Anti-LGBT record of Alberta conservative leader Jason Kenney exposed in election ad
An election advert has called out the “extreme” anti-LGBT record of the leader of Alberta, Canada’s United Conservative Party, Jason Kenney.
Kenney is the official leader of the opposition in Alberta, and is tipped to make massive gains in the April 16 regional election.
Ahead of the vote, the governing New Democratic Party have launched an ad campaign and a 10-minute documentary that targets his anti-LGBT record.
Jason Kenney fought to repeal same-sex partnership rights during AIDS crisis
The documentary explores Jason Kenney’s role in campaigning to overturn a 1989 San Francisco law that extended partnership rights to same-sex partners at the height of the AIDS crisis.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors had approved the measure to extend “hospital visitation rights” and “bereavement leave policy” to same-sex partners, but it was repealed after a public ballot measure supported by Kenney, who would later brag about his involvement in speeches.
The NDP ad features Gary, the surviving partner of a man who died during the AIDS crisis, watching a clip of Kenney describing San Francisco as “Sodom by the sea” and openly discussing his involvement in the campaign.
This short documentary is difficult to watch. But it’s important. Jason Kenney hasn’t apologized for any of this. He hasn’t acknowledged the damage he’s done to people who just want to love and live their lives, the same as anyone else. Is this a Premier? #ableg #abvote pic.twitter.com/3qJ9NjjkYg
— albertaNDP (@albertaNDP) March 21, 2019
In it, Gary sobs while discussing his partner’s death in hospital, hitting out at “that kind of arrogant smile” from Kenney.
Eileen, who was a nurse during the AIDS crisis, adds: “It would be sad if there were enough people to vote for him. It would make me sad. Talk about hope… it would take away my hope for the future.”
Jason Kenney ‘bragged about’ role in campaign to deny rights to partners of AIDS victims
NDP candidate Sarah Hoffman told the Edmonton Journal: “Not only did Jason Kenney campaign to take away people’s rights, he boasted and bragged about it.
“Anyone who brags or boasts about barring partners from visiting each other when they’re dying, I think is unfit to be premier.”
Kenney has also previously compared same-sex unions to polygamy and incest, described LGBT+ rights protections as a “virus,” and has more recently opposed a measure to support Gay-Straight Alliances in schools
His views have not only come under scrutiny from the NDP, with Derek Fildebrandt of the right-wing populist Freedom Conservative Party also attacking Kenney.
According to the Calgary Herald, Fildebrant said: “But fighting to make sure that gay men dying of AIDS could not be visited by their loved ones? That shocked me. That is cruel.
“I can’t imagine how someone would be able, in good conscience, to say that someone dying of a horrible disease would not be able to see their loved ones because they’re gay.
“In any age — I don’t care if it’s the 2000s or the Dark Ages — that’s just cruel.”
In a statement, Kenney claimed: “To be clear, contrary to the attacks of my political opponents, my opposition to the domestic partners ordinance when I was a teenager in the 1980s was not based on a desire to limit partners from visiting their loved ones in hospitals, but over concerns about the legal implication for the definition of marriage.”
Kenney said “it would never have occurred to me to oppose such a thing,” citing volunteer work at an AIDS hospice where “there was no restriction on intimate partners.”