Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lying sack of shit Rob Ford hides his whereabouts from taxpayers...

What's good for the goose isn't good enough for the gander! Yet again, Rob Ford proves himself to be a liar and a hypocrite of monumental proportions.

Are you a taxpayer in Toronto? Do you know with whom Rob Ford is meeting right now? Do you have a right to know as you are paying his salary? Do you feel his respect for you when he lies through his teeth like this: "With all due respect to the media, I worry about the taxpayers. The taxpayers know where I am. The taxpayers — I go to people’s houses, just like I did yesterday," he said. "People know where I am. People call me. I return all their calls....I’m very accessible, very transparent."

I called the mayor's office this year to complain about his snubbing of the entire LGBT community by boycotting all Pride Toronto events. I left a message. He didn't return my call. He's a fucking piece of shit liar!

Every word Rob Ford says can't be trusted. He's a habitual liar. Nothing he says is true.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My advice to Blatchford: Quit writing, move to Texas and become a cowgirl!

Behold, the latest atrocity by writer Christie Blatchford. After studying for weeks the impacts of macho men who allegedly massacred their daughters and a wife to protect male honour, she's now lamenting the low number of macho male rapists and child murderers in Toronto.

Blatchford doesn't like men showing their softer, feminine sides. I find this a repulsive inclination on her part because I love (for obvious reasons) the softer, kinder, gentler sides of men. I think most gay men and women do too.

She thinks the best way to deal with bullies is to take them outside and beat the crap out of them. She may have a point, but I remember standing up to bullies in Grade 10 with threatened physical retaliation was just as effective. It's strange Blatchford thinks advocating violent, vigilante action against bullies in a newspaper is appropriate. Perhaps Blatchford's simply lost it and this column is simply a cry for help, as if she were writing, 'Stop publishing me!'

Ms. Blatchford, here's some free advice: Quit writing forever, move to Texas and take up your true calling as a cowgirl. We'll all be a lot happier.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rob Ford's special message to Scarborough: "Suckers!"

Voters in Toronto's suburbs complained the former Miller administration ignored them and only spent money downtown, so they elected Rob Ford, who killed Miller's Transit City plan which would've built rapid transit lines throughout the suburbs.

Now Scarborough will have no rapid transit and crowded buses for four years starting from 2015 as a direct result. Ford's plan for a Sheppard subway clearly won't be built by then, if ever. Basically, this transportation fiasco is all bad planning by the dude they elected. It's like Ford was saying to Scarborough commuters: "Suckers!"

Scarborough voters, please don't vote for Rob Ford next time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Religious bigots come out swinging against LGBT students and anti-bullying legislation...

Yes, the provincial government has introduced tough new anti-bullying legislation. The legislation includes provisions which will ensure that LGBT students and their straight friends who wish to form Gay-Straight Alliance-type groups in all publicly-funded schools will be able to do so. Such groups help promote tolerance and acceptance for LGBT youth in environments that otherwise remain homophobic and hostile.

Today, the usual suspects of religious bigotry in Ontario came to Queen's Park to hold a press conference (sponsored and/or attended by Ontario PC MPPs Frank Klees and Lisa MacLeod) to demand that anti-bullying provisions designed to fight homophobia and violence against LGBT students and others be dropped.

Yes, so-called religious activists including Charles McVety of The Institute for Canadian 'Values', Rondo Thomas, of the Evangelical Association, and Jack Fonseca, of the Campaign Life Coalition, are fighting for more violence against LGBT youth in Ontario schools. Disgusting!

The legislation these bigots are attacking today allows Catholic boards to create gay-straight alliances without having to use the specific term. This isn't enough for these anti-gay/pro-violence religious advocates. According to them, allowing student-initiated clubs that promote acceptance and combat homophobia in high schools is somehow a violation of Catholic rights.

So trying to stop violence and promote acceptance goes against the Catholic faith? As a recovering Catholic, even I can't remember those pro-violence/anti-acceptance provisions of Catholic doctrine.

Shame on these bigots today fighting to maintain violence and harassment against LGBT youth in our public schools. Shame!

VIDEO: Alberta Tory MP mimicks shooting guns at the opposition when voting to kill long gun registry

Disgusting. Nothing surprises me about these neo-con dopes in the Conservative Party of Canada anymore.

Maybe this was Lethbridge MP Jim Hillyer's imitation of Marc Lepine?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A great clip from 'Designing Women' on World AIDS Day...

This scene and this episode of 'Designing Women' meant so much to me when it first aired in the late 1980s.

I was a closeted teenager living in homophobic and AIDS-phobic times, quite used to sad depictions on television and elsewhere of effeminate, weak gay men dying like helpless victims from AIDS. I remember one particularly awful scene on 'St. Elsewhere' in which a nameless gay man dying of AIDS in hospital announced to his doctors that he's cured because he's decided he wasn't "gay anymore."

But this episode of 'Designing Women' showed a relatively masculine gay male character (played by the handsome Tony Goldwyn) who was passionately supported by his female friends.

I'm happy to share it here today on this World AIDS Day and I hope it brings a smile to your face!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goodbye 'Movember'! Hello 'ABSTA-VEMBER' in 2012!

I am so glad to see 'Movember' come to an end. Yes, raising awareness and funds in the fight against prostate cancer is a great cause and I'm glad they raised so much of it in Canada and elsewhere this month.

The problem with 'Movember', at least for me, is it encourages men to grow disgusting and outdated facial hair. Let me be clear about my own personal bias: I hate facial hair on men. I've been known to utter, 'Facial hair is for the Taliban,' as a means to demonize the practice and encourage progressive males to give up growing it.

As most women and gay men already know, facial hair is painful on the fair cheeks of loved ones forced to kiss or get close with men who choose to grow beards or moustaches or what have you. If facial hair isn't grating on your skin, it's getting stuck between your teeth. Gross.

Nowadays, thankfully, beards or goatees are more in style than the lone moustache. Yet this Movember campaign is a throwback to the 1970s. I noticed several attractive men this past month who reminded me of 70s gay porn stars. I was half-expecting these guys to strip down and engage in condom-free sex, but alas it didn’t happen (at least not in front of me.)

The ugliness of moustaches continues to be lost on many men. Take Justin Trudeau for example, one of the more high profile Canadians to grow a moustache this month. He told CBC News he plans to keep the moustache he grew for Movember until the New Year: "I'm quite attached to it, and more importantly, my wife doesn't mind it to a most heinous degree...So I think we're doing OK."

She doesn't mind it to a 'most heinous degree'? So you're okay with keeping it. Typical straight male response: I like it, you hate it, it stays.

I think women need to respond to this bizarre campaign with a new, equally inconsiderate campaign of their own. How about a new campaign next November to coincide with 'Movember' to raise awareness and funds for a cancer that affects only women?

I offer you my proposal for such a campaign: 'Absta-vember'. Next November, women everywhere should raise awareness and funds to help in the fight against cervical cancer by abstaining from sexual relations for the entire month. Extra points should be given to those women who have male partners who are participating in growing gross moustaches as part of Movember.

The more I think of it, the more brilliant it sounds: 'Absta-vember'. I am only half-kidding. I'm not about to launch such a campaign, but merely write about it here to (1) send the message that the main exercise of growing moustaches, even for good causes, is gross, and (2) perhaps inspire women out there to respond in kind.

Although these women already seem to have picked up on a similar idea.

Moustaches are gross. Goodbye, Movember!

McGuinty Liberals to introduce bill to allow schools to expel bullies...

This is a great 'It Gets Better' video by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, proving yet again he's the right person for the job as leader of this great, dynamic and diverse province.

It's nice to have a premier who stands up for all students and is willing to take action in government to make our schools safer places. I support any government actions that make it harder for bullies to carry on their evil deeds in our schools. This proposed bill is a step in the right direction.

Today, I remain as ecstatic as ever that Ontario dodged the disgusting conservative triumvirate by re-electing an enlightened, visionary and progressive Liberal government in October. I dread to imagine the kinds of destruction that Tim Hudak and his regressive Conservatives would be plotting for our schools were he to have somehow won the recent Ontario election. Hudak would be looking to find ways to ban the mention of homosexuality in our schools, perhaps. He pandered to homophobia during the election campaign, claiming any attempts to make our schools safer for gay kids was somehow an attack on parents' rights. Get used to opposition, Timmy.

Thank you, Dalton, for your leadership. Now I hope you take this further and crack down on Catholic school boards that cater to bullies and bigots by banning gay-straight alliances. We need to do more than promise, 'It gets better.' We need to make it better and ensuring students who want to form gay-straight alliances can do so in all of Ontario's publicly-funded schools would be a good, fair and wise move.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Useless Tory MP Rob Anders falls asleep in Parliament

Despite his previous attacks on Nelson Mandela and longtime moronic behaviour, Tory MP Rob Anders has been continually protected by the central Tory brass around Stephen Harper from ever being challenged for his free ticket to Parliament from Calgary West, despite numerous attempts over the years to elect somebody qualified to be a Member of Parliament for the area.

Falling asleep in Parliament? The fact he couldn't get a bit excited by a Tory colleague speaking live directly in front of him (thereby guaranteeing he was on camera) speaks volumes. Yet, I'm sure that Harper will fight tooth and nail to make sure Anders gets acclaimed again for the Tory nomination in his riding. Will voters in Calgary West approve? Probably, since they keep electing the moron by massive margins every chance they get.

Sophisticated democracies throw out bums like Anders, not re-elect them five times! Until Rob Anders goes down to the defeat he deserves for being the most useless MP in Canada, I'm afraid Calgary and Alberta will continue to be seen by folks like me as still very much a backwater of unenlightened rednecks, no matter what Premier Alison Redford says.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Toronto School Board wants apology from Tim Hudak for ‘homophobic’ flyer

I'm very glad to read that the Toronto District School Board is trying to hold PC Leader Tim Hudak accountable for his party's disgusting, misleading and ‘homophobic’ flyer published during the recent Ontario election campaign.

I blogged about this when the story broke and you can link here to see the original attack flyer, which insinuated that a locally-drafted Toronto school board policy designed to assist teachers to fight homophobia and promote safety in schools was something quite different. Hudak defended the homophobic flyers, thus confirming with many mainstream voters in Ontario he was not ready for prime time.

Keep this issue alive, I say. And make the untalented Mr. Hudak squirm a bit longer.

Pro soccer player David Testo comes out...

I love it when this happens. Not only does the LGBT community get to shatter some stereotypes about athletes, we also get a new and VERY HOT hero!

David Testo, a 30-year-old midfielder who played for the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, revealed in a Radio-Canada broadcast Thursday morning that he is gay.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail,
the North Carolina native said that he is going public because of a recent string of suicides among gay teenagers, including Ottawa’s Jamie Hubley, an openly gay figure skater who was bullied at school.

“We have to change, and it’s always been my philosophy that you have to lead the change you want to see,” Testo said. “I felt like it was almost my duty to say that this is okay.”

Thanks, David, for this great move and congrats! And if you are ever in Toronto and get lonely, you can always get in touch with me! ;-)

The heartless stupidity of Mayor Fraud's words after tragic death of pregnant cyclist

This week's tragic death of cyclist Jenna Morrison, a pregnant, 38-year-old mother and wife, in Toronto's west-end has really hit home for me. Morrison died at the corner of Sterling Road while turning west on her bicycle onto Dundas, a turn I also make on a regular basis on my bicycle as I live in the very same area. She was clipped by a truck as both made a right turn and she was pushed under the back wheels and died. Police are still investigating and charges may still be laid against the truck driver.

I cried last night watching this video of the press conference yesterday at the site of the tragedy.

Although I didn't know her, reports make clear she was a beautiful person. I will continue to cycle around town, including on this very corner. But I'll never forget what happened as I cycle past this location.

At a time like this, I'm reminded of the abomination of a man and the fraud we unfortunately have for mayor of Toronto and his disgusting, heartless, stupid words uttered a few years back when he was just a whiny councillor. In life, Morrison was just a pinko cyclist who didn't matter in Rob Ford's Toronto.

Watch this video of Rob Ford, remember Jenna Morrison and her unborn child and vote accordingly in 2014:

You'll probably enjoy reading this article as much as I did: a spot-on analysis of the fraud's first year in office.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spreading hate must have consequences...

The case of Saskatchewan resident Bill Whatcott, who published and distributed in 2001 and 2002 some virulent hatred against LGBT people, is now before the Supreme Court of Canada. In his case, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission found Whatcott guilty of spreading hatred and fined him $17,500 dollars, which he refused to pay. An appeal to a higher court in Saskatchewan overturned his guilty finding. Now the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission is taking the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, which is expected to rule in the months ahead.

There has been much debate about the topic of prosecuting the expression of hatred in Canada. Those who favour unrestricted freedom of expression often argue the only consequences of their position are some "hurt feelings." Like the "feelings" that led young Jamie Hubley to commit suicide this past weekend, I guess. This writer condemns the use of human rights commissions to prosecute hate speech because too many, "Canadians will sooner self-censor than risk having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to defend against a human rights prosecution, in which neither truth nor good intention is recognized as a defence." Except of course there wasn't any truth in Whatcott's pamphlets, but that's beside the point, I guess.

Whatcott published materials that included the phrase, "Kill the homosexuals!" repeatedly. He later apparently tried to argue that publishing "Kill the homosexuals!" did not really mean, "Kill the homosexuals!" The fact that he published "Kill the homosexuals!" has been frequently ignored by those arguing his defense in the private media including Ezra Levant and the Toronto Star. Even this gay writer ignores the fact that Whatcott incited violence against homosexuals. Yet some of these supporters of unconditional free speech argue hate speech prosecution should only be used against those who incite violence.

What the fuck!? Since when is "Kill the (insert group name here)!" not an incitement to violence?

Jonathan Kay even assumes himself to be the supreme authority on all Abrahamic faiths in his defense of Whatcott. If we allow hate speech protections in ours laws, then we must make all Abrahamic faiths illegal, he writes. What utter bunk! Surely, forced mass conversion of all Christians/Jews/Muslims to Humanism or gay-friendly Paganism or some other spirituality is an option too, right Jonathan? (My tongue firmly planted in cheek there, giving Kay's arguments the respect they deserve.)

But what of simply attacking all gay men as pedophiles, as Whatcott did? Should that be acceptable? If I published that Ezra Levant was a pedophile, he could rightly sue me for libel and extract millions in damages, which would push me into bankruptcy. But if I published that all Jews are pedophiles, Levant and others like him seem to argue that is just fine and dandy.

This article by David Langtry, the acting chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, is probably the most reasonable entry into the debate I've read in a long time. In it, he addresses the main issue about whether hate speech should be prosecuted by quasi-judicial bodies like human rights commissions, or strictly in the criminal courts. Hatred against homosexuals has only been part of the Criminal Code's anti-hate provisions for a few years, of course, while most anti-hate provisions in human rights acts protecting LGBT people date back to the 1990s.

Langtry summarizes the problem well when he writes: "The Criminal Code [provisions against hate] requires the approval of an attorney general for a charge to be laid. This is an unusually tough test. It discourages prosecutions. Police forces are reluctant to invest resources in investigations they doubt will lead to a charge. Few have resources to invest in hate crime units. If MPs vote to repeal Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, as Bill C-304 proposes, perhaps Parliament should also make it easier for police to lay a charge based on evidence. Perhaps, too, it would be useful to ensure that police have the resources they need to gather that evidence. If the Canadian Human Rights Act is not the best vehicle to counter hate speech, Parliament should ensure the Criminal Code is up to the job."

Langtry is right. If human rights commissions are to be stripped of their abilities to combat hate speech and other forms of hatred, then it must be made easier for police to do their jobs in this regard. They must be able to press charges without the permission of Attorneys General.

But there's another issue here. Again, if Whatcott published that "Matt Guerin is a pedophile," I could have sued him for libel and won millions as this is not true. However, since Whatcott published that all homosexuals (including Matt Guerin) are pedophiles, an even bigger lie, his supporters argue he should be free as a bird and face no consequences. This is unacceptable in a free and democratic society where individuals such as myself should be able to fight back against all libel.

If bigots like Whatcott are to be allowed to publish that entire members of an identifiable group are pedophiles, or terrorists, or murderers, or what have you, then why can't every member of that identifiable group sue Whatcott or others like him in court for libel? Are members of attacked groups to have no recourse whatsoever against these lies? Such a tolerance for hate speech is dangerous, as history has unfortunately taught us. If you want to be a bigot and publish such nonsense, I and every other gay man should be able to join in a class action libel suit against you for millions. Truth would win the day and Whatcott would be bankrupt financially (on top of his moral bankruptcy.)

However, the only recourse individuals such as myself now have against bigots like Whatcott are human rights commissions. Until the Criminal Code provisions against hate speech are improved, we must continue to have these venues to protect ourselves against destructive libel and hatred.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another tragic loss of a beautiful young gay man...

Have a watch of this video shot by yet another talented, beautiful, young gay man whose life was cut short this weekend by suicide. Every gay man understands the pain and isolation that Jamie Hubley expressed on his blog recently (see the image borrowed from below).

It brings tears to my eyes to know that Jamie's depression was left unabated and the only escape that Jamie could conceive was suicide. In my own moments of despair and isolation as a closeted 15-year-old in the late 1980s, I too contemplated suicide as the only way out. But I never made the attempt. I somehow got through it and made my way into adulthood, came out and embraced a better life. It did get better!

Queer youth remain isolated and extremely vulnerable in our society and in our schools. But I couldn't agree more with one comment on this YouTube page that, ""It gets better" is not enough, we need to "Make it better"".

Fighting homophobic bullying (and all forms of bullying) must be the highest priority of our schools now! We have to start demanding real action! We have to start attacking politicians and so-called Christians who continue to fight against any attempts to minimize homophobic bullying in our schools and create respect in our schools for diversity! Any attempts by any public school boards to stop Gay-Straight Alliances need to be stopped in their bigoted tracks and those guilty removed from their public positions! For the sake of our youth!

Below is the statement released today by Jamie's father, Kanata councillor Allan Hubley. My thoughts go out to Jamie's entire family and friends in this moment of tragedy.


This past Friday, our family suffered one of the worst experiences that can happen to a family when we lost our boy — Jamie. To make this even more difficult, his death was the result of suicide.

I would like to thank all the family and friends that have been helping us get through these very difficult days. Very special thanks to everyone that came out in the rain to walk every foot of our community to look for our boy. The outpouring of support has shown us that our angel was loved by many and we were not the only people to witness his beautiful spirit.

Jamie was for most of his life a very happy and confident child. He was a compassionate person always looking to help others and didn’t have a mean bone in his body. Jamie often worked with me on community events and our many efforts to help others were made more effective with his ideas. From a very young age, he wanted to make a better community and a better world.

He was a championship figure skater for years and was just beginning to excel as a singer. He enjoyed acting as well and was involved in many different clubs and groups both in and outside of school. James’s family and friends unconditionally supported and accepted him for who he was and whatever direction he wanted to go in life.

James had been suffering with depression and was receiving care from doctors at CHEO and counsellors. These professionals, along with James’s family and friends, were trying to help him learn to cope with his depression and other issues, one of which was his struggles with his sexuality. He struggled with the idea that people can judge you harshly even when you are trying to help others. Jamie asked a question no child should have to ask — why do people say mean things to me?

Although James had a great many people who loved and supported him, something in his mind kept taking him to a dark place where he could not see the positive side of life, which led him to this drastic and tragic decision on Friday. Jamie is free of his pain now and there is a new angel, but we have paid too high a price.

There are some reports in the media and on social media that James was bullied. This is true. We were aware of several occasions when he felt he was being bullied. In Grade 7 he was treated very cruelly simply because he liked figure skating over hockey.

Recently, when Jamie tried to start a Rainbow Club at his high school to promote acceptance of others, the posters were torn down and he was called vicious names in the hallways and online. We had meetings with officials at the school and were working with them to bring an end to it but Jamie felt it would never stop.

We will not say that the bullying was the only reason for James’s decision to take his own life but it was definitely a factor. As his family and friends, or even if you never met him but want to help, we must do whatever we can to wipe out bullying for any reason in our society and especially in our schools. Young people are very vulnerable and have enough pressures in life to have to deal with aside from the stress of being bullied. My family’s wish is that no more families have to suffer the unbearable pain of losing a child. No child should have to deal with depression or feel hated because of their beliefs — that is not the Canadian way of treating others.

Bullying doesn’t always take the form of physical violence. Especially today with cyber-bullying on the Internet, children often feel there is no safe place to go; even when they are at home they can still be victims. Earlier I mentioned his posters being taken down. Many friends have offered to stand by the posters to ensure children that may want to meet and talk about issues that don’t harm others will be given the chance to do so. The school has made a promise to me that they will ensure the posters are protected. We hope from our tragedy others will become more active in stopping this cruelty towards children.

To this end, after my family and I have had some time to come to terms with the loss of our beautiful son James, I will be working hard to use my energy and public position to help bring awareness and resources to those groups working to stop the bullying and find a treatment for depression. Wendy and I have asked that all the people wishing to make a donation in Jamie’s memory can direct them to Youth Services Bureau’s Mental Health Walk in Clinic.

Over the years I have tried to help a lot of people and I was very proud that my beautiful boy was also learning the joy that comes from helping others. I need time to deal with the pain of not being able to save my precious boy and will speak more on his life and these issues later.

— Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Actor Zachary Quinto comes out...

Like many, I've heard the rumours about the lovely Zachary Quinto being gay for years. I'm thrilled that the actor best known for his roles as Spock in J. J. Abrams’s 2009 rendition of Star Trek and his breakout role in the TV show Heroes has made it official.

Quinto spoke with New York Magazine recently and put his cards on the table:

For one thing, he’s willing to unambiguously talk about his sexual orientation. His eight-month role in Angels was both “the most challenging thing I’ve ever done as an actor and the most rewarding” he says. Having to inhabit that terrible lost world, if only in his mind, took a toll. “And at the same time, as a gay man, it made me feel like there’s still so much work to be done, and there’s still so many things that need to be looked at and addressed.”

I have such respect for Quinto for doing this. Every time an actor comes out of the closet like this, it further breaks down the barriers other gay actors face. One can be successful and be open about one's private life at the same time. The admiration Quinto will earn from this move will more than ensure a greater fan base and a long career.

At a time when stories about LGBT youth tragically losing hope and ending their lives continue to dominate, this is a good news story we can all celebrate. Indeed, Quinto himself references the recent tragedy of Jamey Rodemeyer's suicide on his blog today as part of his reasoning for doing this now. Bravo!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hudak Tories distributing homophobic literature to win votes...

Thanks to Warren Kinsella who posted about this issue today. If you needed further proof that Tim Hudak's Ontario P.C. party has been taken over by the Tea Party, check out this disgustingly hateful and misleading pamphlet on the right. This pamphlet follows Hudak's attempts earlier in this Ontario campaign to appeal to racism with his attacks on underemployed Canadian immigrants, calling them "foreign workers". Now this!

According to Kinsella, the Tories are circulating the pamphlet in Brampton ridings, alleging this policy developed by the local Toronto District School Board (i.e. not the province, not the local Peel school board, etc.) is somehow provincial policy.

The Tory pamphlet alleges the McGuinty Liberals are somehow conspiring to keep parents in the dark about sex education which includes the promotion of cross-dressing. These allegations are false, utterly ridiculous and misleading, as the policy was drafted by the local Toronto school board, not the province. The alleged "keeping parents in the dark" presumably refers to the following section of the local board policy:

Should Schools Send Notes Or Permission Slips Home Before Starting Any Classroom Work About Curricular Issues That May Involve Discussions About Discrimination and Harassment?

No. The TDSB Equity Foundation Statement and Commitments to Equity Policy Implementation states that each school has a responsibly to education that reflects the diversity of its students and their life experiences. Singling out one group or topic area as too controversial, and depending upon parent/guardian/caregiver discretion, shifts this responsibility from the school to the parents/guardian/caregivers and fosters a poisoned environment contrary to the TDSB Human Rights Policy.

Sending a school newsletter home at the beginning of each term is a best practice for keeping parents/guardians/caregivers informed of all upcoming equity topics in the classroom without having to single out one topic over the other.

I encourage you to read the local board policy further as it's a great read, clearly written by Toronto education professionals who take seriously their responsibilities to ensure a safe and secure environment for all students - not just the heterosexual ones - in Toronto's schools.

It's abominable that the Hudak Tories have decided to attack the provincial Liberals for a policy they didn't initiate. Yes, Tim Hudak seems more than happy to mislead the public and appeal to irrational bigotry and homophobia in order to win votes.

Tim Hudak is disgusting and most definitely not a leader for Ontario!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

McGuinty's got my vote

I've had a love-hate relationship with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty for a while. I still haven't fully forgiven him for the 2007 Ontario referendum fiasco, in which he hobbled the once-in-a-generation chance to reform our First-Past-The-Post voting system. Ultimately, the crushing defeat for proportional representation in Ontario foreshadowed similar crushing defeats elsewhere. So I've buried that hatchet.

In this 2011 election, McGuinty has been running a mostly strong campaign encouraging voters to stay the course and keep his vision of moving forward together. His record on supporting public health care, public education, green energy and many other issues has been inspiring. He's pursued innovation and has shown an admirable willingness to make very unpopular decisions for the greater good.

There have been mistakes. But for the most part, McGuinty has been able to show us what thoughtful, hard-working, progressive, reasonable government looks like.

Compared to the pie-in-the-sky NDP plan put forth by Andrea Horwath in this election, McGuinty's record and plan for the future is far superior. In addition, the Liberals are now well-positioned to humble Tory Tim Hudak next Thursday, a delightful and welcome development after a year of disgusting conservative victories.

Alice Klein puts it well in today's NOW Magazine when she describes the choice for progressives in this Ontario election this way: "...the irony is that one relatively progressive party is running on a platform of stability and staying the course while it actually promotes a platform of positive change. Meanwhile, the other relatively progressive political party is supposedly running on a platform of change but is actually wooing voters on the basis of resistance to the changes being thrust upon us by forces far beyond anyone’s control."

I'm heartened by the polls which show McGuinty is in close contention for the top. Ontarians seem willing to stay the course and keep the leader with a passionately-articulated and reasonable plan in these hard economic times, versus a Tory pretender who has only uttered conservative generalities and old prejudices in this campaign.

I will be voting for Liberal Cristina Martins in my Davenport riding. She may not win against NDP upstart Jonah Schein, but I hope she does. The Liberals need every seat they can muster to hold back a horrifying Tory trifecta. The NDP plan is simply not a plan at all. It would be a shame to lose the gains the Liberals have produced.

My message to progressives in Ontario: Get real and please vote Liberal.

Friday, September 23, 2011

McGuinty's first big mistake in Election 2011...

TheStar Hudak and Horwath scold McGuinty for missing northern Ontario debate

In my humble estimation, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty has been (mostly) kicking Tory leader Tim Hudak's butt during this Ontario election campaign. McGuinty's cause has been helped greatly by Hudak's own small-minded approach to leadership and politics. In response to the Liberal promise to provide tax credits to a small number of businesses that provide training/accreditation opportunities for immigrant professionals (in regulated industries), Hudak's response was over-the-top and showed a shocking lack of judgment. Hudak's first impulse was to fan the flames of intolerance against so-called 'foreign workers', even after it became clear the Liberal proposal was designed to assist Canadian citizens in the country for less than five years. It was as if Hudak was feeling nostalgic for 1995 when his hero and former leader, Mike Harris, fanned the flames of resentment against visible minorities over the employment equity issue and the poor over the work for welfare issue to great victory. Clearly in 2011, such attacks don't work anymore.

McGuinty has benefited thus far from what appears to be a strong desire by voters to "stay the course" and not choose risky or untested options in these uncertain economic times. McGuinty has a plan for the future and a relatively decent record. Hudak has a tonne of complaints and nothing much different from the current administration in terms of policy. Hudak's vision for the province remains largely a mystery to most voters. Until the decision by McGuinty to skip today's leaders' debate on Northern Ontario issues, McGuinty's campaign has been exceedingly effective. But this choice to snub a region already feeling neglected by Queen's Park puts several Liberal seats in great jeopardy. The Liberals now hold seven seats in northern Ontario. After today, they'll be lucky to hang on to three. More than likely, they'll get only two seats (Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury) and be shut out of northwestern Ontario altogether. Even my former boss, Michael Gravelle, who has previously commanded nearly 75% of the vote in his constituency, looks in danger of losing his Thunder Bay-Superior North seat. That would be a huge shame.

Why would McGuinty make this bizarre choice? For such a skilled veteran on the campaign trail, it confuses me. The Liberals are in a tough fight and the resurgent NDP has been biting at their progressive heels. With the Tories fading back to the low-mid 30s in terms of support, the Liberals need to reach the high 30s/low 40s in voter support to win that coveted third majority. But with the NDP's Andrea Horwath doing well in this campaign thus far, the NDP vote seems steady in the mid-high 20s. That would be enough for them to take six or seven seats in the North, up from three. In the end, we could easily end up seeing the Liberals fall just short of the 54 seats they need for another majority. If the campaign gets worse for the Liberals (as anything can happen in an election campaign), the Tories could get new life and end up squeaking out a victory by a seat or two. In that scenario, hanging on to those seats in the North might've made the difference.

I guess party central in the Liberal war room figures they're already losing most of their northern seats, so why bother make the trek north today? I don't know. Seems foolishly reckless to me. But maybe they know something I don't. They usually do.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ends in the U.S. as YouTube Gay Soldier coming out video goes viral...

YouTube's Gay Soldier: 'Never Thought I'd Be So Comfortable' - ABC News

Yesterday marked the official end to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy in the American armed forces. Now, finally, LGB soldiers in the U.S. army can be open about themselves without fear of being fired. (I leave out the 'T' from LGBT because the ban on transgendered soldiers still remains.) To mark the occasion, 21-year-old U.S. soldier Randy Phillips took the opportunity share his experience of coming out to his own father via YouTube.

Here's an ABC news story on Phillips, which makes mention of his many anonymous videos also posted on YouTube under the handle "AreYouSurprised," in recent months leading up to yesterday.

"It feels great. It's nice not having to look over your shoulder or worry about who you are talking to," Phillips told ABC News the day after "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was officially repealed. "I never thought I'd be so comfortable with it. It's very supportive. Everybody's been so great."

A heartfelt congratulations to all of those who can now continue to live their lives openly. I hope this trend continues for those still suffering from discrimination in the U.S. armed forces. I also want to congratulate Phillips in particular for his leadership and bravery, both for joining the air force in the first place, as well as sharing this life-changing moment with all of us.

Many LGBT people fear the moment when they finally come out to parents. It's beautiful to see Phillips' father's almost nonchalant response as well as his pledge to 'always love' his son.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The best of my fest: TIFF 2011

I caught five films this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, which wraps today. I purposely chose films which aren't on the verge of wide release and use TIFF as a launching pad (like Drive, Moneyball, The Ides of March, and many others, most of which I intend to watch in the months ahead in regular theatres.)

Of the five, only one was a disappointment. Here goes:

The Good Son, a Finnish film by director Zaida Bergroth, was the first film I took in. Haunting and subtle, it was a fascinating portrait of one young man's almost psychotically protective devotion to his self-involved mother. Ilmari (played by Samuli Niittymäki, pictured) is a dangerous teenager with more than typical family responsibility. His mother, the actress and tabloid target Leila (Elina Knihtilä), is an impressive whirlwind of fragility and vindictive vanity. This leaves Ilmari to raise his younger brother Unto (Eetu Julin) and guide his mother through career crises. The boys’ father is out of the picture and we are left to imagine why (although judging from mom's personality, it isn't too difficult.) Yet his absence leaves the family with at least a perceived opening for a new older man to interfere. Aimo (Eero Aho), one of Leila’s perpetually boozed up friends, sees that gap and tries to cut in.

The film centers around a family trip to a summer house after a disastrous premiere for the actress-mother. The adult partying begins as Leila invites several friends including Aimo to join them. Young Ilmari responds with shocking and increasing violence when he perceives any threat against his mother. At first it seems honorable, but quickly it becomes obviously dangerous. To make matters worse, Leila seems more than happy to exploit and manipulate her son's rage, sometimes just to cause a little trouble. As the story unfolds, Aimo becomes the victim of Ilmari's violence. As we reach the story's climax, mother Leila realizes almost too late she's allowed her son to turn into a bit of a monster and has lost control over him. While the final moments are ambiguous, leaving us only to imagine how this family can possibly evolve, The Good Son is fascinating viewing.

I Am A Good Person/I Am A Bad Person is the second feature film solely directed by Toronto filmmaker Ingrid Veninger (she co-directed a feature in 2006 before taking up full directing duties on Modra in 2010). I had never seen her work prior to this, but I must admit she will be a director I follow closely from now on.

I Am A Good Person profiles a mother-daughter relationship as the two embark for Europe to promote the mother's latest film. Veninger plays the mother, Ruby White, while her eighteen-year-old daughter Sara is played by Veninger’s real-life daughter, Hallie Switzer, who also starred in Modra. This movie was actually shot as the two toured with Modra earlier this year, a fabulous example of life imitating art. Little happens plot-wise, except to say that mother and daughter suffer somewhat typical struggles to communicate and get along. After a brief visit to Bradford, UK, daughter Sara departs for Paris to stay with a cousin, almost breaking her lonely mother's heart, who must then continue alone to Berlin for another screening. It's in Paris where we discover that daughter Sara is pregnant, something she's been keeping from everyone.

The movie has some quietly hilarious moments. The film within the film, 'Headshots', the film Ruby is ostensibly accompanying around the festival circuit, includes a bizarre series of close-up shots of men's penises just before the end credits. The character's eventual explanation for why she made the film provides great laughter long after I Am A Good Person ends. I loved the women-centric nature of this film. All of the male characters are perceived solely through female eyes and I must say most were awfully attractive. This was quite refreshing.

Beauty by South African director Oliver Hermanus will stay with me the longest of the five films I saw at TIFF. Quietly devastating, the film profiles a deeply closeted and macho Afrikaner named Francois (played by Deon Lotz), a successful family man who finds himself magnetically drawn to the beautiful 23-year-old son of a close friend (played by Charlie Keegan, pictured with Lotz). Lotz' Francois is the epitome of male repression, his entire married life a total lie. His fascination with Christian seems to be his undoing as his carefully constructed life begins to unravel.

At first, I thought the story was heading in the same direction as Death in Venice. How wrong I was! Francois becomes increasingly isolated as he struggles to deal with his infatuation. A violent scene in a hotel room near the end is utterly shocking and confirms the main character's downward spiral. In the end, we are left with great sadness as Francois slowly realizes the love he has denied himself through his sick choices. As he sits quietly at a table in a restaurant alone, he stares across at a lovely, young gay couple living the happy life he can no longer even imagine. The closet is a scary and lonely place.

Some commentary has stated that Beauty is also a scathing portrait of conflicted masculinity in post-Apartheid South Africa, with Francois's generation of hypocritically macho, Caucasian men contrasted with Christian's open and tolerant youth. This makes the violence in the hotel room all the more disturbing.

Touted as one of the first Vietnamese films to depict homosexuality both explicitly and positively, Ngoc Dang Vu’s Lost in Paradise is a contemporary tale of living on the margins of Vietnamese society. Khoi is a fresh-faced 20-year-old who makes his way to Saigon, where he befriends Dong and his boyfriend, Lam. They take the first opportunity to make off with Khoi’s cash and belongings. But when Dong is abandoned by his boyfriend and winds up on the streets hustling for money, he runs into Khoi again, and they strike up an unlikely romance.

While the actors were cute, I have to say Lost In Paradise was quite disappointing and unoriginal. We're never given any real reason to believe the romance between Khoi and Dong. The former seems to sit around home all day nursing injuries and doing little else, while the latter, Dong, continues his self-destructive hustling on the streets of Saigon. Dong's inability to leave behind prostitution is just one of many illogical plot developments. Worse, the dialogue is unbelievably on the nose. Why show a character's love when you can just say it? Queer film has evolved long past these feeble stereotypes in most parts of the world, but sadly not in Lost in Paradise.

Finally, I checked out Hysteria, the new film by director Tanya Wexler and starring hottie Hugh Dancy, the lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal (both pictured on the right) and the always-entertaining Jonathan Pryce. It was a delightful romantic comedy/period piece that profiled the invention of the vibrator in the 1880s. Dancy plays Doctor Mortimer Granville, who is recruited by Pryce's doctor character to assist female patients diagnosed with the catch-all and fictitious condition then known as 'hysteria.' The therapy: careful, manual stimulation of a certain female body part. Of course, at the time, the female orgasm was yet to be acknowledged by the medical establishment and it never occurs to Pryce's Doctor Dalrymple that these housewives are experiencing something more basic and natural than a mysterious epidemic of insanity: horniness.

Aided by a goofy pal with a fascination for gadgets and electricity (Rupert Everett, still looking a bit strange after his face lift a couple years ago), young Dancy comes to invent the first vibrator and begins testing it out on Pryce's patients, to their utter delight. The result is a revolution in women's medicine that precedes the time period's eventual women's liberation. To wrap these events into a charming romantic-comedy seems totally appropriate. Why can't the inventor of the vibrator look like Hugh Dancy and be caught in a love triangle between two sisters? Wonderful, all around.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Message to Sun Media readers...

I captured this today on Sterling just outside the delicious Nestle chocolate factory. Had to share...hahaha!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nenshi first Calgary mayor to lead Gay Pride parade

Progressive, decent folks in Toronto are looking west to Calgary today with a bit of envy at news that city's mayor, Naheed Nenshi, led today's Gay Pride parade (pictured).Torontonians hardly knew the idea that a mayor would actually exert a bit of effort to be the mayor of all the people was something one election could erase; yes, today in Toronto we have a horrific example of democracy gone bad with a mayor more interested in ripping the shit out of the city and selling public assets to his private sector friends, all the while his red-necked, idiot base cheers.

Oh, dark days, please end soon. And let that first sign come October 6th when we reject the third horseman of the Conservative Apocalypse, goofy Tim Hudak, and re-elect a Liberal majority government (yes, that is my prediction for the Ontario election on the eve of the vote call.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Persichilli shows his Tory feathers as he joins Harper's PMO...

TheStar Star columnist Angelo Persichilli to join PMO

I've always thought I was reading conservative spin when reading Angelo Persichilli's columns over the years. His analysis always reserved the most scrutiny and hostility for Liberal subjects. Rarely did he point a critical eye at Stephen Harper or other Conservatives. Now his Tory credentials are confirmed.

Lessons learned: if the so-called fair-minded journalist sounds like a Tory duck, looks like Tory duck, quacks like a Tory duck, he's a Tory (and a duck!)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Goodbye, Jack!

Today, the country said goodbye to a great leader and hero. Thanks to Jack for everything he did for our country, for the issues he championed, for the battles he fought! May we try to move forward truly inspired by your great example.

I'm happy to share the sublime words of Stephen Lewis, who eulogized Jack at today's funeral. I especially loved the moment when he stated: "[Jack's final] letter was, at its heart, a manifesto for social democracy..." In the audience, all stood and applauded, including Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper (minus the applauding).

Yes Jack did unite Canada!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Federal NDP and federal Liberals must unite into one progressive national party...

TheStar NDP will need growth outside its Quebec base

On this issue, I'm sure I will anger many diehards in both the NDP and the Liberals. But as a post-partisan progressive (both a former card-carrying Liberal and a frequent NDP voter), the coming together of the federal NDP and federal Liberals is absolutely necessary if the progressive MAJORITY in this country is going to beat the Conservatives over the long-term.

Divided between a left-wing NDP and a centre-left Liberal Party, the progressive majority will always find it difficult to beat the Conservatives. Unhelpful, historic bickering and partisan hang-ups need to be dispensed in favour of the greater good.

Now that the NDP is facing another existential crisis with the passing of Jack Layton, it's as good a time as any to make the plea. It's time for the NDP and the Liberals to unite into one national party. It should be called the 'New Liberal Democratic Party', or NLDP for short.

Consider the arguments in today's column by Chantal Hebert:

"Unless the NDP rises to the challenge of convincing more Canadians outside Quebec that it is a contender for federal power, its support in the province will dwindle fast. And at some point, the party will also need to get its head around its relationship with the still very much alive Liberals....

"A majority of Quebecers also support a rapprochement between the Liberals and the NDP.

"The notion of a coming-together of their two parties is heresy to many Liberal and New Democrat activists in the rest of the country. Whenever the issue is raised, they point to their strikingly different pasts to foreclose the option of a common future.

"But against the seismic realignment that is ongoing in Quebec, that argument comes across as empty.

"These days, some of the Liberals and Bloc Québécois incumbents who were defeated in the last federal election are considering running provincially under the banner of the new party former PQ minister François Legault is trying to get off the ground.

"If a Quebec tent is large enough to shelter people who hail from such irreconcilable sides in the so-called national debate, the thinking — at least in Quebec — is that there should be a progressive tent sturdy enough to accommodate the NDP and the Liberals federally."

Under new, unseasoned leadership, the federal NDP will likely only pose a token threat to the Conservatives federally. Alone, those diehard Liberals may be able to increase their vote by a couple of percentage points if they're lucky. But the splits could actually mean fewer Liberal MPs, not more. The result: Conservative majority after Conservative majority federally. That would be disastrous for Canada.

The removal of public financing for parties will also make it next to impossible for both the NDP and Liberals to properly finance national campaigns that can compete against the Conservatives.

Alone, the Liberals are dead in most of Quebec, as well as most of Western Canada. The federal Liberals are no longer a national party. The NDP has a new foothold in Quebec that could easily dissolve, but also stronger pockets of support in the rest of Canada. But still the NDP, with its massive baggage, particularly in Ontario, faces hurdles that it may never overcome on its own.

Both brands need fixing. The best way to do it is to bring the best of both parties into one big tent. The federal Liberals can overcome their history of scandal by starting fresh in a new party. The NDP can gain critical credibility on the economy by embracing Liberals with their stronger records of fiscal and economic management. The result would be a highly credible alternative to the Conservatives capable of winning in every region of this country. Over the long term, such a new party would regularly beat the Conservatives.

Harper is counting on continued division in his opposition. He needs to be foiled. Those opposed to the Conservative agenda of Harper and others need to do the right thing. We need one centre-left party in Ottawa now!

p.s. The Economist also sees the value in such a merger.

Lightning strikes CN Tower in Toronto on Aug 24th, 2011

Lightning strikes the CN Tower at 00:30.....02:03.....02:45.....04:00.... 04:48...05:56 (shot from my Davenport balcony last night). Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Canada mourns 'courageous' Jack Layton

Canada mourns 'courageous' Jack Layton - Politics - CBC News

Let me add my voice to the chorus of sadness and praise for Jack Layton, who lost his battle with cancer today.

Jack was a champion of the little guy who fought his entire adult life for a better Canada for all. He was an unwavering supporter of gays and lesbians, something for which I will always be grateful.

I briefly met Jack once in the 1990s at some municipal conference at a Toronto hotel. (I can't honestly remember the details of the event, only Jack's friendly smile as he said, "Hello," to me, a total stranger, at the coffee table.) He was that kind of guy, as we all know, always willing to positively engage his fellow citizens. He was a leader like Canada had never seen before and he transformed modern politics for the better. His legacy is clear and now I hope the NDP can keep up Jack's momentum. I bet you they will be able to do so.

But in the mean time, this is a very sad day for Canada.

But even in death, Jack is inspiring. Some words from his final letter to Canadians prove it: "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world..."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

When Rob Ford lied about his drunk driving charge, did you really think he was telling the truth about his fiscal plan?

TheStar Ford poised to break promise of no layoffs

Rob Ford is a habitual liar. Everything that comes out of his mouth is either a complete fabrication or so twisted from reality it's hardly recognizable. The city's labour takes up 48% of the annual budget? Rob Ford says it's 80%. And the dummies in Ford Nation believe their big, fat, lying leader.

When Rob Ford was asked last summer about his 1999 arrest in Florida for drunk driving and marijuana possession, he lied to the media about it. He lied his fat, White trash face off about it. Only when he got caught, did he confess his guilt.

“I will assure you that services will not be cut, guaranteed,” he said on Oct. 8, two weeks before winning election. Yeah, right...

Next time you hear Rob Ford say anything, remember his record of lies and fabrications. Nothing he says is true.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why does ALL political, terrorist violence come from the right?

I'm overwhelmed with anger and frustration by the evils that continue to be perpetrated by right wing fanatics in this world. Innocent Labour party kids die in Norway because some right wing fanatic hates openness and his country's approach to multiculturalism?

It's time for conservatives to explain why ALL political, terrorist violence nowadays comes from the right side of the spectrum, be it Islamic or Christian or just plain fascist!

There's something inherently evil lurking in the hearts of far right conservatives, including an impulse to turn to violence and force to get their way when democratic means don't work. George W. Bush opted to go to war and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people when he had other options (but the profits to be made from war by those around his cabinet table proved too tempting to resist). Anders Behring Breivik didn't have that kind of power, but he did have his rifle and a lot of material for making a bomb. It's telling the gunman in Norway disguised himself as a police officer to conduct his murderous crimes on that island.

How many more times are we going to see some right wing nutbar take his unregistered rifle and murder innocent civilians before we on the left start fighting back? When is some left wing fanatic going to take a rifle and go on a shooting spree at Goldman Sachs in New York and kill the people who truly are dangerous threats to the world's economic security (and responsible for the 2008 worldwide, economic meltdown)? Left wingers don't usually own guns, let alone go on shooting sprees. That reality keeps these evil conservatives safe in a world they continue to denigrate with their hateful ideology.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Great video: My Fellow American

I was contacted by the folks who put up this site and asked to post this video. I'm happy to do so as the video's message of acceptance and equality is vital and continues to be important in both the U.S. and Canada 10 years after 9-11.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Liars at Sun Media remove last ounce of journalistic accountability, credibility

TheStar Sun Media ditches press council, citing issues with ‘political correctness’

Now Sun Media is completely free in Ontario to continue to print fiction and make up stories without any way for the public to complain. For a media organization obsessed with accountability for everyone else, this is the height of hypocrisy. I'd expect nothing less from the conservative assholes who run QMI Media and Sun Media (or conservative assholes anywhere.)

Remember that great fictional story in Sun Media about how Ignatieff started the Iraq war? Well, get used to more pieces of fiction gracing the pages of Sun Media. And now there will be no one to hold Sun Media liars to account for their yellow journalism and lack of professionalism.

This is why nobody should ever read Sun Media.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Homophobia trumps racism: Bigot Rob Ford plays favourites on the summer festival circuit...

TheStar: Rob Ford promises to attend Caribbean Carnival

For my friends of colour who insist racism is still a huge problem in Toronto, I give you exhibit A: Rob Ford. With his actions today, Toronto's white trash bigot of a mayor proves that homophobia is still far more fashionable than racism. What's worse, the virulent homophobes who make up a portion of the black community will take Ford's attendance at their festival just weeks after snubbing the batty boys as further "proof" that hating gays is, indeed, okay in Ford's Toronto.

Twenty years ago, a mayor like Ford wouldn't have been caught dead at something like Caribana. Such is the mindset of our bigoted, anti-mayor. But today, Ford sees the value in sucking up to certain communities in Toronto, namely the suburban minorities who refuse to accept that discrimination based on race can only be wrong as long as discrimination based on sexual orientation is also wrong.

Of course, Ford's mantra is to pick and choose which parts of society he'll respect and which parts he'll disrespect. He, like most conservatives, divides up the populace and plays favourites. He shows respect to his base and nothing but disdain for the rest.

Of course, Ford's base isn't as stable as he'd like it to be. He forgets his 47% of the vote in October 2010 was trumped by a divided 53%. The opposition won't be so divided in 2014 after four years of broken promises and/or deteriorating city services.

Ford's message today: discrimination based on sexual orientation and disrespect for LGBT people is A-okay. The contrast couldn't be clearer.

My message to non-homophobic Ford supporters: SHAME!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

So arrogant!

It's appalling that no Canadian who isn't a card-carrying Conservative loyalist can get anywhere near this guy and give him the "boo" he deserves.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bigot councillor Mammoliti continues his anti-gay witch hunt

TheStar Door open to Pride funding being cut

Toronto city councillor George Mammoliti - infamous for his disgustingly hateful speech against LGBT people in the 1990s for which he was never prosecuted and during which he was receiving public funds as a MPP - continued his witch hunt against the gay community this past Pride weekend, armed with a video camera.

The same weekend a radical Muslim conference in Toronto was extolling the virtues of executing homosexuals,
Mammoliti instead chose to try to hunt for alleged hate speech in the Dyke March. I most appreciated local MPP Glen Murray's tweet on Saturday that, "If Mammoliti is looking for a hate crime he should take his video camera to where the hate preachers are suggesting killing gays is ok."

It doesn't appear Mammoliti found any hate speech, in my opinion. Just some proud lefties expressing their opinions in public, something that clearly offends the powers that be at city hall. Check it out here for yourself.

The Toronto Star reports the contents of the video as: "17-minutes of tape, which Mammoliti plans to edit down, [and] shows about 30 parade marchers expressing pro-Palestinian opinions. Some carry a “Free Palestine” banner. Others call for a boycott of Israeli products. Others chant “End the occupation.” Some are not marching in the parade, but are standing at the sidelines."

So somebody shows up on a sidewalk next to the Dyke March expressing an opinion, and this leads to Pride losing its city funding? The people in the video were expressing their right to free speech and assembly, clearly things that Mammoliti doesn't respect (at least if expressing opinions he doesn't tolerate.)

I am sick and tired of some who continue to equate any criticism of Israeli government policy as akin to anti-Semitism. This is draconian, thought control at its worst and it seems to have taken hold in Mammoliti's tiny brain, as well as many others. The reign of idiots at Toronto City Hall continues, so we have to consider these attacks from the bigots running the mayor's office and Executive Committee seriously.

The voices of reason on city council at least continue to get consideration in the (for now) free press:

"Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, council’s only openly gay member, said the city would absolutely open itself to legal action [should it deny Pride funding on the basis of Mammoliti's footage.]

Ford adversary Councillor Shelley Carroll called Mammoliti’s position “dangerous.”

“It’s the broader implications that we have to look at here. What is a political message. Are we part of a nation that honours freedom of speech or not?” she said. “What precedent does it set? Where does your responsibility as a cultural event organizer begin and end? There have to be some parameters.”

I couldn't agree more. Sadly, these intelligent, reasoned positions are in opposition at City Hall.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New York passes equal marriage into law

Please excuse my silence over the last couple of days. I was on a road trip to drive a friend back home to Richmond, Virginia. We drove through New York state on Friday, as well as Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and onto Virginia. Little did I know that as we passed through New York, that state became the latest to pass same sex marriage into law! I didn't watch the news at all until returning to Toronto this week and only today heard about this historic win!

Congrats to New Yorkers for this giant step toward justice for all!

p.s. I'm still on vacation this week, so I'll have little time for blogging. But have a Happy Pride!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Harper Government fights to give cancer to the rest of the world with asbestos 'bombshell'

Canada drops asbestos 'bombshell'

This is disgusting and shows the moral core of Conservatives (and some Liberals) quite clearly: we're not even willing to warn the people how to handle the toxic exports we are selling to them.

Ask yourselves: do the majority of Canadians support the unlimited/unregulated export of toxic, cancer-causing asbestos? Is there nothing Canadians won't do for money? Once again, I am ashamed of what Stephen Harper is doing to our country (with only 39.6% of voter support.) We are an unenlightened, international pariah, part of the problem.

Ford's first really big mistake would be snubbing Pride...

TheStar James: Ford turns back on gay community by shunning Pride Misguided. Small-minded. Toronto has definitely taken several steps/decades back under Rob Ford.

What a dipstick of a mayor we have!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Inspiring blowback against Catholic school officials on the rainbow issue..

TheStar Catholic schools: Embrace the rainbow

And for the record: the kids at St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School and all Catholic high school students trying to form GSAs are my heroes! I never would've done that in high school, so it's heartening to see progress in Ontario Catholic environments.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Gay Who Wasn't Gay Enough

I just wanted to quickly give well deserved kudos to the makers of this little promo for Toronto's Gay Rugby Team. Wow! I'm tempted to join (tempted, I won't be actually joining...haha.)

Looking forward to blogging again soon when inspiration hits...

Monday, May 30, 2011

GREAT MOVE: Alberta Liberals open party votes to non-members

I have to say that if the federal Liberal Party does the same thing for its leadership and nominations, it will be well on the way to renewal and electoral recovery. A public primary would bring in thousands of votes, it would be extremely difficult to manipulate such a large pool of voters. Shenanigans by parties trying to manipulate the results by misleading voters or pushing an unacceptable candidate would likely face huge backlash from the public. Elections Canada would run the elections. Candidates would have to win the old-fashioned way: by being the best on the ballot. This could be the start of a great electoral evolution in Canada, if we dare to do the smart thing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Toronto Pride likely to receive city funding after threats over controversial group

Great news tonight from the City of Toronto's executive committee. I was glad to email them this past weekend. I have no idea if it made a difference. I'd like to think so. Congrats to the Proud of Toronto campaign, especially Mike Went and Doug Kerr, for galvanizing the community these past few weeks...

From: Matt
To: ""
Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2011 2:28:30 PM
Subject: Please save Pride Toronto

Dear Toronto Executive Committee Members -

As a longtime Toronto resident and member of the LGBT community, I am writing to strongly urge you to continue funding for Toronto Pride.

I have been appalled by the bizarre attacks by some on freedom of expression and association with regard to the Pride parade. While we may not agree with 'Queers Against Israeli Apartheid' or QAIA in terms of their tactics or even their name, we should not deny them the right to express their positions in a public event. Questioning some of the Israeli government's policies is not tantamount to hate speech, as some have suggested.

I do not support QAIA and I'm glad they have promised not to march in this year's parade. But they have a right to participate in Pride festivities elsewhere, the same as any group, as they do not break the law. But all of this talk about QAIA is a smokescreen. To cancel funding for hundreds of thousands of people because of the actions of 20 people is ridiculous!

Toronto Pride has been an important institution for freedom and culture in our city for decades. It has brought together our LGBT community and our allies for years. It is a symbol of the freedom shared by Torontonians and all Canadians. It brings in thousands of tourists every year, fills our hotels, our restaurants, our bars, our streets, for one big celebration at the start of summer.

It is appalling that the city would find no reason to invest in this celebration. The investment more than pays for itself as the money comes back many times over in terms of revenue for the city's businesses. Like any public event of this magnitude, it also requires policing and clean-up and I'm glad the city has provided that over the years.

I hope that your committee does the right thing and continues to support Toronto Pride. Do not listen to those city councillors who have in the past said some of the most hateful things about the LGBT community, who now tell us that alleged hatred against other communities is unacceptable. Some councillors on this issue are being hypocrites. I implore you to ignore that stupidity and make the best decision for the city of Toronto and all of its citizens.

Matt Guerin
Toronto, ON

Friday, May 20, 2011

Conservative and private media attack strategy against NDP already clear...

Stephen Harper's Conservatives have so many friends in the private media, from QMI and Sun Media to CTV. Already, Tory-leaning media friends have had a field day chasing down obscure NDP MPs-elect from Quebec, writing numerous stories about any resume mistakes the party may have made during the campaign. I'm sure we can expect no equivalent scrutiny against Tory backbenchers from the rest of the country from the same media. Do Canadians in English Canada care this much about backbenchers in the opposition? I don't think so.

But the anti-NDP narrative is now clear: all of those inexperienced, extremist amateurs from Quebec, some with alleged separatist tendencies (as long as you accept QMI's conservative spin), coupled with the NDP's socialist ideology, can never form an effective alternative to the Conservative majority. The narrative relies heavily on anti-Quebec sentiment in English Canada, writing off la Belle province as irrelevant.

The inherent dangers to national unity caused by the Conservative collapse in Quebec are ignored in favour of inside baseball analysis about some NDP MP nobody has ever heard of. At least, not all writers in the private media are drinking the conservative koolaid (thanks, Mr. Martin, for this accurate and scary portrait of the advantages Stephen Harper now possesses going forward.)

I trust Jack Layton and the NDP realize the forces they are up against over the next four years as they forge an alternative government and plan for 2015. Yes, many of their Quebec MPs look pretty green. Let's give them a chance to perform. In 2015, the NDP should allow fully democratic, open nominations in all ridings across the country and if their MPs perform well, they will be re-nominated. If not, they can be replaced by better people.

I also expect Jack Layton to continue to emphasize the practical, bread-and-butter issues he always has and follow the successful path of the Nova Scotia NDP. With Quebec in his corner plus way more support in English Canada than Harper has in Quebec, Jack Layton also has many advantages going forward too.

The next four years are going to be very interesting.

The lovely view from BeBloor

Snobby, elitist Star columnist Christopher (don't dare call him Chris) Hume may hate the look of my condominium building, BeBloor. But I can assure you the view from my ninth floor balcony is incomparable (see above picture.)

Yesterday, May 19th, was my birthday so it definitely wasn't appreciated seeing Hume heap scorn on my personal dwelling. I don't consider BeBloor a stunningly beautiful building, but it is pleasing enough and fits in with the other apartments and buildings in the area in the Junction Triangle, an area transitioning from old industrial to urban residential chique. I can assure the building is exceptionally well-run and filled with lovely people, many of them first-time buyers like me who enjoy being just outside the chaos of the downtown core. We are close to High Park, Roncesvalles, College West, Queen West West and The Junction.

Considering Hume also loves the ugly Chin Crystal fiasco at Bloor and Avenue, I think we can take his opinions with a grain of salt. Hume was, of course, one of the downtown elitist snobs at the Toronto Star who helped elect Rob Ford as Toronto mayor. Wow, I never thought I could sympathize with the folks out in the burbs. But if I had to choose between Rob Ford or Christopher Hume for Toronto mayor, I'd have to vote for Ford. And that says a lot.

Shape up, Toronto Star. Your snobby columnist is attacking personal living spaces and buildings not even built yet. I'm glad I canceled my Star subscription back in 2007 and I can assure you I will never buy a Toronto Star copy again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

'Proud of Toronto' campaign kicks into high gear to save Toronto Pride

I was happy to attend today's Proud of Toronto event at Toronto City Hall at this crucial time. It was quite an event and will hopefully serve to galvanize the LGBTQ community into action. As many will know, Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his neo-con followers are gunning for Toronto Pride this year, hoping to cut off funding for the annual event. They also hope to cut funding for LGBTQ Programs and Services like the 519 Community Centre, arts and culture, economic development, tourism, and HIV/AIDS programs and services.

It appeared they'd use the excuse of 'Queers Against Israeli Apartheid' to cut off funding. But now that that group has pulled out of this year's Toronto Pride parade, Rob Ford and his cohorts will no doubt be looking for any and all other excuses for denying funding.

Such investment into Toronto Pride, both through direct cultural funding as well as police and clean-up support, is crucial. As Pride co-chair Francisco Alvarez said today at the City Hall event, cutting off funding for Toronto Pride this year jeopardizes Toronto's World Pride celebrations in 2014 and could lead to Toronto Pride's bankruptcy.

Thus, it's crucial that everyone who supports Toronto Pride contact Toronto City councillors to urge them to resist the very real threat to cut off funding for this important institution.

I urge everyone to sign this petition and share it on Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else you can.

Like the Proud of Toronto campaign, I also urge you to write the City of Toronto's Executive Committee ahead of their meeting on May 24, 2011 about why Pride Toronto matters: They will vote that day on what recommendation to make to City Council on Pride Toronto funding. I will be emailing the committee as soon as I finish this post.

Join the campaign's Facebook page here. And most importantly, spread the word and sign the petition.

Friday, May 13, 2011

B.C. Conservative goes for the troglodyte vote in bid to resurrect moribund party was down from Thursday noon until today, so please forgive me for not blogging about this sooner. Simon has beaten me to it already.

The B.C. Conservative Party hasn't elected anyone since the 1970s. Now their great white hope is John Cummins, who served 18 years in Ottawa as a Reform Party turned Canadian Alliance turned Stephen Harper Conservative backbencher.

His strategy for putting his moribund party back on the map? It would seem to appeal to those on the far right who cling to their hatred of LGBT people. Cummins recently suggested that sexual orientation is a choice that does not require specific protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

“I'm not a scientist [but] some of the research tells me that there's more of an indication that that's a choice issue,” Cummins told a Victoria radio audience.

What research exactly? Did he ask John Baird? Probably not, as I'm sure he would've told him being gay is NOT a choice. I didn't choose to be gay, it chose me. Every gay man I've ever met has told me their sexuality was not something they chose. In fact, the only choice is whether or not to live your life as an openly gay person. For those who are bisexual, I can see how one might gravitate from one gender to another over time.

But Cummins' argument that something being a choice means it doesn't deserve human rights protection is disturbing for other reasons. Of course, religion is also a choice, but Cummins mentioned nothing about removing religious freedom protections from human rights acts. Even if sexual orientation were a choice, does this mean firing someone for being gay or refusing to do business with someone because they are gay is therefore okay?

Cummins' misguided position boggles the mind. This is the most press his leadership candidacy has garnered. Cummins is a shoe-in for the leadership as the deadline for others to declare has past. When he was later queried by more media about his anti-gay comments, Mr. Cummins said his opinions were personal.

“I'm pro-life, I'm pro-traditional marriage, that's my view, I'm not a scientist,” he told the Times Colonist. “I'm not going to discuss that, they're personal issues, private issues.”

Why must too many conservatives continue to rely on their knee-jerk ignorance when determining public policy? If I were an elected official and were asked to vote on an issue I knew little to nothing about, I'd want to do my research and make an educated, intelligent decision. But such fair thinking is foreign to conservatives like Cummins. In fact, truth and research just get in the way of their ideology and prejudices. Just ask Rob Ford.

This makes me wonder how many other Tory backbenchers in the newly-invigorated Tory majority caucus feel the same way about LGBT people and our rights. All LGBT people in Canada and those who support equality should be very wary about the next four years.


Since opening this can of worms, Cummins has backtracked on the issue a bit. So it was sloppy rhetoric that got him into trouble, not some devious scheme to represent the far-right in B.C. Good to know.