The Fredericton Gleaner stirred up the anger of AIDS spokesmen at the beginning of July by declaring editorially that AIDS ought to be treated like the plague and its victims put in isolation. “A strong body of opinion,” the paper said, “believes that homosexual AIDS victims got exactly what they deserved; that if they had conducted themselves properly, according to the norms of society, they would probably be unaffected today.”
The paper condemned especially AIDS carriers who knowingly spread the disease – “wanton homosexuals” who say in effect, “If I’m damned, I’ll see that you’re damned too.” “It is the curse of the day,” the editorial stated, “That public money has to be allotted for the relief of those who deliberately indulge in unnatural acts while aware of the dangers involved.”
As usual AIDS spokesmen acted outrages, denouncing the editorial without answering the objections.
Brian Ouellette, president of AIDS New Brunswick, declared he was appalled by the editorial, saying that the gay people referred to were not a strange group of individuals, the “they’re part of the world we live in.” Richard Burznski, executive director of the Canadian AIDS Society in Ottawa, called the editorial “blatantly homophobic and irresponsible journalism. It’s people who write these kinds of editorials who are the barriers to effective understanding and prevention,” he said.