Posts Tagged ‘politics’
One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot in the aftermath of the recent general election on Prince Edward Island is the election of Wade MacLauchlan as premier. As noted by, among others, the National Post, MacLauchlan is gay: quite out, partnered, all of it. This did not hinder his election.
This little island is often cast as a bastion of social conservatism in Canada. It is predominantly rural with 140,000 people, where you can throw a cat from anywhere and hit saltwater, as one bar patron put it this week.
All this makes frontrunner Wade MacLauchlan somewhat of an unlikely candidate.
MacLauchlan, an academic with little political experience, stands to be the first openly gay man to be elected premier in the province. But it hasn’t been a factor during the election campaign, he says.
“Absolutely zero,” the Liberal Party leader told the National Post this week. “I’ve been open about the fact that I’m gay. And my partner has been front and centre as appropriate, we try to keep some home life and privacy as anyone with any sense would do.
“That has not come up at any doorstep or any of the discussions that I’ve had across the island,” he said, noting that P.E.I. was the first to elect both a female premier and a premier of non-European descent.
“In some ways this might be a hat trick.”
MacLauchlan has a long career on Prince Edward Island. Among other things, he was president of the University of Prince Edward Island from 1999 through 2011. The first three years of his presidency were the last three in which I was studying at the same university and living and worrying and feeling afraid for reasons I could not articulate to myself.
I had no idea what was going on, on Prince Edward Island in regards to people being gay and living as gay openly or otherwise. I still have no idea what was going on, not really. I just felt afraid all the time, for reasons I was not able to articulate to myself. Fear of being different, fear of being visible, fear of being somehow found out: all of it was there. There was so much fear that I don’t think I can actually say, with any degree of certainty, what was going on, what would have happened if I’d come out earlier than 22 (21, 20, 19, 18, younger). I know only of specific things that happened to me: laughter over the table as friends of my parents laughed at the idea of a Pride parade in Charlottetown, a quite possibly over-friendly high school teacher who killed himself the next term after doing something with a student and the relief I felt, the mockeries of high school and the deepening depression I felt.
I don’t know. I’m not sure you can understand how terribly this frustrates me. When I was much younger, I loved too enthusiastically Descartes and his argument that the human mind could understand its entire environment so long as it was sufficiently rigourous. This seemed to work for me as long as my world was cramped, narrow. Now that it has been exploded, even years later, I don’t know what was actually going on. I wonder if I ever will, if I ever could.
Torontoist’s David Hains writes on how the ongoing debate about what to do about the Gardiner Expressway overshadows other, arguably more important, issues with public infrastructure.
What to do with the Gardiner will come down to council’s priorities. As the City pushes up against its debt ceiling while facing a growing number of projects that demand attention, City Hall will have to make some tough choices. If council’s recent track record is any indication, Torontonians have cause for concern.
Those looking for troubling indicators of council’s current leanings don’t have to look further than the TTC budget. The City is all too willing to find $910 million for the Scarborough subway extension while maintaining a massive state of good repair backlog, all while falling short of the $240 million to make the transit agency accessible by the legislated date.
In the most recent budget, council was willing to speed up repairs on the Gardiner to the tune of $443 million while other needs, like Lower Don flood protection and the ongoing crisis in social housing, continue to receive more lip service than action.
What doesn’t get represented in the City budget is the squandered opportunity cost, year after year, as difficult but good decisions get deferred in favour of easy sells that may not be the best use of funds.
Bloomberg’s Renee Bonorchis and Palesa Vuyolwethu Tshandu report on the wave in protests in South Africa against statues of prominent colonial-era figures, people whose work led to apartheid. On the one hand, they are only symbols; on the other, well, they are symbols.
The statue of Paul Kruger, a president of the Afrikaner-led Transvaal Republic before the Anglo-Boer war, and four figures of townspeople around him, were splashed with green paint in Pretoria’s Church Square on April 5. Statues of Britain’s King George V in Durban and Queen Victoria and the Horse Memorial in the coastal town of Port Elizabeth were also vandalized over the Easter holiday weekend. In March, the statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the University of Cape Town was smeared with human excrement.
The “statues should be taken down,” Moafrika Mabongwana, EFF deputy chairman for Tshwane, the municipal area that covers the capital Pretoria, said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We don’t agree that these statues should be put in public places. We aren’t saying that history should be erased. All the statues should be identified and taken down.”
In the 17th century Dutch and French settlers arrived in what is now South Africa’s Western Cape province. Later the British arrived and Rhodes helped to expand the U.K.’s influence as head of the provincial government and by funding an expedition that led to the colonization of what is now Zimbabwe. The government that created apartheid laws came into power in 1948 and the country’s first all-race elections were held in 1994.
While some towns and street names commemorating apartheid and colonial-era leaders have since been changed, many historical symbols have remained.
“If you want to change these statues, defacing them is exactly the wrong way to go about it because it builds resistance,” JP Landman, a Johannesburg-based independent political and economic analyst, said in a phone interview.