Friday, January 18, 2008

Pope Ratzinger to Quebec City: "Sorry, I have to wash my hair"

Some of my work as a historian deals with commemorations, and so I've been keeping an eye on the plans for Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations. The 300th anniversary celebrations were a big to-do in 1908, and were later the subject of H.V. Nelles' award-winning book The Art of Nation-Building. Concordia University historian Ron Rudin has been keeping an eye on the 400th anniversary celebrations as part of a larger project which started with the 2004 celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the founding of settlements in Acadia.

The organizers seem to be having a rough time of it. First the Queen didn't get invited for fear of controversy, and now Pope Benedict XVI - who will be traveling to both the US and Australia in upcoming months - has indicated that he won't be able to come and celebrate mass on the Plains of Abraham, citing health concerns.

On a purely voyeuristic level, I'm rather disappointed that he won't be coming. Lord only knows what deeply offensive statements the pope would have made in a province which has almost completely shucked off its Catholic heritage since the 1960s - a province which was among the first to recognize gay civil unions, was among the first to accept gay marriage, and where even heterosexuals prefer to live in common law arrangements. I'm sure it would have been a barn-burner!

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My organs, like my blood, are no longer mine to give

Health Canada has apparently decided that gay men are no longer eligible to be organ donors if they have had sex with another man in the past five years. It depresses me to learn that rather than switching the also-prejudicial policy against gay men in use by Canadian Blood Services to focus on risky sexual behaviour, Health Canada is instead going to use sexual orientation as an all-encompassing black list. The manner in which this policy will be implemented, as Queer Liberal points out, will also be deeply flawed, relying as it does on families of gay men to know about their sexual histories.

For a few more posts on the blood ban, see this post by Slap Upside the Head and this post from over a year ago.

Welcome to 2008.

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