We ought to be delighted that a recent press release from REAL Women attracted the attention of Canada’s major news outlets; such coverage implies that this organization’s valuable perspective on current issues reached a wider audience. But, of course, when the mainstream media turns its collective attention towards social conservatives, it is usually only to rebuke or misinterpret. In this case, it is both.

In the press release which has attracted the attention – and the outrage – of our nation’s chattering class, Gwen Landolt, vice president of REAL Women, raises questions about the money given by the Department of Foreign Affairs to certain non-governmental organizations advocating for “gay rights” in Africa. In addition to inquiring about how, exactly, these funds are being spent, Landolt wonders why the liberal prohibition against “imposing our values” does not apply in this case.

Certainly, if the Department of Foreign Affairs really had discovered the courage of its conviction for universal human rights, no constituency would be more delighted than the pro-life movement. But, as Landolt rightly observes, the language of “human rights” is merely being mobilized to mask outright advocacy (and possible financial shenanigans) on a single issue in a single region. China’s horrific abuse of women, for example – from the forced abortions imposed upon mothers to the genocide of a generation of their daughters – is not atop of the Department’s desk; nor is the barbarous treatment of homosexuals in nations where Sharia law is enshrined. For some reason, however, propagating the gospel of gay rights in Africa has suddenly become a priority of Canada’s foreign policy.

The response to Landolt’s reasonable questions has, so far, been willful misunderstanding. Not only have her critics lazily affirmed the preposterous fiction that socially liberal activists represent “Canadian values;” since homosexual acts are capital crimes in certain parts of Africa, her critics have outrageously slandered her as an apologist for murder.

This ridiculous canard obscures the fact that advocacy for “gay rights” is much more about the promotion of a lifestyle than it is about the protection of human life. But, more importantly, these scurrilous charges have obscured the very questions which Landolt poses: why is “gay rights” at the top of this department’s agenda? And how has the money funneled to a handful of activist NGOs been spent? At a time when much smaller sums misspent by senators have captured the public’s imagination (and provoked its ire), one would think that Landolt’s questions would be welcome; but, not only have they been ignored, the media has taken aim at the innocent messenger.

Although the ideology implied in the phrase, the “white man’s burden,” has been completely repudiated, a new kind of colonialism – one which dare not speak its name – is being practised through the soft imperialism of foreign aid with strings attached. Why the Department of Foreign Affairs has decided that Canada should shoulder the “gay man’s burden” is a pressing question which deserves an answer. Landolt’s critics, however, have made this answer all the more difficult to attain.