There’s a worrying topic that has been espoused by our national broadcaster, the CBC.
On May 1st, the CBC released a trailer for the full-length documentary, Drag Kids. The Documentary, as the name clearly suggests, follows the stories of several different children who participate in the “art form of drag.”
Since then, the CBC has continued to promote the doc, posting exclusive content to their CBC Kids News site.
In the write-up for video, the CBC explains to the viewer that “as an art form, drag has always been about breaking down barriers, exploring new territory and daring to do the unexpected.”
Some roads are best left untravelled. CBC has decided not just to walk down this path, but indeed to trailblaze as it attempts to spearhead the normalization of drag kids into popular culture.
“A new type of queen is emerging on the scene: she’s fierce, she’s living in a time of unprecedented access to queer culture and she’s younger than ever before,” writes the CBC, framing the video as if it isn’t something totally insane.
The concerns surrounding drag queens are obvious. Drag, as an art form, has always had very sexual elements in it. Having attended a number of drag shows myself, I have never attended any performance by any queen that has not peppered in obvious sexual innuendo, puns, or dance moves.
But those involved in the art form believe they are doing what’s right for their children, allowing them to express themselves.
One parent in the documentary trailer attempts to clear the record by saying that as parents, they aren’t “child abusers” and they aren’t sexualizing their kids.
“It’s about expression, You are the art, and it’s extreme. Look at the Sistene Chapel. If that isn’t extreme, what is?” says one mother, totally straight-faced.
Putting children in harm’s way
The issue is that it’s not up to the kids as to whether or not they’re being sexual. Some “art forms” have sexuality ingrained in them by nature. And if that isn’t obvious, ask British pedophile rights campaigner, Tom O’Carroll.
In a WordPress blog post, O’Carroll releases some horrid opinions, and in turn, manifests what those against drag kids have most feared. That these children were being looked at sexually by dangerous people.
“Let’s face it, when a pretty young boy tells the world he is gay and dances sensuously in front of grown men, wearing vampish dresses and makeup; when ‘she’ strips off items of clothing or goes on stage scantily clad right from the off; when dollar bills are accepted as ‘tips’ from an audience apparently wild with excitement; when all this is going on we are getting far more than just a celebration of gender diversity or an innocent display of precocious performance talent,” wrote O’Carroll.
O’Carroll goes on to say that “being a drag queen, or a drag princess if you will, puts it right out there, in the open for all to see. It says, loud and proud, ‘I am a sexy kid, with sexy feelings. It’s totally cool for grown-ups to get turned on by me. I love it. That’s why I do this stuff. It’s great. It’s fun. It’s me!’”
Exploitation is difficult to avoid
What’s perhaps most disheartening is that the children are the least to blame for their behaviour. Performing in clubs and bars, appearing on different TV or web shows, it can quickly become difficult to not be in harm’s way.
Just ask the drag kid who appeared on an LGBT YouTube show, Peeew! With Michael Alig and Ernie Glam. The 10-year-old drag kid appears on the show, probably unaware that he’s sitting next to Alig, who was convicted after pleading guilty to the first-degree manslaughter of a member of Club Kids, a New York City culture group which Alig was the ringleader of.
To top it all off, the show is hosted in front of a painting which says the word “rohypnol” on it. For those unaware, rohypnol is a tranquillizer about ten times more potent than Valium. It is frequently used as a date rape drug that is “illegal to manufacture, sell, use or be in possession of” in the U.S. and Canada.
Why does the CBC insist on pushing this content?
With the full-length documentary set to be released towards the end of July, this doesn’t appear to be the last time we’ll be hearing about child Drag Queens.
The world of drag is unequivocally linked to sexuality. Drag, as an art form, is a parody of sexuality. Do children really have the ability to grasp the complexities of human sexuality in the first place? Or is this more a game of dress-up for them, akin to Halloween?
In the same way that Halloween allows us to laugh in the face of death and fear, drag allows us to spoof just how odd and embarrassing sexuality really is. That’s what makes separating sexuality from drag impossible, and that is precisely why kids should not participate in it.
Roughly 3,200 Canadian National Railway workers, including conductors, yard workers, and trainpersons could go on strike just after midnight Wednesday, in an aggressive move that hopes to aid in finalizing a deal with the company.
Passenger rail services across Canada’s three largest cities would not be affected, though the job action that would affect freight services across the rest of the nation, according to the union.
Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference, which represents CN’s employees, submitted the required 72-hour strike notice over the weekend.
The union went on to say they hope to reach an agreement before the deadline, in order to address “safety and scheduling issues,” though workers are prepared to start the strike if expectations aren’t met.
“Our problem is not with the people in general, but with CN,” union spokesman Christopher Monette told CTV on Monday.
CN went on to say negotiations were still under way, and “has been offering binding arbitration to ensure train services aren’t disrupted,” reports CTV.
“We are disappointed that the [union] has initiated strike action, which will result in a significant disruption to service,” said CN’s vice-president of financial planning Janet Drysdale to The Globe. “We apologize to our customers and appreciate their understanding that safety is always our first priority.”
CN and the same group of CN employees were able to reach an agreement in the union’s previous strike negotiation back in 2015.
Workers for CN say they’re asking for more regulation around their long working hours, dangerous working conditions, as well as a fight against a lifetime cap on prescription drug coverage.
The dispute was partially sparked by CN’s announcement Friday that they would be laying off roughly 1,600 management and union positions, as the company faces future declining freight volumes and global trade tensions.
Swedish prosecutors have dropped an investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange, the infamous co-founder of the popular document-leaking Wikileaks.
The Australian native has avoided extradition to Sweden for close to eight years, having stayed in refuge at an Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.
Assange, who denies the allegations, was evicted from the embassy and has been sentenced to 50 weeks of jail time for breaching bail conditions, is being held at Belmarsh prison in London.
Swedish prosecutors originally intended to drop the rape investigation nearly two years ago, stating that they did not have the means to move forward with the investigation while Assange stayed in the Ecuadorian embassy, according to the BBC.
In May of 2019, Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecutions, publicly announced the reopening of the case, due to their being “probable cause to suspect” that Assange had committed the alleged rape.
The alleged rape case against Assange was from a woman who claimed to have been sexually assaulted at a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm in 2010. Assange has vehemently denied all allegations against him, saying the sex was consensual.
In June of 2019, though, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javed approved the U.S.’ extradition request against Assange, where he is wanted on 18 counts of leaking American secrets, including the famous Podesta emails. Those leaks led Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to say Assange must “answer for what he has done.”
Now, though, that same Director of Public Prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson says they will no longer be moving forward with the investigation.
“The reason for this decision is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question.”
He also previously faced investigations for accusations of molestation and unlawful coercion. These cases were dropped in 2015 due to statute of limitations laws.
A group of vegans are suing Burger King, and it’s all because of their “meatless” Impossible Burger.
While the burger itself is meatless, there lies a bigger issue that Burger King may not have disclosed to their faithful vegan customers: the Impossible burgers are cooked on the same grill as their meaty counterparts, meaning residue could contaminate the vegan patties.
Phillip Williams of Atlanta filed a class-action lawsuit, claiming that the Burger King did not disclose that the vegan alternative could potentially be at risk of having meat residue, and thus would not have paid a premium price for the specialty sandwich.
The lawsuit claims that Burger King doesn’t specifically disclose that its vegan burgers could be cross-contaminated with animal by-products, something that has left vegan groups furious.
Williams also points to several complaints made on social media that also point to the same issue. Williams is seeking to be compensated from Burger King, and will also seek to end the same-grill cooking of the two burgers in all restaurants.
Burger King, owned by the Brazilian Restaurant Brands International Inc, declined to comment to Reuters, saying it does not discuss pending litigation.
Burger King’s website points out that the Impossible Burger is “100% Whopper, 0% Beef,” but further states that “guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request.”
Impossible Foods Inc, the company responsible for the vast majority of the meatless-burger craze, said in a recent interview that their products were designed for “meat eaters” who were looking for ways to reduce their animal-based food consumption, and not necessarily for vegans and vegetarians.
“For people who are strictly vegan, there is a microwave prep procedure that they’re welcome to ask for in any store,” said Dana Worth, Impossible Foods’ head of sales.
Restaurant Brands International has its headquarters in Toronto, and also owns popular donut and coffee chain Tim Hortons.
Indigenous TMX interests sidelined as premiers, opposition leaders posture in minority government lead-up
As opposition leaders and provincial premiers postured last week over meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, lost in the chatter was the power indigenous people wield–arguably quite a bit in this minority government the Liberals find themselves attempting to manage.
Like Parliament, and the rest of our divided country–Wexiteers, Quebec separatists and everyone else somewhere in between–indigenous interests are a scatter-shot amalgam of pro- and anti-development camps, or like Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde, who plays it right down the middle on matters like Trans Mountain.
And the elephant in the room is TMX, a twinning of an existing bitumen pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver; a project that Trudeau nationalized in 2018, then earlier this year offered to sell lock-stock-and-barrel to indigenous people.
Since Trudeau’s offer, three buyers have emerged: Western Indigenous Pipeline Group, Project Reconciliation and Alberta Iron Coalition. As well, a fourth Métis concern from provincial settlements in Alberta who are already affected by the oil patch and say they are being left out of future development decisions.
Given this overlooked dynamic, it’s rich to hear Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Blanchet stridently remark that he would love to help Alberta, just not its “petrol-state” ambitions, while his province aims to use and export Alberta’s cleanest “petrol-product” (i.e. natural gas).
This of course, while the province’s biggest liquid natural gas pipeline and along with Énergie Saguenay’s export terminal, will run Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s all new, C-69 regulatory gauntlet.
New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh’s threat of voting no-confidence his first crack after the Throne speech–in early December after the House of Commons reconvenes December 5 and a Speaker is elected–is as unlikely as it is dubious.
The NDP began #elxn43 with a significantly smaller campaign war chest than its frontline competition, and would putter on fumes through a winter, snap election that most everyone in Canada would resent.
But Trudeau only needs one of the runner-ups to keep his minority government alive, and could end up leaning on Blanchet as much or more than Singh.
And this Wednesday, Trudeau will unveil his new cabinet that speculative coverage indicates could be larger than his previous gender-balanced executive.
With finishing TMX an apparent priority, according to Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Amerjeet Sohi’s now-vacant Industry portfolio, will be one appointment to watch.
And without any Grit MPs in Saskatchewan or Alberta there has been much speculation about who Trudeau could tap for cabinet representation for either province, whose premiers have serious issues with Trudeau.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney continues to use TMX in limbo as a cudgel, while Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, whose province is challenging the federal carbon tax’s constitutionality, said Trudeau was uncompromising on the tax.
Moe had asked for a pause on the carbon levy and told reporters he wanted more pipelines to tidewater than just TMX–following the meeting, Moe more or less described a recalcitrant Trudeau and said that Canada could “expect more of the same”.
Which makes TMX so vital for Trudeau and the Liberals. It’s supposed to be their grand compromise with the oil patch and western tidewater shots, even grandfathered past C-69, sweeping new environmental legislation that Kenney and other detractors call the “no more pipelines bill”.
Gazoduc, which includes a 782 km pipeline, is but one of several projects undergoing C-69’s new assessment process and will test Kenney’s and other bill detractors’ no-pipeline claims.
But TMX is far from a done deal and short of building it by fiat; an option available but never wielded by Trudeau or his predecessor Stephen Harper, during an era of indigenous reconciliation, a pending Federal Court of Appeal’s decision hangs over the entire affair.
Six First Nations were granted leave to appeal cabinet’s second approval of the project–one these groups successfully made against National Energy Board’s first permitting–and their latest case remains before the court.
On the other side of this indigenous TMX equation are literally dozens of groups looking to a buy a stake in the project with the possibility to create division within the pro-development indigenous set.