13 queer election issues

Published: April 21, 2011

It’s an election that’s heavy on “family” and light on fags. But each of the party platforms — except the Conservatives’ — make promises on issues affecting gay and trans Canadians. Here are the queer nuggets in the party platforms.

1 Fight for gay rights abroad

If you’re looking for an explicit promise to do more for gay people living in hostile countries, the NDP and Greens have vowed to make it a priority. In 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper denounced a Ugandan bill to execute convicted gays in a conversation with president Yoweri Museveni, but he has remained silent on anti-gay governments in most of the rest of the world.

2 Repeal Canada’s anal-sex law

Canada’s anal-sex law sets the age of consent for anal sex at 18, compared to 16 for all other kinds of sex. It also forbids bum sex with more than two people and in public and semi-public spaces. The law’s been struck down in several jurisdictions, including Ontario, Quebec and BC. In fact, it’s so flimsy that Nova Scotia struck the law at a simple administrative hearing. But no party — except the Greens — has promised to do away with this piece of Victorian prudery.

3 Help Canadians fighting charter challenges

In 2006, the Conservatives cancelled the Court Challenges Program, which has helped aboriginal and disability rights advocates to challenge discriminatory laws. Gays used Charter Challenges money to fight for partner and survivor benefits, as well as for gay marriage. The program was cancelled once before, by the Progressive Conservative government in 1992, but when the Liberals were returned to power, it was reinstated. The Liberal platform vows to do the same this time around.
5 End the seizure of gay books and movies

The Canada Border Services Agency fought — and lost — a 20-year legal battle with Vancouver’s Little Sister’s bookstore over the seizure of gay books and movies coming into the country. But even 10 years after a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling, the seizures continue, and the Green Party’s Vision Green promises to put a stop to it.

6 Add trans people to hate crimes and human rights law

An NDP bill which would have protected trans people from discrimination died in the Senate when the election was called. Not surprisingly, the NDP have vowed to bring it back, and a number of Liberals are also on side.

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