Dear Mr. Harper and Ms. Gallant,
We were most disturbed to learn of Ms. Gallant’s derogatory comments in the House of Commons this week, addressed to the Hon. Bill Graham, PC, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
We expect that our elected representatives will set an example of the Canadian values of equality and respect. Making derisive comments to a Cabinet Minister because of his perceived sexual orientation is clearly inconsistent with these values.
We understand that the party is taking the position that no apology is required because the remarks were not recorded in Hansard. This, too, is inconsistent with the principles of honesty and forthrightness that the Canadian Alliance purports to support, and reflects poorly on the willingness of Canadian Alliance MPs to take responsibility for their own actions.
In view of these concerns, Egale Canada would make two specific requests:
1. We would ask you, Ms. Gallant, to state clearly what comments were made, and if the media have accurately recorded your comments, to issue a public apology to Minister Graham;
2. Mr. Harper, we would request a meeting so that we may discuss with you the approach of the Canadian Alliance generally to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. We note that the Canadian Alliance is the only party to have voted consistently against lesbian, gay and bisexual equality issues when they have arisen in the House, is the only party to maintain in its constitution a definition of family which excludes same-sex couples, and is the only party not to have sent a representative to Egale’s Annual Gala last night on Parliament Hill.
We note that you have indicated your interest in bringing a “fresh start” to the Canadian Alliance, but the lack of representation at last night’s event, your party’s voting history and Ms. Gallant’s unfortunate remarks call into question whether the Canadian Alliance is committed to principles of inclusion or exclusion.
In our view, a meeting is an important first step in enabling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Canadians to understand where your party stands.
Obviously, it is in all our interests to resolve this matter expeditiously and effectively, and we would therefore appreciate a prompt response to these two requests.
Yours very truly,
Executive Director, Egale Canada