On Today’s Awful Hate Crime In Orlando

Well fuck this horror. Dan Savage covers the massacre comprehensively here. Jeet Heer weighs in here. The Guardian has its usual excellent coverage here. There’s a candlelight vigil at Q Nightclub in a few minutes (8 p.m., 2070 Broad St.). It’s open to all ages and everyone’s welcome.

A few additional thoughts:

1. On religion Faith-based bigotry has got to end. Doesn’t matter if its Christians, Jews, Muslims or Rastafarians — there needs to be be zero tolerance of any beliefs that any alleged deities oppose LGBTQ equality. We saw again today that bigoted religious ideas have deadly consequences for LGBTQ people. If your church/synogogue/mosque/faith community is prejudiced against queers, leave it for a better one (or if you’re tuff, fight back and change it).

2. On conservatives Both in Canada and south of the border, conservatism has become synonymous with both unrestricted gun owner rights and homophobia. Guns case in point: in 2014 then-Justice Minister Peter MacKay wore a shirt supporting ownership of assault rifles. What an asshole. And homophobia? Two words: Brad Trost. Canada’s Conservatives only reversed their bigoted official position on same-sex marriage a couple of weeks ago — kinda late, guys. I want to live in a country where conservatism is an honourable, reasoned and legitimate political position. It hasn’t been for a long time (with a few rare exceptions). Fix your shit, conservatives.

3. On guns Look at any bullshit situation and it’s almost always about the money. For example, it’s blatantly obvious the National Rifle Association and other lobby groups allegedly fighting for Americans’ “right” to own assault rifles without restrictions are doing it because there’s big money in guns and money matters more to them than people’s lives. They don’t give a shit about anyone’s rights. It’s about profits. That said, it’s also obvious a lot of individual gun nuts support unlimited gun ownership rights because they think the threat of violence their weapons create keeps the socialists, feminists, minorities, atheists, gay agendavists and “libtards” from getting too uppity. Gun nuts want people to be afraid of them. It’s the only way their bigoted ideas can get respect these days. Something to keep in mind. See you at the vigil.

Cabaret Series

Tonight at the Artesian on 13th the local company Golden Apple Theatre is presenting a preview of some songs that Regina artists Jeffery Straker and Kelley Jo Burke are currently working on as part of a new musical that is set at a prairie summer camp for LGBT teens.

Straker is a well-known local musician who is the two-time defending champ in our Best of Regina contest as Best Solo Act. Kelley Jo Burke is a local playwright and broadcaster.

The show tonight is a prelude to Golden Apple possibly presenting the musical at a later date. The show is at 8 p.m., and you can get more information on the Golden Apple website.

Another Conservative Shits The Bed

Hello, RCMP? I’d like to report a #BarbaricCulturalPractice:

A Conservative candidate in suburban Toronto is defending therapies that attempt to turn gays straight, having penned an editorial that referred to homosexuality as “unnatural behaviour” and heterosexuals as “normal. Jagdish Grewal, running in Mississauga-Malton, wrote an editorial in the Punjabi Post earlier this year entitled “Is it wrong for a homosexual to become a normal person?” He describes an NDP private member’s bill passed unanimously in the Ontario legislature in June that removed public funding for services designed to “change or direct the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient.” Grewal writes in the piece that some psychologists blame a “shock” during childhood for causing a person to become gay, but that the change “can be corrected.”

cdnelxncircleOkay, one more time for the thick-skulled nincompoops: people are born gay. They don’t choose to be gay. That’s coming from both medical authorities AND the reported experience of LGBT people. Ignorant ideas like Grewal’s should not. Be. Expressed. Stop it. Conversion therapy is a failed idea and homophobia is barbaric.

At this point, what are we supposed to think about people who support candidates? Are they  racist? Are they homophobes? Are they assholes? I know Conservative supporters will bristle at my harsh language, but what the fuck are we supposed to think? What is wrong with you people? Stop supporting this awful political party.

Also: nice turban, Mr. Grewal. I’ve always been a vigorous defender of the right to wear turbans because I tolerate cultural practices when they don’t impact people who don’t freely share them. Besides, turbans are objectively cool. Homophobia is not.

Best Of Queer City Cinema 2015

Queer City Cinema ran May 21-23 this year. It was a hectic stretch for the arts in Regina, as the run coincided with the last three days of the Cathedral Village Arts Festival, and live theatre runs for Mary Poppins and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

If you missed the festival, or perhaps want to revisit some of the short films and videos that artistic director Gary Varro presented, the Dunlop Art Gallery is hosting a free screening of work from the festival on Tuesday Aug. 4.

You can find a bit more detail on QCC 2015, and the festival theme of Layers, here. And Tuesday’s screening goes at 7 p.m. at the RPL Film Theatre.

LBGT Recognition And The Commercial Factor

Please note: this was written before the Supreme Court of the United States proclaimed today that allowing gay Americans the right to marry is the law of the land. It’s not often anybody has said this in years, but … Good on America. We’ll probably have more to say about that later.

Saskatoon’s mayor and the worst-dressed politician in Saskatchewan, Don Atchison, heads for Rob Ford territory as he runs out of reasons not to take part in the Pride Flag raising at City Hall, leaving many in the culturally sophisticated city wondering how they elected a city council that thinks they live in Rosetown. Meanwhile Moose Jaw – a city overrun with Bible-thumpers since the Ku Klux Klan ran the hookers out of town in 1927 – had its own Pride Parade.
Regina’s event, which went Saturday, boasted not only 50 floats and participation from unions, human rights groups, businesses, supporters, and some political parties, but also an appearance by a two metre tall, pants-less Richardson ground squirrel, otherwise known as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ sideline mascot, Gainer the Gopher. This is as big an endorsement from the Old Regina Families as having the Lieutenant Governor lead the crowd in a rendition of the Village People’s ‘YMCA’ from the premier’s balcony at the Legislative Building.
Almost a quarter century after Regina city council tried to undo its first ever gay pride week proclamation (and we owe a massive debt to the late Joe McKewen, the city councilor who refused on principle to give the unanimous council consent to overturn the proclamation), Regina – at least official Regina – is as far away from the bigoted philosophy of Bill Whatcott as the city is from Whatcott’s current residence, somewhere in the Philippines.
Continue reading “LBGT Recognition And The Commercial Factor”

Raising The Pride Flag

Pride (flag raising)The Pride flag went up at City Hall this morning and I was honoured to be asked to give a short speech. I don’t do a lot of speeches and when I do I usually just make shit up in front of the microphone. This time, though, I wrote the speech in advance. I think it came out all right. I even managed to work in this year’s slogan: “Be You”.

Figured I’d share it here. You can read it after the jump!

Oh! And for information on Pride Week Events, look for a promotional supplement in the current Prairie Dog, or the Pride pocket guide, or visit Queen City Pride online.

Happy Pride Week! Continue reading “Raising The Pride Flag”

Queen City Pride

This annual celebration of the LGBTQ community in Regina runs from June 15-21. You can find out more about all the events that will be happening by visiting the Queen City Pride website.

Some of the highlights include a kick off Pride Unleashed party at the Mercury Café in the Cathedral District on June 15 at 9:30 p.m., along with a Pride Awards gala at the Executive Royal Hotel (4025 Albert St.) on June 17 at 8 p.m., and the annual Pride Parade through downtown Regina on June 20 at noon.

There’s also a Queen City Pride art exhibition reception at Central Library on June 15 at 7 p.m., a presentation on Regina’s hidden LGBTQ history at Central Library on June 18 at 7 p.m., plus a talk on June 20 at 3 p.m. at the RPL Film Theatre called Cyborg Sashay! that explores different technologies that performers can use to take  burlesque and drag to a whole new level.

That’s only scratching the surface, of course. So check out the above-linked website for all the details.

Queer City Cinema

In 2016, Queer City Cinema celebrates the 20th anniversary of its first incarnation in 1996. There’s been some rocky patches over that time, including a big controversy over “porn” in 2000, but QCC has steadily entrenched itself as part of Regina’s arts and culture calendar.

Artistic director Gary Varro has shepherded the festival since Day One. It started out as a biennial event, and is now held annually. In addition, a second festival tied to queer-themed performance art called Performatorium is now held every January.

Queer City Cinema 2015 is looming on the horizon. The three days of programming run from May 21-23, and the screenings will all be held at Neutral Ground Artist Run Centre at 201-1856 Scarth St.

The theme this year is Layers, and the curatorial thrust for Varro relates to the idea that while individual LGBTs may share some common ground as it relates to issues of gender and sexuality, just like everyone else, they have unique aspects to their lives and personal histories that resist easy categorization. Ethnicity, religion, health status, economic standing, country of origin are some of the variables artists consider in their work.

You can find details on the programs, which run Thursday at 7 and 9 p.m., Friday at 7, 9 and 11 p.m., and Saturday at 1, 3, 7, and 9 p.m. by visiting the QCC website. The two Saturday matinees are Free, while the remaining screenings are ticketed. All screenings are restricted to 18+.

To give you a taste of what to expect, here’s the trailer for the 2014 feature film Appropriate Behavior by Desiree Akhavan that screens Saturday at 9 p.m.

Playwrights Reading Series: Jordan Tannahill

Jordan tannahillIn town to do a residency at the University of Regina, Toronto playwright, theatre artist and filmmaker Jordan Tannahill, who was featured in a January cover story in the Toronto alt-weekly Now, will be giving a reading at the university on Wednesday March 11 at 8 p.m.

A 2011 graduate of Ryerson’s School of Image Arts, Tannahill currently teaches at the National Theatre School of Canada. You can find out more about this wunderkind, who has been anointed by critics as the future of theatre in Canada, by reading the Now article. 

But suffice to say that for someone so young he’s got an extremely impressive c.v. That c.v. includes the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Drama for his book Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays. He’s also won numerous accolades for previous work both as a writer and director including rihannaboi95, which examines the fallout that occurs when a video of a boy lip-synching a pop tune goes viral on YouTube.

That play was staged via live-streaming over the internet, and it’s innovative presentation strategies like that, plus Tannahill’s enthusiasm for inter-disciplinary collaborations involving theatre, dance, film and more that has captured the attention of Canada’s performing arts community.

In April Tannahill’s book Theatre of the Unimpressed will be published by Coach House Press. Again, his reading goes Wednesday at the university at 8 p.m. in wing 106.1 of the Education Auditorium.

Weekly Reckoning: Love Approaches Edition

weekly-reckoningWelcome, people in love or about to fall in love, people combing their hair in anticipation of love, people zipping up their love preparation jumpsuits, even people drawing up a cost-benefit love analysis, whatever. We’re a week out from Valentine’s Day and love is rumbling towards you over the horizon, its engines belching, its terrible treads grinding the earth beneath, and so on. Here are some timely love links to get you “in the mood” (a mood for donning jumpsuits, that is! Ha ha, just kidding, not really please put on your jumpsuit now and shut the blast doors, love is coming and it’s armed to the teeth).

1. THE ONLY COSMOPOLITAN ARTICLE YOU WILL EVER NEED Krista McHarden and her boyfriend set themselves a task that I can’t imagine trying without either the blessings of youth or some serious pharmaceuticals: try all of the sex from 50 Shades of Grey in one weekend. Read on and discover that the wild sex of 50 Shades is… sort of vanilla.

2. MODERN LOVE The weirdest detail from this article about a woman falling in love over Instagram is a cameo appearance from Bill Cosby. Roland Barthes would approve of the reality-enhancing effect of this detail.

3. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ A recent study from Match.com discovered an intriguing correlation: people who used more emojis in text messages had more sex. Unfortunately, this does not mean that throwing an emoji into a text message will get you sex on your next date. Unless you’re texting an emoji fetishist?

4. QUEER TIMES AT THE STRIP CLUB M.J. Corey, a self-described “lesbian idiot,” decided to celebrate her 25th birthday at a strip club and wrote a tongue-in-cheek email to her invitees about general strip club decorum (I think “bring lots of small bills” about covers it). Then Jezebel got hold of the email and mocked her fairly mercilessly. So let’s read Corey’s side of the story.

5. BUT THE SEXTING IS JUST INSUFFERABLE Yes, there’s a term for the sexual attractiveness of smarts and the people who go ga-ga for grey matter. Behold the sapiosexual.



Weekly Reckoning: Authoritardian Edition

weekly-reckoningGood afternoon, everyone! Can you believe this weather we’re having? No. No, you cannot believe this weather we’re having, because weather is only the visible aspect of a system so complex that it embodies the paradox of chaos as the avatar of such an incomprehensible and terrifyingly sublime order that we can only understand it as transcendent perfection. It may be most useful to say “No, I can’t believe this weather, but I do believe in this weather.” Then, when your friend gives you the quizzical side-eye, hand him or her a little photocopied pamphlet with smeary illustrations and walk on.

Let’s have some news.

1. “CANADA HAS FAILED TO UPHOLD THE HONOUR OF THE CROWN” Strong words from Matthew Coon Come on Canada’s intransigence on aboriginal issues and our ongoing shabby performance on the global stage.

2. A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE AUTHORITARDIAN MENTALITY So it seems that a gay employee at a Taco John’s restaurant in South Dakota was given a name tag that said “GAYTARD” in big block lettering. Note to abusive employers: be subtle about your deranged bullying and don’t leave a paper trail. Which in this case is a name tag.

3. KIRBY ESTATE SETTLES WITH MARVEL Well, that only took forever, but it seems that the estate of the man who helped create of Marvel’s most enduring (and profitable) characters will be getting some piece of the action.

4. “BITTERSWEET,” MRS. FORD MUTTERED, AND DISAPPEARED INTO MEPHITIC CLOUDS OF BARBECUE SMOKE THAT HUNG OVER THE CROWD AND COHERED LIKE SOME GASEOUS ORGANISM OF PURE PROTEIN Rob Ford made his first public appearance since his cancer diagnosis at the annual Ford Fest barbecue. Reporters were on hand to collect comments.

5. PEOPLE STILL AWFUL A Saskatoon church cancelled a funeral after a volunteer told the deceased’s wife that they ‘did not want his kind there’. Apparently the obituary photo of the not-alive and not-likely-to-bother-anyone man depicted him wearing a Sons of Anarchy t-shirt. It’s not clear whether the volunteer mistook the deceased for a gang member or just really disapproved of the creative stagnation that set in on the TV show around season five.

On The Fear Of Gender-Based Violence

Video still from Mozart's Sister via cocostereo
Video still from Mozart’s Sister via cocostereo

Thought I’d share a line of thinking I hadn’t followed in a while because I haven’t gone out much in the evenings since the birth of my daughter.

Last night I was pulling out some clean clothes to wear and putting a few things together by the front door so that I could quickly slip out of the house to check out a rock show at the Exchange, the first I’d been to in a while. “Ha ha, you’ve really gotta plan three moves in advance with this parent thing,” I thought, “I’ll have to leave just after the first band is done, I guess.”

Then I paused as it occurred to me that I’ll have to walk alone to my car in the warehouse district, which has a few bars nearby and not a lot of foot traffic on a night when people are likely partying after a Roughriders victory and at the show itself. It would more than suck to have to deal with any kind of assault, perhaps especially at this time of my life when my body has only just healed after birth and is responsible for the nourishment of a baby.

Next I had two quick reactions: maybe it wasn’t worth it and maybe I shouldn’t bother dressing nicely at all. How fucked up is that? Self-blaming, fearful thoughts. Anyway, thought I’d share what it’s like for many of us out there (and not just for privileged white women like me): we’re always planning three steps ahead and hoping for the best.

Not All Men, But Apparently Enough Men

not all men

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been spending far too much time online this week (and it’s not even over yet). In my defense, much of it was for research, but too often I’ve found myself clicking on links to articles that just made me really angry and did little else. Is it me or does there seem to be a lot of news relating to the abuse of women and general misogyny in the ether? I’m really asking because I don’t know if it’s actually everywhere or if Google and Facebook have finally got me pegged. At any rate, the mainstream media has really outdone itself over the past few weeks, making room in their headlines for lots of stories that seem to be tailor made for click bait, but with very real social implications. I know it’s a drag, but I’m going to post a few of them here for your perusal.

Right around the time the Ragged Ass Barber vs. Evie Ruddy story broke, the CBC ran another story about a woman in Montreal who got into an argument with a lifeguard because she contested their order to “cover up” her three year-old daughter at a swimming pool. Apparently, the girl had swimming shorts on but no top and, because anyone who identifies as female – at any age – is understood to be a walking provocation for men who might sexualize them, this was a big problem at the pool that day.

Then there was the story about pictures of famous naked women being disseminated without their consent. Of course, much of the discussion around this seems to have been about cloud computing security and slut shaming rather than how the hackers felt justified in sexually violating these women in the first place.

The story around the backlash to Evie Ruddy’s human rights complaint (which has been absolutely heinous) wasn’t the only one last week. Canadian gaming critic Anita Sarkeesian was actually chased out of her home after threats on her life became very real. Apparently her attackers took umbrage at her charge of sexism in the gaming world.

This morning, CBC’s The Current examined another story that surfaced last week about how college students at North Carolina State University have invented a nail polish that changes colour when it comes in contact with “date rape” drugs (by the way, can we stop calling it that? Rape is rape). They’d apparently like their product to be included in frosh week kits and, if it takes off, probably stand to make a lot of money. I wonder if they’d consider kicking any of the profits into some kind of PSA aimed at men who rape women after they’ve rendered them unconscious. Or would that be bad for business?

This reminds me of a very short conversation I had with a friend many years ago in another city. I was talking to her about how passive aggressive it felt to have received a vodka company-sponsored rape whistle in my swag bag from a local film festival (“Drink up girls! But don’t get too drunk – otherwise, uh-oh!”). I wondered aloud why it was, more than 40 years after the second wave of feminism, I should still find myself walking home at night with my apartment key sticking out between my knuckles, ready at a moment’s notice to take a swing at any potential attacker. At this time, my friend was working on a large floral arrangement (she’s a florist) and from behind a huge spray of dogwood and salal, she deadpanned: “It’s because of men.” Now before you start getting all “not all men” on me, consider this: Why did the lifeguards ask the little girl’s mother at the pool to cover up her child? Who prompted Evie Ruddy to shut down her Facebook and Twitter accounts after hurling vicious language at her? Who are women trying to protect themselves from should they start using that roofie-detecting nail polish?

How else can one put this other than how it’s already been put? The culture really needs to change. 

The Case Against 8

Directed by Ben Cotner and Ryan White, this American documentary follows the legal struggle of two same sex couples to overturn Proposition 8: a controversial measure passed in California in 2008 that repealed the right of same sex couples to marry.

With the help of attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, who had previously battled each other as lead lawyers in the U.S. Supreme Court case Bush v Gore related to voting irregularities in the 2000 presidential election, the couples brought a federal marriage equality lawsuit against the California ban that ultimately ended up in the Supreme Court.

The Case Against Prop 8 screens tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Friday and Sunday at 9 p.m. I couldn’t find a trailer for the doc but here’s a Q&A with the directors and film editor Kate Amend at the 2014 Sundance Festival where the film picked up a directing award:

Queer City Cinema

This LGBT-focused film and video festival is creeping up on its 20th anniversary. The first festival was in 1996, and it was held every two years after that until 2012 when it became an annual affair.

If you do the math that means this is the 11th QCC. In addition to the Queen City, satellite screenings of films and videos from the festival have been held in several other cities over the years like Saskatoon, Edmonton and Winnipeg. The festival theme this year is Perforations.

A “perforation” is a hole or series of holes in an object. Old-school film, for instance, has perforations on the edges that permit it to be run through a projector. Perforations can also be present in a body, or a piece cloth, or any number of other materials. And as a meta-theme for this festival, it refers to the idea of using film and video to “perforate, pierce, rip open, tear through and allow a queer light into the room and subsequently the viewer’s world.”

QCC runs May 15-17 at Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum (203-1856 Scarth). You can find out more information on the program, which includes a mix of shorts and feature-length works, here. But there are programs Thursday at 7 and 9 p.m., Friday at 7, 9 and 11 p.m., and four programs on Saturday at 1, 3, 7 and 9 p.m.

To give you a sense of what to expect here’s the trailer for the 2013 documentary Age of Consent by Charles Lum and Todd Verow about the first gay fetish bar in London called the Hoist. It screens Friday at 11 p.m.:

Keeping An Anti-Gay Bigot Out Of Canada Doesn’t Violate Anyone’s Freedom Of Speech

I just got off the phone with Whitworth.

Earlier today I wrote a comment on one of his posts about how Peter LaBarbera had been allowed into the country — LaBarbera being of course the head of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality who’d originally been denied entry into Canada because immigration officials figured his talk at a Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association conference would incite hatred against homosexuals. And anyway, Steve had called because he figured my hastily drafted rant about the guy should graduate to full-on blog-post status.

As requested, I’m posting a slightly edited version of it below.

But before I do, in his call, Steve mentioned a few things about LaBarbera I hadn’t known and that made me rather angry: The dude not only openly praises from his home turf the murderous anti-gay laws in Uganda and the scandalous anti-gay laws in Russia, he’s also travelled to Jamaica to support efforts there to halt the repeal of that country’s repressive anti-gay laws.

So when LaBarbera comes a-knocking, it may not be just to engage in some kind of democratic debate, it’s probably part of his larger campaign to spread his malevolence around the globe and have it enshrined in law.

Anyway, here’s that blog comment about LaBarbera…

Even if immigration hadn’t changed their mind and he’d been kept out of the country, no one’s freedom of speech would have been infringed upon.

The religio-facists in Weyburn would still get to say whatever caustic, anti-gay crud they want. And LaBarbera would have been able to continue to spread hate and bile in his country and on the internet. Heck, he could’ve Skyped into the conference and said his piece that way.

In this case, the original decision wasn’t to silence anybody in Weyburn but rather to deny LaBarbera entry to Canada. And entering Canada is not something that every American is entitled to do.

Continue reading “Keeping An Anti-Gay Bigot Out Of Canada Doesn’t Violate Anyone’s Freedom Of Speech”

Divas At The Owl: Apocalypse Wow

DivasYou can get all the details on this annual drag show and fundraiser hosted by UR Pride which goes Saturday night at the Owl from the accompanying poster.

And while a giant-sized Cher won’t actually be in attendance to wreak Godzilla-like havoc on the University of Regina campus and surrounding area there will undoubtedly be some top-notch drag queens at the Owl to entertain and help boost awareness for the services UR Pride provide to students and other LGBT youth and adults in the city.

Brewer Vetoes Bonehead Bill

The other day the Arizona State Legislature passed an idiotic bill that, in the guise of protecting religious freedom, pretty much made it open season for anyone to discriminate against anyone else. The bill’s reach was potentially unlimited, but the most obvious target was the LGBT community who many hardcore Christians believe are the devil’s spawn or something.

When the bill passed, criticism began to rain down on ‘Zona from everywhere. Today, Governor Jan Brewer, who can hardly be tagged with the dreaded “Liberal” label because of her stands on other issues like gun control and illegal aliens, vetoed the bill saying it “could divide Arizona in ways we could not even imagine and no one would ever want.” You can read more in this CBC report.

New, Improved Prairie Dog Pride Logo

Earlier this week we changed our website logo from its usual black and yellow colours to a rainbow-ish incarnation. We did this because the Olympics are being held in Russia, a country that last year passed bigoted laws that are making life bad for  lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, and we want our readers to ponder this Russian shittiness.

(Plus The Guardian redesigned their logo for the Olympics and The Guardian is the best, and we want to be cool like them. Ahem.)

But lo! Nit-picky commentator and Friend O’ The Dog Brad had a complaint: “It bothers me that your logo includes colours from the line of purples,” he wrote in a post a few days ago. “The colours between violet and red are non-spectral and don’t belong on a rainbow.”*

Well, we are nothing if not sensitive to the anal-retentive critiques of our readers! And since, after extensively researching the matter, we have learned that the modern pride flag has six colours (red, orange, yellow, green, royal blue and purple),  we’ve updated our logo!

Thanks for helping us learn something interesting and important, Brad!

*Trivia: the co-operative movement has a seven-colour rainbow flag. But it’s easy to confuse the two flags so we should always be nice to entities and people that  innocently make this mistake, whether that’s a newspaper like Prairie Dog or, I dunno, someone else.

The Method In Rob Ford’s Madness Is So Gay

There’s a certain method to Rod Ford’s latest homophobic madness, whether or not the rest of Canada’s political chattering classes choose to recognize it.

In North America and western Europe, accepting gays and lesbians as part of society is pretty much a given. When the rainbow flag flies at the Legislature, it’s at the behest of a premier whose party 10 years ago railed against Crown corporation sponsorship of a gay/lesbian film festival. We’ve come a long way – or so we’d like to think. Except that when the Regina Leader-Post did an on-line poll asking people what they thought of this, the comments ran about 80-20 against, with most of the opposition wanting the pink triangle brigade stoned in the streets (In yesterday’s editorial, the L-P offered The Wag Of The Finger).

Rob Ford’s district – the base of Ford Nation – is, however, comprised of immigrants from areas of the world – mostly Africa and some from eastern Europe – where homosexuality is still seen as a threat (to whom? Whatever. It’s still a threat to them). So it doesn’t matter whether Rob Ford’s homophobia is part of his neurotic personality, a carefully contrived political agenda, or both. If it gets him votes, he’ll take it. It doesn’t matter that he’ll be bringing embarrassment to a city that’s hosting the World Pride Festival (and, we may add, all the business opportunities and tourist dollars such events bring in).

And one of those who will be watching what effect this will have in next October’s mayoralty election? Stephen Harper, who knows that his party’s re-election will be won or lost in the 905 region – that area that rings Toronto like a ring around a bathtub.

When Ottawa city council voted to fly the rainbow flag last week, one person blasted the mayor for the decision on his Twitter account. Mayor Jim Watson replied that if he feels that way, Watson didn’t want his vote. Rob Ford has no such scruples, and Stephen Harper will be watching from the sidelines, using Toronto’s civic vote next October to decide whether or not to unleash the Reform-A-Tories’ dogs of homophobic war in 2015.