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Excuse me, but you’re stepping on my Canadian pride

An open letter to Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney:

I don’t ever remember a time when I did not feel proud to be a Canadian. It’s similar in fierceness to the pride I’ve always felt for my family. It runs right to the core.

I drink my Double-double’s at Timmys, I buy my backpack from MEC and I bite my nails to the quick when Canada’s hockey team is in the Olympic finals. But these are just outward expressions of pride. They are not actually the things I am proud of.

What I’m actually proud of is Canada’s long-standing history as a peace-keeping nation, the enormous natural beauty found in each of our provinces, the multi-cultures that fill our streets and the respect granted for all human rights.

But Minister Kenney, you stepped on my Canadian pride when you stripped gay rights from the guides that Canada provides to its new immigrants. Gay rights cannot be taken for granted; gay rights need to be in this guide. In dozens of countries around the world, homosexuality is illegal. So criminal, in fact, that some countries enact the death penalty.

Don’t you think that a newcomer to Canada would like to know that Canada is a forerunner in the protection of gay rights? That homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969. That the Charter of Rights and Freedoms forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation. That same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in 2005.

Kind of important information, don’t you think? That here, in our country, it is not acceptable to discriminate based on race, gender, age, national origin, religion OR sexual orientation. Immigrants need to know their rights and the rights of their fellow citizens. It’s pretty basic, I would think.

And I would also think that without this information, the $400,000 spent on this guide will be a waste. Because if a guide to a new country doesn’t tell you what your basic human rights are, then it’s not much of a guide.

I’m not so much as disappointed about this arguably shameful waste of taxpayer money as I am disappointed that you stepped on my Canadian pride.

Sincerely,

Julie Harrison

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Comments

  1. well said. couldn’t put it better.

  2. I can’t believe they did that!!! Well actually, I can, this govt feels they can do anything they want. Shame on them, and good on you for not letting it go quietly.

  3. Julie J says:

    Bravo Julie!!! I couldn’t have put it better myself!!!

  4. That’s so strange that he can get away with producing a document that reflects his own, personal biases. Fortunately, I believe immigrants already know a great deal more about this country than Kenny – which is why they’re coming here. And always have the Charter of Rights & Freedoms to tell them what’s really going on.

  5. Hear, hear! I totally agree and second and support this. I’m so angry that Jason Kenney was even able to exercise such power over writing Canadian history that I sent a letter to my MP calling for his resignation.

  6. Well, if we’re getting political, I’ll say that this is a fine example of the back-water views of our “esteemed” Mr. Harper. Arg. This is despicable.

    I like your reference to other countries AND did you know that there are states in the US where sodomy is illegal? Might as well outlaw homosexuality then, right? Geez. Right up there in the land of human rights and freedoms.

    I hope the voices of proud Canadians are heard on this one.

  7. Go, Julie, Go!!!

    Hopefully this most recent of many, many abuses of power and political position that this current government has exercised will be enough to prompt more Canadians like you to be political.

    They prorogued parliament with 36 government bills still on the table to avoid questions being asked and Mr. Harper said that Canadians care more about the Olympics and hockey so he wasn’t worried that we’d do anything.

    The uncovering of Mr. Kenny’s actions is further example of what happens when a government figures the people of the country don’t care – they do whatever they want.

    It’s frightening folks and we’re the only ones who can stop it.

    Follow Julie’s lead. Write your MP, send a letter to the editor, call your MP’s office and let them know this is unacceptable.

    This is OUR country and it’s an inclusive one. Let’s let them know that because politicians are a renewable resource.

    Margo

  8. This is lovely, Julie, so well said. I hope you sent this note directly to his office in addition to posting it here. Your words are inspiration to take action myself!

  9. Incredibly well said. The Conservatives are scary… this sure ain’t my parents Tories.

  10. Very well said indeed. Thanks for sharing, I hadn’t heard about this.

  11. Brendan says:

    Very good point and well said.

    Still, this guide is a big improvement over the previous one – it covers the country’s legal, political, and cultural history much better than anything that was published before. The previous version also made zero mention of gay rights, women’s rights, as well as addressing historical injustices to other minority and aboriginal communities, all of which are addressed in this version.

  12. Brendan says:

    Here’s a good summary by the always illuminating Chantal Hebert, from back in November – “The Good, Bad, and Ugly”. She makes many of the points echoed here re: gay marriage and gay rights, but also points out that the guide is a much less sanitized and accurate summary of Canada’s history (as much as you can summarize the complex history of this great country in a pamphlet).

    http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/726261

  13. Brilliant.

  14. I agree too. But it’s what I’ve come to expect from this government.

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