What Just Happened?

News and intrigue from home and abroad

Beloved Lego figurine Stephen Harper was in the news last week. Ol’ helmet-hair travelled to the White House to discuss the Trump Administration’s anti-Canada agenda. Prairie Dog was delighted to learn that Harper took time out from whatever the hell he thinks he’s doing to call for regime change in Iran while having nothing to say about dictatorships like, say, Saudi Arabia.

In other Canadian political news, Prairie Dog staff dismissed as “entirely fictitious” reports that current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent Canada Day in Regina, Saskatchewan recklessly leaping in front of pedestrians, cyclists and even cars without his shirt on in a deranged attempt to take as many selfies with Reginans as possible. Prairie Dog CAN confirm reports that two and a half years after a traumatic decade of Stephen Harper politics, it remains very difficult to hate Trudeau.

Meanwhile, lots of other things happened. Here are three of them.

PCC To Indigenous Protesters: Get Off Our Lawn

In a grotesque and tone-deaf move, Saskatchewan’s Provincial Capital Commission requested Regina police remove the teepees and individuals occupying Legislative grounds as part of the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp. Regina Police Chief Evan Bray, whose officers have futilely evicted protesters once already, politely declined, stressing the peacefulness of the protest, lack of danger to the public and ongoing productive dialogue between the protestors, the government and First Nations.

The still-intact camp was the site of a rockin’ Trespasser’s Powwow on June 30, in which a good time was reportedly had by all.

The Justice for Our Stolen Children camp was launched earlier this year in response to the acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the fatal shooting of Colten Boushie, as well as an increasingly long list of disturbing failures by multiple levels of government towards the general well-being Indigenous people over the last 151 years. In a July 2 meeting, protesters gave the government a list of reasonable and specific demands including detailed reforms to the care of foster children and an end to attempts to remove the camp.

A few days before press time, high-profile former PC member of Parliament John Gormley advocated for police arresting Justice for Our Stolen Children protesters. Yuck.

Moe And Ford Vs. Trudeau Tax

Climate change continues to accelerate, threatening human civilization. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan’s government has reached out to new Ontario Premier Doug Ford in hopes of finding an ally in its crusade against federal government legislation that requires Canadian provinces to implement carbon pricing.

The Saskatchewan Party government rejects carbon pricing, which supporters say could increase government revenue as well as reduce green house gas emissions. While critics insist that a carbon tax could hurt low and middle income households, supporters point out there’s nothing stopping the province from bringing in targeted rebates.

At press time, it was still depressing that Rob Ford’s brother is now Ontario’s premier.

Alberta Suckage Continues To Decline

One might be forgiven for thinking Alberta’s 2015 election of an NDP government was a step into a civilized future for a place that’s often seemed drearily wedded to antiquated social ideas.

It turns out there’s still some red in the province’s neck.

Take, for example, a recent court case challenging an NDP law protecting Alberta students who join gay-straight alliances.

The law, which was passed last November, is a solid piece of common-sense legislation that makes life safer for Alberta’s LGBTQ children. Under the law, schools cannot inform parents when their children join gay-straight alliances (GSAs), which are peer support groups where LGBTQ students can hang out with other students — straight, gay, transgender, bisexual and otherwise.

Experts say that such groups can be critical to the health and safety of those LGBTQ youth whose sexual orientations and gender identities are not supported at home (often for religious reasons).

Unfortunately, the law was challenged by an anti-LGBTQ group called The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represented a coalition of 26 religious schools and unspecified number of parents (”more than ten,” JCCF press release says).

The absurdly named group called gay-straight alliances “ideological sex clubs” in its filing and claimed that the law violates parent’s legal right to know what their children are up to.

The law’s supporters point out that some LGBTQ children can and do face persecution and even physical abuse from intolerant family members and for these kids, GSAs are a desperately needed safe haven. If joining a GSA could result in a student being outed to their hostile family, however, it’s less likely an at-risk LGBTQ child would take the risk. And that’s a problem. LGBTQ kids need support. A 2017 University of Alberta study found that 65 per cent of transgender individuals contemplated suicide between the ages of 19 and 25.

Fortunately, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Johnna Kubik upheld the legislation. Kubik found there to be no evidence GSAs cause harm and lots of evidence they help children.

At press time, there may be hope for Alberta.