DailyXtra Roundup: It’s all Toronto Centre politics

It’s been a deceptively busy month for me at Xtra – in addition to the stories below, another two lifestyle stories were inventoried and should be coming shortly.

First, some sad news: The Church St Bistro was broken into and vandalized, but it’s reopened now. Its new owners are lovely and the new menu looks lovely. You really should try it out.

This is kind of stale now, but the nomination meetings for the Liberals and the NDP were held Sept. 15, and I reported on the results. Also, the Greens and the Conservatives have their candidates. I’ll be following this story through to the expected election in Nov.

That Liberal meeting also started a little social media firestorm when Egale executive director Helen Kennedy turned up to nominate Todd Ross and boast about her recently purchased party membership. It’s quite awkward for the face of a community lobbying group to have a political party membership, but the folks at Egale don’t seem to care. I reported on this last week, but had to pass the story along to my colleague Andrea Houston as I was busy shooting a TV show this week.

Of course, as if on cue to demonstrate why taking out a party membership is awkward for the face of a lobbying group, right after the story broke, Egale decided to give Ontario’s Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne a human rights leadership award at its annual gala. The significance of the award is miniscule – it certainly doesn’t come with any money and its impact on Wynne’s electoral chances will be minimal – but the optics are just terrible. Egale shouldn’t be giving awards to sitting politicians of any stripe, and while Wynne has a long history of work in community activism and politics, several community members have noted that she hasn’t really been closely associated with queer issues for ages. Egale’s justification is that Wynne is a powerful lesbian and therefore a role model. It’s a weak rationale that makes charges that the award is a gift from a neophyte politician looking to score an in to the party seem credible.

And while a gay leader (?) is pointlessly pandering to the Liberals, the rival NDP has started pointlessly pandering to the gays. I reported on the NDP’s petition to launch a visa ban against Russia’s legislators who are clamping down on gay rights there. I’ll have more on this in a separate post.

In other news, my travel features on Edmonton, Calgary, and Victoria were also published on XtraTravel. I sincerely cannot believe Xtra ran the second headline I suggested about Victoria, but I’m glad they’re up.

Oh, and in other news Justin Ling has posted his first-hand account of being played by a supposed victim of a gaybashing in Newfoundland. I had a similar case in 2011, and I posted my account of the result here. (Ling actually interviewed me about the whole affair last year).

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