This is an open letter to Jason Kenney. Mr Kenney is the MP for Calgary Midnapore.
He is also running for the leadership of the PC Party.
My name is Mike Morrison and I’d like to invite you to sit with me and my friends at this year’s Pride Parade.
It is Sunday, September 4th from 12:00pm to 1:30pm.
We will be sitting at the corner of 9th Ave and 6th St. SW.
I could be wrong, but if you do decide to join me and my friends, this will be your first Pride event since being elected in 1997. It would be incredibly exciting, but I could understand if you felt a bit nervous. I only went to my first Pride Parade five years ago, but I’ve since become a big fan. I’m embarrassed to admit that I originally thought Pride Parades were just a bunch of people in leather dancing around. Turns out, that’s just one float. And those guys are pretty nice.
Calgary’s Pride Parade is very much a family-friendly LGTBQ celebration. As a fellow Canadian, I know you’ll find it amazing to see so many people of every race, colour, orientation, and religion (okay, maybe not every religion), but a lot of people, gather together for a fun Sunday afternoon. So if you’d like to get in on the fun, you can sit with me.
And while Calgary’s Pride Parade is definitely a lot of fun, like all Pride parades, it also acts as a human rights parade. Because while we are considerably luckier than a lot of countries, Pride parades celebrate the sacrifices LGTBQ people made to get us to where we are, but also to remind people of how much work we have to do. If you would like to honour those people, you can sit with me.
I also think that the Pride Parade acts as a beacon of hope for the citizens of the 76 countries where it is still illegal to be gay. Yes, 76. I couldn’t believe it either. I like to think that if even one person in one of those 76 countries sees the Pride Parade it will give them hope. Either to keep fighting for equality in their own country, or leave and safely find their way to ours. If you would like to be one of the people that those 76 countries see, you can sit with me.
During this year’s Pride Parade I will be taking a moment to remember the 49 people who were murdered in Orlando this year, simply for being gay or an ally. If you’d like to take a moment to remember them as well, you can sit with me.
I know you’re probably wondering why I would ask you. Well, as an MP, I thought you’d like to see what 60,000 Calgarians are doing together. As someone running for the PC Party, I thought you might want to meet some of your potential electorate. Since you’ve announced your campaign, I’ve heard a lot about pipelines and carbon taxes and not much else. And while those issues are important to me too, LGTBQ rights are also incredibly important. And I’m not sure if you followed the last two provincial elections, but LGTBQ rights have ended up playing a pretty big role both times. If you believe these issues to be important, you can sit with me.
But, and yes, there’s always a but.
I have two conditions. The first, you have to bring candy. It’s a parade. Parade’s are so much more fun if you have candy.
Second, if you do sit with me, I’d like you to answer three of my questions.
My three questions for you are:
1. Earlier this week, Pastor Brian Coldwell, chair of the Independent Baptist Christian Education Society said: “There is no way under heaven I’m going to allow gay activists to come in here and basically undermine our ministries and our religious freedoms or confuse and corrupt our children.” As MP, I would like you hear your thoughts on this. And as Premier, I’d like to know how you would deal with Coldwell, who is in clear violation of Alberta’s LGTBQ laws.
2. According to Campaign Life Coalition, you have a perfect voting record on life & family issues. This is an organization that believes that you are not born gay. They state: “A major study found that almost half of men who identify as homosexual, had been molested by an older male, suggesting a strong correlation in those unfortunate circumstances.” Do you share similar beliefs? (Bonus: Would you mind correcting them?)
3. Bill 10 focuses on students’ rights to access gay-straight alliances and all-gender washrooms in schools. If you were Premier, would you continue to support this legislation?
I know you’ve already said that you can’t make the parade because of your touring schedule. However, the Pride Parade has been on the same weekend for years and it must have been a mistake to skip it. If I was your campaign manager, I think it would be ridiculous to miss the chance to celebrate equality alongside 60,000 Calgarians. So change your plans. What do you have to lose?
So if you’d like to see what Pride is all about it. I invite you. I invite you to learn, to watch, to honour.
I invite you to sit with me.