Friday, March 19, 2010

Prorogation Response - NDP

Thank you for your previous message regarding Prime Minister Harper's
decision to close down Parliament - the second time in a year. I share
the outrage and disappointment that many Canadians felt.

As promised, the New Democratic Party introduced a motion to limit a
Prime Minister's ability to run away from accountability in Parliament.
The text of our motion states: "That, in the opinion of the House, the
Prime Minister shall not advise the Governor General to prorogue any
session of any Parliament for longer than seven calendar days without a
specific resolution of this House of Commons to support such a

I am happy to report that our motion passed with support from members of
the other opposition parties. We are thankful for their support and view
this as a victory for democracy and transparency of government.

For your interest, you can view my speech outlining our plan to curb the
abuse of prorogation here:

Again, I appreciate hearing from you. Feel free to share my email with
anyone who may be interested. Also, I invite you to visit our website at to read the latest about the New Democrats. All the best.


Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
Leader, Canada's New Democrats

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Re: Conservative Gay rights: Don't Ask, Don't tell

Thank you for your email regarding Minister Kenney`s decision to remove
any references to gay history and gay rights in Canada from the latest
edition of the federal Citizenship Guide.

New Democrats are concerned about this total disregard of the
contributions of the gay community to Canadian history. We have called
for Minister Kenney to apologize for censoring the document and to
reverse his decision. Our Party`s statement on this matter can be found
at this link:

The New Democratic Party will continue to speak out against inequality.
We think Canada should take a leadership role in standing for human
rights both in Canada and abroad and call on all Canadians who believe
in social justice to add their voices to this effort. Together we can
demonstrate that the relationship between Canadians is one that should
be built on respect, dignity and fairness.

New Democrats remain steadfast in calling for the extension of the basic
rights that many Canadians take for granted including equal rights for
gays and lesbians. NDP MP Bill Siksay, in his role as our Party`s
spokesperson on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual and Transgender
Issues, remains a strong advocate for these communities.

Again, I appreciate hearing your perspective. I invite you to visit our
website at to read the latest about the New Democrats.


Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
Leader, Canada's New Democrats

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Conservative Gay rights: Don't Ask, Don't tell

Mr. Kenney,

I was appalled to learn that you had directed staff of Immigration Canada to remove references to same-sex marriage from the new study guide for new Canadians applying for citizenship. Not only was same-sex marriage a hard fought battle and the right thing to do, but these rights in Canada are seen by those oppressed by their own foreign governments as a candle in the dark for lesbians and gays the world over.

And we are not talking just the inability to marry. It is life or death for many communities.

In Iraq and Iran killings of homosexuals have been going on for decades, and are part of official law. You may have heard of the two gay boys - BOYS mind you, they were 16 - who, in 2006, were publicly hanged in Iran for nothing more than loving one another. It is horrific.

What is more distasteful and downright disingenuous is what appears to be the Conservative Party of Canada's determination to play up their anti-gay rhetoric to those ethnic communities in Canada who traditionally detest and discriminate against the LGBT individuals in their midst. How terrible it must be for a West Indian man or women, who comes from a society in which "Batty Man" is a signal to beat or mutilate a gay man, to come to Canada for refuge and to live a free and auspicious life, to arrive and find that the Government of Canada is stirring up the immigrant communities in Canada against the gays and lesbians. Steven Harper was quoted as follows:

“Same sex marriage is not a human right. … undermining the traditional definition of marriage is an assault on multiculturalism and the practices in those communities.” (Stephen Harper, Hansard, February 16, 2005)

What is your great leader saying Mr. Kenney? Surely you cannot be found at fault for following his example. Both this quote and your actions over the study guide are reprehensible. There are gays, lesbians, transgendered and bisexual people in those "multicultural communities" that are looking for the same rights as every other Canadian; to take such actions and make such statements pulls those rights away from non-white Canadians and further isolates the powerless LGBT people inside these communities.

Your policy and ideas are not only homophobic, but they are racist as well. That should be anathema to Canadian leadership, but it seems that hasn't stopped you.

For shame.


Michael Kruse