So what will Jason Kenney do? (WWJKD?)

Edmonton’s Pride Parade will be held next Saturday, and it has been become an article of faith among Albertan politicians of most ideological stripes for several years now that failure to appear at Pride goeth before a fall.

So what will Jason Kenney do?

Alberta’s just not the place it was back in 1998 when religious fundamentalists and other outraged homophobes were burning up the phone lines to Ralph Klein’s office demanding that the Progressive Conservative premier use the Constitution’s Notwithstanding Clause to override a court decision that gay rights are human rights.

At the time, Mr. Klein’s political aides were deeply worried – frightened, even – by the ferocity of the reaction. Mr. Klein himself – who even his opponents have to admit paid attention to what mattered to those voters he called “severely normal Albertans” – read the political tealeaves more accurately and decided to do the right thing. “I will accept the ruling,” Mr. Klein stated. “I think it’s morally wrong to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.”

A great howl arouse from the social conservative right. “Political analysts are predicting a revolt by about one-third of Klein’s 62-member caucus,” prophesied LifeSite News , the resolutely illiberal social-conservative website that got its start in the pre-Internet 1970s campaigning against women’s reproductive rights.

Of course, nothing of the sort happened. So even 1998 in Alberta wasn’t quite the year we now imagine it to have been. (Nowadays – plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose – the same website is campaigning against gay-straight alliances in Alberta schools.)
In 2017, real Albertans – Martha and Henry, as Mr. Klein would have described them – don’t give a fig about their neighbours’ sexuality, gender identity, how they dress, or for that matter what bathroom they use, as long as they wash their hands before they leave.

For several years now, huge throngs have turned out whenever there’s a Pride Parade in Alberta, especially in the big cities. They have a great time and wear enough beads and flowers to feel “gay for a day.” The prevailing sentiment of just about everyone there is … Who cares?

Even if the gay community were not politically active and attuned to what politicians say and do, this would make these events important political occasions. That’s why it’s no longer just the “usual suspects” from the labour movement, the orange-to-red side of the political spectrum and liberal religious congregations who show up to lend their support to the LBGTQ community at these events.

While you may not have to have to look very hard to find Premier Rachel Notley and lots of her New Democrats at Alberta’s Pride events, nowadays many conservative politicians – who like anyone in politics need to be mindful of the feelings of their base, even if they courageously decide to lead by ignoring it – have been showing up too.

Then-premier Dave Hancock was there in Edmonton three years ago, as was former deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk, at the time a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Others – like both Alison Redford when she was premier and Danielle Smith when she was leader of the Opposition Wildrose Party – tried to have it both ways, showing up at the celebration at the end of the parade route, but not actually marching through the streets where the crowds could see them. They may regret that now.

Which brings us back to the question of WWJKD?

Mr. Kenney won the leadership of the PC Party in part by appealing to the province’s social conservatives. He is perceived by many Albertans as homophobic for his statements about gay-straight alliances in schools, in particular his advocacy of the idea that parents should be informed if their child joined a GSA.

He and his supporters say this is about “parental rights,” and that they are just as concerned about protecting LGBTQ children as were the PCs in premier Jim Prentice’s government who brought the province’s GSA legislation forward in 2015 as a government bill in response to pressure from the then-opposition parties in the Legislature.

Things got hot enough in Alberta about this for Mr. Kenney, it would seem, that he skedaddled to British Columbia for several days, where he was spotted encouraging reluctant federal conservatives to go out and vote for B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s Liberals. (We all know how that turned out.)

Like all elected politicians and party leaders, Mr. Kenney has been invited to take part in next Saturday’s parade by the Edmonton Pride Festival Society, a spokesperson told me.

So will he come?

On the plus side from his perspective, it would support his claims that his arguments about GSAs are about parents’ rights, and not against any group. It would demonstrate – as surely he wants to – that his PCs and the United Conservative Party he hopes to create are welcoming, big-tent parties, as he keeps insisting.

And it would show courage. If the downside is that some participants might boo him, I suspect a lot more people, like me, would applaud him for having the fortitude to show up and make a statement.

The same question could be asked of Wildrose Opposition Leader Brian Jean, although he personally has less to explain than Mr. Kenney, despite tolerating some pretty outrageous attitudes by some of the MLAs in his caucus. It would certainly tell a story if one of the two conservative party leaders showed up, and the other one didn’t.

We know that Mr. Kenney doesn’t have a problem appearing in parades – he’s been in the Calgary Stampede Parade, more than once. So it’s not like he’s afraid of crowds or open spaces. This year’s Stampede Parade is scheduled to take place on Friday, July 7.

And speaking of Pride and the fall, there’s also a Pride Parade in Calgary on Sept. 3. Last year, Mr. Kenney skipped that event, excusing himself by saying his schedule was full.

Alberta PoliticsIf failure to appear at Pride goeth before a fall, what will Jason Kenney do? - Alberta Politics
I must decline your invitation owing to a subsequent engagement.”

For his part, Mr. Kenney, a noted social conservative who has aroused the ire of many in the LGBTQ community and its supporters with his suggestion students who join gay-straight alliances in schools should be outed to their parents, didn’t actually say anything himself in response to questions about whether he would be at Saturday’s Pride Parade.

According to the CBC, which followed up on the issue, his website said he would be attending the rodeo parade in Brooks, pop. 14,000, 190 kilometres southeast of Calgary on the road to Medicine Hat. We all know how important rodeo is, culturally speaking, to Alberta.

In case that doesn’t placate dissatisfied questioners, a PC spokesperson told the CBC Mr. Kenney will be attending a Vietnamese community event in Calgary on Saturday.

Meanwhile, readers may not be surprised to learn Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean is also unable to attend, being booked for a fund-raising golf tournament in the bustling centre of Ponoka, pop. 7,000, south of Edmonton on Highway 2.
Both men are trying to appeal right now to the social conservative base of their own and each other’s parties in hopes of emerging as the leader of the still nonexistent entity tentatively known as the United Conservative Party, already rudely known as the You-See-Pee.

According to the CBC, spokespeople for both leaders said they’d really like to be there, but they missed the deadline to get into the parade – which was back in March, so they should be given credit for committing to tee-times and rodeos in with exemplary timeliness.

The Wildrose spokesperson quoted by the CBC said Mr. Jean’s party really wanted to get into the parade but didn’t get a letter from the organizing committee until after the entry deadline had passed. (Note to Mr. Jean’s office: We have telephones and email now in Edmonton.)

Greg Clark, leader of the Alberta Party and MLA for Calgary-Elbow, told the CBC he had had to give his regrets too, as he had to attend a party board meeting. In his defence, he doesn’t actually expect or even hope to become the premier of Alberta any time soon.

It is worth recalling that both Alison Redford, when she was Alberta’s PC premier, and Danielle Smith, when she was leader of the Opposition, went to the Edmonton Pride Parade without actually marching in it, but mingled cheerfully with the festive crowd at the end of the its route.

Alberta PoliticsTee times and cowboys trump Pride when jittery Alberta conservative politicians join the parade - Alberta Politics
Calgary Pride after all by k.d. lang, Jason Kenney says he still won't go

It all stemmed from a statement Kenney's spokeswoman, Annie Dormuth, issued Monday, saying he would skip the annual parade because he wasn't invited.

In an emailed statement to CBC News, Kenney spokesman Blaise Boehmer said the candidate always happily attends events when he is invited

"We have not received an invitation to this event. On Sept. 3, he is committed to attending and speaking at several large multicultural community events to which he has been invited," he said.

"With respect to k.d. lang's tweet, we are 100 per cent committed to our UCP Leadership campaign. We have numerous events scheduled with thousands of current and potential UCP members this week, and that's who we'll continue to focus on in the lead up to the vote on Oct. 28."

Calgary Pride begins Friday and ends Sept. 4. The marquee parade will be held on Sept 3.

Asked about the offer during an appearance in Edmonton, Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said she thinks Kenney should take lang up on it.

"I think he should sit down with her, I'd be honoured to," she said. "I don't think he has anything to fear, I think she would probably be able to help him learn a few things."

While lang and Morrison urged Kenney to attend, parade organizers made it clear on the weekend that the United Conservative Party was not welcome because the party doesn't have a clear stance on sexual diversity issues.

Brian Jean might attend Calgary Pride

Leadership candidate Brian Jean said he hoped they would reconsider, noting he had asked to march in the parade and has always championed diversity and tolerance. Jean's campaign organizers said he might try to attend as a spectator.

Others affiliated with the party expect to attend as spectators, too, including interim leader Nathan Cooper, and leadership candidates Doug Schweitzer and Jeff Callaway.

The United Conservative Party was created last month after members of the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties voted overwhelmingly to join forces. A new leader is to be picked in October.

Both the PCs and Wildrose have had strained relationships with the LGBTQ community.

The Wildrose Party lost the 2012 general election in part due to its refusal to sanction a candidate who once warned gays to repent or face eternity in hell's "lake of fire."

The PCs faced a backlash in government over their handling of gay-straight alliances before passing legislation acceptable to all sides in early 2015.

Kenney has had an especially fractious relationship with the LGBTQ community, drawing criticism for urging that parents, in some circumstances, be told if their children attend a gay-straight alliance group.

Critics say that could out kids before they are ready and put them at risk of family estrangement or worse.

Invited to Calgary Pride after all by k.d. lang, Jason Kenney says he still won't go - Calgary - CBC News
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The gay pride folks are really pushing their weight around, it's just a matter of time before the tables could turn on them.

They have nothing special to offer the Canadian public, so they should respect the place Canadians have put them in Canadian society.
Quote: Originally Posted by Durry View Post

The gay pride folks are really pushing their weight around, it's just a matter of time before the tables could turn on them.

They have nothing special to offer the Canadian public, so they should respect the place Canadians have put them in Canadian society.

Right wing fanatics should stay in the place they belong too: at the bottom of the fish tank with the other scum sucking bottom feeders.
The whole lgbtq????? Is getting out of hand. No one should feel obligated to attend any parade. Next thing you know they will demand a national holiday called gay daze.

Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post

Right wing fanatics should stay in the place they belong too: at the bottom of the fish tank with the other scum sucking bottom feeders.

THe left wing fanatics have already scoured all the scum off the tank.