In our ongoing quest to determine just where the Conservative "moral compass" falls on issues of gay rights, in the past we've learned that they will fund pride parades, as long as the minister responsible isn't photographed with drag queens. And you keep it on the down-low.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose party refused to support same-sex marriage in Canada, is being hailed as a gay rights hero—in Uganda. “He’s a human rights activist,” said Brown Kiyimba. “Harper is a liberal guy,” added Emmanueil Turinawe. Both men are from Uganda’s gay community, which is under siege thanks to a bill that calls for life sentences for gays who “touch another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality,” and even the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” such as having sex while HIV-positive or being a “serial offender.” That bill, currently being debated in the Ugandan parliament, was introduced by government MP David Bahati and enjoys widespread support in a nation that already criminalizes homosexual acts. It also calls for the imprisonment of heterosexuals who fail to report gays, and the abolition of gay-rights organizations convicted of promoting homosexuality. And gay Ugandans don’t have to live in the nation to be affected by the proposed legislation, since it can apply to offences outside Uganda.
Until recently, the Prime Minister of Canada never registered on the radar of most gay Ugandans. But at last November’s Commonwealth conference in Trinidad and Tobago, Harper had a private meeting with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni. He gave him his two cents’ worth on the anti-gay bill. Shortly after, the East African leader told BBC News, “The Prime Minister of Canada came to see me and what was he talking about? Gays.” For the first time, Museveni talked of the need for “extreme caution” about the bill because it had become a foreign affairs issue.
Canada's new citizenship study guide for immigrants makes no mention of gay rights -- because those sections were ordered removed by the citizenship minister.
Newly disclosed documents show Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney asked that references to gay rights be deleted from the first draft version last June.
Department officials came back in August, asking that the sections be re-inserted, but to no avail.
The guide that was released with fanfare last November makes no reference to gay rights.