I’m no expert on the Looney spenders up in America’s Hat, but my in my travels to that exotic land, I have noticed that they really are invested in being a country that everyone loves. Yesterday, the Harper government shat all over that when a federal Department of Justice lawyer filed a brief in a divorce case saying that gay marriages performed in Canada were not legally recognized if they were illegal in their home country. Harper and his Justice Minister tried to walk it back in a pretty mealy-mouthed way (saying their government “has no intention of reopening the debate on the definition of marriage”), but today’s Globe and Mail is full of mourning over the damage to Canada’s reputation:
“Sanity will prevail,” said Kevin Bourassa, the Toronto resident whose legal battle to wed Joe Varnell opened the door to legalizing same-sex marriages in Canada. At the same time, he recalled American gay couples singing O Canada when they came to Toronto to get married.
“They were so proud of this country. I wonder what they feel now,” Mr. Bourassa said.
Taking a page out of Tom Levenson’s book, I think it’s time to post a work of fine art to help turn the Canadian frown upside down:
It’s called “Still Life with Rick Santorum, Lube, Dildo and Justin Bieber Doll” (via) (click to embiggen). More from the same artist here.
Does this only apply to gay marriages? After all, there are places where Muslims and Christians are forbidden to marry, and it wasn’t too long ago that interracial marriages were banned in places like South Africa.
I think, slowly but surely, Canadians are waking up to the fact that behind Harper’s bland, technocratic facade lies a man devoted to demolishing the liberal foundations of the country. Whether it’s undercutting universal health care, changing our armed forces from a peacekeeping specialist to a jingoistic rallying point, or turning back the progress on social issues like this, his party is turning more and more to the Republican mode of governance.
@Jinchi: It wasn’t too long ago that interracial marriages were banned in parts of the United States.
I have seen other works by the same artist before. Disturbing.
Please stop referring to Canada as “America’s Hat”. It’s crude, stupid, and insulting.
@robertdsc-PowerBook: It was either that our “our 51st state”. Is that better?
IANAL, but this looks bizarre to me. They’re trying to assert that someone’s status under Canadian law from a ceremony in Canada is dependent on what another country’s laws are. Usually countries go out of their way to ignore most legal actions in other countries unless they have to by treaty, because otherwise what’s the use of being a sovereign country.
As Jinchi said, this opens the door to all sorts of crap that the Canadian government obviously didn’t intend. Then you get into the Constitutional complexities in the different provinces and you’ve got a complete mess. I thought that Ontario’s Supreme Court already ruled that limiting marriage to opposite sex couples violated the constitution.
Welcome to five years of this shit. We’ll have Canadian liberals threatening to move to the US by the time the Harper reign of terror tries to get reelected.
“Justin Bieber Doll” goes too far. Ew.
@MattF: Check out some of his other work, such as the Palin for President poster. This is tame by comparison.
I LOLed because I followed the link to the other works and found one that was different from all of the others – Max Planck.
Below the painting – different only because it is relatively ordinary – is the Wikipedia entry for Planck which contains a few nuggets:
Followed immediately by:
And finally, his own realization:
Le plus ca change ….
ETA – Facts are stupid things. I don’t see why the NY Times even bothers about them.
This is all about a Fed lawyer flinging shit on the wall to see what would stick. It was a ridiculous arguement to make, and obviously poorly thought out. The real issue is not SSM, it’s how our divorce laws are enforced. There is a residency requirement in most countries that must be met prior to the courts getting involved in divorce proceedings. Having said that, I have no doubt the Harpercon government is secretly applauding the move, despite their awkward spin control.
double nickel has it correct; the lawsuit was being filed on behalf of two women who had been married in Canada, but are now seeking a divorce. The problem for them is that they never resided here, so they don’t meet the one year residency requirement (no quickie divorces up here in America’s Tuque!) My guess is that they wouldn’t have much chance winning on their challenge (their lawyer is asserting the residency requirement violate Sections 7 and 15 of the Charter), but with the idiot Fed lawyer pulling the not recognized argument out of his ass, something will change and they’ll get their divorce.
@robertdsc-PowerBook: I suppose your right. From Australia’s perspective, it would be more like America’s Underpants.
Starting to look like Canada’s friendliness to gay marriage was nothing more than a tourist industry scam. I have friends who spent lots of money on a ‘destination’ wedding in Banff. Bet they had no idea that their marriage certificate was about as valid as a ‘My friend went to Banff and all I got was this stupid Tee-shirt’ souvenir.
I’m sure to make this right and demonstrate that this was not just a tourism scam, the Canadian govt will be welcoming these couples to become citizens so their marriages will be fully legit, right?
Nope, the marriages are still legit. See Dave’s comments #11.
And we are never crude, stupid, or insulting here at BJ!
Not that I disagree with you just that it amuses me to note that.
I was thinking more that the US was Canada’s prolapsed colon but their right wing is trying desperately to keep down with us.
Fuck, it must be a slow news day…
@mistermix: Whatever you say, gringo.
The only people who are giving this any attention whatsoever are American bloggers….there’s no culture war here, and gay marriage/benefits etc is a settled issue.
Jane 2, it was on the front page of the Globe and the Star, so I think some people are giving it attention here.
That work of art is more important than every painting by every 16th-19th Century master Levenson has ever put up.
That’s an awesome piece of artwork. I love it.
“That work of art is more important than every painting by every 16th-19th Century master Levenson has ever put up.”
Not bloody likely, but feel free to make your case.
wow, then it must be really bizarre.
>>it must be a slow news day…
S&P shanks Eurozone:
FT also is reporting that Greece debt restructuring talks will “pause for reflection”.
Much bricks will be shat in Europe this weekend.
Yeah but none of that’s really unexpected so I stand by my initial analysis.
Re artwork, where’s Santorum? I see two dildos, one in the shape of a disembodied head.
@burnspbesq: Because: the piece mistermix chose is intelligible as a picture. Levenson chooses artworks based only on their name, and they’re usually garish and godawful.
@4tehlulz: The Euro is sinking like a stone at the moment. I feel a visit to Italy coming on…
love the artist and artwork.
But yeah, why the Canada-mocking? It’s one of the few sane countries we’ve got.
Nope. The Liberal marriage brought in real gay marriages for everyone. The shithead Harper government either has some eager beaver idiots in Justice making erroneous arguments or they’re playing innocent and getting cred among their shithead core supporters and are now walking it back after the furor.
Residency is a fair argument to make, although I think the couple can make some valid arguments against it, but claiming the marriages could be invalid in the first place is the purest bullshit.
@Dr. Squid: See and I saw one dildo and one asshole.
A few things:
1) they are already backtracking on this, it’ll get rectified post-haste:
[“I will be looking at options to clarify the law so that marriages performed in Canada can be undone in Canada,” Mr. Nicholson said.]
2. I think that an objective examination of the Harper Cons reveals a group that frankly is more closely in line politically (overall) with the Democrats than the GOP. Canada is just that much further to the left as a whole. The GOP would get annihilated in an election up here. Conversely, our NDP wouldn’t do too well down south.
3. The gay marriage issue is settled here. Period. There is zero desire (save the odd nut or two – everyone has them) to reopen the debate. Same goes for most cultural issues.
@polyorchnid octopunch: So tell me, how exactly did we go from jokes about “America’s Hat” that recognize the cultural influences and power dynamics between Canada and the US to racism? Just because it’s a racist term used by Hispanics to refer to English-speaking Caucasians doesn’t make it any less offensive.
Or are you also OK with the term “spic”? How about Mick? Paddy? Wop? Dago? Gyp? Where do we draw the line on who it’s ok to racially slander? I’m confused.
Please report to Room 211 for remedial art history class.
Please note that I am not questioning your taste, only your knowledge.
“shithead Harper government”
@mistermix: We already have a 51st state. Canada would be the 52nd or 53rd, depending on the status of Puerto Rico.
@beltane: Any snow up your way? I thought we were going to get a good snow here yesterday, but the storm was a bust.
Ever been to Alberta? No sane country embraces environmental degradation on that scale.
Coming up next – women from the Middle East get their driver’s licenses revoked.
Seriously, you can’t tell the difference between minority cultures taking the piss out of majority ones and the majority beating down on the min ority? FAIL.
As The Canada Party puts it, “our oil sands are so dirty, it makes Texas look like a Greenpeace retreat.”
It’s all relative. The regulations in place here (I live in Alberta) are pretty tough. Not saying its all unicorns and puppies of course, but there’s a reason there hasn’t been a disaster on the Gulf-of-Mexico-scale here.
I think that on the Culture War front specifically its pretty safe to assert that Canada IS sane. (Errrr… sanER.)
As a Brit I’m upset. We like to flatter ourselves we’re the 51st, but you’re saying we’re #54 at best?! Heads will explode, I tell you!
@superluminar: Racism is a two way street asshole. If you think otherwise you’re part of the problem, not the solution.
@superluminar: That New Model Army song from the ’80s led me to believe that Britain’s status as 51st state was well settled.
@mistermix: You colonial mf*cker you. Meh, guess it is OK as we generally refer to Amuricans as dangerous ignorant, inbred retards – How can you blame us when the TV is send us is so f*cked up.
I’d be a little careful with saying that Canada’s on the same political map as the US, just further to the left: there are Canadian ideas and laws about limitations on free speech and explicit rights of cultural groups as opposed to individuals that don’t map at all to US political leanings. The NDP, I think, is a lot like the Western US populist movements of decades ago.
@superluminar: Sorry, the fundies have kicked all the old favorites down a notch.
As a card-carrying professional art historian, let me waddle into the arts criticism debate between dave and burnspbesq to opine that Tom Levenson’s artwork selections to accompany his posts are often witty and stylistically wide-ranging, with iconography well-chosen (occasionally naive) for his text.
The on-line representations of Bijijoo’s artworks appear to be competently painted, easily digestible, socio-political commentary. Perfectly adequate for its objective.
On the matter of Canada: Much of my nineteenth year (reconsidering undergraduate studies) was spent travelling from sea (Atlantic Maritimes) to shining sea (British Columbia/Yukon). I spent time in all provinces save the Northwest Territories. Call it youthful nostalgia, but I will love Canada, O Canada, for as long as I remain above the ground.
“Racism is a two way street”. Both Sides Do It! Seriously do you have no conception that the life experiences of groups who may use the term “gringo” will be considerably different from groups whom it is aimed at?
Not to defend the government, but there is a variation of the Ministry of Justice lawyer’s claim that I think is worth consideration. Canada recognizes foreign marriages (although there is another case before the courts regarding whether some UK immigrants with a civil partnership are married under Canadian law). Canada recognizes foreign divorces and annulments. If two foreigners get married, then return to their country where their marriage is not recognized, then is it annulled at that point? (This is different from the lawyer’s bizarre claim that the marriage never happened in the first place.) Or is there a principle in Canadian law that states that Canada recognizes Charter freedoms internationally even when those freedoms are not guaranteed under foreign law?
@superluminar: I do, and that’s and irrelevant point. No, really, completely beside the point. You’re excusing racism because of the target. A person’s life experiences don’t excuse the inexcusable.
@giltay: You may have a point, because the latest news I see is that the government is working on overtime to fix the issue. See here:
Any country that can manage to make Mark Steyn the poster child for freedom of expression has some ‘splainin’ to do.
(Note: the linked-to post, published four years ago today, is probably the last thing Greenwald wrote that I fully agreed with.)
@Dustin: If you are gonna get upset about the word “gringo” here’s some advice. Never go to mexico. Trust me, they have rich set of vocabulary to describe whitey, and it’s far worse than gringo.
They call their own children worse, affectionately.
If a woman from Ontario visits Saudi Arabia, does Ontario revoke her driver’s license?
“Completely beside the point”? No, actually it’s the point itself, the very n ature of what we’re debating, no less. A disparaging reference to people who have spent centuries oppressing a particular group does not equal that people’s put downs of the group’s members, as the latter comes with unfortunate baggage.
@superluminar: No shit right.
Here we have a white man whining about a rather mild slur directed at white people. COMPLETELY IGNORANT of the fact that White Privilege has essentially shielded him from any hurtful effects of the word. It doesn’t *really* bother him. He just wanted to get on with the sanctimony already.
Dustin, go read “unpacking the invisible knapsack”, and maybe next time you post you won’t be so intellectually bankrupt as to not be able to afford a clue.
That’s quite a slippery slope you’ve got there. At the logical extremes, you’re flirting with concepts of “universal jurisdiction” akin to what led Spanish magistrate Baltazar Garzon to believe that he could haul Pinochet into a Spanish court to answer for alleged violations of Chilean law. Or that might be seen as justifying, or even mandating, an attempt by the CF to liberate Guantanamo.
Fortunately, there is an answer to the current problem that doesn’t require consideration of those hard questions. Just amend the marriage law to provide that a marriage that was legal in Canada when performed is legal in Canada for all purposes, regardless of the residence of the parties either at the time of the marriage or thereafter. If Harper is serious about fixing this, it shouldn’t take more than a month.
@gaz: We’re not localized in Mexico here, last I checked. Or should I also not take offense if I go down to Jacksonville and hear the local boys call my cousin a nigger? Not even dress blues are enough to keep them civil. What makes gringo better, the target? That’s a funny definition of equality you’ve got there.
@Dustin: Move the goal posts. Avoid discussion of the topic at hand.
Way to fail, idiot.
You’re right. My WHOLE POINT IS ABOUT INEQUALITY.
You’re not EQUAL whether you want to believe it or not. You’re white. If you don’t understand what the fuck that entails, then maybe your skin color was wasted, and should have gone to someone that actually deals with real oppression, every day. Not your weak shit.
@gaz: You two preach equality, but you wouldn’t know it if it hit you upside the head with a two-by-four. Try living it and then get back to me about intellectually bankruptcy.
And, for the record, I am white. Germanic/Irish in origin and if it weren’t for the brown hair and lack of freckles I’m as pasty white as they come. The thing is my community I grew up in is a close knit mixed race family that spans everything from continental Spaniards to Hmong, Native American, Hispanic, mainland Japanese, and descendants of Confederate slaves. So shove your shit, racism is racism.
Coming from a white man, that’s hilarious
Loonie. It’s spelled loonie. Also, we’ve already started becoming an international joke thanks to the government withdrawing from Kyoto and blocking climate agreements by other nations.
@ericblair: No, but it’s a licence, not a contract. The licence’s jurisdiction is Ontario and anywhere else that recognizes Ontario driver’s licenses. Moving in or out of that jurisdiction (I don’t know if, say, Japan recognizes North American licences) does not nullify the licence.
Now if that woman’s licence expired while she was in Saudi Arabia and she was not permitted to apply for a new one, then I doubt that the Ontario government would recognize her driving privileges until she got a new licence in Ontario (or another jurisdiction recognized by the government).
B.S. Harper cons are way right of dems. This is a con talking point to scam Canadians.
Dustin I’m going to spell this out, and try to type slowly, so that you’ll be sure to understand:
Every time I get called “gringo” 1000 mexican immigrants get fucked by the laws that I helped to create (albiet indirectly)
Every time a black man calls me cracker, thousands get turned down for a job for the “cleaner / safer / more articulate” (what they mean is whiter) candidate.
Every time I got bullied by some minority in school, 10 boys got their shit ruined by the school admin for wearing saggy jeans and being “scary”
How many posts are we gonna get through before you finally reach the inevitable logical extreme of your argument, and start arguing against affirmative action, in the name of equality?
You’re a punk.
@gaz: Try the full quote next time.
The subtopic here is the notion that you believe racist slur against white people aren’t racist. Don’t try to move the goalposts by trying to turn this into a meta discussion about white privilege. You don’t get equality by accepting target-specific racism. You get it by treating everyone equally and expecting them to do the same.
Fair enough (and I happen to agree with you) – I was just making a general point, but there is no disputing that there are fundamental differences.
@burnspbesq: And he appears to be doing so. And if it’s made retroactive, then the problem disappears entirely. But that doesn’t answer my question about whether the marriage is valid right now.
I think that the Charter does have universal jurisdiction. But the law doesn’t. So these two women have “equality under the law” under the Charter despite not being Canadian or in Canada. But “the law” in this case can only refer to Canadian law (I think). So under my interpretation, they wouldn’t necessarily have protection from foreign governments applying foreign laws unequally. So when they went home, their marriage contract was illegal and therefore null.
Or their contract was merely unenforceable in those jurisdictions, and it still has effect where it’s recognized. This is where I’m unsure.
(There’s a lot of “I think”s in there since, obviously, IANAL.)
color me surprised.
@Dustin: You don’t get equality by ignoring white privilege, and bitching about every slight against a white person, dumbass.
And white privilege is absolutely relevant to the sub-topic. I’d be hard pressed to say what was more relevant, than you ignoring white privilege, and trying to paint all slights as equal between all races. It’s not. And since you think so, you are a moron.
@ superluminar & gaz: It’s like arguing with a rock. I’m done, you two win the internets. Either that or talking to your is like arguing with a sanctimonious rock; I can’t decide which.
That would be the usual tact taken. Their marriage should be valid regardless of jurisdiction, as long as it remains valid in the jurisdiction where it was issued.
The funny part about this whole ordeal stems from the fact that the two women involved can’t get divorced because they don’t meet the 1-year residency requirement for divorce.
Well you don’t get it at all, do ya?
If people are starting from a position of not being equal, then how is treating them equally in the present meant to make them so?
@superluminar: That’s okay.
We already broke the “colorblind”* troll.
*(As if that was ever a solution. Colorblind = since I’m white I can’t actually be bothered to embrace your culture, your heritage, nor can I be bothered to learn anything about your life – so I’ll ignore it. We’re all equal! YAY. Lets have cake!)
It’s like arguing with a rock!
Fuck do some people not know what the fuck they’re talking about.
@superluminar: I ref’d the Invisible knapsack essay. did what I could. he doesn’t really want to know how the fuck he’s wrong. Whitey ALWAYS knows best, dontcha know! Edit: especially when it comes to racism!
heh! like the colorblind def there! “I can’t see any races, so there’s no difference, amirite?!?”
You sort of expect it of people on the right, but people over here? Seriously? I’m going to be nice and say that it’s mostly thoughtlessness rather than outright bigotry on our side, but it should stop.
@superluminar: Yeah, Should have gone out of vogue about the same time referring to people as “colored” did.
Adding, if you didn’t catch from reading my posts. I’m white too. But shit changed for me when I ended up living in a place where now the vast majority of my friends are not white. And you know, race is always an undercurrent of a discussion – I suppose if you are not white, you don’t have the luxury of being able to ignore it. But I have had so many illuminating conversations on that subject – really a game changer for me. I used to buy into the colorblind bullshit too.
Another analogy to pick on the Saudis: if someone buys a case of beer in Canada and takes it on a plane to Saudi Arabia, does that void the sale? Such a sales contract is illegal there, correct?
Usually, countries try to assert their own laws on other countries: this seems to be a weird argument that other country’s laws apply to acts performed under Canadian law on Canadian soil. If the other country refuses to recognize your status on their own soil, there’s very little Canada can do to help you there, but I can’t see how it invalidates your status back on Canadian soil.
The only way I see things can get screwy are things like foreign military deployments under Status of Forces agreements, which is one of the things the DoD had to get sorted out (while a bunch of people were screaming that they were just dragging their feet on DADT repeal).
@Dustin: Spoken like a true white American.
Yeah I’m not white…but I appreciate your perspective about 1000x more than many express around here… alsotoo
@ericblair: A sale is a transaction, not a contract. By the time you have the beer, the transaction is concluded. The Saudi government can confiscate your beer, and can prosecute you for owing a controlled substance, but you do not get your money back, and the Saudis don’t have to return the beer to Brewer’s Retail.
Again, this really boils down do whether their marriage was annulled upon arriving home. If it was, then Canadian law can’t touch that. And if it was annulled, then they can’t really be considered married. For instance, one or both could remarry (a man) in their jurisdiction without committing bigamy. How would that play out if they were to revisit Canada?
Fact is, for opposite-sex couples, being married in Canada has the force of law back home (mostly). Married couples who immigrate to Canada don’t have to remarry. Married couples who emigrate from Canada don’t have to remarry. Marriage is (generally) transferable from place to place. As is non-marriage. If a foreign couple marry in Canada, but get divorced at home, they aren’t considered married if they reenter Canada and are free to remarry.
Now if marriage is more like a status than a contract, I think the law is clear: You are married under Canadian law, even if other countries don’t recognize it. If your marriage is annulled elsewhere for reasons unlawful in Canada, then as far as Canadian law is concerned, you’re still married. Maybe that applies to contracts, too.
@Wernymania: Which part of Alberta? I have cousins in Fort MacMurray. They’re planning on leaving, which is too bad, they’ve been there forever and love(d) the place before it got trashed.
Right on – I try – glad sometimes i at least can think the right thing occasionally, on this topic- does that mean you’ll give me a pass for one instance of me being an idiot and wielding my privilege like a club? Cuz it like happens all the time. I’m an idiot that way.
You guys all realize that charles pierce was right when he said that once the 50+ crowd dies off this issue is moot, right?
All we have to do is wait. And maybe prepare some ice floes.
Edit: And maybe we’ll get lucky and these warriors in the hoverround brigade will finally manage to cut off their social security and medicare, thus accelerating the process? at least as this issue pertains to the US /snark
Can’t quite put my finger on it yet, but you’re some kind of pathetic wannabe. The vitriolic self righteousness is the giveaway.
Do you see yourself as the strong white brother or sister, doing for the little black folk what they are unable to do for themselves? Speaking out forcefully for justice, a tremor in your voice, as the grateful black wee ones tremble behind you?
I’m a native Kansan…maybe you see yourself as a latter day John Brown?
Um…you’re not. YOu’re just a foul-fingered typist, like the rest of us.
Are you aware of this sort of automatic annulment actually happening anywhere? Annulments I’m aware of are nontrivial proceedings either government or canon courts; I think we’re worrying about a situation that doesn’t exist. Even then, Canada wouldn’t have to recognize such a proceeding; this kind of recognition based on comity isn’t (yet) bound by treaties so Canada doesn’t have to recognize anything it doesn’t want to.
Bigamous marriages aren’t recognized by Canada. I believe if a bigamous family entered the country, the first spouse would be recognized as a spouse, the rest as having no relationship status. If you tried to marry more than once in Canada, then that’s a criminal offense.
@polyorchnid octopunch: Did you miss the part about where I was trying to point out the ‘minor’ tidbit that “gringo” is a racist term? That’s all. It’s not my fault that gaz and super went ape-shit over it and accused me of being and ignorant redneck because I condemn “gringo” the same as I do “nigger”. It’s not my fault they turned it a ‘berate the white privilege” festival. Apparently, for some people, condemning racism, in all it’s guises, is the same as siding with the KKK.
And Kola, I don’t need or want your help. And that kind of attack is belittling to all sides.
Listen, Mr. Sister, you might have noted by now I say what I want when and where I want to. Wasn’t trying to “help” your sorry ass; I was making my own point about gizz’s never ending “full stop” STFU crusade against anyone who disagrees with it.
So belittle this: fuck you too.
I’d be happy to be proven wrong – can you point to any policy positions where the Harperites are to the right of Obama and the Democrats?
Not picking a fight – I’m genuinely curious.
@Kola Noscopy: Kola, I know I’m right by virtue of the fact that you had to jump in.
When the slimy little twits like you disagree with me, I know I’ve made an unassailable point.
You’d have done everyone, not the least of which Dustin, or yourself a favor by staying the hell out of it, little troll.
I’m fine with judging the content of my argument by the “quality” of it’s detractors.
blah blah blah, White Savior of the Black Folks.