I know you're gay but I'm Chrystia Freeland. And you're not.

Chrystia Freeland
Chrystia Freeland looks for votes at the Toronto Centre nomination meeting she would win. (DAVID AKIN / QMI Agency)

I’m sure — in fact, I’m certain — that Toronto Centre Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland meant this to sound better than it reads but, in an interview with the newspaper Xtra, that serves the largest gay and lesbian community in any riding in the country (I know Hedy Fry will quickly correct me if Vancouver Centre holds that title), Freeland sounds tremendously condescending. Example (my emphasis):

Xtra: Why haven’t the Liberals thrown their support behind the NDP petition calling on the government to ban the lawmakers who have championed the anti-gay laws in Russia? And what concrete actions have the Liberals taken in this regard?

Freeland: So, first of all I am not an elected representative of Toronto Centre yet. My ability at this point to do something is very personal. I am a person with a platform in the world talking about Russia. It’s an area I have expertise. I actually turned down a BBC interview about Russia today to talk to you….

In the rest of the interview, Xtra is very keen to press Freeland on the importance of the whole Russia anti-gay law thing  to the LGBT community but all Freeland can seem to say — and I realize this may be an unfair generalization of her remarks — is that since she speaks Russian, she’d be great to an advocate for LBGT issues in the riding. I’m not sure I see the logic there. (As Freeland must surely know, Putin understands English perfectly. Called Harper a Trotskyite last fall!)

Read the whole thing: Talking LGBT issues with Toronto Centre’s Liberal candidate | Daily Xtra.

It immediately reminded me of that great line from comic Linda Cullen: “I”m Adrienne Clarkson — and you’re not.  (You young ‘uns won’t get this so buy a drink for an old-timer who’ll explain it to you.)

8 thoughts on “I know you're gay but I'm Chrystia Freeland. And you're not.”

  1. I’m sure of x
    In fact I’m certain of x
    But I’m going to write an article suggesting y because the hacks on twitter might like it

    Sun journalism, explained.

    1. Actually it’s Globe and Mail journalism explained (Apologies here Sun readers) — for that’s where I first met and worked for Chrystia. She’s a very capable editor and, in my experience, if you’re one of her reporters (as I was), you feel as if you have a champion in your corner. Now, we’re not best pals or anything, but, for the brief time we were colleagues, I can say that I’m sure — in fact, I’m certain — that she never came across as condescending as she does in this piece. Which goes to show that politics is a tough thing and mysterious thing that many top-flight journalists are unable to figure out — to their peril (See: Wells: What We Can Learn From Loser: http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/09/26/what-we-can-learn-from-losers/ )

  2. Which is paraphrasing Chevy Chase’s line of “I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not .” when he introduced Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.

      1. In truth, she never asked Freeland certain questions as she ran out of time. Miffed, I guess, Houston and Xtra decided to report those unasked questions were somehow “unanswered”. Questions not asked are not unanswered. Glad though Xtra did a video interview with Justin Trudeau, posted online today.

  3. Dear Ms Freeland,

    You invited and campaigned with notoriously anti-gay Liberal MP, John Mckay a couple days ago. John McKay is also Anti-Choice. Then you were condescending with Xtra, telling them you made room in your schedule to talk to them by saying no to an interview with the BBC and you could only afford twenty minutes of your time. Canada’s biggest and most read queer journal.

    You insulted the queer community by having McKay come into the heart of Canada’s largest Queer community to appeal to traditional family voters! People that do not like us Queer folks. You insulted all the women, who believe in controlling their own bodies by bringing anti-choice John McKay here to campaign for votes.

    Ms Freeland, you just don’t get the struggle queer folks have and still do in many cases, today. If you did, you wouldn’t use such tactics.

    Rick Barnes
    Toronto Centre is my Home.

    1. For a community demanding tolerance and inclusion, to turn around the demand exclusion and kicking people out because of their political beliefs or spiritual beliefs is hypocritical. I don’t agree with McKay on SSM or abortion, but I do agree with him on other things. As one of a handful of Toronto Liberal MPs, I’m glad he found the time to help with the local campaign. On SSM and abortion, Freeland disagrees with him. But can still work with him on other issues. I know the NDP likes to kick out everyone who doesn’t share their ideology, but that is not about dialogue or learning to get along despite our differences.

      There was NOTHING condescending about Freeland’s interview. It’s just Akin’s attempt to spin it to try to cause some kind of backlash against Freeland in the LGBT community, despite the fact that he’s not gay and has no clue clearly how the local community feels. We know of course how NDP gays want to spin this – to them, Freeland is the devil incarnate simply because she’s running against them. Of course before Freeland announced her Liberal run, the NDP thought highly of her and her work contributing to the discussion on income equality and globalization. But now the extreme partisan demons in the NDP are rearing their ugly heads. Toronto Centre voters will pass judgment on them on Monday and the Dippers won’t like it one bit.

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