Federal Gov’t Finally Gets One Thing Right


I’ve had a few sharp words for the Justin Trudeau government on several recent occasions, but a week ago Friday was not one of them.

The federal government made a $1.1 million commitment over five years to address some very serious problems facing the LGBTQ2 (henceforth queer/trans) community, and it sensibly picked exactly the right organization to handle the addressing. 

OUTSaskatoon, which has been around since 1991 under various names, will use the money more or less equally for two projects. One project will further develop prevention and intervention services for people affected by gender-based violence, and is funded by the Department for Women and Gender Equality.

The other, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, will focus on education and training to combat said violence.

The gentleman who announced the funds was Alberta MP Randy Boissonnault, the first openly gay MP from that province. He was quoted in the StarPhoenix as saying that LGBTQ2 people have been “invisible” in data on gender-based violence.

Much worse, he noted that almost half of those Canadians identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual have reported experiencing physical or sexual abuse, and the rates are higher for trans and gender-diverse Canadians.

What in God’s name is wrong with people? Those numbers are incredible and ridiculous. I can’t even fathom the “reasons,” if you can call them that, for attacking or abusing someone based on sexual orientation, usually not your own.

What completely horrified me a couple of years ago, when I interviewed OUT’s executive director Rachel Loewen Walker, was her revelation that young queer and trans people are often kicked out of their homes. Many of them end up on the street, at least for a while; they have nowhere to go, and heaven knows they will not do well in a homeless state. Just look at the statistics above. 

A great many of them are confused and alienated, not seeing themselves as fitting into society at large, so they also have mental health issues including sometimes-severe depression.

For this reason, OUT established the Pride Home for young queer and trans people, among the many other support and social services it provides.

For anyone who thinks the fight for queer equality has been won, and everyone is happily toodling along getting married, tax splitting and pension sharing, think again. We finally have some decent policies coming along, but society is still way behind. It’s high time the feds delivered funding to support queer and trans people in dire need; and to educate the rest of us. High time, but at least they did it. Applause.

In less-sensible funding news, the feds have also provided $12 million, which you’ll notice is quite a bit more than what OUT received, to Loblaw. Yes, that Loblaw, the supermarket chain.

It comes from Ottawa’s $2-billion Low Carbon Economy Fund, so in that context, maybe it’s not a huge amount. But why are we giving Loblaw refrigerators? 

I suppose the reasoning is that Loblaw is an important cog within a massive food distribution network, and that energy-efficient fridges are going to reduce emissions. I suppose I understand that (writer twists face into confused expression.) 

Are we good with delivering enormous subsidies to companies of this size, which I assume (perhaps wrongly) can afford their own damn cooling methods? Furthermore, are we okay with the feds picking the winners? If I ran a mom-and-pop store, say in Kindersley or Shaunavon or even Saskatoon, would I not be just a wee bit cranky? 

Yes. Yes, I think I would be.

I don’t do sports commentary very often — well, less often than, say, dogs or politics and stuff like that — but did you notice that Tiger Woods won the Masters? 

I would normally do the proper journalistic thing and say, Tiger Woods is a famous golfer who has won almost as many big tournaments as Jack Nicklaus and the Masters is one of the biggest of the big, but he hasn’t been on his game until lately. 

But I won’t, because even if you actually do live in a yurt on the edge of the Arctic Circle or a tent in the Sahara Desert without TV or Wi-Fi — and you might, who knows? — you are fully aware of who Tiger Woods is and what the Masters is.

I honestly did not think he would come back, after embarrassing himself over his wife and struggling with his addictions, his rotten back and multiple surgeries, at age 43. More, he’s pouty and annoying and arrogant, and definitely not my fave golfer.

But holy cow, I have to hand it to him. He did it. Maybe there’s hope for me yet. (Not.)