A one-on-one from two ends of the spectrum
A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with a colleague. Let’s call him Dave. Dave and I are basically polar opposites when it comes to the political spectrum. He likes teasing me about being a bleeding heart liberal and thinks that the NDP is ruining this province for his grandchildren. I tell him that he’s an old dinosaur who’s afraid of change and should read some Keynes.
I should note that Dave has been a card-carrying member of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party for longer than I have been alive. Recently, though, Dave’s been pondering ripping up his membership. You see, even though Dave and I can’t agree on fiscal policy to save our lives, he’s one of those classic Albertans whose belief in small government translates to, “if you’re an adult and you’re not hurting anyone, do what you want.”
For example, Dave on abortion: “Ashley, I got in a lot of trouble in the 80s for thinking this way, but why the hell are a bunch of old fogies like me making decisions about women? Let them decide with their doctors. It’s none of our business.”
Dave on marijuana: “Why the hell don’t they just legalize it and tax the hell out of it? Think about how much money we can make. I’m not going to do it, but if you want to smoke a spliff, be my guest.”
Or, most pertinent to today, Dave on Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA): “Ashley, what the hell is wrong with people? Some kids are going to be gay and some kids aren’t. What’s the big deal? Just let them be kids. Why does it matter to me who they want to marry?”
Bless my heart, Dave, but you might actually help me believe that there is such a thing as a progressive conservative.
Of course, that hope was dashed a few days later when Jason Kenney went and talked to the editorial board of Postmedia Calgary. In his typical magnanimous fashion, he said that parents should be notified if their child joins a GSA. He added that, “Parents have a right to know what’s going on with their kids in the schools unless the parents are abusive. I don’t think it’s right to keep secrets from parents about challenges their kids are going through.”
Thanks for your input, Jason! Your dog-whistle queer-bashing is going to serve you well as you try to expand the lake of fire—pardon me, big tent —of conservatism in this province.
The denouncements were so fast and furious they put Vin Diesel to shame. Paula Simons had the best retort, noting in her Mar. 29 column that, “a gay-straight alliance is not a sex club. It’s not a therapy group for LGBTQ kids. It’s not a program of homosexual brainwashing, designed to convert straight kids into queer or trans ones.”
But this isn’t the first time Jason has been confused about what’s what with the queers. Back in 2005, during the same-sex marriage debates, he made the wonderfully astute observation that Canada’s then-current marriage laws didn’t discriminate against gays because us queers could already get married – as long as it was in a heterosexual context. In retaliation, five years later he nixed any references to gay rights in the new study guide for citizenship.
But honestly, I’m not even mad. He’s creating an exodus of sane-thinking people from the once mighty PC party. As I told Dave, when he finally decides to rip up his membership, he’s more than welcome to join the great big family of the NDP. I’ll even send Kenney a note to say “Thanks.”