Thursday July 31, 2014



QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.



Does a politician's sexual preference matter?

Comments

YES: Brock Campbell

Canada's most charismatic leader, Pierre Trudeau, famously said, "There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation." Some forty years ago, Trudeau's comments sparked the debate on numerous issues, including homosexuality, and his words – as they should – still hold true today. But, in contrast, shouldn't the nation know what its leaders are doing between the sheets?

In an era, when gay rights are as much a part of the political discourse as environmental protection and the decriminalization of marijuana, it's not enough for voters to just know what team their leaders bat for (get your mind out of the gutter I'm talking left or right; liberal or conservative; Grits or Tories). Politicians are asked to make sound, objective decisions based on the betterment of their constituents. But no political figure is wholly impartial and personal agendas are prevalent at every level.

Though newly elected, and openly gay, Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne says she is not a gay activist and aims to be defined, not by her sexuality, but by what she does for her province, that should be left to the voters to decide. After all she is a politician, we can't take her word for it.

 

NO: Derek Bedry

I could explain why a LGBT politician's sexuality does matter, because it increases visibility and projects a positive example for people questioning their orientation, or their prejudices, or the wisdom of coming out of the closet. Look at Kathleen Wynne. She did it, and she's the Ontario Premier now.

But there is a (very) small minority of Canadians who still aren't, and never will, be comfortable with gay people doing anything. Politics just happens to be the hot topic, let's start with explaining why homosexuality doesn't impact governance.

A popular fear-based argument is that gay legislators are more likely to push a "gay agenda."

But when you look at progressive human rights policies of heterosexual legislators, "gay agenda" is proved a misnomer.

B.C. has some of the most vocal anti-homophobic school groups and education initiatives in the country under a heterosexual premier. Many receive government support and funding.
Conservative Alberta premier Alison Redford isn't gay, but she became the first Alberta premier to attend a gay pride celebration in Edmonton last summer and talked about how proud she was herself that her province was so accepting of diversity.

But you didn't vote for those women? If you supported federal Conservatives, you had a hand in electing John Baird, out homosexual Minister of Foreign Affairs. If he's good enough for Stephen Harper, maybe there's nothing to this idea that you can't do your job if you're attracted to your own sex.

If you like hockey but don't like gay people, then you might be dismayed to learn you have a difference of opinion from Canucks Manny Malhotra and Jason Garrison, who walked in Vancouver's gay pride parade last year to support Patrick Burke's You Can Play Project, which encourages gay athletes to join the sport and feel welcome. You'd also be going against pretty much the whole NHL – name a favourite player and he's probably made a promotional video for You Can Play.

To borrow a facetious expression from drag queen culture that means "the preceding statements are factual, so I suggest you embrace them or you will remain unhappy:" sorry 'bout it.

 

READ THIS!

Each week editorial staff take turns engaging in debate on a hot topic. These debates are intended to explore both sides of an issue and arguments expressed here are chosen by flip of the coin, therefore they do not necessarily reflect the true opinion of the duelist.


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