Friday, August 09, 2013

Barbara Kay on REAL Women Canada's Outburst

In one sense, I was very happy to read Barbara Kay's column excoriating Gwen Landolt and REAL Women Canada for their attack on Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird this week.  I was pleased to see that at least someone on the far right could see the ridiculousness of Landolt's position.

That said, there are a couple of aspects of Kay's column that I find somewhat troubling.  Superficially, it gives off the impression that she is truly outraged by Landolt's statements.  But, there is an undercurrent of a parent scolding a wayward child for doing something phenomenally stupid ... like throwing a rock through the window of the neighbour that nobody on the block likes.

On one hand, the child went too far, acting in part based on what they've heard their parents say over dinner.  In effect, the child has given expression to what the parents have said in private but would never act on in public.

The child has to be disciplined for what they did, even though the parents may well think that it's perfectly apropos.

I've read enough of Ms. Kay's columns over the years to be fairly confident that she is generally sympathetic to most of the positions that REAL Women Canada has expressed.  In broad terms, she lives on the political right of Canada's spectrum, and would qualify as a social conservative no matter which way you examine her statements.

Ms. Landolt is out of line here. What Mr. Baird does or does not believe about homosexuality is irrelevant to his job, which is to represent official Canadian positions. Our government, and most Canadians, perceive homosexuals as fully equal citizens under the law, including the right to marriage and parenting. Whether or not many Canadians are uncomfortable with those positions (as indeed many are) is not pertinent to this situation. Mr. Baird is not demanding other countries enact gay-marriage laws. He is reacting to punitive measures for the “crime” of being homosexual. 
It gets worse. 
Ms. Landolt told a CBC interviewer that gay rights is not a human rights issue per se. She said, “according to the culture and the religion of, you know, Uganda, it’s not a human rights issue. You can’t imply that every country has to take our human rights issues and plunk it down in another country.” When pressed to comment on the fact that Uganda has contemplated the death penalty for practicing homosexuality, Ms. Landolt responded: “It may be unwise by Western standards, but who are we to interfere in a sovereign country?” [ ]

For a long time, I have felt that Canada's social conservatives have an unwritten rule about what they say publicly:  "Don't let the ugliest stuff out of the closet - believe it, advocate for it behind the scenes, but never say it where Canadians will hear it".

It's almost as if the Conservatives have an unacknowledged monologue that gets brutally suppressed when it surfaces.  (Not unlike the "in the closet" experiences of many LGBT people, I might add)

Ms. Landolt's outburst was that voice coming to the surface when the body politic of the right wing wasn't willing to face itself.  Ms. Kay is acting very much in the role of the parent scolding the child.

I'd feel better if I saw a general renunciation of these positions coming from Ms. Kay rather than what appears to be a scolding of an errant child.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whether or not many Canadians are uncomfortable with those positions (as indeed many are)

She says that like it's a good thing.