There’s an election in Canada. And the classic divide is between two parties.
One party has been endorsed by the National Post, the other by the Globe and Mail.
One party accuses the other of racism, sexism and homophobia, while the other party acuses the other of runaway spending, patronage and corruption.
One party is supported by Preston Manning, the other by Joe Clark.
One party is looking to end a political dynasty, the other is desperately looking to hold on to the same.
One party advises voters cast ballots based on their values, the other urges voters to vote strategically to stop their opponents.
One party raises issues relevant to the actual interests of the electorate, the other raises red herrings such as abortion and same-sex marriage.
One party has support in a diversity of places, the other is dug in in urban centres.
One party has the support of small business owners and frontline workers, while the other has traded favours for union support.
One party is rooted in Alberta’s character, while the other takes direction from downtown Toronto.
One could have been describing the past,
or the present.
The Toronto Star’s Haroon Siddiqui describes how Canada suffered a “humiliating failure” at the United Nations for failing to get that coveted seat on the Security Council:
CAIRO—The sizeable Arab and Muslim bloc at the United Nations did play a big role last month in Canada’s humiliating failure to get elected to the Security Council.
This is the assessment of Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, which represents 22 nations with 280 million people. These states are also members of the Organization of Islamic Conference, which represents 57 nations with 1.4 billion people worldwide.
When Canada failed for the first time in the history of the UN to win a council seat, it was speculated that Europe had voted as a bloc for Portugal, the winner.
Or that many African states may also have done so, because Stephen Harper had reduced foreign aid to parts of that continent.
Or that the Arab-Muslim states, the biggest UN bloc, may have retaliated for Harper abandoning Canada’s long-standing neutrality in the Middle East and making Ottawa an apologist for Israel. Moussa confirmed this in an interview here.
In the latest news from the UN,
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Arab and African nations succeeded Tuesday in getting a U.N. General Assembly panel to delete from a resolution condemning unjustified executions a specific reference to killings due to sexual orientation.
Western delegations expressed disappointment in the human rights committee’s vote to remove the reference to slayings due to sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions.
Canada should experience no shame in losing out on the Security Council seat.
In fact, our country is acting to make it better despite the best efforts of the United Nations,
OTTAWA – The cause of gay refugees who flee persecution in Iran only to face harassment in Turkey has caught the attention of the federal immigration minister, who says Canada is willing to facilitate their resettlement here.
Jason Kenney wrote the Canadian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to urge quick processing of their applications after a story appeared last month in the Toronto Star.
That story centred on Iranian Arsham Parsi, now a Toronto-based advocate whose “Iranian Queer Railroad” project tries to help gay and lesbians in legal limbo in Turkey reach Canada or the United States.
“I can’t imagine more legitimate grounds for protection than folks who are facing potential execution in Iran for their sexuality,” Kenney said in an interview. “These are people who are clearly in need of protection, and Canada has already received a number of gay and lesbian Iranian refugee claimants through the UNHCR, typically through Turkey.”
Tony Genco is the Liberal by-election candidate in Vaughan. He was appointed CEO of Downsview Park in a patronage spree by Paul Martin’s government in 2005:
Jack Aubry’s May 28, 2005 piece:
OTTAWA – With a snap election hanging over their heads, the Martin cabinet quietly oversaw a patronage spree during the last month as it neared a too-close-to-call vote in the House of Commons that threatened its hold on power.
The Liberal government hurriedly approved about 450 orders-in-council starting around the time in April when Prime Minister Paul Martin prepared to address the nation in a televised broadcast to plead his case for a delay in holding a federal election.
In the flurry of orders, Martin approved such patronage appointments for Liberal supporters Robert Fung, Hope Sealy, Tony Genco, Margaret Weir, Jean-Louis Hamel, Guy Saint-Pierre, Peter Clark, and the well-connected Marcel Aubut.
Genco landed the Downsview park gig.
One issue that challenged Genco when he was CEO comes to us via Rabble.ca,
After hearing complaints from the LGBT community about the controversial performer’s violently anti-gay lyrics (sample: “Queers must be killed!” “Give me the Tec-9/Shoot dem like bird”), Parc Downsview Park CEO Tony Genco has refused to pull dancehall act Elephant Man from an upcoming show scheduled for this Sunday Oct 10 at the federal park.
This is Elephant Man’s (real name O’Neil Bryan) second scheduled performance in the Toronto area this year. Back in August, he was scheduled to perform at Circa nightclub in downtown Toronto but the club decided to drop him from the concert after club officials received complaints and were informed of his homophobic lyrics. Word of the show had spread to the LGBT community via Twitter and Facebook and only hours after announcing the show, Circa sent this tweet: “Circa stands for peace, love and equality. Elephant Man has been removed from the Celebrity Ball.”
Now, over a week after receiving complaints and being fully briefed about some of his lyrics (eg. “Log on and step pon chi chi man/Log on and step on a queer man”), PDP CEO Tony Genco refuses to pull Elephant Man from the show at the federal venue even after a privately-owned club decided weeks ago — in the spirit of “peace, love and equality” — he should not perform on their stage.
So, what happened? John Baird, the federal minister in charge of Downsview Park was alerted to the controversy by Olivia Chow. The article continues,
[UPDATE]: An official release is expected from Parc Downsview Park but a spokesperson has confirmed that Elephant Man has been pulled from the show, saying “we have been directed by Ottawa to pull Elephant Man.” Earlier today after this article was posted to twitter and spread by dozens of users, MP Olivia Chow also shared it with her followers – adding: “Protest now & copy to Minister Baird #cdnpoli” (#cdnpoli is a popular Twitter hashtag amongst political tweeters). Her tweet with the link to this page found its way to Minister Baird and soon after the announcement was made by the Park that Elephant Man had been pulled. Later, Chow tweet: “From Downsview Park: directed by Ottawa to pull Elephant Man. Min Baird listened.”