Kenneth Melanson

July 1997

A new Canada...

Well I am back again for another column in Oasis. This is the second column in a row that I've written for Oasis since my two month departure from writing. I am trying to get back into the habit of writing columns as much as possible so that I can get back into the habit of writing them, that way I don't skip out on them again.

Well, I guess I should start by updating you on what is going on with me as of right now. I started back to my job at Public Works and Government Services Canada. I am really happy to be back, because I really liked this job more than any other job that I have had in my life, not just because I can actually be some sort of professional in what I do, but because for once, it was an office environment where I could be who I AM and not have to worry about people calling me a fag or a queer, not just because the government is good about gays working amongst its ranks (although not in the military), but there are two other gay people working on this floor along with me, whom I have known since I started here last year. It's really nice to know that I have other "family members" here amongst me.

Well I am doing work on HTML's while I am here, which is really cool, because the experience I get here will enable me to better my own personal homepage (the url is below), and may allow me to help write up some pages for my friends, or other family members. Plus it is always good to have experience in HTML writing, because HTML's are actually becoming very important as more and more people are going on line.

Well, I guess I should talk about my life and stuff other than work. Lets see, things with my current boyfriend are going really well. We have a few minor disagreements, although I don't think that we've ever had a true argument, in the sense of yelling and screaming at each other. We are very much in love which is good, it's hard to find true love these days, but I think that I have and I am happier than ever.

Things with my mom, with regards to me being gay are actually getting much better. She's come to realize that I am who I am, and I am not going to change. She's also come to realize that I am gay and that there is nothing she can do to change that. She's also come to like a lot of my gay friends and is actually not really giving them a hard time anymore, although she still gives my ex-boyfriend David a hard time when ever she has to talk to him where he works (he works in a local department store). She really doesn't like him and to be honest I don't like him much anymore either. He has a very arrogant attitude and it really bothers me that he thinks of himself as being so all knowing and all seeing when he is only my age, that's just wrong.

Well, lets get to my article shall we? I called this column a new Canada, because last month Canada had another federal election. We have one every four years. This was the first federal election I have voted in, although I have voted in other elections as well. I find that the federal elections are far more interesting, and far more entertaining than any other election. I say interesting and entertaining, because with federal elections you get the real dirt throwing and sleaziness, whereas with provincial or even municipal, it's all pretty calm most of the time.

One thing that is really great about the political landscape here in Canada, is the wide variety of parties from which one can vote. Being gay, I try to vote for a party that I know is very pro-gay, and shy away always from very non-gay parties. In this column, I am going to talk about the five major parties of Canada and rate how they are towards gay people. I should mention the five main parties are: Liberal, Progressive Conservative (PC), The New Democratic Party (NDP), The Bloc Quebecois and The Reform Party.

Let's start off with the party that made it back into power, the Liberals. Almost a year ago, possibly as a lead up to the federal election, the liberals enacted into law a bill that would put discrimination against people based on sexual orientation into the charter of rights and freedoms. After talking with my liberal candidate here in Halifax though, it was easy to see how some of the liberals in the party only did it for votes. Our candidate in this region, Mary Clancy seemed to me, to only have voted for it to pass so that she could win extra votes in the election, and had no real interest in gay issues. That is somewhat similar to other people's thoughts in the liberal party. Some of the people in the party even voted against the bill, one of which is the infamous Rosanne Skokes, who is known through out Nova Scotia for been very homophobic and bigoted. She's infamous through out the country too, for her views on gays and gay rights, which equate to we shouldn't have any.

Looking at the Progressive Conservative party, I'd have to say that they stand pretty much the same way as Rosanne Skokes does. When I talked to the PC rep. for my region, Terry Donahoe, he said that the party wasn't really for or against the gay rights legislation yet, Jean Chariest has been known to be very anti-gay. My sources tell me he along with MP Elsey Wayne voted against the gay rights bill, believing that the government had more important things to be concentrating on. I personally find this belief disturbing.

The Bloc Quebecois has been officially considered the separatist party of Canada. The party's belief is that a sovereign Quebec is better than a Quebec in union with Canada. The party's main goal, is to have a referendum in which they receive a vote of 50% +1 for separation. At this point they would take over Quebec and run it independent of Canada. The Bloc has never really paid attention to the cause of gay people, although they gave their party free vote on the issue (free vote means that the party does not have an official standing on the issue, and that MP can vote however they want and not face possible action from the party for voting the way they did). In the vote for the bill C-33, 65% of Bloc MP's voted for it. A considerable showing for a separatist party.

This leads me to the Reform party. The mere name should bring you some indication of their stand on gay issues. The Reform party is lead by Preston Manning, and is based out of Calgary. Their stronghold is the western areas of Canada, namely the "grassroots" of Canada. This is where the belief of gay people is: See one, shoot it. This kind of philosophy is prevalent in the reform agenda. ALL reform MP's voted again C-33 and many used the bible to show why they didn't vote, using the oldest circle argument know to man, that god said it was even (at this point I should point out there is NO Hebrew word for homosexuality), or they openly put gay people down on television calling us faggots and sick. Their party I think would be shocked and hit hard should a gay person ever openly run for their party. When Preston Manning was in town talking to his candidates here, many gay people protested outside where he was having a meeting. Many times, where ever Preston Manning went, protesters followed, most of which shouted slogans like: Homophobes and bigots be gone and Hey Hey! Ho ho! Preston Manning has got to go! (one of my faves).

The party that has the most gay positive views and has been known to be very gay friendly, the party I always vote for, is the NDP. Its leader, Alexa McDonough happened to be the person running in my riding. She happened to be my provincial MP and then went federal for this election. She has always fought for gay rights and the believes very highly in gay rights. In addition to this, there is at least one openly gay MP in the NDP party, Sven Robinson. The NDP party has always supported pride day events here in Halifax and all around the country and has been in the forefront for advancing gay employment opportunities in the government. One thing is for certain, they are the party of choice for gay issues.

When election night came and went, the liberals managed to pull of a majority government again, but just barely. The results look like this:

Liberals, 155 seats
PC, 20 seats
NDP, 21 seats
Reform, 60 seats
Bloc, 44 seats
Independent, 1 seat

(note: this is an approx.. I didn't have access to the results at the time of writing this column)

Reform has become the official opposition party, which is kind of scary, but I am sure the other parties, including the liberals can gang up on them to introduce something that is pro-gay into law. All the parties want votes, especially the Liberals, whose popularity is sagging.

Well that's the end of this column...I would like to know what you thought? So why don't you e-mail me. I can be reached <a href="mailto:ai506@ccn.cs.dal.ca">at home</a> or <a href="mailto:melansok@pwgsc.gc.ca">at work.</a> If your on the net, why don't you stop by and look at my <a href="http://husky1.stmarys.ca/~k_melans/Ken/Kenneth.htm">homepage</a>.

Thanks for reading! Remember: Sex is great, but safer sex is even better.

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