Posts Tagged As: Canada

A truly misguided ruling

A Commentary

Timothy Kincaid

January 14th, 2011

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has its collective head up its collective butt. (Rolling Stone)

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled that “Money for Nothing,” a Dire Straits hit from 1985, is too offensive for Canadian airwaves. The song is being singled out for the repeated use of an anti-gay slur — “that little fagg*t” — in its second verse.

The little fagg*t with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy, that’s his own hair
That little fagg*t got his own jet airplane
That little fagg*t he’s a millionaire

Now there is no doubt whatsoever that the lyrics of this song are sexist, racist and homophobic. But the important matter is whether the song celebrates these attitudes or mocks them.

The song narrator is a appliance store delivery man who is resentful of the rock stars he sees on MTV who “ain’t working” but are “banging on the bongos like chimpanzees” and have “the earring and the makeup” and who get their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” And the lyrics are based on direct quotes from one such guy in a New York appliance store who Mark Knopfler overheard making some of the exact comments, grabbed a pencil, and scribbled down.

But along with the resentment is envy and regret, the acknowledgment that he didn’t “learn to play the guitar” and he doesn’t have his own jet airplane and he isn’t a millionaire. And, as the song was, ahem, heavily played on MTV, it shouldn’t take genius to figure out that the musicians were singing about the attitudes of the people who derided and hated them.

When I first hear Money for Nothing, the “fagg*t” language was jarring… until I finally realized that the protagonists lyrics answer himself, are a reminder of what his own bigoted values have given him. His choices have led him to hauling refrigerators and installing microwave ovens.

But I guess the Very Serious People at the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council just don’t get irony or sarcastic social commentary. So no more “I want my, I want my, I want my MTV”.

Alberta, Canada Shocked To Learn Homosexuality No Longer A Mental Disorder

Jim Burroway

December 22nd, 2010

The American Psychiatric Association determined some thirty-seven years ago that homosexuality was not a mental disorder. Things move much more slowly in Alberta, Canada, where the province’s public health service finally removed homosexuality from its official diagnostic guide.

Ex-Gay Group’s Canadian Charitable Status Challenged

Jim Burroway

October 10th, 2010

"So, basically, our charity shoves gays head first into boxes of spiders -- but we'll need funding.There is a grassroots campaign led by Slap Upside the Head blogger Mark McIntyre to challenge the charitable status of Toronto-based Exodus Global Alliance, the global arm of the confusingly named American-based and North American-focused Exodus International.

McIntyre got the idea in August after learning that New Zealand’s Charities Commission had denied Exodus Global Alliance charitable status and the tax benefits that go along with it. He noticed that, like New Zealand, Canada’s rules for charitable status calls for providing a “public benefit,” and that the charity’s activities must “be “regarded as valuable by the common understanding of enlightened opinion,” and such value “must be weighed against any harm that may arise from the proposed activity and a net benefit must result.”

Homosexuality is not a disorder recognized by any respected medical or psychological organization, and the American Psychological Association condemned ex-gay therapy as ineffective while noting that some who undergo efforts to change sexual orientation have been harmed by the effort. “I’m pretty sure Revenue Canada — if they knew what Exodus itself is actually doing — they might have an issue with it,” McIntyre says.

Xtra noticed that Exodus Global Alliance might not have been fully forthcoming to Revenue Canada in what their “charity” does:

Exodus Global Alliance’s annual returns to Canada Revenue Agency have never mentioned the group’s main goal: pushing gay people to change their sexuality. In fact, the reports never refer to sexual orientation at all. For 10 years, the reports have described the organization’s mission in 30 words: “Educating and training in dealing with abuse and family issues. Developing ministries to help families and individuals in pain. Teaching church groups, schools and youth. Helping and teaching at conferences.”

Bryan Kliewer, executive director of Exodus Global Alliance, says the word “homosexual” doesn’t appear in the description because there wasn’t enough space. “They provide only a very small field for the kinds of things you can report,” he says.

Exodus described their mission to Revenue Canada in thirty words without using the word gay or homosexual. But they get to exactly what they’re all about on their web site with impressive economy: “Proclaiming that change is possible for the homosexual through the transforming power of Jesus Christ.” Fifteen words.

Revenue Canada spokesman Philippe Brideau told Xtra that revocation of charitable status is a last resort. The agency issues warnings, issues fines and suspensions before revoking charitable status. Brideau wouldn’t comment on this particular case.

Canadian social workers condemn Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Timothy Kincaid

April 6th, 2010

Canadian Association of Social Work
Condemns the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda

The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) strongly condemns the Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently before the Ugandan Parliament and firmly rejects the position taken by the National Association of Social Workers of Uganda (NASWU) to support the bill.

CASW condemns any move that perpetuates and advances positions on homosexuality that run contrary to the principles and values of the social work profession and international conventions and treaties. Specifically, social workers do not tolerate discrimination based on age, abilities, ethnic background, gender, language, marital status, national ancestry, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic status.

“CASW cannot go far enough in condemning these actions,” said CASW President Darlene MacDonald. “Upholding basic human rights is not an option for social workers, but rather an ethical responsibility. The CASW Code of Ethics commits social workers to upholding human rights as enshrined in Canadian law as well as to international conventions on human rights created or supported by the United Nations.”

CASW joins the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the Parliament of Canada and many other organizations and individuals who are calling on the Ugandan Parliament to reject the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Further, CASW encourages social workers in Canada , who respect the unique worth and inherent dignity of all people and uphold human rights, to make their views known to NASWU.

“CASW extends its unwavering support and solidarity to the people of Uganda who are experiencing the real threat of incarceration and death based on sexual orientation,” states MacDonald. “We are appalled by their situation in Uganda and will remain vigilant in the defence of their basic human rights.”

Please click the link to access the IFSW Statement on Human Rights and Social Work in Uganda.

Electric Shock Therapist Arrested in Canada

Jim Burroway

March 27th, 2010

Dr. Louis Max\'s diagram of his electric shock averson therapy device, as it appeared in March 1935 edition of The Psychological Bulletin

Dr. Louis Max\’s diagram of his electric shock averson therapy device, as it appeared in March 1935 edition of The Psychological Bulletin. (Click to enlarge)

At one time, a relatively common method to try to “cure” gay people was to administer painful electric shock aversion therapy. This barbaric method was first used against gay men in 1935, and it continued, by some reports, up through the 1980’s. NARTH recently issued a report defending reparative and other conversion therapies which cited dozens of papers touting the benefits of aversion therapy.

By the 1980’s, most efforts to “cure” homosexuality using the barbaric and punitive method had largely come to an end. But not everywhere. It was still employed in apartheid South Africa right up until the fall of the regime, and one of the notorious practitioners was Dr. Aubry Levin. He was so famous for his use of electric shock therapy that he was known as “Dr. Shock”:

Among the allegations levelled at Levin was that he used severe electric shocks as part of “aversion therapy” that was supposed to “cure” homosexuals. “Political deviants” who refused to bear arms in the apartheid forces were also referred to Levin, who commanded the major psychiatric wing of the military hospital at Voortrekkerhoogte in Pretoria and rose to become the apartheid government’s head of mental health.

Levin fled South Africa just before its transition to democracy, and settled in Calgary where he became a Canadian citizen. He refused to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission where it was alleged he had been guilty of gross human rights abuses. Once settled in Canada, Levin became an expert witness, performing court-ordered psychiatric assessments of convicted offenders awaiting sentence.

Aubrey Levin being taken into police custody

Aubrey Levin being taken into police custody

This past Tuesday, Levin was arrested and charged with sexual assault by Calgary police after a 36-year-old former patient alleged he was abused while under the doctor’s care. The patient reportedly had made complaints before, but couldn’t get authorities to believe him. The break came when the patient went to an appointment with a hidden camera in order to obtain evidence.

So far, it is unclear how many patients Levin handled under the courts. Police are reviewing current and past cases now, looking for further evidence of abuse. He was suspended by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta the previous Friday when the allegations first surfaced, which means that he can no longer practice in that province.

Levin is listed as a clinical professor in the psychiatry department at the University of Calgary, but the Calgary Herald reports that University officials say he is no longer teaching.

Levin will appear in Provincial Court on April 8.

Canada’s House of Commons Condemns Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Jim Burroway

March 25th, 2010

Canada’s House of Commons yesterday unanimously condemned Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is currently before Uganda’s Parliament. That bill, if enacted, would impose the death sentence in certain circumstances, and would even criminalize providing health services to, renting to, or merely knowing someone who is gay.

The motion before Canada’s House of Commons was introduced by New Democrat MB Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas, BC). According to a press release from Siksay’s office, the motion reads:

That this House commends the Government of Canada for the clear position it has taken against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently being debated in the Parliament of Uganda and encourages continued direct diplomatic efforts in conjunction with other countries and organizations to see the bill withdrawn, homosexuality fully decriminalized in Uganda, and the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual Ugandans fully respected.

After the vote, Siskay said:

“I very much appreciate the co-operation of the Conservative Party, the Bloc Québecois, and the Liberal Party.  All parties in the House worked together to take a stand against this regressive bill and in solidarity with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual community in Uganda,” said Siksay.  “Given this strong all party commitment to GLBTT rights, I hope that the government will continue to pursue this issue at all possible levels.”

“This bill is an attack on human rights and civil liberties.  Canada must continue to do all it can to see that it is withdrawn,” concluded Siksay.

MP Siksay became the first openly gay non-incumbent to be elected to Parliament in 2004. Siksay serves as the NDP’s Critic in the shadow government for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Transsexual issues.

What’s Good For Uganda Is Good For Canada?

Jim Burroway

December 6th, 2009

That’s what the College of Prayer thinks. Two members of College of Prayer introduced the notorious “Kill Gays” bill in Uganda’s Parliament, with the full blessing of the head of the College of Prayer’s Ugandan campus. Now Bruce Wilson at Talk To Action has found that College of Prayer Canada head Rev. David Chotka wants to plant some seeds for Ottawa:

When the team returned to North America, they received a phone call from David Chotka, COP Canada. David said, “I have three-twelve members of the Canadian Parliament who have heard about what God is doing in Uganda and would like to attend the Parliamentary COP [College of Prayer — ed.] in Uganda next year. They are interested in bringing the College of Prayer to the Canadian Parliament.” It seems that God continues to expand our spheres of influence. The extraordinary favor of God is resting upon us. All glory to His name!

While I doubt that this will bear much fruit in Canada, this is indicative of COP’s ambition. Great catch by Bruce Wilson.

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Canada PM To Denounce Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill

Jim Burroway

November 28th, 2009

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Thursday that he will raise the issue of Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which began yesterday. Transport Minister John Baird made the announcement before Parliament on Thursday:

Transport Minister John Baird made the announcement today in Question Period in answer to demands by NDP MP Bill Siksay that the Prime Minister meet “face-to-face” with the Ugandan leader “to help stop this bill.”

“The current legislation before Parliament in Uganda is vile, it\’s abhorrent. It\’s offensive. It offends Canadian values. It offends decency. We strongly condemn that and the Prime Minister will make that strong condemnation as well,” Mr. Baird said.

The Conservative Prime Minister is just one more important voice denouncing Uganda’s proposal to institute the death sentence for LGBT people. On Tuesday, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis demanded that discussions of Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act be placed on the agenda.

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

United Church of Canada Urges PM To Bring Up Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill at Comonwealth Meeting

Jim Burroway

November 28th, 2009

The United Church of Canada, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, urging the leader to raise the issue of Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting taking place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. In the letter sent Thursday, acting Executive Minister Patti Talbot wrote:

[I]t is with shock and dismay that we have learned that the Ugandan Parliament is in the process of bringing to law an Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would lead to the criminalization of homosexuality as well as the restriction of free speech and organization in support of the legitimate civil rights of its population.

…Canada\’s own Charter of Rights and Freedoms enshrines the rights of all people regardless of their sexual orientation. As Canadians then, we are responsible for becoming more aware of discrimination against homosexual persons, taking action to ensure that they enjoy their full civil and human rights in society, working to end all forms of discrimination against them, and personally supporting the victims of such discrimination.

In the next few days there is an opportune moment at the summit of Commonwealth leaders for Canada to show leadership in advocating for the protection of the human rights of all people, especially those who are most marginalized, such as gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Uganda. At this summit we urge you to raise these issues and speak firmly against this regressive proposed legislation by the Parliament of Uganda.

The United Church of Canada was formed in 1925 as the result of the merger of Canada’s Presbyterian, Methodist and various congregational churches. The UCoC joins the Anglican Church of Canada in calling on the Canadian government to publicly denounce the bill.

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Canada’s Anglicans oppose Uganda’s ‘Kill Gays’ bill

Timothy Kincaid

November 20th, 2009

From the Episcopal News Service:

The Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod has expressed its dismay and concern over the draft proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently before the Ugandan Parliament.

“The proposed bill would severely impede the human rights of Ugandan citizens both at home and abroad by infringing freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, freedom of organization, and legitimate advocacy of civil rights,” the Council of General Synod said Nov. 15. “It would impose excessive and cruel penalties on persons who experience same-sex attraction as well as those who counsel, support, and advise them, including family members and clergy.”

Canada’s Council of General Synod called upon the Church of Uganda to oppose the bill. It also called “upon our own Government of Canada, through the minister of external affairs, to convey to the Government of Uganda a deep sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights and, through diplomatic channels, to press for its withdrawal…”

Meanwhile Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury has remained too busy to oppose the proposed execution of gays in Uganda. He was in Rome today meeting with the Pope to discuss Rome’s poaching of anti-women and anti-gay Anglicans.

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Gay Canadian Sues Church

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect that of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid

July 15th, 2009

Jim Corcoran is no doubt a valued member of the family at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Ontario. (National Post)

Mr. Corcoran, 50, began as an altar server just before Christmas. He said St. Michael’s did not have altar boys and he thought that creating a group of adult altar servers would help the priest during Mass. Many Catholic parishes have adult servers.

But he’s also an idiot.

Mr. Corcoran is a gay man married to his partner. He and his priest (and you, and I, and the neighbor’s cousin’s cat) all know that the Catholic Church has some pretty restrictive beliefs about the participation of gay men in the life of the Church. Mr. Corcoran cannot have thought that his efforts would be universally praised and appreciated.

And, as could be expected, several parishoners signed a letter to the Bishop and Corcoran was removed.

So he’s suing.

A gay man has filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against a Catholic bishop after he was removed from his volunteer job as an altar server because of his sexual orientation.

Now in the US, Corcoran would be tossed out on his ear. I hope that in Canada they do the same.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the decision of the Church was stupid. Corcoran probably isn’t even technically in violation of the Vatican policy; he and his partner are chaste. And the motivation of the parishoners appears to have been pettiness and spite and was primarily an attack on the priest.

But the issue isn’t whether the Church is right or wrong. The issue is whether the Church should be allowed to make its own policies, however stupid they may be.

And I come down on the side of self-determination and freedom – both for Corcoran and the Church. St. Michael’s should be entitled to deny liturgical authority to whomever they please for whatever reason they please, and Jim Corcoran should be entitled to cross the street to a church that operates more to his pleasing.

Guess Who Else Isn’t On Board With the U.N. Resolution to Decriminalize Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

December 5th, 2008

Mark, at Slapped Upside the Head, has a good take on yesterday’s news that the Vatican is opposing a U.N. resolution calling on member states to rescind laws outlawing homosexuality — which in some countries includes the death penalty. We discussed the Vatican’s intrinsically disordered logic here. Mark has his own take here.

There are a lot of countries which have already signed on to the declaration, including: Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Those last three are rather surprising. Also surprising co-sponsors are three African countries: Gabon, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. That’s quite an impressive list.

So, who’s missing? Well, let’s see. Oh look: the United States and Australia.

Marriage Rights Around the World

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2008

The following countries offer some form of recognition to same-sex couples:


Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, United States (Massachusetts, California)

Civil Unions

New Zealand, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Argentina (Buenos Aires, Rio Negro), Mexico (Coahuila), Uruguay, United States (Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey)

Registered Partnership or Domestic Partnership

Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, , Slovenia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy (City of Padua), Switzerland, Hungary, Australia (Tasmania), United States (Maine, Washington, Oregon)

Other Methods of Limited Recognition

France (PACS), Germany (Life Partnership), Croatia (Law of Same-Sex Relationships), Andorra (Stable Union of a Couple), Mexico (Mexico City – PACS), Colombia (Common-law marriage inheritance rights), Israel (Limited recognition of foreign legal arrangements), United States (Hawaii – Reciprocal Benefits; New York – recognition of out-of-state legal marriages)

Although recognition is in a rapid state of change, this is my best understanding of the current rights provided. Several nations are in the process of adding or revising recognition.

Can Figure-Skating Make You Gay?

Jim Burroway

April 8th, 2008

That question was posed by a letter writer to Canada’s National Post blog, “Full Comment.” The writer concluded that the answer was yes. My favorite response in the comments was this one:

To paraphrase, some are born gay, some achieve gayness and some have gayness thrust upon them.

I’ll have to remember that one. It’s like I’ve said before, I don’t think there will ever be a one-size-fits-all explanation.

HIV+ Canadian Stopped At The Border

Jim Burroway

March 31st, 2008

The United States is one of only thirteen countries in the world which bans travelers with HIV from entering the country. This puts the U.S. in the distinguished company of Iraq, China, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Moldova, Russia, Armenia, and South Korea.

Nice company. And America’s offensive enforcement of that ban mirrors what one might expect from any one of those other twelve:

The Surrey, B.C., man was on his way to Bellingham, Wash., for the Remembrance Day long weekend last November to shop, with the Canadian dollar trading at about $1.07 against the greenback. After lining up for four hours to reach the U.S. customs booth, he was asked where he worked.

“I said I was on disability. He said what’s my disability. I said I have HIV,” said the 47-year-old, who was diagnosed in 1989.

The customs officer told him he needed a special visa waiver to enter the country, even though Canadians do not require a visa to travel to the United States.

“He hauled me into a backroom. … He put on a set of rubber gloves to hold each of my fingers. Nobody else wore rubber gloves. Then he fingerprinted me, photographed me, ran me through the FBI’s most-wanted list and told me to go back to Canada and not return until I came back with a waiver,” Mr. Rooney said. “I felt like I was being treated like a terrorist.”

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a bill sponsored by Sen. John Kerry to lift the travel ban soon. Then maybe the U.S. can join the community of civilized nations. Like Canada.

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