What we did this summer
We haven’t been idle since the Conservative Party of Canada’s Vancouver convention in May. This summer we appeared at Pride festivals in Toronto and Ottawa and we hosted a number of fund-raisers and political events featuring candidates running for the CPC leadership. We’ve also continued to lobby on a number of issues of concern to the LGBT community, and we have some exciting things in store for the coming months.
Toronto Pride Kick-off BBQ
On June 20 we hosted a barbecue at the Toronto home of LGBTory President Doc von Lichtenberg to provide an opportunity for Toronto-area Tories to get together during Pride Month. We were pleased to have CPC leadership candidates MP Michael Chong (Wellington-Halton Hills) and MP Kellie Leitch (Simcoe-Grey) stop by to talk to our members. Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy dropped in and talked about her new book “Underdog – Confessions of a Right-Wing Gay Jewish Muckraker”. Please scroll down for more info on her book.
LGBTory Canada appeared at Canada’s biggest LGBT festival on the weekend of July 2/3. We had a booth set up on Church St for the weekend where we chatted with supporters and critics alike, and we marched with a large contingent of LGBT conservatives and allies in the parade on July 3. Because Prime Minister Trudeau’s appearance and the disruption of the parade by Black Lives Matter Toronto drew most of the media attention, the most under-reported story of the weekend was the appearance in the parade of a historic number of politicians from both the Conservative Party of Canada and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Both Rona Ambrose, leader of the CPC, and Patrick Brown, leader of the OPCP, marched with us. All three declared candidates for the leadership of the CPC – Maxime Bernier, Michael Chong, and Kellie Leitch – joined us, as did a number of conservative politicians including MPPs Gila Martow (Thornhill), Lisa McLeod (Nepean-Carleton), and Lorne Coe (Whitby-Oshawa) and MP Lisa Raitt (Milton). This unprecedented show of solidarity with the LGBT community truly shows that mainstream conservatives have moved on from divisive social issues and that LGBT people are welcome in Conservative parties in Canada. We were very excited to have been a part of this ground-breaking event.
LGBTory Ottawa Chapter up and running
We are delighted to announce that LGBTory now has an Ottawa Chapter led by our Ottawa coordinator Yusuf Cheliyan ([email protected]). We’re looking forward to lots of exciting events both political and social in the capital region.
The Ottawa Chapter’s first event was a fundraiser co-hosted by the Ottawa Centre OPC Riding Association held on July 23 at the Lieutenant’s Pump Pub on Elgin Street. CPC leadership candidate Maxime Bernier spoke at the event to an enthusiastic group.
We also hosted a Capital Pride party at the Centretown Pub on Somerset St in Ottawa on the evening of August 18 to kick off Ottawa’s Capital Pride Weekend.
Ottawa’s Capital Pride
For the second year in a row, LGBTory appeared at Ottawa’s pride festival Capital Pride on August 21. Pouring rain didn’t stop a large and enthusiastic crowd of LGBT conservatives and allies from marching in the parade, including MPP Lisa McLeod (Nepean-Carleton) and MP Maxime Bernier (Beauce). One of the highlights of the event was meeting Farhad, a young gay Kurdish Iranian refugee. Farhad escaped death threats in his homeland because of his sexuality and managed to flee Iran to find safety in Canada. He was granted refugee status by the Conservative government and now lives happily in Ottawa. He marched with us in the parade proudly holding the Kurdish flag.
Meet Author/Columnist Sue-Ann Levy
Our good friend and LGBTory member Sue-Ann Levy, columnist for the Toronto Sun, is celebrating the release of her new book “Underdog – Confessions of a Right-Wing Gay Jewish Muckraker” with a discussion moderated by fellow Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein, followed by a book signing. The event takes place on September 14 at the University of Toronto’s Hart House from 7:00 to 9:30 pm. As Sue-Ann says in her book, “Who said one cannot be a fiscal conservative or support a right-of-centre political stance and be openly gay? Well, in fact, it’s the narrow of mind, those who should be ashamed of themselves for trying to pigeonhole a group into a singular stereotype.” Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Sue-Ann in person. For more information, check our Facebook page. You can read her article in this link to the Toronto Sun: “Sue-Ann Levy tells all in her book Underdog: Confessions of a Right-Wing Gay Jewish Muckraker.”
Coming this fall
We’re working on a number of new initiatives for the coming year, including several social get-togethers in both Toronto and Ottawa and some great political events featuring politicians from both the CPC and the OPCP. We’re planning to follow the CPC leadership race and will be hosting events in Toronto for candidates to meet and talk to the LGBT community. We’ll be announcing all this on Facebook, Twitter, and our new Meetup group, so please follow us there if you don’t already. We have an exciting year planned – stay tuned.