Thursday, March 11, 2010


This week's perspective from Orli Giroux Namian:

Canadian Press recently broke the story, supported by official documents, showing that the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney requested the removal of all sections referring to gay rights from a Citizenship Guide for new Canadians .The excised sections referred to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and the legalization of same sex marriage in 2005. In December, the Minister told a gay rights group that the omission was an “oversight” and would be corrected, though no such change has yet been seen. Mr. Kenney has spent most of this week denying any involvement in the decision to keep the gay rights-related text out. This has been a contrast to his spokesperson’s response last week when asked to explain the decision to remove the gay-rights material. The initial answer offered up was that the guide could not be "encyclopedic." More recently, the tune has been changed to protect his Minister from the perception of direct involvement, with his spokesperson noting that the Minister’s signature wasn’t on any decision notes. Days into this story, Minister Kenney finally decided to take full responsibility for the “content of the Guide” but still hasn’t provided clarity on the question that has been asked of him repeatedly this week: ‘Did you or didn’t you have the text removed from the Guide?’ When confronted with a straightforward question about an undeniable decision that was made on your watch, don’t dodge it just answer it. Own up to the decision and stick to the reasons behind it or lay out a plan for fixing it.

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