Your existence has been noted in passing -

Your existence has been noted in passing


Canadian Press discovers that Jason Kenney ordered the removal of references to gay rights and same-sex marriage from the new citizenship guide.

When the new guide was released Nov. 12, Mr. Kenney brushed off a reporter’s question about why it lacked any reference to same-sex marriage. “We can’t mention every legal decision, every policy of the government of Canada,” he said. “We try to be inclusive and include a summary. I can tell you that if you were to read the old book, you wouldn’t even know that there are gay and lesbian Canadians.” He then noted the caption under Mr. Tewksbury’s photo.

That caption, appearing on page 26 of the guide, reads, “Mark Tewksbury, Olympic gold medallist and prominent activist for gay and lesbian Canadians.”


Your existence has been noted in passing

  1. Actually, I'd cut Kenney some slack on the bit about when gay marriage was recognized for the very reason he dictates. We can't list absolutely every decision.

    However, he gets no slack for cutting out "Equality Rights – Canadians are protected against discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or age." as that's simply part of our Charter, and something that new Canadians definitely should know about.

    • "Actually, I'd cut Kenney some slack on the bit about when gay marriage was recognized for the very reason he dictates. We can't list absolutely every decision."

      I would have agreed with you if we were talking about someone other than Kenney. Knowing where this man stands on gay rights, cutting him some slack is the very last thing one should do on this.

      • PolJunkie, where does Kenney stand on gay rights? I hope you're not just making lazy assumptions without evidence.

        • CR, is this the part where you tell that marrying the one you love is not a right?!?

          • So Kenney's a homophobe because he voted against gay marriage? His opposition to gay marriage aside, he has been quite progressive with respect to gay rights, anti-discrimination, and public funding of pride events.

          • This would be a surprise to me, but given the comment is coming from you, I will have to double check my assumptions and understandings. Can you point me in the direction of anything he has done that has been quite progressive with respect to gay rights, anti-discrimination or public funding of pride events.

            The only few things that stand out in my memory are (a) strong opponent of men marrying men or women marrying women, and even mocking the idea in an insulting manner, (b) a strong social conservative (including significant involvement in arch conservative Catholic organizations and National Foundation for Family Research, (c) direct attempts at connecting to immigrant populations by telling them they share social conservative values.

            I think, given all of that, it is a fair make certain assumptions about his views on homosexuality in the absence of evidence to the contrary, especially with this latest news. So if you have some, I'd be interested.

          • I did remember some news item involving Kenney and gay refugees so thanks, but in the same article was this note which I also remembered: "In recent months, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has denied the claims of several queer refugees and has deported some to countries like Malaysia and Nigeria."

            I don't know the details of those claims and they have to be viewed in the context of a government that would like to severely restrict refugee claims generally, but with those rejections it seems to me you have a case of a contrast between words (a letter to the UN) and actions (rejected claims, no change in official policy).

          • Let's give the nonpartisan IRB the benefit of doubt and assume that it deported people for the right reasons.

            they have to be viewed in the context of a government that would like to severely restrict refugee claims generally

            Given the sheer magnitude of bogus "refugee" claims I'd say it's a good idea to look at each one very closely. We should favour legitimate refugees over fraudulent schemes and organized crime rings.

          • But how many non-queer refugees were deported to countries like Malaysia and Nigeria?
            What's the rest of the story….

          • What do you think I meant by "they have to be viewed in the context of a government that would like to severely restrict refugee claims generally", Wilson?

            Are you a contrarian by nature, a respectful place inthe pantheon of commentary, or do you just see a comment you think is liberal and take an opposing point of view, like a teenager with his or her parents?

          • I am not sure I see the relevance to your question. Isn't Ted suggesting that people from these countries are claiming refugee status because of persecution for their sexual orientation?

            What does "non-queer refugee deportation" have to do with that?

    • Thwim,
      I couldn't find any specific reference to sexual orientation in the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms:

      Perhaps it's something 'old' Canadians ought to educate themselves on, too!

      15.(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to
      the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in
      particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin,
      colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

      • Now that's interesting! You're right, I'd assumed that sexual orientation was enshrined under the charter, but it appears it's only part of our legislation as the Canadian Human Rights act. Huh.

        That said, the general argument remains.. since these are the rights we ascribe to all Canadian humans, it makes sense that new people who want to become Canadians be made aware of them — partly so that they know what they're guaranteed, but partly so that they know how we expect Canadians to treat others.

        I still don't think that we need to describe our gay marriage legislation, however, as that applies more to a small subset of immigrants, and those that are interested can certainly ask.

        • IN the common law, going back as far as a case called Andrews v. Law Society of Upper Canada, the rights in s. 15 aren't exhaustive: rights which are considered "analagous" also have consitutional protection. Sexual orientation was kind of recognized as a right in a series of three cases in the late 80s (including one called egan), and moreso in a case called M v H in 1997.

      • Egan v. Canada (1995)

        The Supreme Court read in "sexual orientation" into Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as protected grounds against discrimination. Even if it doesn't say it explicitly in the constitution, by virtue of the decision, for all legal purposes the statute is read to include them.

        • I agree…it is now implicit in law.

          "Canadian courts ruled that sexual orientation is also a prohibited ground of discrimination in Alberta. In a ruling analogous to the earlier Haig decision, the Supreme Court of Canada found, in 1998, that the omission from the province's human rights statute of the ground of discrimination of greatest significance to lesbian and gay individuals signified that they were denied substantive equality and denied access to the legislation's remedial scheme. The Court concluded that the most appropriate remedy for the section 15 violation was to “read in” sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Alberta legislation (Vriend v. Alberta)."

        • Ah! This probably explains where I got my misconception from then.
          Still.. it's good to know the actuals.

          On a tangential note, how difficult is it to change the Charter? Is it the same brouhaha as to change the constitution?

          • Don't even go there!

          • What we call "The Charter" is merely Sections 1-34 of the Constitution Act, 1982, so to change it you'd need to follow the amending formula that applies (there's a bunch of different ones depending on the situation).

          • Well.. considering that it's covering all Canadians.. I suppose that makes sense.
            Sometimes it seems its a shame how difficult these things are to change, but they're difficult to change for a reason.

          • There's only one amending formula that applies to the Charter.

          • Are you sure? From a quick reading of the amending formula, it seems to me that, although most things would be either Section 38 (7/50 rule) or Section 41 (unanimous consent), there are a couple of items that are not as clear cut. The bilingual character of New Brunswick, for example, I would imagine only requires the consent of that province per Section 43. I could be wrong though; my knowledge of this goes no further than a first year course in Canadian Politics.

  2. In a word, disgraceful. Given the other milestones and decisions rightfully included in the Guide, excluding references to gay rights is utterly reprehensible.

  3. I'm glad that the true colours are coming out. Kenney's a jerk.

    • Insert joke here about true colours and Jason Kenney coming out some day.

    • I thought it was it's own joke.

  4. The media should do its job and demand that John Baird comment on this. He should be forced to go on record as to what he thinks of the rank homophobia among his cabinet colleagues. I think that people should start picketing John baird's constituency office and handcuff themselves to the door until he agrees to express his views on this issue. He can run but he cannot hide.

    • That I disagree with. Anyone's choice of lifestyle is there own business, and trying to sandbag someone as a means to put a wedge into the Cons is just as bad as Kenny's disgusting behaviour.

      • I don't mind all these conservatives who choose to be conservative, but I'm sick of them flaunting their ideology in my face all the time. It's not like I go around announcing that I — oh wait, yes I do. Never mind.

        • I’m not gay and it’s offensive to be gay to me. Don’t talk about it around me. It is a choice that you made, don’t say it wasn’t. Everybody grows up able to make the choice, you failed.

          • Err, well in that case, might I suggest you picked the wrong thread to comment on?

            I mean, everyone else here could, I suppose, move our discussion to some other thread, but I kind of have to think you knew the subject under discussion before you decided to plunk yourself down in the middle of it.

          • Fortunately, what you want isn't tremendously important or relevant.

          • If it's offensive to be gay, don't be gay.

            If you want to contribute, please explain how someone else being gay impacts your life, in any way. Just one thing that actually impacts you.

            Alternately, explain when you chose to be straight.

          • Dude, 'anyone important'? You won't be 'quite' about it? If your gonna use cliches, I might as well throw this one at you: "Methinks thou doth protest too much." Also, how do you know that c_9 is a 'gay man'?

            Bonus: Your website is an appalling example of a lack of design, especially for a self-styled 'artist' and 'color expert'.

            What color would you use for a troll?

          • your website indicates you're an american. unless that's an error and you've linked to some hippy artist's website with the same name…tell you what, you don't come here and tell us what to talk about and we won't be offensively gay in your face in response, deal?

      • I agree, but I still have a very hard time understanding how a gay or lesbian person can manage to advocate (vehemently and consistently!) on behalf of a party where a substantial portion of the base is, and according policies are, anti-anything-not-straight.

        That comes out sounding really dumb, but I've always been in awe of people who can compartmentalize like that.

        • Then you must be really beside yourself over the 12 Liberal MPs that voted YES to opening up the ssm debate,
          right Lynn? And Liberal MP Paul Szabo coming out strongly against abortion being included in aid funding?

          • It's not nothing to do with party, I just think identity would trump ideology. I mean, my opinion on women's issues and policies that are geared toward women are shaped by my gender, over and above any ideology to which I ascribe.

            So unless Paul Szabo's had an abortion, and the 12 Liberal MPs who voted YES to re-opening the same-sex marriage debate were all married to a same-sex partner, I'm not sure your argument is on point.

      • Saw a great documentary a few weeks ago about groups which made it their business outting US politicians. I had decidedly mixed feelings about this, until they showed that they were quite careful in focusing on only those they were certain were actually gay and whose voting record was decidedly anti-gay. It was a really interesting film.

        As for Baird, while I think he is one of the biggest buffoons and hypocrites on Parliament Hill, he voted in favour of same sex marriage and I am not aware of him voting for any anti-gay measures, so I think I end up agreeing with you WDM. I don't understand him, but if it is not his department, I'm not sure chasing him on this relatively minor example of this bigger issue is right. The end result of making it a wedge is chasing all gays out of conservativism, and that would not be a good thing.

    • Pulsetaker, leave that one alone, ok? I'm no fan of John Baird but no need to make him the issue on this front. If there's one thing Baird has been consistent with, it is this very matter.

      • If John Baird has been so consistent on this matter – he should have no problem denouncing Jason Kenney and threatening to resign unless the citizenship guide is amended. The thing that burns me up is that Baird tries to have it both ways. He goes out to gay bars, sleeps around, enjoys all the freedoms that gay man can enjoy in Canada in 2010 – but he then tries to cover up his sexuality – so that he can evade any questions that he might not like to answer like "How do you AS A GAY MAN, react to your cabinet colleague going out of his way to delete any reference to marriage rights and equality from the citizenship guide?". If Baird were part of any other minority – he would not be able to hide from those questions. For example, if he were Muslim and the Tory government brought in legislation that blatantly targetted Muslims – he would have to answer questions about how he as a Muslim felt about what his government was doing.

        • Except it wouldn't be any more correct if it was another minority. What should matter is a person's opinion as an MP, and whatever their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted, shouldn't matter.

        • But what if he were a private Muslim? These things are private matters, and there is nothing stopping a person from keeping their religion and/or their sexual preference a private thing. Now, if he is voting in favour of legislation that blatantly targetted Muslims, it would be fair game to question him on it. But just because a person is of a particular religion or sexual preference, they don't HAVE to be the poster boy for that religion or sexual preference.

    • The NDP's Bill Siksay and Liberal Scott Brison, both openly gay, are condemning Kenney's decision. As are many non-gay MPs.

      Baird doesn't get to speak on anything unless the PMO says ok. Don't hold your breath waiting for him to return the media's calls. The government doesn't do that anymore.


    • Baird is an enabler. On the first day of the 2005-2006 campaign that would make him prime minister, Harper said "We will simply ask the House, through a motion, whether they want the government to table legislation on the [same-sex] marriage issue, to change the definition of marriage." Harper's first campaign event after making that statement was at the west-end Ottawa election headquarters of John Baird.

  5. Kenney's position, according to the linked article, appears to have evolved. First the omission was because it was overlooked. Now, it's that there just wasn't enough room to fit it in, darn it. However, the people actually charged with "fitting in" the text seem to have found room for the two sentences in question in both their first draft and in their subsequent effort to have it reinstated.

    Kenney's story has an odour about it.

    • Bucket defence: next thing, he'll be denying there was ever a reference to the G thing in the first place.

  6. Honourable Canadians spends 143 years creating a prosperous and tolerant society, then Harper and his goons tear it down during one 2-month prorogue period of parliament.

    • In fairness, they've been working hard at tearing it down for the last 4 years or so.

      • Get use to it because after the next election you will have 4 more years of majority Conservative government to put up with. I don' t have to point out Iffy's leadership poll numbers do I?

        Canadians ain't buying the intellectual from Harvard. Every time he opens his mouth he puts another bullseye on his back.

        • Yeah, in case you haven't noticed, this is Canada. We don't elect a president here.

          But nice try.

          • The LPC doesn't even have elections!
            They appoint leaders.

          • An angry member of the Liberal Party of Canada I gather?

  7. I think you missed posting the most telling part of the G&M article: when "the gay-rights group Egale Canada met with the minister in early December after learning the booklet made no reference to gay and lesbian rights….Mr. Kenney told the group that gay rights had been "overlooked" when the guide was being prepared, executive director Helen Kennedy said in an interview from Toronto.

    Ms. Kennedy expressed surprise when told draft versions of the guide did, in fact, contain references to gay rights and that they were ordered removed."

  8. I believe it's called "denial". (see Rob Anders)

    It can also be called a "beard" though that's not quite the right usage.

  9. Perhaps it would be best to limit our critiques to the actual issues here, and not to rumours about individuals, especially one that seems to be misplaced (if one is referring to CPC cabinet ministers).

    Regardless, Canada's gay rights and gay marriage laws are issues that have had — and continue to have — international resonance, in the global press and in human rights law. It just seems obtuse to omit them from a guidebook for immigrants TO Canada.

    • Fair enough — here's the revised question:

      So why would Kenney deliberately and repeatedly remove a section that shows Canada to be progressive when it comes to human rights?

      Hmmm…maybe because they want to attract extremely conservative immigrants to grow their vote base?

      • That's more like it.

        • "So why would Kenney, himself rumoured to be gay"

          It would be inadvisable to continue down this path.

      • Wait, you can get notification every time a new blog post goes up? How do you do that?

      • Seeing as Canada skipped the 'civil unions' step that the most liberal nations took, and went right to gay marriage,
        I'm thinking many or most immigrants are more conservative re: gay marriage…..?

        • Then it's important to educate newcomers about the laws and rights of our nation before welcoming them to live with us. They should have the choice if they can accept our ways or not.

      • Man, you must have a really hard time when you see things like Xtra and Wayves. Maybe you'd prefer Men's Fitness, or Details magazine?

  10. Perhaps, some of you guys should read the print version of Maclean's occasionally, rather than obsessively comment on Wherry latest cut and paste commentary. Here's Harper's actions on gay rights when it really matters:

    Harper: hero to Uganda's homosexuals
    Harper opposes harsh laws aimed at Uganda's homosexuals

    • It's nice that he's against the death penalty for homosexuality, but that hardly makes him an instant hero.

      • Actually, I will grant that Harper's been as progressive toward gay rights as he can afford to be, given his evangelical base. If he could rely on a different demographic for his base, it wouldn't surprise me to see him being even more tolerant about it.

        • Actually, I will grant that Harper's been as progressive toward gay rights as he can afford to be

          Too bad his political opponents find it convenient to pretend that he's a theocon.

          • I don't think he is a theocon. I think he caters to a certain theocon base because they organize for him and support him and fund him, but he is less of a theocon than Bush, certainly on the domestic front.

            Having said that, there is nothing contradictory in being a theocon and not wanting to see someone killed because of their sexuality.

        • Unless they're CARD-CARRYING LIBERAL gays…. then the usual puffin poop comes off.

        • Unless they're CARD-CARRYING LIBERAL gays…. then the usual puffin poop comes off.

      • Actually, it did make him an instant hero to gay Ugandans, if the title is to be believed!

    • I've heard that he totally defends the rights of blacks to ride in the front of the bus, too.

      He should get an award.

    • This is just testimony to duplicity and opportunism. Has Harper trumpeted his support for Uganda's besieged queer communities back here in Canada. you bet he has not and you bet that he hoped that his flat earth, no human role in climate change, 5700 years since the earth was born friends would not find out that he is a queer hugger.
      This government is just so shameless in its duplicity. With a majority they will turn the clock back on what we as Canadians have com to expect in progressive liberal government.

  11. Wow.

    • What's the wow mean?

      Even the UN has steered clear of making gay marriage a human right. In fact, I don't believe that anyone would call any form of marriage a human right. Canadian law was changed on the basis of our equality provisions by the lower courts, but the previous law was never challenged at the Supreme Court.

      • And the marriage scenario is only one issue at play. He etched out an entire section on equality rights.

      • "Even the UN" – I assume you are referring to the General Assembly, where Middle Eastern, Asian & African countries have voted as a block to limit gay rights? That's supposed to justify Kenney's action? "Hey, if the Saudis and all their buddies are steering clear of making gay marriage a human right, then Kenney can't possibly be wrong!"


  12. Puh-lease. Who's the angry freak here?

  13. This is the part where I would have to defend Baird, right? I'll pass…

  14. He absolutely deserves kudos for that. It was the right thing to do. But it's just a bait and switch to post this and ignore the issue at hand, I will note though that the article had the best line in Macleans history

    Until recently, the Prime Minister of Canada never registered on the radar of most gay Ugandans

    • It's not bait and switch, if you are seriously interested in where this government stand on gay rights, to indicate that the PM has taken a stance against a particularly egregious form of discrimination against gays where it really, really counts.

      Or is it that the gist of Wherry's post, that Harper and Co are anti-gay, fits comfortably with inherent biases of the commentators on this post? When I looked up that the Uganda story, only about 5 people had commented on it, compared to some 40 here.

      And seriously, just how much importance can anyone ascribe to this citizenship pamphlet?

      • I think the point you're missing is that Harper, his Ministers and his government are demonstrably and serially untrustworthy in government. That is they will say one thing, do another, yet attempt to take credit for both. Adam Radwanski deals with just the latest twist in that disturbing pattern of behaviour by this government:

        It's similar to the Harper/Nicholson "law and order" legislation dying on the order paper and the CPC talking points; bullshit top to bottom yet they seem to believe what comes out of their mouths and expect their "base" to buy it too.

        And, then they use that as a rationale for vapourware Senate reform.

        Perhaps you start to see the larger problem now; feet of clay?

      • Well, it might be useful for someone moving to Canada from, say, Uganda, to know that we treat homosexuals a little bit differently here in Canada. Given the discrimination faced by homosexuals around the world, in some cases EXTREME in nature, I don't think a couple of bullet points explaining to new comers that discriminating against homosexuals is not only not tolerated, but is in fact ILLEGAL in Canada, might not be too much to ask of a guide to Canadian citizenship for folks arriving from abroad.

        • In the same vein, why criticize Canada's citizenship guide when many (most, in fact) countries in the world are repressive towards gays?

          I fail to see the need to talk about sexual preference in a citizenship guide.

          • Let's say there's a section on beating one's wife. In many countries women are property. Would explaining Canada's take on this be a suitable thing to include in a citizenship guide?

            Discrimination (depending on circumstances) can be a crime. Beating one's wife is a crime. Sounds like a logical place to at least hint that tings are different in this country.

      • How does this position "really really count"? I suspect it is just another game of "shield" politics, but applaud Harper for taking his position. However, it is just words without action and there are plenty of files in Canada he could act on to show his stand on gay rights which he either hasn't moved on (expansion of benefits) or outright opposed (gay marriage).

        To be clear, Harper did propose recognition of a full civil union equivalent and Baird is not only one of his closest cabinet ministers but his personal stand in at social events with his wife, so I actually do not think Harper is a homophobe.

      • The Government that YOU support felt it was so important that it had to be revised. Over and over again.

      • Well, I think all new citizens would ascribe a fair bit of importance to it. But I still think we should all be required to read it.

  15. "Complaining about the lack of mention of every gay facet of this country makes all gay people look bad."

    No one is suggesting mentioning "every gay facet". The issue at hand is whether, in a citizenship guide for Canada, gay marriage and gay rights should be acknowledged amongst the many rights we have here.

    "angry freaks"

    Projecting much?

  16. This angry freak would have been happy with the bullet point as originally included by staff for the guide. Enza and Toller Cranston scissoring on the cover=ewww.

  17. When you feed the trolls, you encourage them, folks.

  18. I'm sorry…. Was that a yes or a no?

  19. So…ideology trumps identity? Sorry, I can't wholeheartedly thumbs-up that one.

    • Would you want to be asked your opinion "as a woman" on all matters? or as an MP/expert/professional/whatever it is you do?

      • Oh, I'd be annoyed to be asked "as a woman"…etc all the time. Most certainly! And my personal opinions often differ from my professional opinions, if only slightly. But I don't kid myself, my gender influences my worldview and as such, my responses, more than my ideology.

        And that's particularly the case for me, because I'm rather willing to change my mind about a policy when I discover new information that is salient to me.

        • Of course your identity contributes to what your opinion is, that's not only expected, it's encouraged as part of how diversity can inform us. But when someone labels your opinion as from a facet of your identity they not only reduce you solely to that facet of your identity, but they are also prejudging opinions based on that identity. What makes someone more correct on.. say.. Christian issues if they happen to be Christian?

          Yes, they are more likely to have relevant knowledge, but the simple fact that they are Christian.. or Muslim.. or homosexual.. or female.. or disabled.. or whatever doesn't automatically mean that they do, and we should stop assuming that.

  20. I'm here talking policy, not ankle biting my betters, unlike you. Your comment has been reported.

    • See you say that you're being civil but you called 10% of the North American population an "angry freak" and set the tone for anyone responding to your comment.

      You could have made your point without the word slinging. Next time maybe omit insulting a large body of people and then I'll be a bit more willing to fight your battles for you.

      Have a good day

    • "Your comment has been reported."

      I'm telling dad!!!

  21. Personally, I have no problem with gay marriage. However, "marrying the one you love" is not a Charter right.

    • Did I say "Charter right?" I didn't ask you if you had a problem with it either. You suggested that I was making lazy assumptions and put the word homophobe in my mouth. Perhaps I should repeat the question. Is marrying the one you love a right, yes or no?

      Quit the tap dancing and answer the question.

      Are you saying that marriage is in fact not a right but a priviledge?

      • Are you asking for a legal opinion or are you asking for a personal opinion? Legally, it's not a "right" as enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; but despite the fact it's not a right it's entirely legal in Canada to marry anyone who isn't already married, or underage, or a family member.

        • "Are you asking for a legal opinion or are you asking for a personal opinion?"

          LOL!! Ok, CR. Nevermind.

        • Actually, legally it IS a right as enshrined in the Charter. Just ask the Supreme Court.

    • Can the administrator please ban this guy already?

  22. I think the post heading should read "Mark Tewksbury's existence has been noted in passing." All others were struck from the record.

    • I've been quite pleased by the current government's support of Mark Tewksbury rights. I'm hoping someday he'll also have the right to get Mark Tewksbury Married, but that could take a court case to settle. At least he can still have his little parades.

  23. Well, why deny the existence of one group's rights when you can do the same for a whole host of groups in the process. He's just being efficient.

  24. I really don't see why the citizenship guide should be talking about sexual preference.

    • The reasons should be pretty clear from reading the threads posted today.

      • Perhaps we could add that the government does not favor the missionary position and does not discriminate against those who use vibrators.

        • That works for you. But when I think about being Canadian, one of the things I am most proud of is the fact that here I actually have equal right to marry the person I love, regardless of gender. That is meaningful to me, and it would be meaningful to anyone to has lived their entire adult life in fear of jail or death simply because of who they fall in love with.

          You're right, sexual behaviour doesn't need to be in the guide, AND NOBODY SUGGESTED IT SHOULD BE. Connecting equal marriage with bestiality, polygamy, infidelity, botox (?), and breast implants (??) makes no sense, so I think maybe you lost the thread.


            That is exactly what you are suggesting.

    • Bingo – unless there's a section about refugees from regimes that persecute people based on sexual preference.

      • Yes. And at that point the guide would be talking about other countries, which is veering off topic, it's supposed to be talking about Canada and Canadian citizenship, not the goings-on in less favourable places, in my opinion.

        Saying that gays are not discriminated against to me is off topic as well. It's like saying that shoplifting and rape are not condoned, which is true, but I don't think there's much point in listing all the things you're not supposed to do in Canada. It's like saying that both tall and short people are welcome – why bother mentioning it at all, unless, like you say, there is some kind of specific reason to mention it. And finally, talking about sexuality in a citizenship guide seems absurd to me, we don't need to have a section written by Dr Ruth Westheimer.

    • A gay person walking down the street is still gay and not engaging in sex. Being gay is an orientation not a behavior. Get educated.

      • So when a gay walks down the street, is he any different from ordinary Canadians? Because if he is, please tell us in what way???

        • Well, it depends on where they are. If they're in Canada, then there's no difference. But in dozens of countries our immigrants come from, they are still in danger of jail or death. That's a big change when they move countries, which is what the guide is meant to assist with.

          • You are confusing citizenship with pretty well every thing you can think of.

          • I can see how that would seem that way.

            I think the way I would explain my point is this: I don't believe the citizenship guide is just "here are the requirements to be a Canadian citizen." I think it actually achieves more, in that it helps potential new citizens understand what Canada is like now, what we are trying to be (equal, fair, …), and helps them decide whether they want to be a citizen at all.

            My response above was meant to point out that in Canada, walking down the street is safer for me than doing the exact same activity in some other countries. That's important information for someone coming here from those countries in many cases, whether they are a refugee-seeker or possibly someone who's never thought about the issue before and might not realize Canada doesn't allow the sort of discrimination they're used to.

      • North is an orientation. Sex is a behavour. Get real.

        • Yup, size of nose doesn't impact (well, shouldn't impact) one's ability to walk down the street, etc. That's a very relevant metaphor.

          We've created a society that judges and changes laws based on sexual orientation (or as you would have it, behaviour). This construct makes it less possible for me to walk down the street the same way you do, seriously. Because when I walked down the street as a kid, I was worried someone was going to attack me because of which bar I happened to be leaving. Or because I didn't look straight enough. When I was in high school gay men were being literally THROWN OFF A CLIFF IN DOWNTOWN OTTAWA. That kinda changes the situation, wouldn't you agree?

          • No, I wouldn't agree. So you're not fond of discrimination against gays. Congratulations. You've failed to make a case as to why this has anything to do with citizenship. I'm not fond of the mafia, who happen to throw people off cliffs when they can, but I don't expect to see a paragraph about the mafia in the guide.

          • OK. Hmm. How about this: why do we mention multicultural traditions and rights? Language rights? Equality of women and men? What purpose does that serve?

            I believe it sets Canada apart from different countries, which is directly related to one's citizenship and the idea of seeking a new citizenship. We teach potential new citizens about how our government works, how voting works, and how they have to follow the law, and those are quite clearly citizenship-related. I can understand the case that some other topics are less citizenship-related. But I would posit that the guide is not merely seeking to list laws and requirements, but to actually suggest and guide potential new citizens. In that sense, I prefer that it mention the ways Canada is significantly different from the other 200+ countries out there.

          • Oh, so you want to turn the citizenship guide into the Bible/Koran? I see.

          • Ahh, good point. I didn't think through my statement that far.

            I would rephrase as follows, which I included in another comment as well: The rest of the citizenship guide is full of information for those who might be unfamiliar with the topic: voting, equal rights for women, jury duty, and more. To me, it seems to fit. To you, it doesn't.

  25. Ah, but do you see why it shouldn't?

  26. "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." P. E. Trudeau.

    • "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." P. E. Trudeau.

      Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark.

    • I totally and absolutely agree with you. The problem is, most people immigrating to Canada come from places where the government does insert itself into the bedrooms of its citizens. So, just a heads-up that we won't would be appropriate. One line in the guide, and that is all.

  27. What a silly comment. Firstly, this isn't California. secondly, read the charter on rights and freedoms. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is violation of that document, which thusly makes gay marriage a human right. let me guess, you oppose integration and are pro-apartheid too, correct?

  28. I disagree. What I do with a sexual partner has nothing to do with explaining Canada to potential new citizens. Therefore, information about my sexual behaviour doesn't need to be included, just like your sexual behaviour isn't included either.

    However, I think we're disagreeing on whether my right to get married or not be discriminated against is a sexual behaviour issue. I don't believe it is. But I think from your other comments that you don't believe there's a such thing as sexual orientation, as opposed to just the behaviour.

    • You are saying that you want a section in the guide explaining to newcomers that they should not judge individuals based on their sexual preferences and behaviour, and you are claiming that this is not talking about sexual preferences and behaviour.

      It's like claiming that the term racism has no connection to race.

      • Yes, using your frame of reference, you're right, that's exactly what I'm doing. However, I disagree on that frame of reference.

        I believe that sexual orientation and sexual behaviour are two separate things. (for example, a gay Catholic priest who follows his celibacy vow).

        I also believe that when there is a dramatic difference in the way the law treats a significant subgroup of the population, when compared against other countries, it's a logical item to include in a citizenship guide.

        To take your examples from earlier: "polygamy and beastiality in the guide as well? Tiger Woods and infidelity? Pamela Anderson and Marilyn Monroe? Botox and breast implants?" — Canadian law does not deal with those issues differently from many other countries. So they would not be logically included.

        I'm pretty sure we're never going to find common ground on this though.

      • Yes, using your frame of reference, you're right, that's exactly what I'm doing. However, I disagree on that frame of reference.

        I believe that sexual orientation and sexual behaviour are two separate things. (for example, a gay Catholic priest who follows his celibacy vow).

        I also believe that when there is a dramatic difference in the way the law treats a significant subgroup of the population, when compared against other countries, it's a logical item to include in a citizenship guide.

        To take your examples from earlier: "polygamy and beastiality in the guide as well? Tiger Woods and infidelity? Pamela Anderson and Marilyn Monroe? Botox and breast implants?" — Canadian law does not deal with those issues differently from many other countries. So they would not be logically included.

        I'm pretty sure we're never going to find common ground on this though.

        • Canadian law does not deal with those issues differently from many other countries

          That is absolutely and totally false,a nd patently ridiculous. Next.

          Avoidance of something is not a right, a right refers to the inherent freedom to do something.

          Secondly, your use of the term "orientation" as some kind of useful intellectual contribution is nothing more than a play on words. I don't care if you call it an orientation, a hobby, a personality trait, or an obsession. It doesn't matter what word you use, the facts remain the same.

          Thirdly, of course "my right to get married or not be discriminated against" is a sexual behaviour issue. That's where the discrimination comes in. People don't discriminate because you want to wear a wedding gown or you want a ring on your finger, they discriminate because of the primary facts of how a homosexual relationship differs from a hetero relationship, what it actually entails.

          Now, here's an exercise for you: what are the differences between a homosexual relationship and a hetero relationship?

          Once you have answered that question, you have identified what the discrimination is all about.

          • My apologies, I should have been more explicit.

            Canadian law does deal with bestiality, polygamy, and infidelity differently than many countries which are also the same countries (in many cases) who deal violently with homosexuality. Canadian law does not differ greatly compared to the rest of the western world on those topics though.

            On homosexuality, Canada is in a much smaller group that treats relationships significantly differently, which was what I was getting at.

            I agree that avoidance does not confer or imply a right. I was pointing out that I believe orientation is something you are, whereas behaviour is something you do. I know this is not something you agree with, and I repeat that I don't think we're going to find common ground.

            Let's just take your angle. In many parts of the world, I would be discriminated against, or jailed, or killed, because of who I have sex with. It would not be considered a crime. I would have no right to free association, to form relationships, to cohabit, to work, or do many other things, depending on the country and circumstances.

            In Canada there are many freedoms we have to do things which aren't relevant to citizenship. I have many friends that think marriage shouldn't have anything to do with the government whatsoever. But it does, and the government confers benefits (and responsibilities) to those who use marriage's legal status. Since the government has already decided that relationships are special, and all three of the people, the courts and the government have decided that relationships don't require certain genders, then it makes it relevant to those who may be unfamiliar with these ideas.

            The rest of the citizenship guide is full of information for those who might be unfamiliar with the topic: voting, equal rights for women, jury duty, and more. To me, it seems to fit. To you, it doesn't. C'est la vie.

          • No doubt we will continue to disagree.

            I don't like the government sticking its nose in places where it doesn't belong.

            The criminal code addresses violence and other forms of ill well against gay people, and that's enough for me. I don't like the government going a step further, trying to define what we should and should not think about each others' personal and private affairs.