The gay advocacy group EGALE gave its first ever Leadership Award for LGBT (“lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender”) to Jaime Watt, co-chair of the Navigator communications firm and a long-time adviser to Progressive Conservative politicians in Ontario, including running Ontario PC leadership contender Christine Elliott’s campaign this spring. According to Maclean’s, Derek Vanstone, chief of staff to federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, said at the gala event marking the 40th anniversary of the legalization of homosexuality that Watt was a “trailblazer who made it easier to be gay and Conservative” and that Watt helped lead the Harris government to change the definition of common-law spouse in Ontario law to include same-sex partners. Flaherty himself sent a congratulatory letter to Watt: “Some were surprised our government took this decision (to extend common-law rights to gays) … but conservatives fundamentally believe in equality and fairness. It does, however, sometimes take leaders such as Jaime to help us live up to our ideals” … Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, criticized Ezra Levant and unnamed bloggers for spreading “misinformation” about the human commission rights industry. She also told the National Post that she keeps files on those who criticize her and the CHRC – “I have a file. I’m sure I have 1,200, certainly several hundred of these things” … Alberta Finance Minister Iris Evans touched off a furor by suggesting it was better for one parent to stay home with young children. After a week of controversy, Evans said, “If I could turn back time, I would have preferred not to have initiated the debate” … Keith Norton, a homosexual and former commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, endorsed Tim Hudak as Ontario Progressive Conservative leader … The leadership of the Wildrose Alliance of Alberta will be fought for between socially conservative chiropractor Mark Dyrholm and self-described “social moderate” Danielle Smith, a former journalist.

United States

The annual Gallup Values and Beliefs survey found 51 per cent of Americans self-describe themselves as “pro-life,” while just 42 per cent call themselves “pro-choice,” the first time polling data has found a majority calling themselves pro-life. Last year, 50 per cent called themselves “pro-choice,” while 44 per cent said they were pro-life. At the same time, the Pew Research Centre for People and the Press found that the percentage of people who have said abortion should be legal in all or most cases fell from 54 per cent last August 2008 to 46 per cent in May and the percentage saying abortion should be legal in only a few or no cases increased from 41 per cent to 44 per cent over the same period … June 3 marked the 10th anniversary of the first “Choose Life” licence plate in the United States. On that day in 1999, Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed a law similar to one that Lawton Chiles vetoed the year before. Since then, nearly 500,000 Choose Life plates have been sold in 24 states, generating $10.6 million for adoption agencies, maternity homes and pregnancy centres … The U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution June 15 in support of “marriage equality for same-sex couples and the recognition and extension of full equal rights to such unions, including family and medical leave, tax equity and insurance and retirement benefits. It “opposes the enshrinement of discrimination in the federal or state constitutions.”


Writing in the July issue of the Scientific American, Robert Engelman said that “slowing the rise in human numbers is essential for the planet,” although he claimed to eschew “old-style population control.” Still, he said that Red China’s population control program has worked: “The country’s leaders brag that their one-child policy has spared the world’s climate 300 million greenhouse gas emitters, the population equivalent of a U.S. that never happened” … Using data from the World Health Organization and the World Bank, the MCCL Global Outreach says, “The lack of modern medicine and quality health care, not the prohibition of abortion, results in high maternal mortality rates.” MCCL executive director Scott Fischblach says that “most maternal deaths can be prevented with adequate nutrition, basic health care and good obstetric care throughout pregnancy, at delivery and postpartum.” According to the MCCL study, “Legalized abortion actually leads to more abortions – and in the developing world, where maternal health care is poor, this would increase the number of women who die or are harmed by abortion” … The parliament of the southeast Asian country of East Timor voted 45-0 with seven abstentions to retain penal sanctions on abortion, except in cases in which abortion is the “only way” to prevent the death of the mother as attested to by three physicians. The move effectively cancels a Council of Ministers law passed in April that provided broad exceptions for the physical or mental health of the mother. The United Nations Population Fund and pro-abortion NGOs pressed the government to decriminalize abortion.