THE POWERS THAT BE
(Three Letters To The Editor And A Photo)
Various of my letters to the editor are in different sections of this website where there is more context. Some I've put separately where they are their own context. Here, letters touch on things happening at the federal and municipal levels as well as the courts. The photo provides its own comment on sensibilities at the provincial level and in the media. The Alderman letter is from the 1980's but O'Donohue was around in the 1970's too, and he represents a strain that is everpresent at the municipal level. This is a snapshot, a fleeting glimpse, of the way it was.
A letter of mine to the Globe around this time made reference to the RCMP civil service witch hunts of the 1950's and 60's. It must have been this one. The Globe phoned and asked if I had proof of such things. When I said no they said it would be deleted from the letter.
In my comments on the 1975 Third National Conference there's criticism of the gay movement's move to focus solely on civil rights. This letter illustrates I fully supported civil rights campaigns. It was the abandoning of other facets of the movement that bothered me. In the section on that conference there's also an unhappy encounter with Ron Dayman, who is mentioned in this letter. Such things were side issues, personal conflicts happened.
The Globe & Mail (published Aug.25, 1975)
In reply to a statement (Aug. 5) by Ron Dayman that the federal Government discriminates against homosexuals in hiring and promotion policies the Director-General of the Public Service Commission of Canada, A.R.K. Anderson, claims (Aug.12) that this "is not in accordance with the facts".
In a rather pitiful attempt to deny discrimination, he says homosexuals "may" be considered for employment, with the individual case "being treated solely in terms of job and national security requirements." This statement is in fact a reiteration of the policy enunciated by The Royal Commission on Security in Paragraph 100 of its 1969 report. The commission recommended that "homosexuals..not normally be granted (security) clearance to higher levels...(and) not be recruited if there is a possibility that they may require such clearance in the course of their careers." The policy then is one of discouraging homosexuals from aspiring to, and attempting to bar them from many higher level, higher paying, civil service jobs and in fact discouraging them from even seeking employment with the federal Government.
The rationale for this discrimination---a fear of misconduct on the part of homosexuals---is merely a disguise for outright prejudice. Ignoring this misguided view of homosexuals and considering only the number of heterosexual civil servants who, in the history of government, have been involved in security or other misconduct, this policy, carried to its logical conclusion, should dictate that only those persons who were asexual be considered for employment. Mr. Anderson points with pride to the fact that the Anti-Discrimination Branch of the Public Service Commission has not received any complaints of sexual orientation discrimination in its two and one-half years of existence. This should fool no one. That the Public Sevice Commission has received no complaints is simply a reflection on the tenuous position of gay employees within the civil service. Given government and commission attitudes, to make a complaint would only further complicate the employment situation for a gay person.
It is a matter of public record that a royal commission appointed by the federal Government recommended without valid grounds that homosexuals be discriminated against within the civil service. It is a matter of public record that the Director-General of the Public Service Commission of Canada while attempting to deny such discrimination made statements which acknowledge its existence as policy.
It is a matter of public record that the anti-homosexual attitudes of the federal Government manifest themselves in such diverse areas as the Canadian Armed Forces (Administrative Order 19-20, par.6) and the Immigration Act (Section 5, par.(e),8(f) and Section 19, subsection 1).
Very clearly it is not a question, as Mr. Anderson would have it, of whether discrimination exists but one of when society will stop attempting to justify it and start attempting to eradicate it. As Ron Dayman wrote, what is called for, as a first step, is the recognition of homosexuals as a class requiring the protection of anti-discrimination legislation.
The above letter replies to federal civil service doubletalk. The following, unpublished letter to the Globe is a reminder it was perfectly respectable in this era for the powers that be to spout their bigotry unvarnished and without go-betweens. The Supreme Court referred to here was the Supreme Court of Ontario. It no longer exists, was replaced by the Superior Court. The trial in question was that of four men for the murder of twelve year old Emanuel Jaques.
Unpublished Letter To The Globe & Mail, March 29, 1978
By what logic does a Supreme Court judge manage to equate homosexual orientation with sexual assault and murder? When such crimes are committed by heterosexuals what strange ideas does he entertain? Will any but gay people object to his use of the Jaques trial as a platform from which to smear the gay community and defend discrimination?
Are there those in the media who have throughout the trial ignored the presence of this process of guilt by association or even taken some delight in it? Do I regard the workings of justice in this province with undue cycnicism? Would others think "overdue" more apt?
ALDERMAN SCAPEGOATING HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY
A municipal politician holds forth. The Star removed my capitalization, but I prefer it my way and have restored it. Such is the power of having your own website. Of course Toronto City Hall still has this type of politician in residence.
The Toronto Star (published Oct.24, 1986)
Tony O'Donohue's version of Why We Should Not Extend Family Benefits To Gay Couples is a fine example of the politics of greed, of wanting to have your cake and eat it too.
Gay couples are subject to the same laws as everyone else, are required to fulfil the same societal duties, including helping finance the benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples, and pay the same range of taxes, yet when it comes to a share of the social benefits pie we have helped produce, all of a sudden a reasonable and obvious request becomes an attack on "the family".
If O'Donohue sees an "erosion of the family" he should look to his own rigidity and concept of family for reasons rather than trying to scapegoat the gay community.
This photo of the Premier of Ontario indicates fairly well the good-ol'-boy state of things provincially. It also is evidence of the differing sensibilities of the mainstream press when it came to what they were willing to accept in terms of gay advertisements and commentary versus what they were willing to put on their front page.