Tag Archives: Maurice Vellacott

Will defending gay rights cost Tories?

It’s alienating the religious right and Maurice Vellacott

The Conservative government’s defence of gay rights abroad appears to have sharply divided Canadian conservatives. Some say it’s a natural fit for a government that has made the promotion of human rights on the world stage a priority, and aligns with the priorities and values of Conservatives and non-Conservatives alike.

“It’s just the right thing to do, to stand up for the rights of the individual no matter what country they live in,” said Stephen Taylor, director of the conservative National Citizens Coalition. But others have warned it will cost Prime Minister Stephen Harper support from within his own party.

“I’ve already seen some feedback from some of the conservative, the real conservative base,” said Brian Rushfeldt, president of the right-wing advocacy group Canada Family Action. “I think the potential of Harper and the Conservatives losing some support is very real.”

Even Conservative MPs are divided over the issue, which on the surface appears to be an outlier among many other foreign policy positions the Tories have adopted since coming to power.

“We’ve got much more important things to be doing in terms of a foreign affairs agenda along the lines of trade and health issues and various other issues that we can help these countries in,” said Conservative backbencher Maurice Vellacott. “So I don’t think we have to be promoting that in other countries. We have far too much and far more important things to be doing.”

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird refused to say Friday whether he was worried Conservative members and supporters will turn against the government over the issue.

I am not sure that Vellacott speaks for many others than himself on this issue.  Even the right wing Toronto Sun is speaking out in favour of John Baird.

Canada is a defender of human rights. Full stop.

That’s pretty much our response to REAL Women of Canada picking a fight with John Baird.

The foreign affairs minister has recently spoken out against the oppression of gay people in various countries — such as Uganda, with their proposed “kill the gays” bill.

REAL Women don’t like that. They think Canada has no business poking around in Uganda’s affairs — despite the fact we send them tens of millions in aid every year.

They also don’t like Baird chastising Russia for their bizarre new law against non-traditional lifestyle propaganda — whatever that means.

What it seems to mean is that gay people could be arrested for waving a flag, writing their opinions or having a parade.

Well, sorry ladies, but Canadian athletes will soon be heading to Russia and we should do all we can to make sure they compete and come home safe and sound.

Telling other countries what to do and wading into their social issues should be kept to a minimum. But sometimes you’ve just got to stand up for your values. And persecuting people because of their religion, gender, sexual orientation and so on, is one of the things we oppose as Canadians.

And there you have the problem of the religious right in Canada.  They scream loud and clear when someone they agree with is persecuted but if that person doesn’t, they don’t even want them protected and everyone sees that.  I have no problem in having a belief system but no one deserves to persecuted for theirs.  

The Campaigns in Saskatoon

I was looking for a list of nominated Saskatoon candidates for the federal election and I realized that none listed, even the Liberals don’t have a complete list of nominated candidates on their site (same thing happened under Stephane Dion) and while the NDP don’t have a list of their candidates anywhere.  So after spending some quality time with Google and Wikipedia, here is a list of what’s happening in Saskatoon, past vote totals, and my thoughts of what is going to happen in 2011.

Saskatoon Rosetown Biggar

  • Incumbent: Kelly Block (won with 45.4% of the vote)
  • Challenger: Nettie Wiebe (lost with 44.5% of the vote – only 153 votes separated them last election)
  • Taking it for the Team:  Lee Reaney (Liberals took only 4.4% of the vote last time) and Vicki Strelioff (Greens took 4.6% of the votes in 2008)

What to Expect: It will come down to under 1000 votes and in the end will be determined by which candidate can correctly identify and get out the vote.  The urban vote will go to Nettie Wiebe while the rural vote will come out for Kelly Block.  It’s going to come down to campaign organization, a ground campaign, and who has the motivated voters.  Of the three factors, the first two will be determined locally and as for motivated voters, that will come down to the leaders.  In other words this is one of the few ridings in Saskatchewan that could be in play and my gut feeling is that Nettie Wiebe will win it by a couple of hundred votes.  NDP voters seem more motivated than Conservative ones who are starting to doubt Harper a little bit, the Green campaign doesn’t seem as strong and the Liberals aren’t running seriously in the riding.  With that close of an election last time, that is all it could take.

Saskatoon Humboldt

What to Expect: The wildcard in this riding is Darren Hill, a popular city councillor for Ward 1.  He is running very aggressively for the Liberals and has been for some time.  That being said the Liberals have run former mayor Henry Dayday, former NDP MP and provincial cabinet minister Chris Axworthy (who had won that riding in the past), and city councillor Tiffany Paulsen and they all lost soundly.  His campaign isn’t helped by the disappearance of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party which seems to be running to the right when it is running.   In the end I expect that Darren Hill and Denise Kouri will split enough votes that Trost will win again.  The vote swing is just too great.

Saskatoon Waneskewin

  • Incumbent: Maurice Vellacott (2008 campaign website) won with 56.50% of the vote and spent very little money in the process.
  • Taking it for the team: Everyone else. Patricia Zipchen (Liberal had 12.39% in 2008), John Parry (NDP had 24.36% of the vote in 2008), Mark Bigland-Pritchard (Green took 6.73% of the vote in 2008).  No one else has a chance of winning this seat.  The Liberals have twice run Chris Axworthy while the NDP tried former mayor Jim Madden.  Both increased the vote total but neither made a serious challenge at Vellacott.  While Vellacott’s big vote totals suprise many, his social conservatism appeal to the very motivated rural voters in the riding and the party’s positions appeal to the largely upper middle class suburban voters.

What to Expect: While this riding has switched to the NDP in the past (Ray Hnatyshyn lost in 1988 to Chris Axworthy), it has been redistributed to the point where the traditional NDP areas have moved to Saskatoon Rosetown Biggar and the traditionally Conservative polls were left in Saskatoon Waneskewin.  This means that Vellacott will win big, continue to add to his MP pension, say a couple of controversial things, and rest comfortably on the backbenches of Canada’s Parliament.

Blackstrap

What to Expect: Lynne Yelich will win without breaking a sweat.   She is well liked both in the city and in rural areas and is a dark horse candidate for cabinet if the Tories win again.

Agree? Disagree?  Let me know in the comments.