Yes, it’s true. As part of promoting Canadian values abroad, the Conservative government has been speaking out at international forums, particularly the Commonwealth, against nations that oppress the rights of homosexuals. Embassy magazine, a weekly foreign policy journal published in Ottawa, interviewed a series of experts on global gay rights, and found that the Tories have spoken out forcefully against a series of Third World countries that were considering passing laws that would have made homosexuality illegal, or even subject to the death penalty. And the Tories, Embassy notes, have also made the decriminalization of homosexuality a foreign policy objective.Gay rights are human rights, and that's the common ground that conservatives who believe in the sanctity of individual liberty share, whether they're gay or straight.
Nor are they doing it only through back channels. As part of the Conservative effort to draw attention to the oppression of homosexuals, both Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird have spoken publicly against the oppression of gays. This might not get much notice inside Canada — some of the experts Embassy contacted hadn’t even realized the Conservative government was working to help gays abroad — but it is happening. Indeed, if one wanted to look for a hidden agenda, you could almost infer that the Tories are conducting a stealth pro-gay campaign abroad that’s drawing little notice in Canada.
That’s not particularly likely, either, of course. What’s more likely is that gay rights and Conservative ideology have finally aligned in Canada. Many conservative voters, and Tory MPs, may well have moral objections to homosexuality, but they also have a strong, patriotic belief that their country has superior values worth exporting, and those values include such things as equal rights for citizens, even homosexuals. As uncomfortable as homosexual sex may still make many people feel, those same people will have no trouble believing their country’s equal treatment of gays proves its moral superiority. Patriotism, in short, trumps squeamishness.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Harper's true hidden agenda: promoting gay rights overseas
Matt Gurney of the National Post writes that, for a government with a supposedly anti-gay "hidden agenda", the federal Conservatives sure are going out of their way to stand up for gay rights in oppressive Third World countries. In his op-ed If the Tories hate gays, why are they standing up for them abroad?, Gurney writes: