Merry Christmas, someone just quoted RuPaul in Parliament
RuPaul has had an indelible impact on popular culture, music, fashion… and now, apparently, democracy.
The world-famous drag artist, musician and host of RuPaul’s Drag Race was invoked in a speech by a lawmaker this week.
Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel, the Member of the Canadian Parliament for Calgary Nose Hill, made the remarks during a debate this week.
Ms Rempel, an apparent RuPaul fan, cited a quote from the drag superstar in a speech on the floor of the House of Commons, while discussing an LGBT rights bill.
She said: “To you, Mr. Speaker, and for all of my colleagues in this House, it is fantastic and pretty cool that we are debating something of such importance as we rise for Christmas break.
“Every once in a while, we do something here that resembles work.
“Because I am not sure anyone has ever done this in the House before, I am going to quote RuPaul: ‘If you can’t love yourself how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?’. Merry Christmas.”
Check out the clip:
— Bari (@AlbertanGrrl) December 14, 2017
It is believed to be the first time RuPaul has been invoked in Parliament.
However, some members of the British Parliament appear to have taken that as a challenge.
The Parliament had been debating legislation to expunge the records of people with historical gay sex offences.
The Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act, backed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, expunges from records convictions made under anti-gay laws – and makes compensation available to people who faced persecution.
Speaking about the bill, Ms Rempel added: “Can members imagine what the people who are subject to this bill had to go through? The stories that I heard when I went through the consultation for the apology were the antithesis of what equality means.
“I heard from someone whose lesbian partner at that point in time was actually physically hauled out of her house for questioning on allegations of her sexual preference.
“I have had people write into my office and say, ‘the government is spending so much on this apology’.
“We spent a lot of taxpayer dollars back then persecuting people. We spent a lot of taxpayer dollars developing a ‘fruit machine’. That is a dark point in Canada’s history.
“If we are going to stand up and talk about equality, there cannot be partisan differences. It just should be something that we all accept, and that is why this bill is important.”
She added: “For people who had to go through a criminal conviction or suffered employment loss or anything that gave them a record based on whom they love, that is not equality, that is not Canadian, that is a violation of human rights.
“If we stand here as Canadians and talk about how we comport ourselves in international relations when we demand other countries to behave certain ways, we had better be getting it right at home, consistently, all the time.
“What this bill is trying to do, in its spirit, is a no-brainer. I appreciate that my colleagues are bringing up technical points.
“I know that my colleagues within our party have brought up some technical points too. My colleague across the way acknowledged that this is the first time, I believe, that expungement happened.
“We are, in good faith, believing that this bill will do what it is intended to do. There will be time to hold the government to account on that, certainly. I am very pleased to be here today to say that there is no question that this should happen. I want to be very clear about that.
“From the bottom of my heart and from the depth of my soul, if we want to believe in the equality of all Canadians, no Canadian should have a criminal record for loving somebody. It is really as simple as that.”
She continued: “It is really cool to be able to stand up and support this bill, and I think it is really cool that this bill has all parties’ support.
“It is something that Canada can celebrate internationally. I encourage individuals who have questions or concerns about this bill to really have a hard think about the rights that they have as Canadians, to really have a hard think about what equality means for them.
“If we do not make everybody equal, we have lost what it means to be Canadian. Whom one loves should not be a question of equality. There should not be historical or current criminal penalties for that. There should not be discrimination against that. It is just wrong.”
Mr Trudeau’s LGBT adviser Randy Boissonnault also spoke in favour of the bill.
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He said: “Today Canadians who were unjustly convicted because of who they love are one step closer to clearing their names and moving on with their lives.
“They were victims of past federal policies and practices that under no circumstances would hold up in Canada today. They were systematically discriminated against and demeaned, and they spent much of their lives with all the repercussions of a criminal record, unable, in some cases, to find work, or even travel with their families.
“They were made to feel as though they had committed a major crime, and they were made to feel as though their sexual orientation could determine whether or not they had a chance in life.
“Many tried to fight their convictions and lost. Some waited decades for redress, and others nearly half a century. Tragically, some did not live to see this day.
“Today we are sending all of them and their loved ones a clear message when we move this legislation forward: their country is deeply sorry. Their country was wrong. Their country wants to make amends and help their healing process.”
And THAT, folks, is a Parliament.