Canada’s Tories win majority, leftists beat records
Canada’s anti-gay Prime Minister Stephen Harper won his first-ever outright majority government in the country’s federal election Monday. But the sting of his victory was tempered for many in the gay community by the record-breaking performance of Canada’s left-wing New Democratic Party …and by the election of North America’s first Green Party federal lawmaker.
Commentators have been describing it as a sea change in the Canadian political landscape. Until Monday, the federal New Democrats — or NDP — had never held more than 43 of the 308 seats in Canada’s House of Commons. On Monday, they won 102, earning Official Opposition status for the first time in the party’s history. The NDP is the party that championed trans rights in the House of Commons and was home to the nation’s pioneering openly-gay MP, Svend Robinson.
What’s more, pro-gay Green Party leader Elizabeth May made history Monday by becoming her party’s first federal elected representative anywhere in North America.
But along with the rise of the NDP and Greens came the fall of the federal Liberal party, the party that passed Canada’s 2005 same-sex marriage legislation. It was reduced to just 34 seats, and among its members who lost their jobs was openly-gay MP Mario Silva.
And of course, as Canadian LGBTs woke up Tuesday morning they were facing the prospect of four years of unfettered rule by the Conservatives, a party that has opposed their rights for close to 20 years and that is highly unlikely to move forward on transgendered rights.
–Heather Kitching in Ottawa