Saturday, January 27, 2018

Patrick Brown and the politics of sexual harassment and backlash

Ex-PC Leader Patrick Brown (CP/Aaron Vincent Elkaim)
This week saw the dramatic destruction of Patrick Brown's leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario after allegations of past sexual misconduct involving teenagers on his staff came to light.

The usual suspects in the media, sadly many women, are fast at work fanning the flames of alleged male victimhood, ignoring the facts that contradict their assumptions.  Whether they intend it or not, they are helping to spawn a backlash that will ultimately discourage real victims from coming forward again to hurt their favourite man-boys. 

It was fascinating that this story emanated out of CTV News, the private sector broadcaster not exactly known for its liberal biases.  Far from it.  Thus, when CTV unleashed this bombshell of a story about Brown, it was interesting that no one claimed the messenger of the story was biased.  Instead, it added credibility to the claims. 

Had the story come from the CBC, you can bet all of those private sector whiners like Christie Blatchford would be arguing as well this was also an unfair attack from a left-leaning "state broadcaster," in addition to her other tirades against the teenagers Brown allegedly threw himself upon.   

Is it fair in politics that a leader would have to resign because of some allegations that seem to ring true to the objective viewer, even though they haven't been proven in court?

Let's re-read that sentence's first five words: "Is it fair in politics...?"  There is no fairness in politics.  So that answers my question.  I am in agreement with Chris Selley on that one. 

"What about due process?" many scream in defense of men they assume are innocent in the face of multiple allegations.  It seems everybody accused of egregious acts gets removed from positions of power over the course of the investigation, once allegations are made.  Patrick Brown shouldn't be any different.

These same folks, of course, have little to say when the accused are black or Muslim or gay.  In the face of racial profiling by police, these folks typically make the argument, "If you haven't done anything wrong, what are you afraid of?"  Perhaps they should consider asking men that question today instead of giving credence to the bogus argument that white men are somehow today's biggest victims.

Patrick Brown led a coup against the PC Party establishment in 2015 to become the leader by out-hustling Christine Elliott in membership sales and voter turnout.  He's an expert organizer.  But in the other crucial tasks of politics, like earning love, loyalty and commitment from colleagues, the kind of which wouldn't evaporate instantly the moment a story like this breaks, he clearly wasn't great.    

So weak an impression he had made as leader, it wasn't entirely stunning to see him fall so fast this week.  It was fitting.  Suddenly, his strange bachelorhood despite being modestly attractive and clearly talented made sense.  He's not the settling type, it seems.

My impression has always been if any straight man looking to settle down possesses a tiny amount of decency and talent, even barely above mediocre, to say nothing of his looks, there's at least ten wonderful, more decent, more talented, more attractive women out there willing to commit to him should he love them back.  Such is how our society works in North America, I find.  The good ones always get scooped up early.  It's the not-so-good ones who can't seem to settle down, I find.  Christie Blatchford would blame women for this, of course, even though the fault lies with the guys. 

That, of course, doesn't apply to gay men, who have an entirely different life experience having to seek out romance and love from other men (that is, after enduring the trauma of accepting ourselves and coming out of the closet.)  Generally, most men just aren't that great at giving love, sadly.  We're great at taking it, that's for sure.  Many of us do eventually learn to give love too as most women do. 

Why are women better at this than men?  Well, look at how society treats all women.  It's a humbling experience from start to end.  Arrogance, the kind of which seems intrinsic in even the most mediocre of men, is not something that is tolerated in women, as we know.  If Hilary Clinton can be defeated by the likes of Donald Trump, then all women are vulnerable.  I wonder when Christie Blatchford or Rosie Di Manno are going to write about that topic?  

But back to Patrick Brown.

I never thought much of him.  As a leader, he was mediocre at best.  The best thing he had going for him was the sense that his governing opponents, the Ontario Liberals, deserve tossing out of office.  I was not looking forward to him possibly governing Ontario.  In fact, I had major doubts he'd get elected, despite Kathleen Wynne's unpopularity.

Now who knows what will happen with the Ontario PC leadership?  There doesn't seem to be any one candidate who will be the consensus choice.  Christine Elliott was that person in 2015 and she got crushed by the likes of Brown.

Sadly we cannot underestimate the stupidity of the Tory base, who have shown themselves more than capable of rejecting the best candidates in favour of the crappiest the last two leadership races.  These are folks who think a 19-year-old, home-schooled ideologue is more qualified to be an MPP than others three times his age and life experience. 

We shall see.  Brown is finished, thankfully.  Now this gives the Ontario PC Party a chance to get it right.  Will they?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Anti-gay discriminators now complaining about getting a taste of their own medicine re: Canada Summer Jobs program

For decades if not centuries, social conservatives and devoutly religious types have led the charge in favour of discrimination against LGBT people.  They have fought tooth and nail to ruin the lives of people like me.  They regularly threw vulnerable LGBT youth out of their own families, homes, businesses, schools, churches and other organizations.  

But in Canada in the 1990s, the mainstream culture started to change for the better.  Why?  For a whole slew of reasons, including the fact that more LGBT people continued to come out of the closet, thus humanizing the experience for many formerly ignorant straight people.

Another important reason was the arrival of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada.  Courts ruled starting in the 1990s that LGBT people were entitled to equal treatment under the law, thanks to the Charter.  In 2003 in Ontario, a court ruled that same sex couples have the legal right to marry, a decision which was confirmed by the Canadian Parliament in 2005, extending marriage rights to all LGBT people across the country.

During this entire period, let us not forget who fought progress every step of the way: social conservatives and the devoutly religious.  For them, their religious beliefs trumped basic human dignity and equality under the law.  From a position of power, they demanded that LGBT lives remain second class.

As we know, the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper called same sex marriage a "threat" to this country.   Harper wasn't able to stop equal marriage of course.  But he certainly undermined LGBT rights and all human rights in other ways, including cancelling the Court Challenges Program which provided vulnerable citizens suffering from discrimination with financial support to fight that discrimination in the courts. 

I'm glad to say that the gains LGBT people have made in this country now seem fairly entrenched.  But I'll never forget how hard those social conservatives fought against my basic humanity, dignity and equality. 

So there is a certain poetic justice today seeing so many of the same religious folks now whining about alleged "discrimination" against them by the Trudeau government over its changes to its Canada Summer Jobs Program.  Predictably, Conservative MPs who fought against human rights for LGBT people and still refuse to attend community Pride celebrations, are going to bat for their social conservative friends.

This is a gross recent trend we've seen from many conservatives: adopt the language of the progressive left to draw false equivalence comparisons between real historical oppression and the loss of power they're now sensing.   

"Oh look, I have to sell a wedding cake to a same sex couple.  I'm oppressed!"

And of course, there is a steady stream of conservative politicians like Donald Trump and Andrew Scheer more than happy to go to bat for them.

How soon these Canadian conservatives forget that up until they were forced to accept equality for all people in law, they opposed it. 

On the issue of the Summer Jobs Program change, it does seem that the Trudeau government is playing a bit of 'culture war' politics here, using this minor issue to get a lot of attention.  That's politics.  Is it discrimination on the basis of religion that some organizations are being forced to check a box on an application form they think contradicts their faith?  Perhaps.  Is it just for Canadian tax dollars to fund summer jobs for students who are working on anti-abortion campaigns or fighting basic equality for all?  I don't think so.  Or if many of those jobs would do no such thing, yet the organization as a whole nurtures an anti-gay culture and environment?  I wouldn't say I'm crazy about that.  We have a lot of need in this society that is currently being met by religious charities.  I do think a commitment to serve all people without discrimination is essential for receiving public tax dollars. 

Yet our tax dollars fund Catholic public schools in Ontario which teach that women are not fully equal to men, that abortion is a sin and that LGBT people are sub-human.  Of course, none of the conservatives squawking now about the Summer Jobs Program have much to say in opposition to that state of affairs.  It's only when they feel the twinge of injustice against themselves do they now appeal to the very human rights laws they vigorously opposed just a few years ago.

I don't have much sympathy for them.  If they feel they are being discriminated against, they should take the Trudeau government to court over it.  And if they take that path, they'll be able to use the renewed Court Challenges fund (which the Trudeau government re-instated) to help in their fight.   

****UPDATE January 23, 2018****

This story today clarifies the government's position very well, which in my mind means that these rules governing the Canada Summer Jobs program aren't discriminatory at all.  In fact, I have to support them wholeheartedly.  I do not want my public tax dollars going to organizations that plan to hire students to engage in discriminatory activities.