December 6th


While we honour the memory of all victims of male violence against women everywhere, before and since, Canadians particularly recall today – on this our National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women – the names of the victims of the Montreal Massacre at l’École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989:

Geneviève Bergeron, 21, was a second year scholarship student in civil engineering.

1

Hélène Colgan, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and planned to take her master’s degree.

1

Nathalie Croteau, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering.

1

Barbara Daigneault, 22, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and was a teaching assistant.

1

Anne-Marie Edward, 21, was a first year student in chemical engineering.

1

Maud Haviernick, 29, was a second year student in engineering materials, a branch of metallurgy, and a graduate in environmental design.

1

Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31, was a second year engineering student specializing in engineering materials.

1

Maryse Laganière, 25, worked in the budget department of the Polytechnique.

1

Maryse Leclair, 23, was a fourth year student in engineering materials.

1

Anne-Marie Lemay, 27, was a fourth year student in mechanical engineering.

1

Sonia Pelletier, 28, was to graduate the next day in mechanical engineering. She was awarded a degree posthumously.

1

Michèle Richard, 21, was a second year student in engineering materials.

1

Annie St-Arneault, 23, was a mechanical engineering student.

1

Annie Turcotte, 21, was a first year student in engineering materials.

1

Each died, in a deranged man’s gun rampage. because they were women.

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A letter to Canadians from the Honourable Jack Layton


August 20, 2011
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

June 18 proclaimed as Pride Day in the Town of Perth, Ontario!


Imagine my delight, and yes pride, to learn that LGBT Lanark County had won its bid for a Pride Day proclamation in Perth for June 18. (This was also the first I’d heard of LGBT Lanark County. Their web site is pretty impressive!)

The Perth Courier, and an advertiser-householder known locally as the EMC, both had news during my recent visit of the April 19 town council meeting where, just as proceedings began, Mayor John Fenik made the proclamation (among others, including Parkinson’s Awareness and International Building Safety). The Pride proclamation was greeted by applause from members and friends of LGBT Lanark County.

The proclamation will be celebrated with a dance at the Civitan Hall on June 18, featuring both a live band and d.j. Tickets are $15 in advance (available at Shadowfax) or $20 at the door.

Congratulations to LGBT Lanark County. Community events in small towns are an amazing affirmation of the founding spirit of Pride!

December 6, 1989 – Université de Montréal’s École Polytechnique


Fourteen women…killed en masse because they were women

Geneviève Bergeron, 21, was a second year scholarship student in civil engineering.

Hélène Colgan, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and planned to pursue her master’s degree.

Nathalie Croteau, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering.

Barbara Daigneault, 22, was a teaching assistant and in her final year of mechanical engineering.

Anne-Marie Edward, 21, was a first year student in chemical engineering.

Maud Haviernick, 29, was a second year student in engineering materials, a branch of metallurgy, and a graduate in environmental design.

Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31, was a second year engineering student specializing in engineering materials.

Maryse Laganière, 25, worked in the budget department of the Polytechnique.

Maryse Leclair, 23, was a fourth year student in engineering materials.

Anne-Marie Lemay, 27, was a fourth year student in mechanical engineering.

Sonia Pelletier, 28, was to graduate the next day in mechanical engineering. She was awarded a degree posthumously.

Michèle Richard, 21, was a second year student in engineering materials.

Annie St-Arneault, 23, was a mechanical engineering student.

Annie Turcotte, 21, was a first year student in engineering materials.

Let us remember these and all other victims of men’s violence against women – and work to end misogyny wherever it exists.

Ever-developing story – Clint “I-like-it-when-gays-die” McCance speaks to CNN’s Anderson Cooper: brain farts maybe?


I’m keeping this post open to add more developments.  Suffice to say, to begin, that Clint McCance’s so-called apology on CNN’s AC 360 is not going over very well.  (As I wrote at the time it seemed like Anderson had to pull out the nature of his wrongs.  They weren’t forthcoming from McCance himself.)

David Pakman of Midweek Politics with David Pakman (my favourite podcast) was having none of it and was also critical of Anderson.

Dr. Phil called McCance’s performance “a non-apology apology”.

Thursday night Anderson Cooper interviewed the Vice-President of Midland School District in Arkansas whose Facebook rants against gays, “fags”, “queers”, the recent rash of publicized gay suicides of five young men and boys, and his mocking of a day to remember them, touched off such a storm earlier in the week.

Whether it was the glare of the television lights, or the endless stream of upset his comments caused, Clint McCance was, at least, very soft-spoken. It seemed as though Anderson Cooper had to feed him reasons why he should be sorry, other than the fact that his father took him to the proverbial woodshed:

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres joined Anderson and called for people from a wider cross-section of society to become involved in counteracting homophobia and other sorts of bullying.

So, in a whirlwind twenty-four hours or so, Clint McCance has announced his resignation.  That would be enough for some people, as would his words – however laboured – with Anderson.  It’s too bad there wasn’t some community council way of restorative justice which would compel Mr. McCance to work, supervised of course, with gay kids.  He would learn a lot from them, I am sure, as long as his presence didn’t terrify them.  Instead he will be able to, should he choose, keep the company of good ol’ boys (and gals) to whom his incendiary, wounding ramblings on Facebook were anything but offensive.

Maybe one day he’ll have the opportunity to speak with a Dad and Mom who’ve lost an LGBT kid to suicide, although I can’t imagine them wishing to speak to him.

Then again, since  Mr. McCance has already had a terrible influence on children maybe these ideas are just too creepy and that the focus should remain on the kids he has lorded over with such hateful thoughts and words.

Sticks and Stones…


I’d imagine it must be painful for a parent to have to impart to their children those familiar words, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

I was certainly skeptical.

Long before summoning the courage to come out to my parents at age 21, I had known that I was different from other kids in elementary school. I instinctively knew that I shouldn’t express my admiration for the exemplary physiques of Batman or Tarzan. So it was for many years – all the way through high school – that, while feeling no sticks and stones of any consequence, plenty of names hurt me and none moreso than those flung at me by my elementary school head teacher/principal. I attribute his monstrous bullying and physical abuse with setting the stage for all kinds of acting out behaviour detailed in other parts of this blog.

It is difficult to imagine that a man with such responsibility would have a place in today’s schools. To that extent, IT GETS BETTER.

Perhaps because we’ve applied ourselves to studying more diligently, or are just naturally gifted, it has been my observation that lgbt kids are smarter than average. There’s something to be said for being a nerd! I know, because I remember, that as a teen it seems like the freedom of adulthood will never arrive. It will, and IT GETS BETTER.

Almost without exception nowadays, schools have a zero tolerance policy for bullying. Use that for all it’s worth. You have a right to being safe in school. The same goes for the internet.

I won’t lie to you. What your parents have probably called “the best years of your life” (I know mine did) will seem unbearable at times. Just remember that things have come a long way in terms of lgbt rights and acceptance since I, or your parents, were in school. Hang in there, IT GETS BETTER.

I’m going to close with three of my favourite messages from the YouTube “It Gets Better” campaign.

Episcopal Bishop Eugene Robinsom



Fort Worth, Texas Councilman Joel Burns

New York City Gay Men’s Chorus

The World Cup, CBC and Soccer4Hope


What an inspiration to see the CBC’s Scott Russell on The National Tuesday night with his profile of Soccer4Hope! (It’s at the 36-minute mark of the video) which probably only stays up until Wednesday night’s broadcast.

S4H looks very promising, modeled as it is after its basketball counterpart Hoops4Hope in bringing together the issues of HIV/AIDS, poverty, gender inequality and ‘the beautiful game’ as South Africa hosts the World Cup in just a few days time.

Check out this promotional video on YouTube as well!