March 2, 2010

This Is Not Okay With Me...

...and it shouldn't be with you.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has censored a key guide - a government publication - issued from his office to immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship.

The plundered sections? Those pertaining to gay rights and same-sex marriage. He had them struck from the official version, over repeated advice from senior department officials.

No, Mr. Kenney will be having none of that.

"Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969 and more recently, civil marriage rights to same-sex couples was legalized nationwide in 2005," the earliest draft of the guide says under the section Towards a Modern Canada.

And in the section on citizenship rights, the early draft said: "Equality Rights - Canadians are protected against discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or age."

He struck both those lines. Because he doesn't agree. And apparently, what Jason Kenney has personally decided is now how Canada will be represented. He is repeatedly on the record as being a foe of equal rights for gay Canadians. We get it. But you lost. And you don't get to run around spewing your own narrow views on the corporate letterhead.

He rightfully notes that such a pamphlet can't reflect every area of Canadian law. Silly me. I would think that freedom from persecution based on sexual orientation, and the freedom to marry the person you love regardless of gender would be a very big one to include. Canadian rights and freedoms are envied the world over for this very reason: we keep our noses out of other people's bedrooms.

Mr. Harper, we are listening, and we are watching. We just watched an Olympic Games that had to be felt in hearts the world over. I know you saw it; the camera was on your freeloading mug every ten seconds, as you took that extended holiday from governing to play for 2 months. But even you couldn't take away the pride that so many Canadians felt on so many levels through those two weeks.

Canadians know how to play; they know how to win; they know how to host, and they know how to party. And you know what else they know how to do? They know how to let others be a part of this great country. If a country this big, this complex and this different can embrace everyone, surely those wanting to be here deserve to know one of the best parts of being Canadian: the freedom to be who you are, to study hard, to work hard, to succeed and to be safe.

Mr. Kenney, stop inserting your own judgmental views and lack of tolerance into an official document that represents me.

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Anonymous Doug said...

Lorraine, this is absolutely shameful. I'm glad you are doing your bit in bringing this forward. Do you know if there are any websites, or petitions that could make the views of us common folk known?

March 02, 2010 3:36 PM  
Anonymous jmd said...

OK, this jerk has officially pi**ed me off. (I was a little snarky to begin with anyway, but he pushed me over the edge.) I'll sign that petition!

And I'm glad you're back, Lorraine.

March 02, 2010 4:45 PM  
Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

As a citizen living in a democracy, Mr Kenney can present his views in any manner he wishes. He can be pro this, anti that. Fair enough. However, as an elected official, a minister, no less in Mr. Harper's "do what I say, not as I do' government, that privelege went out the window when he accepted his cabinet appointment. Is this really what his constituents voted for? Is this what we, as Canadians want? There are laws in this country -- most countries, in fact for a reason; to protect the rights (generally) of individuals and groups -- regardless of personal opinion -- or, in Mr. Kenney's case, possible personal rancour. To you, Sir, a resounding raspberry... "Pfffffffttttt!!"

March 02, 2010 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sad. very sad. Exercise your disapproval with your vote. Get rid of these narrow minded cretin(s).

March 03, 2010 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MP's are elected public servants. It would seem that this MP's personal agenda usurps Charter rights. A public apology is in order!


March 03, 2010 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're appalled that a minister, part of whose job it is to uphold the Canadian constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms, would himself or direct his staff to remove text, and that he did this against the advice of his own deputy minister," says Liberal MP Marlene Jennings, speaking on behalf of Immigration critic Maurizio Bevilacqua.

Jennings adds that it was under a Liberal government that protection was granted for refugee claimants entering Canada because of persecution for their sexual orientation.

"For us now to have a minister who specifically removes the text in a citizens' handbook that points to these constitutionally and Charter-protected rights in Canada is telling me, telling my party, telling Canadians, and telling prospective refugee claimants that have a clear and convincing reason to fear persecution because of their sexual orientation in their country of origin — don't bother to come to Canada. And it's being ideologically driven, and that's unacceptable."

March 03, 2010 1:15 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Thanks, Anon...could you tell me where you got this from? I'd like to read the rest.

Much appreciated...thank you.

March 03, 2010 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorraine, here's the link to the article quoted.

March 03, 2010 1:58 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Thanks so much!

March 03, 2010 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you on Facebook, join this group and let Mr Kenny know how you feel

March 03, 2010 10:20 PM  
Blogger OmemeeOzzie said...

And now, of course, the weasel is denying this... We let our elected officials get away with far too much.

March 04, 2010 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Viny said...

Glad you brought it up. I'm a new Canadian, and I have to say, Canada has a lot of great things that are being slowly eroded by Harper and his buddies based on their belief that Canadians don't care enough and are apathetic. I hope the patriotic momentum from the Olympics is not lost. I can't wait to be able to apply for citizenship and vote. I can't imagine they'd leave out that people can't be discriminated against based on antiquated parameters, but its ok to allow a tiny municipality in Quebec to deliver a charter that bans men from stoning women (like wtf) and says women can drive. Did you see that drivel in G and B about pay equity between men and women and how men work longer and harder? Ghrrrrrrrrrrr

March 04, 2010 11:07 AM  

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