Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jason Kenney Strikes Back: Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Minister Removes LGBT Rights from 'Citizenship Guide'

  "I plead guilty, I'm a racist." -- Jason Kenney, Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism

Back in October 2009, during a visit at McGill University, Jason Kenney brushed off questions from a group of activists by replying with a tinge of sarcasm: "I plead guilty, I'm racist." He clearly walked away with it: Isn't humor often the best way to brush off issues one does not want to face?

Kenney hit the headlines again today as it was revealed that he blocked any reference to LGBT rights in a new study guide for immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship. Canada decriminalized homosexuality in 1969, was the forth country to legalize same-sex marriage (in 2005), has been a haven for numerous same-sex couples from the USA and other parts of the world over the past few years, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Jason Kenney who strongly fought against same-sex marriage back in 2005 removed references to LGBT rights in the new version of the citizenship study guide, 500 000 copies of which will be printed and made available for applicants as from the 15th of March 2010. Kenney explained that he could not possibly include every moment of Canadian history and legal reforms in the guide.

Gay rights groups are outraged by Kenney's decision, particularly because Kenney said in December 2009 that the omission was an "oversight" and that it would be fixed. (Read more here.)

To read the full report on the issue, please click here.
To read about Kenney's visit at McGill university, please click here.

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