One thing I’ll say for Bruce Carson -

One thing I’ll say for Bruce Carson

MERCER: Unlike some, at least he had the courage to bring the person he was dating to an event at the boss’s house

One thing I’ll say for Bruce Carson

Frank Lennon/GetStock

I am about to be embedded. This week, in the employ of Maclean’s, I will be following in the footsteps of a long line of brave journalists who risked life and limb to get the real story, visiting hot spots and danger zones all over the world without any regard for personal safety. This is the week where I will follow Canada’s leaders around the country on the campaign trail. I will go where I am told, take notes and try my darndest to become co-opted by unlimited glasses of Canadian wine and deli-grade funeral meats. I am, if nothing, a cheap date.

While I admit I am not a journalist, I do play one on TV, so the thought of sitting on an actual campaign plane hobnobbing with Craig Oliver has me very excited. Like Keith Richards, Craig has been around. He has stories.

The actual process of becoming embedded, however, has left me shaken.

To get on the Liberal plane or the NDP bus, all they require is my name and my employer’s credit card number. I get the impression that the Liberal and NDP tours are like desperate men in a singles bar. Once the lights come on they have low standards. Anyone with a pulse will do.

The Conservative plane is another story. Ironically, to get on the Conservative plane one has to fill out a mandatory long form. And like Canada’s one-time mandatory census, it is so invasive it has left me shaken to my core. While they stop short of asking how many bedrooms I have in my home, they do insist on having my personal credit card number, my employment history, my passport number, my BlackBerry email address, cellphone number, height, weight and eye colour. This upsets my libertarian sensitivities.

Yes, I admit I freely give out my credit card number online and over the phone all the time. Giving my credit card information to a stranger from eBay is one thing, but I’m just not comfortable giving the government this information.

I am terrified about identity theft. What is there to stop the next convicted felon Stephen Harper hires as a policy adviser from using this information to order marital aids online or hire escorts and stick me with the bill? Or even worse, what if six months down the road I start getting robot calls from Jason Kenney’s leadership team on my unlisted cell number?

Despite these fears I will bite the bullet and fill out the form. A campaign brings new revelations every day, and I want to be there to witness history. This past week was no exception.

It was this week that we found out that the long-held Liberal claim that Stephen Harper once wrote “It’s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act” is simply not true. I kind of guessed this. I happened to be in the room in Calgary when newly elected Prime Minister Harper addressed the Fraser Institute; I remember the exact moment when he said his government would continue to uphold the act, because the 1,000 people who paid to attend responded like he had spit in their soup.

It was this week that we learned that Stephen Harper is not just tough on crime but also tough on old hockey players. The most recent Harper ad features the famous footage of Paul Henderson’s historic 1972 goal against the Russians. Turns out the Harper campaign used this clip without permission. Everyone who wants to use this clip has to license it and pay for it, with no exceptions. It is, after all, someone else’s property. To make matters worse, the money raised from licensing the clip goes directly to members of the team, none of whom made the money that professional hockey players make today. When Canadians watch this clip they are filled with pride, unless of course you’re one of the poor buggers with sore knees who rely on that clip to pay the rent and you know the cheque is not in the mail.

It was this week we learned that Michael Ignatieff did vote in England even though he said he didn’t, but apparently that doesn’t matter because Canadians are allowed to do that. We also learned that when Ignatieff said he was voting in a U.S. election he was just saying that because he was talking to a U.K. paper and he figured they didn’t have Google. It was this week that he made my head hurt.

It was this week we learned that Heritage Minister James Moore attended university and a good one at that—the University of Northern British Columbia. This revelation came courtesy of the Liberal department of dirty tricks, which released a university paper written by a young James Moore in which he seems to take a decidedly anti-abortion stance.

This is awkward for Moore, because in all his years of public life he has been vocally pro-choice. He has walked the walk on this file. He is a proud member of the progressive wing of the Conservative caucus, a group that can fit comfortably in a Smart car.

This dirty trick has sent shock waves across all parties, because let’s face it: many MPs did things in college they aren’t that proud of, and in some cases they live in fear of these past indiscretions being made public.

For example, there are rumours that in second year Jack Layton once rode a bicycle three full city blocks without a helmet, a potentially devastating revelation to his base.

Likewise, voters of Canada might be shocked to learn that as a student at the University of Toronto, Bob Rae faced expulsion after he organized a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention concert at Convocation Hall. The concert got out of control and it took two months to get the shaving cream out of the organ pipes.

Years later at the same school a young Tony Clement formed a campus political club for the express purpose of inviting a representative of the whites-only Apartheid government in South Africa to speak to students. No established political organization would invite the pro apartheid forces onto the university so Tony stepped into the breach.

We all get a pass for being idealistic in our teens and early twenties and turns out Tony is no exception.*

Hopefully this week will mark the end of the silly season, and in these last crucial days a debate over ideas will break out. I am hopeful but I won’t hold my breath.

At the very least I hope that while I’m on the road there are no more Bruce Carson revelations. I am starting to feel a tad guilty about the pile-on for this man. In fact, I find the latest revelation that he brought a former professional escort to 24 Sussex Drive to socialize with the Prime Minister endearing. At least Carson had the courage to bring the person he was dating to a social event at the boss’s house. Ask any of the multitude of gays that work tirelessly for the Conservative party if they have ever brought a date to 24 Sussex, and they immediately change the subject to something they are more comfortable with: why universal child care is a bad idea, why Canada shouldn’t send cheap AIDS drugs to Africa, or why Ezra Levant of Sun TV fame is such a dreamy crumpet.

I will say this: if the opportunity arises to ask a question, I will not. I have decided to limit myself to five questions a day and I have decided that all are too important to waste on any leader of any party.

I will instead keep those questions for the flight attendants, the drivers, the staffers, the folks around the periphery. After 20 years on the road, I have learned they know everything. I shall keep their identities secret until the death. I am, if anything, a vault.


*EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this column made reference to an invitation extended by Tony Clement to a representative of South Africa’s apartheid government to debate at the University of Toronto in the mid-1980s. Mr. Clement did so to protect the principle of free speech. Mr. Clement opposed apartheid and anticipated the ambassador, Glen Babb, would meet a hostile audience.


One thing I’ll say for Bruce Carson

  1. You gave the PMO your credit card info? Oh, no!

    Not only will you be paying for the busty hookers, but also the viagra, the sparkling muscatel, and the chicken wings afterwards.

    • And those dreadful CD collections of love sings from the 70's .

      • Feelings! Wo Wo Wo Feeeeelings…

        • I'm thinking maybe a little Peaches and Herb? Def some Barry White.

          And Donna Summers: She Works Hard for the Money!

  2. 'Ask any of the multitude of gays that work tirelessly for the Conservative party …'

    I don't normally agree that gays should be outted….but when they work against other gays by promoting the SoCon Harper bunch….perhaps an exception or two would be in order.

    • And yet it is we conservatives that you accuse of fascist tendencies. It's no different than the millions of feminists who revile Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin, both of whom manage to embody everything that feminism says a modern woman should aspire to be, but do so while committing the ultimate crime of being a conservative. Hmmm…
      As a conservative, I probably disagree with Rick Mercer on just about everything. What I admire about him is the fact that he's consistent and honest in his opinions, something sorely lacking among so-called progressives. That makes his opinion actually worth something. He's a genuine honest observer.

      • Which has what to do with what I said?

        • I was merely pointing out the fascist nature of your statement was all. You so-called "progressives" have such a hard time with the idea that members of certain officially designated "victim" groups have the audacity to think for themselves it often leads you to expose your inner fascist such as you just did. (Keeping in mind that every fasist government in history was also a socialist one, ie Castro's Cuba, etc.)
          Do some homework some day and read up on some accounts of the vicious treatment that conservative gays and lesbians have endured at the hands of fellow gays for the crime of being conservative, or how conservative professors at most universities are forced to hide their political affiliations or risk social and professional ostracization and even job loss.

          • Oh that's 'all' is it?

            I have no idea what a 'progressive' in this country is…never met one.

            I'd love to find some group in Canada that 'thought for themselves'….but I've never met one of those either. Most people just rhyme off slogans they've heard, and mistake that for original thought when it isn't.

            Fascist…well that would be Mussolini…a man who said corporations and the state are one…does that sound like the anti-corporate left wing to you? Much less your mythical 'progressives'?

            Most fascist states are anti-gay…and the politics of those gays have nothing to do with it. The conservative party right here in Canada has lots of gays….who harm other gays with their ideology.

            No professor in Canada has to 'hide' anything…universities have professors from the entire political spectrum….and in most fields…math, science, business etc…their political parties don't even come into it.

            Don't play victim with me buddy….because you aren't one.

          • Well said Emily 1 -the con double speak gives me a headache.

          • I never read Bill claiming to be a victim. Perhaps OE has a different feed than the rest of us. It's more likely (s)he is projecting a sense (wish) that OE could be a "victim" too, 'cuz they are the privileged class in Canada.

          • "I'd love to find some group in Canada that 'thought for themselves'….but I've never met one of those either. Most people just rhyme off slogans they've heard, and mistake that for original thought when it isn't."

            It saddens me that someone with your intelligence has such a small opinion of Canadians. This prejudice obviously taints your judgement. Canadians of all political stripes are much smarter than you give them credit for.

            ".who harm other gays with their ideology."

            Nice use of the slogan words "harm" and "ideology".

          • The truth hurts eh?

          • The interesting part of Rick's idea would be to see who was actually crueler to outed conservative gay party staffers, their own colleagues or the "fascist progressives" you so fear, Bill. After all, I'm sure I recall the opposition days when the Conservative Party of Canada was all about truth in government and freedom of information…

            It's what a group DOES to the minorities once they find them that reveals their fascist tendencies. Progressives are FAR less united than the CPoC, before you feel all encouraged that a few professors feeling vulnerable makes for fascism among all progressives. I have been shouted down on first meeting by conservatives in tutorial and conference socials, so I know that hair-trigger tempers and harrassing ways are certainly not something conservatives are immune to as a group locally.

            Here in Vancouver, and back in Toronto I know several moderate and probable conservative gays who are out, working in mainstream Fortune 500 jobs, and in no danger of firings or becoming pariahs… Of course, they don't work in politics and deny their identity as part of their job agreement. Something to think about. I hope you have room in your imagination for progressives who are friends with conservatives, and the idea of not cutting off your nose to spite your face, which is Rick's point about gays working for antigay policy.

      • So, feminists must do the opposite of revile, *love* Thatcher and Palin despite their political views because they are women? Are you telling feminists to behave and stay in their place only focusing on the advancement of women and not reaching so far above themselves as to also hope that women can participate in democracy by having their own political opinions? I am allowed to revile whatever politician I want as a woman. "Progressiveness" has come a long way since women were fighting for the vote and for anyone at all female to be allowed into office!

        • Neither Thatcher nor Palin are shining examples of feminism; Bill doesn't know much about women.

          • Just what exactly differentiates them from "shining examples of feminism", pray tell.? Other than their conservatism? Both are financially successful, educated, dynamic, strong-willed, etc. Sorry, the only thing you have against them is that they're conservative and for that you don't merely dismiss them, you demonize them.
            I never inferred that you should love them, merely pointed out the curiosity that so-called progressive feminists have a strange antipathy to two examples of women who seem to embody much of what feminism espouses. I would think that you would at least hold them in higher regard than someone such as, say, Hillary Clinton, who remains married to a serial philanderer. I'd have told her to get out of Dodge years ago. Her Bill's a sleazebag. Think about this- Her hubby's had more girlfriends than I've had underwear, and she sits and takes it. At the same time, she's the very front line of American diplomacy. You want to telegraph weakness? Hillary's a public doormat. She doesn't merely telegraph weakness, she puts it out in IMAX 3D!
            As a member of the Anglosphere, I'm far more comfortable with a Dame Thatcher or a Sarah Palin in a position of power than a doormat like Hillary.
            But, we digress. The idea that progressives don't operate in packs is laughable. Where do you think the whole political correctness disease came from. If we conservatives sometimes come across as harsh, it's because we're not afraid to call something patently stupid, stupid. Unfortunately, that describes far too much of the ideology of the left, and we just get tired of the dumb. (ie- when people make the absurd statement that government employees are somehow taxpayers)

          • Rightwing !ssho!es are rightwing !ssho!es whether they are male or female. Female rightwing !ssho!es tend NOT to be feminists as in working for equality, pay equity, more women in political office, etc.

            What did Thatcher ever do to work towards equality for women? As for Palin – she is a bigoted cretin working to drag women down and anyone who tries to call her a feminist is ignorant or dishonest.

          • Again, I thank you for making my point for me ever so more eloquently than I can myself. It's always so humorous to see how quickly you lefties/socialists/liberals/progressives devolve into tirades of profane name calling, simply because you lack the intellectual depth to actually engage in debate.
            Come back to the debate table when you've graduated from high school and grown some intellect, darlin'.

          • And the tighty righties get all condescending and paternalistic. I agree with Holly: you're an asshole.

          • Bill writes: "..If we conservatives sometimes come across as harsh, it's because we're not afraid to call something patently stupid, stupid…" Then in the very next post Bill accuses me of name-calling for calling !ssho!es, !ssho!es.

            Bit of a double-standard there, Bill. Not a good example of intellectual debate. Try to lose the bigotry if you want to indulge in an honest debate.

          • Right, they are examples of strong women doing it their way, not the sisterhood way. And that's what chaps the feministas' buttocks.
            Thatcher made herself successful, she didn't demand that she be treated differently. Thank God the feministas are not that strong. Their weakness is all that is holding them back.

        • Kristine, please.

          Even you have to agree that feminism constitutes an ideological framework that spills over into every aspect of society. It's obviously more than just a fight for feminine equality. It's pro-union, pro-Palestinian, pro-political correctness etc. and obviously all for abolishing the freedoms of others who disagree with feminist ideology.
          By the way, the same is true with gay activists, environmental activists…. heck, it's true with all activism.

          That's why activism is becoming increasingly distasteful in the minds of average Canadians. There's nothing progressive about it. It's all re-hashed Marxist, anti-colonial baloney that has only screwed every society where it emerged unfettered. People are becoming increasingly convinced that the world would be a better place if we just ignore the activists.

          It's good to see so many gay Canadians freeing themselves from their distasteful activism and progressively engaging in good, common sense politics.

          • Pele, EVERY ideology has a lunitic fringe that tries to silence those who disagree with them. That is no more true for feminists and gay rights advocates than it is for Christians (who have shot abortion doctors and bombed gay book stores) and Conservative party members (one of whome punched a gay rights advocate during a 2004 campaign rally, you might recall)

            Defining those who follow a certain ideology by the extremists among them is just simplistic bigotry. …especially when you're doing it selectively.

      • First of all, I don't know any feminists who take Sarah Palin seriously enough to revile her.

        As far as gay Conservatives go (note the capital "C"), I can't speak for all gays any more than you can, but speaking for myself, I hate people who try to rob me of my human rights. I don't care what their sexual orientation is. Members of the Conservative party meet that description. The fact that some are gay is surprising, but I don't revile them any more than their straight counterparts. I do think, however, the the world has a right to know that they're the kind of people who loathe themselves so much that they will hide the person they love in order to get ahead in their political career.

  3. Rick, your bias already shows and you haven't written a column yet. That's too bad.

    • boo hoo

    • That damn reality

    • I'm sorry, when has Rick Mercer ever claimed to provide unbiased news? He claims not even to be a journalist in this article.
      I have to say, he'd be a pretty poor opinion piece writer if he had no opinion…

      • To back up your comment further, I present you straight from Mr. Mercer's twitter account: "Real reporters work very hard. I'm glad I just play one on TV. Pretending to write Macleans column, really tweeting."
        I still stand by what I said about him calling out the parties fairly evenly. It might seem like he focuses on Harper, but when Harper makes Harper the Harper, then what else is there to Harper?

        • Did you just use Harper as a verb?

          • Haha, as in "harp off." I wish harper would harp off.

    • I've noticed Rick criticizes the politicians without too much bias. For what it's worth, he's made more sense of politics for me than the politicians themselves.
      I haven't heard one iota of an opinion on who I should be voting for, just that I should be voting. Biased is a sovereign Harper, which he seems to think he is already.

        • Yes, but as I understand it, it's his bias that drives him to pick on Conservatives. Same with the whole "liberal media".

          • This is, of course, why Mercer was offered a job on Sun TV?

          • Well, I always thought it was odd that the Sun papers had the Doonesbury comics.

          • I suspect that would have been so they could crow about stealing him from CBC, obsessed as they seem to be with the CBC.

  4. Your experience getting on the tours is like going to the Bars on George Street. The Good ones that everyone wants to go to have lineups and cover charges. and the lousy ones have no cover and cheap booze specials. The crowds are willing to pay for the best experience.

    Be sure to write about the size of the crowds on the tour.
    The other people you should interview on tour are the constituency associations. Something the media should report on is how thin the veneer is of each of these parties organizations. And how hard it is for them to field candidates in all ridings.

  5. Rule #1: Just the facts, ma'am

    The Henderson hockey footage is not the famous footage from game #8 as illustrated by the Frank Lennon photo accompanying your column. (You may want to fix the words and picture.)

    The hockey footage is from game #7 which also featured Paul Henderson scoring the winning goal.

    You're no doubt too young to remember but Henderson scored 3 game-winning goals in Russia. For this reason alone he should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. (A solid, reliable Red Wing and Leaf, too.)

  6. Since when have clowns been allowed to board the planes and buses of Canada's party leaders? Are you going to wear your red nose and big floppy shoes?

    • Since they've had buses and planes for the party leaders.

    • The parties are going all Jon Stewart and Daily Show on us, trying to use comedians to attract the youth vote perhaps? After all, Rick is generally hard on policy and easy on politicians, freeing up party budgets for more and more attack ads.

  7. Mercer is like Hunter Thompson gone weirdly sane.

  8. Whether Harper said it in public or private he plans to gut the Canada Health Act, after all he is aligned with the Republican Party who are attempting to destroy any semblance of the Canadian Health System which has stood as a model to the world. Harper will continue to trash women's health programs, Status of Women, women's shelters and Planned Parenthood the underpinnings of society's safety nets-how much more evidence do you need?

    • Actually, that's why we are voting for him. If those programs were so popular, they would pay for themselves. But then, the grievance industry is long on rent-seeking and short on creating anything of value. To anyone. Anywhere. At any time.

      • You prefer to subsidize the oil companies and the banks?

        • No, but they do create jobs and wealth, thus leading to prosperity. If you can't make money you shouldn't be in business. Welfare is welfare, whether it is corporate or personal. Some people may actually require welfare/benefits to get by in the short term, but there should be no place for that in business. Corporate welfare makes us pay too much twice for products- once at tax time, and again at the till as companies are disincentivized to become efficient.
          However, if there is an upside, and it is exceedingly small and inefficient, to corporate welfare, at least business creates jobs and wealth. The grievance industry does neither. It acts as a funnel straight to our bank accounts and promotes an entitlement/victim culture which is, in the short term, sad, and in the long term, nationally debilitating.

  9. Other embarrasing things politicians did in university:

    Rob Anders would walk into a class room at the U of C, give the class the Nazi salute, and call out "Big Smile!"

    He thought this was quite funny. Say it out loud, and perhaps you'll see the humor in it as well…

    ..though I never did.

    • So where is Anders hiding out during this election? I think he was somewhere in BC last time.

      I see the Vote Out Anders website has been updated a little bit, and apparently there is a Facebook Voteoutanders page too.

  10. I know this is not on topic but I'm looking for help understanding something.I'm not sure I understand that.Something is very odd about the polls. Aside from never getting a call on my landline, so many people have cells! And these panels that Nanos uses, you can "apply" to be on them online – surely that means a certain type of person is attracted by being on a political panel, not exactly a normal thing for most people.

    And I know Facebook is not legit polling, but it has mattered in other elections around the world and what is happening there is completely different from published leadership/party polls. Stephen Harper was the most popular page BEFORE the election. But somewhere after that, Michael Ignatieff pulled into the lead, leaving Jack Layton in third about 13,000 behind Ignatieff. NOW, in just the last week, Stephen Harper's Facebook support has just stagnated. Layton was 7 or 8000 behind him weeks ago; today, he is just 3000 behind Harper and still moving. Harper's numbers on the page just dont' move anymore. As for Ignatieff, he has shot way past Harper, now over 10,000 people more popular than Harper, and 13,000 more than Layton. And both Layton and Ignatieff steadily add fans.

    Ok, I know there is nothing scientific about facebook. But all the margins of errors on Nanos polls and everyone else, particularly regional, can be up to +/- 10% . Especially the daily fluctuations that get the headlines, everyone is vastly within the margin of error from day to day.

    Facebook has to be an indicator of some kind, and its numbers for each leader is COMPLETELY different than anything I've seen reported.

    So does anyone care to comment or provide me with insight into this?

    • So does anyone care to comment or provide me with insight into this?

      I think that if pollsters could figure out how to translate Facebook numbers into voting probabilities they would have done it already. As it stands, it's probably hard to know how many of those are eligible voters, where they would be located, etc.

      It's not that the information is useless, it's just that it hasn't been correlated to a specific set of results.

      • Never mind the polling on Facebook, what about the campaigning by supporters. The NDP supporters are relentless!

    • You do know that most people become fans of these pages for the sole purpose of heckling, right?

  11. Layton Mania !

    Jack won the debates for me, no other leader can touch Jack as an average Joe Canadian you can TRUST.

    I was considering voting Liberal(ABHarperRegime), but when Jack mentioned the Liberal leaders lack of attendance it really hit a nerve for me, as I've always thought to myself that I just cant picture Iggy sitting their in opposition if he looses the leadership?, I think he'll be long gone back to his American home.

    The hardest working MP in Parliament, bar none.

    • You can't actually trust any politician. That's why they are perfect for politics.

      Your can't trust Jack Layton. He's perfected the opposition angle, I'm not at all sure that he is anywhere near capable at being a P.M. Most Ontarioans remember the Bob Rae fiasco, which gave surge to the Common Sense revolution which, in turn, gave us years of bland, non-descript, banal McGuinty governance. Let's not repeat this cycle on the federal level, please.

      We'd like to see better from our federal government. You may hate Harper, but I think it's mostly unreasonable. By all fundamentals, he's the best choice for Canadians at this time.

  12. AGREED. Rick should run for OFFICE –

    be a REAL Leader and then we can follow him to the slaughterhouse like sheep or Cattle, or VOTERS.

    as soon as we learn to stop following the LEADERS we will succeed, but for Rick we will be MERCIFULL and leave as a exception, becauze he still is not a Real POLITICIAN yet, and he is just a comedian, who is smarter than most.

  13. Bill, you do have a tremendous penchant for straying off topic, don't you? The matter of concern was my rights as a gay person. The Conservative party in it's various formations, voted against laws that would protect me from job discrimination, give me the right to seek support from an errant spouse the way straight people can, give me the right to marry my partner, and give me various other types of partnership recognition that straight people have that make it possible to — for example — quit a job to follow a partner to another city and receive EI support.

    Your claim that we all have equal access to the courts no matter what is nonsense. We only have equal access to the courts if the laws the courts enforce provide for such things.

  14. You failed to read carefully. I was referring to Thatcher and Palin specifically. However, if you believe the shoe fits you as well, I will not argue that it does not.

    And you have no understanding of how the Bloc actually rose, which I remember because I lived through that time. The two extreme parties, the Bloc and Reform, grew up together and fed on each others' bigotry. Neither one would have gotten far without having the other to rail against.

    So you can thank the bigoted rightwingers for the Bloc.

    • Sorry, but the Reform Party was a response to institutionalized bigotry as well as Western concerns over taxation without representation.
      The entire raison d'etre of the Quebec separatist movement is anti-Anglo bigotry. Restrictions on linguistic civil liberties are a corner stone of the separatist ideology. Remember, a party that will attack your civil rights based solely on language won't stop there. The alleged bigotry of Reformers plays well in the CBC crowd, but it's a non-starter. I challenge you to make the case that the Reform party was broadly bigoted. By that I mean bring to the table something at least plausible that we would be a threat to civil liberties in the same fashion that the separatists have been and continue to be.
      What we wanted, and continue to want is less government, and a more balanced representation for Westerners in parliament. (Currently, BC and Alberta have the same land area as Quebec, greater population, and considerably less representation in Ottawa than Quebec, despite being two out of three province who actually shoulder the burden of national taxation. That is a direct abuse of my civil liberties.)

      • We are talking about the Reform idiots who wanted to get rid of the Charter of Rights. Who whine about "activist" judges. Who cut the Court Challenges Program.

        Bill you do not know anything about civil liberties.

  15. I live in Alberta Bill, and the whiniest people here are the rightwingers. Just like Harper trying to pretend that he is being persecuted because he was found to be in contempt of Parliament. He fully deserved that, and I am sick to death of whiney Conservatives pretending to be victims.

    • But, you like our money…

      • I've lived in Alberta all my life, you cretin, and I am sick of incompetent rightwing politicians giveng away our resources to foreign corporations for penies. I am sick of them cutting funding to our hospitals and schools while they give themselves huge raises and give enormous tax breaks to foreign-owned oil companies.

        It's not our money, it's all going to the US, fool, and we will have to clean up the poisonous mess they leave behind.

  16. For a guy who doesn't like whining, Bill, you sure are doing a lot of it. I'm glad you've managed to work in workplaces where good employees were rewarded regardless of sexual orientation. You may be shocked to learn that your personal experience is not indicative of the way things are everywhere. Moreover, actual discrimination in employment is only a small part of the discrmination I raised – most of which you didn't respond to, I notice. The human rights bill the Conservatives voted against also gave me access to the same employment benefits for my partner that heterosexual partners got. Why did they think it should be OK to give me less compensation than you? And I note you haven't bothered addressing the family recognition and benefits issues I raised.

    But mostly I'm finding it amusing that you said to me basically, "so what if someone denies you a job or a house. Just move on" Just a moment ago, you were wailing about the fact that somebody called you names for being a conservative. Something tells me that if someone denied you a house of a job for being a conservative, you'd have a hard time moving on.

    • My point was that only gays who actually manage to make their sexuality an issue in the workplace have problems. But, you have to think it through. How does that become an issue in the first place unless you throw it in their face? You forget that others have rights, too. The simple freedom to discriminate is far more complex than you allow. We all discriminate all the time in various ways. I don't drive Chevy's. That's discrimination. I genuinely dislike anyone who is an unapologetic member of the Liberal Party of Canada due to the criminal nature of the organization. That's discrimination.
      I dislike gay men who are effeminate. The rest I don't give any thought about. Their sexuality doesn't matter to me. I don't tolerate telemarketers. That's discrimination, too. But, would I allow the civil liberties of any of the people I dislike to be abridged? No. And that's the big difference between many here and myself. Lots would, and they're all on the left. I wouldn't tolerate laws against homosexuality, or any other of a number of intrusions of the state into our lives. That means I'm a greater bulwark against intrusions into your civil liberties than most of the people you ally yourselves with (Gays Against Israeli Apartheid!? Are you kidding me? Beyond the stupidity of equating Israel with apartheid, aligning yourselves with a movement that would kill every last gay on the planet, after they were done with the Jews is beyond stupid.), yet it's me and those like me you choose to fear. And, yes, I'm fully aware that you may actually be a supporter of Israel, but politically active gays tend not to be.
      As for the employment benefits thing, that's up to individual employers and their plan holders. It's not the governments' responsibility to step into matters of employment benefits. Where it intersects with government employee benefits, I simply find it a curiosity that so many of these cases crop up in the public workforce.

      • OK, so you don't like telemarketers or Liberals, but you still don't support infringing on their civil liberties. Well, that's exactly what I'm talking about here: the Conservatives infringing on my civil liberties. Why would you not be OK with taking away a telemarketer's right to marry, but it's ok for Conservatives to do it to gay people? Or will you just concede that even YOU can't defend the Conservatives on this one?

  17. Actually Bill, there is a constitutional right to gay marriage. That's why we have it. I'm sorry you think it was such a horrible waste of time. I wonder if you feel the same about the work of desegregating schools, allowing interracial marriage, giving women the right to vote and other efforts to make humanity a touch more civilized. In any event, governments are more than capable of multitasking so I'm certain you need not scapegoat gay people for whatever you think hasn't been taken care of yet. Moreover, had the Conservatives not wasted time fighting my rights, they would've been passed even more quickly. And really, I have yet to hear you provide any good reason why they were such a bad idea. My life has improved radically as a result of having equality. Yours, as far as I can tell has not been harmed. The Cons had no good reason to put up such a struggle except to win the votes of religious fundamentalists, and I find it dispicable to have my rights used as a political football like that.

  18. The constitutional right to gay marriage and interracial marriage both come under the auspices of section 15 of the charter. Beyond that though, it's pretty clear that you resent having had to accept gay marriage, so there's little point in my debating you on its importance. As someone who grew up seriously depressed from all the anti-gay hate, and who took jobs that were less than ideal for my career so that I could work in less homophobic environments and access benefits for my partner, I can tell you that having equality has changed my life completely. The fact that people like you don't consider this important, is precisely the reason I despise the Conservative party and will never vote for them.

    • As for marriage commissioners — who are expected to obey the law just like any other civil servant — their needs can be accomodated under a system like Toronto's that has a central office for assigning marriage commissioners. The only time they are forced to perform ceremonies for same sex couples is in jurisdictions where the set up forces them to say "no" to a couple directly to their face. And again, if you think this is no big deal, I would LOVE to see how you'd react if someone refused to marry you because you're a conservative.

      • But you're willing to short change political and economic liberty for sexual freedom? You're not thinking beyond yourself, and that's the problem.
        Long held common liberties are under assault, and there are far too many who are willing to throw away political and personal freedoms, defined in the classic sense (ie, freedom from unwarranted government interference in their lives) for a non-classic form of freedom, which is simply the freedom from the judgment of others. And that takes away all our freedoms.

        • So what aspect of political and economic liberty has been compromised because of my getting my equal rights, Bill? And how exactly — and please be clear about this — did providing equal rights to gay people DIRECTLY cause this loss of political and economic liberties?

          • Actually I can give you one. We'll be hiring a handful of guys for a project. If she has the right licenses and seems like a good fit with the rest of the crew, we'll have no problem hiring a young woman.
            If someone who's gay applies, and we think he'll be a good fit, fine. But, if we don't hire him, now we're exposed to a human rights action even if we've done nothing wrong. You see, any individual can now bring up their homosexuality in a job interview and thus jig the game.
            Again, how would it come up in the first place? The real problem is that if we pass over this potential employee, even for valid reasons, we and our other employees can be placed in financial jeopardy.
            So, yes, in this fashion, our civil liberties have been abridged.

          • Absolute paranoid nonsense, Bill. As long as you keep records from your hiring assessments – like any good employer would — you'll have everything you need to defend yourself from a frivolous claim — the likes of which are impossibly rare. That's why they make the news when they happen. Call me when your rights have ACTUALLY been infringed on, and then we'll talk. Until then, your rants about gay rights infringing on your liberties are quitely clearly just pure, hysterical speculation. If I had fought for might rights by saying "but something bad might happen in the future", I would've been laughed out of the courtroom. I think it's hilarious that your are calling me selfish for fighting to end real, demonstrable cases of discrimination and oppression and then, when asked to explain how this has affected you, you concrete example. Yet you think the law should bend to suit your desires. Good luck with that.

          • Ooops, typo…I meant to write "you can't offer a single concrete example."

  19. Bill: Too bad you're labouring under the misapprehension &/or spreading misinformation about the EI situation:

    a spouse IS (or can be) eligible to collect EI (if she otherwise qualifies) to accompany a spouse who had to move cuz of a job transfer or for medical reasons, e.g.

    It's one of the "just causes" for voluntarily that are explicitly recognized by the EI legislation and guidelines:

    6.5.3 Obligation to Accompany a Spouse, Common-law Partner or Dependent Child to another Residence

    But don't let a little fact like that interfere with your rants; as you were.

    • Part of my income comes from self-employment (consulting and equipment rental). The assets and debts of that business are secured by marital property. Because of that, my wife is wholly ineligible for EI. So, even though we provide jobs for others, and pay a whack of taxes ($2500 in fuel taxes last month), we are both ineligible for EI in spite of both of us having paid into it for 30 years.
      Even with both of us ineligible, we're obligated to pay in via payroll deductions. And just so you know, any two school teachers make more than we do.