Comments And Questions Sent To CLGRO About Ontario’s 1999 Election

1 – Comment Sent To CLGRO About Our “Report Card

I agree 100% with giving the Tories a mark of F on practically everything. BUT, I think the report card is far too harsh on both NDP and to a lesser extent the Liberals. The fact is that both of these parties have very expressly stated that it is their policy to extend the definition of spouse to include same sex couples and they have policies on most other issues that are about a million times more gay positive than anything coming from the Tories.

My concern is that when a brutally homophobic governing party is given all Fs, but the opposition parties are given all Cs and Ds, a very confusing message is sent out. Many gays and lesbians who may like getting their tax cut etc… but don’t like the Tories homophobia, may conclude that all three parties are equally bad and therefore they can feel free to vote on other issues.

Neither the NDP nor the Liberals are perfect, BUT there is an ocean between their policies (especially in the case of the NDP) [versus the Tories]. I do not feel that the report card brings this out.

What exactly does a party have to do to get an A on any of these issues?? Run their entire campaign on gay issues? Make pink their official colour?? It seems that stating explicitly that your party supports CLGRO’s positions is not enough to get more than a C!

1 – Response From CLGRO

The gradings on the report card are based on what the parties have or have not done, not on what their platforms say they will do. We feel this is appropriate because of the number of times in the past that promises have been made during campaigns and then not delivered. In addition, the object of the exercise was not, in fact, to tell people how they should vote. We wanted to give them information that would assist in deciding how to vote.

The message that we wanted to give, and which we have succeeded in doing, is that none of the parties has done very much on the issues that we have identified. To have given the NDP and Liberals higher marks would have distorted their records on those issues.

We would be interested to consider how the Ontario NDP and Ontario Liberals could have been given higher grades if precise examples of what they have done to warrant that outcome were to be provided.

We appreciate the interest and feedback and anticipated that not everyone would agree with the gradings we gave the parties. In fact, some people have commented that we were too generous with the marks given to the NDP.

2 – Comment Sent To CLGRO About Our Response #1 Above

I agree with the general tenor of [the last] comment, and am not convinced by [CLGRO’s] reply. To base ratings only on past record implies that parties and party leaders don’t change. And to give the assessments that you did implies only modest differences between the parties. That in effect helps convince many g/l/b/t voters that it doesn’t really make much difference who you vote for in this election, something I think is simply not true. I’m glad CLGRO has done the party ratings, but I don’t think the scoring spread reflects the real party differences.

2 – Response From CLGRO

With respect, I don’t think it’s helpful to state in a vague and very general way that the gradings do not differentiate enough between the parties. It would be helpful if you could give some examples of policies (e.g. healthcare, education, housing and shelter) where more marks could have been given in respect of where a party stands or what it has done on issues of concern to LGB communities. While the party histories and current positions on a same-sex relationships bill are well known, we’re not aware of very much else that any of the parties have done or said they will do in the other areas. We thought we had fully and accurately reflected in the report card their past positions and actions.

As for the promises being made in the provincial election, they are just that, and we wait to see if the parties will honour them. We believe each voter will need to assess the strength of the faith they can put in any promises being made by the parties. Frankly, we think it remains to be seen whether any of them have changed. (This is not a suggestion that people should not vote.)

In any case, other than the commitments of the Liberal and NDP party leaders to introduce another same-sex relationships recognition bill, and the “we’ll take a look at the court decision” response of Harris, have any other positions been taken by the parties on issues specifically of concern to LGB communities? Our reference on this point would be the issues we presented in our leaflet setting out questions for candidates.

Thanks for taking the time to contact us with your views. We did want to generate some discussion and we’re please that that seems to be occurring. There is nothing worse than apathy.

Please contact us with your comments or questions. And please vote so that your voice is heard.

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