Opinions cast in stone…

My parents and I wandered into a chocolatiers. Dad quickly checked out the chocolates while Mom and I looked around. It was a small shop, there wasn’t much else to look at, so I went over to the cash where my Dad was paying for his candy and joking with the cashier. There, in the box beside him, were two boxes of chocolates. Both were labeled “non dairy”.

“Are these vegan?” I asked. They pretty much had to be because no one puts eggs in chocolate bars but I figured I’d ask to be safe.

The cashier came around the counter and pointed out several bars, “These are vegan.”

“What about those?” I asked, pointing to foil wrapped bars directly under a “non dairy” sign.

“Those are salted caramel,” she explained. “You can’t make vegan salted caramel.”

“My favourite ice cream is vegan salted caramel,” I informed her.

“Salted caramel requires cream and eggs,” she replied. “Your ice cream isn’t vegan.”

“My ice cream is made by a vegan company and labeled vegan.”

She didn’t respond with words but the tone she made was dismissive and I left disappointed. I wasn’t looking for an argument, I just wanted her to hear me with an open mind.

Isn’t it funny how people cling to their opinions, even when proven wrong? I wonder if it’s a comfort thing. You get used to thinking a certain way and don’t want to have to shift your thoughts 90 degrees. And sometimes it’s okay to let someone go on with their beliefs. It’s not going to hurt anyone if Nana keeps a Bounce sheet in her pocket to keep away the mosquitos. On the other hand, it does hurt someone if the government allows an organization to use electroshock therapy, among other things, to try and change someone’s gender or sexual orientation through conversion therapy. Hint. It doesn’t work.

Canada has an election on Monday and the polls are so very close… nail biting close. A margin of 0.9 is all that separates the Liberals from the Conservatives. And the Conservatives are ahead.

We used to have a party called the Progressive Conservatives, an amalgamation of two right wing parties. It stayed like that for decades until an extreme right wing party from Alberta, called the Reform Party, combined with the PCs. They knocked the Progressive off the name. Probably because there’s nothing Progressive about them.

Scheer, the conservative leader, has made no secret of the fact he’s anti-LGBTQIA2S. He’s also anti-choice when it comes to abortion, referring to fetuses as “pre-born babies”. His followers are quick to remind me that Scheer promised not to touch equal marriage, as if that’s the only concern. They have no answer when I bring up trans rights. The right to affirming surgeries, hormones, blockers for teens, to have equal access to jobs and housing. And that scares me. Not just that those are still on the list but that his followers don’t seem to care. I had one woman today claim I couldn’t just worry about a “special interest group”. The special interest group was the LGBTQIA2S community. I’m talking about human rights, not a knitting club who might have to find a new hall.

All it takes is a few minutes, a handful of questions, and an open mind. The cashier I talked to could have said, “You found vegan salted caramel ice cream? I didn’t know they could make it, what’s it like?” And the people voting for Scheer need to listen to the LGBTQIA2S community and understand why we’re scared. And once you’ve listened, then go out and cast your vote.

I’ll be out there on Monday. Will you?

pride

It’s that time of year again…

Four years ago, I wrote a plea on Facebook for my friends to please not vote for then Conservative leader Stephen Harper. He’d already been in office for four years and had muzzled scientists, hid finances, and shut down parliament for several months to avoid dealing with a tricky question.

He lost the election to Justin Trudeau, with his innocent looking face and down to earth attitude. Justin promised clean drinking water for Native Canadians among other promises. For a while he seemed to be as he proclaimed. His first step was to balance the cabinet, making half of the members female. He was spotted consoling a grade school student on the parliament steps, helping someone in a wheelchair down subway stairs, and his most popular picture ever… dancing in a pink shirt in the Toronto Pride Parade.

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Photo by mrdhballΒ on Instagram

Now the varnish has worn off. Nothing’s been done to fix Native water, some of which is dirt brown. He was reported thanking an Indigenous person for their donation when the question about drinking water was asked. And he’s been photographed in blackface at least three times.

Then there’s Scheer, the Conservative leader. He’s been meeting with Ford, Ontario’s PC leader, and Kenney, Alberta’s PC leader. They’re different levels of government so meetings like this just don’t happen. Well until now at least. Scheer is anti-choice and anti-LGBTQIA2S, even to the point of comparing equal marriage to dog parts. He’s promised he’s not going to touch equal marriage now but that leaves a lot of wiggle room. What about equal access to washrooms for trans people, what about trans children wanting to play on their gender’s team, or adding hair removal to transgender medical care? What about adoption and surrogacy rights for gays and lesbians?

Scheer scares me and I don’t fully know why beyond what I’ve written. I think he would be worse for Canada than his predecessor Harper and way worse than Trudeau.

We have a third party in Canada, the New Democratic Party aka the NDP. It never gets voted in (other than occasionally by province) because they don’t have enough experience. I think it’s time to give them that experience. A friend of mine said that Jagmeet Singh was boring. Boring is great. We need a leader who’s not making an ass of himself. We need a leader who’s ready to settle down and work. And we need a leader who’s willing to tackle tough issues, like the aforementioned Native water crisis:

NDP Leader Rips Reporter for Questioning Cost of Fixing Indigenous Communities Undrinkable Water

I know where to vote and who to vote for. The 21st is coming quickly. Are you ready?