The RCMP and It Gets Better

The RCMP has recently released a video featuring gay and lesbian members. It is a great video of compelling coming out stories and serves to smash some of the myths that surround job opportunities for gay men and lesbians. While I really liked the project when it first started[1] in 2010, I am now not so sure how effective the project is in inspiring youth and preventing suicide. It does seem that the RCMP is a little late to the party.

Characterizing the teenage years as something that has to be endured is not overly helpful. Youth need help now rather than hope for the future. Imagine flashing back to your teenage years and the cesspool that is high school. If you are in anyway different or deviate from the norm, your peers will sniff it out and exploit it. Bullying is rife in our schools and it is still claiming lives with alarming frequency. While not all bullied children who commit suicide are gay or lesbian, there is a higher overall suicide level amongst queer youth. As a teenager, being able to imagine a different life, outside of the microcosm of high school is near impossible. Years seem like decades and the time someone is being tormented does not pass quickly.

Instead, I think it is incumbent up LGTBQ adults to be role models. We need to be out[2] and visible. Growing up lesbian, I did not see or meet any other lesbians until I was an adult. Not having any role models was extremely confusing for me as I knew I was different but didn’t really have a reference point; I didn’t know what was different.

Members of the LGTBQ community must resist the urge to blend into the community. It is really easy to move to the suburbs and just blend in. Instead we all must realize we have a responsibility to provide support and modeling for queer youth. If we are serious about ending bullying and youth suicide we must be visible and be prepared to educate people. We must challenge transphobic and homophobic remarks. In particular, as equal marriage marches on, we must not abandon our trans brothers and sisters who are still fighting for basic rights.

What do you do to be a positive role model?

[1] I even submitted a video.

[2] If it is safe.

Dispatches from The Swamp – the ‘rant edition’

It’s been a while since I have done a rant post so here goes!


Why, oh why, do the BC RCMP insist on setting up HOV lane checks on Highway 1 during rush hour? Here is why this is a stupid idea: the mere presence of the RCMP on the highway causes a back up. Seriously, you could just park an unoccupied cruiser on the highway, with no officers in sight, and that highway backs up for miles. I have actually asked them this question, via twitter, and they say they are there because people complain about HOV lane cheaters. I call bullshit. I would like to meet one of these people who would rather sit in traffic for an extra 45 minutes just to have the RCMP nail the cheaters.[1] So here is how I see it – the BC RCMP create the situation that causes people to cheat by going into the HOV lane by creating such a backup that people lose it in frustration. Sounds a helluva lot like entrapment if you ask me. The number of times they are out there during rush hour has increased incredibly. The cynic in me believes that the RCMP know they are going to lose this revenue stream once the new lanes come on line and the new Port Mann is open. Why else would they be doing this so much right now? I have been commuting into Vancouver for 6 years and they only started doing this recently. The other thing that pisses me off about this is all the costs incurred by traffic snarls. Think of the gas (pollution created) burned, the time spent and the overall cost to the economy to have so many people sitting in traffic so they can catch some cheaters. Seriously, BC RCMP stop it now!

My ‘discussion’ on Twitter with @BCRCMP


I am a little late to the party on this one but here goes anyway. So, last winter the feds parachuted in a ‘third-party’ manager into Attawapiskat to deal with the housing crisis. Instead of owning up to their part in the housing crisis there, the feds accused the Band of mismanagement. The Band challenged this decision in court, rightly so. It turns out that the federal government over-reached its authority and, in fact, there was no mismanagement at all. To add insult to injury, the manager appointed by the Harper Conservatives, had been fired by another Band. It is time that Canada steps up and recognizes First Nations as the experts on their lives and needs. We have treated First Nations so abhorrently there is nothing we can do to apologize for residential schools, the robbing of culture and the complete disregard for their right to self-governance. We must pressure our federal politicians to do the right thing. And, as winter quickly approaches, there is still not enough housing in Attawapiskat; people are still living in the treatment centre and substandard housing.


It seems that the Parti Quebecois has made a decision to become secular and remove religious paraphernalia from the Province’s National Assembly. It seems that Monsieur Tremblay is a Catholic and in his little pea brain he believes that Christians have a right to promote express their religion in all aspects of Quebec and Canadian culture. His reasoning is that Canada is a ‘Christian’ country founded on ‘Christian’ beliefs. While he is technically correct that Christianity informs a great deal of our culture, that doesn’t make it right. What is even more disturbing is that he is singling out one PQ candidate: Djemila Benhabib. It seems that Ms. Benhabib[2] had the audacity to support the PQ’s secularist stance and she supports removing the crucifix from the National Assembly. In the year of our whatever 2012, religion has no place in politics. Separation of church and state people. Monsieur Tremblay believes so strongly that he is right that he is appealing a human rights case so that he can continue to recite a Christian prayer to open council meetings. The clip of him speaking with Bernard St. Laurent of the CBC was so racist and dripping with white, male privilege! Because Ms. Benhabib was not born in Canada, he believes she does not have any right to express an opinion on the subject. In his mind, he can’t go to Algeria and assert Christian supremacy so she should just accept Canada’s Christian values. He does say she is free to be a Muslim. Wow, big of him. I am sure she is very relieved that she can practice a religion in Canada!

I am not a big fan of organized religion. It has been used to keep the masses in line. So much has been done in the name of religion that it really boggles the mind. I have studied a fair bit of religious history and honestly I do not see any upside. I believe people can be spiritual but bowing down to an angry, punitive god is not on my agenda. Our society is growing increasingly secular which is a good thing. And don’t forget that Monsieur Tremblay’s brand of Christianity is Catholicism. This is a religion that does not want people thinking for themselves EVER! They are not even allowed to interpret the bible for themselves – they must rely on priests. They believe in transubstantiation whereby the priests can turn wine and bread into the blood and body of Christ.[3] Attendance at mass is down in most of the developed world perhaps due to the sheer number of children abused by pedophile priests, supported by the Vatican. Don’t even get me started on Benedict.


This lovely gem is fresh from the news today. I don’t even know what to say. I cannot believe that she and I inhabit the same planet. I don’t believe in capital punishment but if she is convicted of animal cruelty, I would flip the switch myself. I doubt I am alone in this one.

[1] Yes, it is frustrating to see people cheat the HOV system. Personally, I would rather focus on my driving than worry what others are doing.

[2] Commenting on her name on As it Happens last night, Monsieur Tremblay stated that it was ‘unpronounceable.’ Apparently in his world the only names acceptable are ones familiar to him. Privilege run amok here folks.

[3] Hello, critical thinking skills!


Finally the RCMP has arrested alleged child abduction suspect Randell Hopley. Of course the RCMP had a little help from Taz the dog. Dogs have such an amazing relationship with people. I still think there is way more to this story than the RCMP are stating. There was some discussion about an accomplice but the RCMP at a press conference rescinded that this afternoon. It is going to take a long time for the truth to come out.

Speaking of our relationship with dogs, I would like to introduce Allison Gamble, a guest blogger here at Dispatches from the Swamp. Here is her bio and I will post her blog tomorrow.

Allison Gamble has been a curious student of psychology since high school, though her love for animals dates back much farther to elementary school. In the first grade, she renewed the dictionary of dogs so many times, her parents decided it would be less expensive to buy her a dog than to incur further late fees. Today, she brings her understanding of the mind to work in the weird world of internet marketing in Seattle.

Check back tomorrow!