed that Kenney erased from the Citizenship Guide something all good and just people love about Canada: the country's policies of tolerance, inclusion and equality. Kenney opposed same-sex marriage and has made no secret of his contempt for gay rights. So he fashioned some of Canada's official documents to reflect his own views.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney blocked any reference to gay rights in a new study guide for immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship, The Canadian Press has learned.

Internal documents show an early draft of the guide contained sections noting that homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969; that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation; and that same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in 2005.

But Mr. 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 Mr. 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 Mr. 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, Mr. 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.

This is infuriating, both in substance and in symbol. Canada's guide for prospective citizens should proudly highlight equal marriage, to welcome all the gay couples who have chosen Canada as their home, and to emphasize what is best about this country. Perhaps equally important, members of the Conservative government should not be allowed to define Canada according to their own personal beliefs.

Because I am an applicant for citizenship, I have received both the old Citizenship Guide, put out by a Liberal government in 1997, and the new guide published by the Kenney-Harper gang. For some time now, I've been planning to conduct a detailed comparison of the two guides and write about it for wmtc. In order to do a thorough job, I'll have to wait until my school term ends. But it will be a priority for late April or early May. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, don't forget to tell the CIC how you feel about this revelation.

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney
613.954.1064 Ministry Office
613.992.2235 Parliamentary Office
minister@cic.gc.ca
Kenney.j@parl.gc.ca

43 comments:

redsock said...

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -- if all records told the same tale -- then the lie passed into history and became truth.

L-girl said...

In case anyone doesn't know, that's Orwell.

Sarah said...

Ooh boy, this makes me furious and sad at the same time...not an unusual state, unfortunately, as a gay citizen of a (largely) anti-gay country, who still clings to hope of emigrating to Canada as a better alternative. Thanks, Laura, for highlighting this. I'll look forward to your side-by-side comparison whenever you get to it.

James said...

Who knew "overlooked" meant "explicitly ordered removed"?

(...checks to make sure the link isn't already in the post...)

Slap Upside the Head has also covered this.

Sheri said...

"The 63-page guide, released with fanfare last November, contains no mention of gay and lesbian rights."

Well, actually, that isn't true.

The guide contains a photo of openly gay gold medal swimmer, Mark Tewksbury, with the caption: "a prominent activist for gay and lesbian Canadians."

To me, it's even worse than not mentioning gay and lesbian rights at all because it seems obvious that they put it in there as a defensive measure against being called homophobic.

How dare they show a photo with that stupid caption rather than including important legislature! Allowing gay marriage in a country is a pretty important event to leave out of a citizenship guide.

The terrible homophobic bias is so evident in the caption that Kenney wouldn't even see it, I know!

What is it? Well, the Mark Tewksbury caption identifies him as a "prominent activist for gay and lesbian Canadians" doesn't it? What about non gay and lesbian Canadians who believe in equality (like me)?

Maybe Tewksbury's caption could state the fact that he lost a 6 figure public speaking contract for being "too openly gay." Yeah, cuz that was 12 years ago when he really became a "prominent activist."

Kenney shouldn't be able to get away with this! Showing a photo of an athlete-activist rather than stating the very real accomplishment that Tewskbury and others worked towards that IS a fact of Canadian life -- gay marriage!

So no, Jason Kenney didn't "make gay people disappear" exactly, but rather their efforts to accomplish Canada's legalization of gay marriage and of course the existence of same-sex marriage itself!

Thanks for publishing Kenney's contact info, Laura, because I will contact him about this.

Thanks for having this blog to comment on. I'm going to spend the morning commenting on every site about this Kenney disgrace I can. The problem is that the major news sites mostly have their "comments closed" even though they only posted the story yesterday.

Sheri

L-girl said...

(...checks to make sure the link isn't already in the post...)

:-D

L-girl said...

Thanks for having this blog to comment on. I'm going to spend the morning commenting on every site about this Kenney disgrace I can. The problem is that the major news sites mostly have their "comments closed" even though they only posted the story yesterday.

Sheri, I appreciate your outrage, and I share it. However, I respectfully suggest that commenting on news sites does nothing. News sites open articles to comments because it is profitable for them - they can charge more for ads if they can show they get x number of clicks per day. No one sees those comments and no one cares about them but other commenters.

A better use of your time would be writing short letters to the editors of newspapers, contacting your MP, Jason Kenney's office and the CIC.

MPs pay attention to letters to the editors, and all calls and emails to public officials are logged and counted.

James said...

I respectfully suggest that commenting on news sites does nothing.

Commenting on news sites is worse than useless: it lumps you in with "the kind of idiotic comments you get on news sites", making you easier to dismiss.

From @FakeAPStylebook on Twitter: "Crank file" is archaic; use instead "comments on our online articles."

L-girl said...

Commenting on news sites is worse than useless: it lumps you in with "the kind of idiotic comments you get on news sites", making you easier to dismiss.

I agree. Useless to read, useless to comment.

Sheri said...

L-Girl -- Yes people do so read the news site comments!!! I also work in advertising so I understand why people and businesses have blogs. Actually, I'm a professional copywriter who writes blogs for companies.

Since I mentioned I would be contacting Mr. Kenney I don't need you to state that I should contact him, do I?

I don't appreciate you telling me what would be a better use of my time. Actually, right now I have found sites with many, many comments and not one person has mentioned the Tewksbury picture and the guide's caption under it.

So, I believe it IS extremely important that I mention and correct those who keep saying the guide contains no mention of gay and lesbian rights at all because that is simply not true.

I don't know why people haven't noticed Kenney's trick about the Tewksbury picture and I think it's important to raise a discussion about it.

Again, as I said I would be contacting Mr. Kenney, spending my morning discussing the Tewskbury thing IS relevant, I think.

Yes, as a professional writer I agree with you that writing editorial letters creates a significant impact. I do this on issues I feel strongly about and will continue to do it by writing on this topic as well!

Thank you.

L-girl said...

Sheri, I stated my opinion, and I was respectful. Obviously you'll do as you see fit, as well you should.

Stating my own opinion about your methods - or anything else - on my own blog is perfectly acceptable.

I'm glad you're contacting Kenney, too.

Thanks for stopping by.

L-girl said...

Yes people do so read the news site comments!!!

I never suggested that people don't read them. However, I believe they are useless, or less than useless.

Sheri said...

L-Girl :

I did not question your right to your opinion, but rather simply stated my own opinion that I did not need to be told to contact someone after I already said I would be doing that!

I 100% agree that it's "perfectly acceptable" to state your opinion on your own blog about my "method or anything else."

However, I not only said I would be contacting Kenney, but thanked you for including his contact information on your page. A "short" simple "oh sorry!" about missing this info would have been "perfectly acceptable" as well as even more respectful towards me.

No need to be so defensive! Thanks again for including the Kenney contact info. Cheers :)

L-girl said...

If that comment sounded defensive, that's an error. I was merely responding.

A "short" simple "oh sorry!" about missing this info would have been "perfectly acceptable" as well as even more respectful towards me.

Gee, "thanks" for the "advice"!

And if that comment sounds sarcastic, it's not an error.

redsock said...

Several studies have shown that reading the comments left on mainstream news stories lowers your IQ.

redsock said...

It is also respectful, and basic blog/internet etiquette, to have a profile that other commenters can click on to see a little bit more about you. And "spend[ing] the morning commenting on every site ... I can" puts you well on the road, no matter what your opinion of the issue, to acting like a spam bot.

I find it odd that someone who "writes blogs for companies" would not know that.

Sheri said...

Redsock -- Oh do post those studies lol.

You're assuming that I don't know I should create a profile so that people can know more about me?

Well, you're wrong. I chose not to create a profile here because I've chosen not to join this blog. (I think it might be one of the ones from your study.)

Your profile says only that you are a 46 year old male from Ontario, Canada with no name other than "redsock". Is this what you mean about creating a profile so that people can know more about you?

At least I used my actual name and I'm a 49 year old female from BC, Canada. There! So much for your big profile point. ha ha ha

good day everyone! I'm off to the bad evil news blogs with 100s of different people commenting rather than 3!

L-girl said...

Redsock's full name is available on his blog. He's a published author and links to his work. Everyone here knows his real name as well as mine. "ha ha ha"

I'm off to the bad evil news blogs with 100s of different people commenting rather than 3!

Ah, the inevitable "your blog sucks I don't want to comment here anyway" flame-out. Sheri, I'm disappointed in you. So predictable. "Yawn"

The important thing is you're off. Perhaps the 100s of commenters on those lovely news sites will enjoy your quotation mark abuse.

L-girl said...

I chose not to create a profile here because I've chosen not to join this blog.

Sheri darling, your "ignorance" is "showing".

You don't need a profile here to have a profile. And you don't need to join this blog, and I don't suggest you try.

Redsock is referring to a visible profile of any type. Yours is not visible.

redsock said...

I chose not to create a profile here because I've chosen not to join this blog.

You don't need to do that. You can use your ID at any one of the 37 jazillion blogs on the web.

Your profile says only that you are a 46 year old male from Ontario, Canada with no name other than "redsock". Is this what you mean about creating a profile so that people can know more about you?

My email address is there. The URL for my blog is there. At my blog, I have links to the books I have written and contributed to, and other stuff I have written under my birth name. A six-year-old would need no more than 5 minutes to find my current address.

L-girl said...

OK, that's enough of Sheri for all of us. Yeesh. I have should have expected idiocy from someone who admits to spending the morning spamming news stories and insists that is a valuable means of protest.

Why I persist is anybody's guess. But please don't post your guesses here!

Sheri said...

Where is Redsock's profile visible on this site? Rather, there is a picture of Oscar the grouch and the profile that I mentioned.

Laura K and Redsock and the blogs you speak of such as the Joy of Socks do not mention any actual names and connect and list each other under "team members". They could be the same person. No real names are used on any of the blogs or anything they link to at all.

No "everyone here" doesn't know the real names either since I don't.

I don't have an eblogger profile which is what I meant by not creating one.

I don't write blogs with eblogger as a professional writer fyi. I don't pretend to be different people with character names and all that. I actually write articles.

I'm bored of this stupid place where you have added a trash can to my posts. Pretty Lame.

Best of luck to you all!

L-girl said...

Sheri, please read, then go away:

1. As Redsock said above, anyone with basic internet skills can learn our real names, as we both publish under those names and link to numerous publications.

But for anyone who lacks those skills, our names are Laura Kaminker and Allan Wood.

I won't ask you for your name because I don't care.

2. The trash can icon appears on your own comments on any Blogger blog. It gives you the opportunity to delete your own comments if you wish.

The trash can appears on all comments for blog administrators, in this case me, giving me the opportunity to delete anyone's comments if I so choose.

By saying I have "added a trash can" to your comments you are once again displaying your ignorance.

3. There's no such thing as "eblogger".

4. If you are bored, go the fuck away!

Thus ends our conversation with "Sheri".

L-girl said...

Joy of Socks

Hee hee.

L-girl said...

Example: sidebar link.

redsock said...

I'm bored of this stupid place where you have added a trash can to my posts.

OMG!

L-girl said...

This is from Sheri's most recent post, which I deleted:

by adding the little trash can to my posts and no one else's

Holy crap.

Sheri, a trash can icon appears for every commenter on his or her own posts. Blogger is giving you the opportunity to delete your own comments.

For example, perhaps you post something on a blog, then realize you've made an ass of yourself in public. You click on the trash can icon and delete your own post. Hint, hint.

As a commenter, however, you don't have the ability to delete someone else's comment.

Thus for you, the trash can icon appears only on your own comments.

Blogging 101.

redsock said...

That post also included this gem:

"Just take a good long look at yourself and realize that by adding the little trash can to my posts and no one else's you are being exactly what your article accused Jason Kenney of ha ha ha -- making my comments disappear."

When Sheri goes around to all those other blogs and leaves comments, what will she do when she sees that EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET is adding garbage cans to her posts!!!!!!!!!

L-girl said...

OK seriously, we have to stop. I've already stopped myself from posting a few gems.

This is like an addiction. So much more fun than reading "Sensemaking a public library's internet policy crisis".

L-girl said...

This trash can thing has to be one of the all-time classic moments in wmtc troll history. Mags in any one of his personas and GaryStJ were never this funny.

Andrea said...

I read this in the news yesterday and was gob smacked!!! I could believe that he did that.
Well ya he is a harperite I can believe it but AUGH!!!! OMG!!!
And then today I read that DC now has legalized gay marriage - YES!!!!!!

L-girl said...

Andrea, thanks for telling me the good news about DC. I'm in a news cocoon today and hadn't heard yet. Alright!

Re Kenney he is really a piece of work. I think he's the worst of the bunch. Maybe the best thing that could happen would be for him to be the next party leader. Show their true face and drive the moderates away.

MSEH said...

Wow, THAT was entertaining! LOL!

impudent strumpet said...

Sensemaking

AAAAAA!

AAAAAAAAA!!

It hurts, make it stop!!!

Mike said...

Down the memory hole it goes eh?

You know I'm looking forward to finally at some point getting to turf the weasel er GW Bush wannabe er Harper Government. You'd think a party that ran on a platform openness and accountability would at least have some sense of shame. They should have been gone last year.

Mike said...

Have you seen this yet?
http://www.rabble.ca/news/2010/03/harpers-assault-democracy

L-girl said...

Sensemaking

AAAAAA!

AAAAAAAAA!!

It hurts, make it stop!!!


I know. It's horrific. The entire thing is academic gobbledygook. She can't just tell the story and analyze it. She has to put the story in a narrational framework of sensemaking. Vile stuff.

L-girl said...

OMG Imp Strump, what a great link!! Everyone click on Imp Strump's AAAAA.

L-girl said...

Mike, I hadn't seen that article yet, but I'm familiar with the analysis. Thanks.

L-girl said...

Kenney denies removing references to gay rights

The CBC story mentions the caption that our friend Sheri said was not mentioned anywhere.

Our "friend" "Sheri".

James said...

OMG Imp Strump, what a great link!! Everyone click on Imp Strump's AAAAA.

Reminds me of my favourite paper ever to have been presented to the AAAS.

Here is Doug Zongker's actual presentation.

L-girl said...

OMG that is hilarious. I haven't watched the vid yet but the pdf is great.

impudent strumpet said...

That guy has the best presentation skills! I've been toying with a theory where a significant portion of translation is knowing how to fill in the blanks. If you blanked out quite a few words in a text, a good translator could still translate it accurately. I think he somehow just proved my point.