Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Canada's New Democrats Get First Out Leader

(Link) Allison Brewer's now the first out lesbian to lead a political party in North America. Of course Canada has far more political parties than the US, but who's counting?

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
by Derwin Parsons
Atlantic Canada Bureau Chief

(Fredericton, New Brunswick) Allison Brewer has become the first out lesbian to lead a political party in North America. Brewer won a first ballot victory to become leader of the New Democratic Party in New Brunswick. If her party wins the next provincial election she would become the first out premier in Canada.

Calling it "an historic day for the lesbian and gay community", she said she intends to lead her party to a majority government.

"I will make my presence felt and I want Bernard Lord and Shawn Graham to know that I am on my way," she said after her win

Lord is the leader of New Brunswick's Conservative Party and the sitting premier. Graham is the Liberal leader. Both are ahead of the New Democrats in the polls.

Following her win, Brewer's 20 year old son gave her a hug and declared, "You're my leader. You will always be my leader."

Brewer has two other grown children. A former journalist she has been a gay activist and is former executive director of a Fredericton abortion clinic in Fredericton. She recently spent four years in Canada's far north serving as a senior adviser to government of Nunavut.

To many people in New Brunswick she is best known for her battle with Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside, who refused to proclaim Gay Pride Week. She took the matter to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, which ordered Mr. Woodside to proclaim Gay Pride Week in 1998.

She acknowledges some voters will be turned off by an openly gay pro-abortion political leader but she says she won't back down on those issues or run away from them now.

"I will continue to speak out on it. As the leader I think there are things I have to hear and I will certainly respect other people's opinions but anyone who thinks that a woman doesn't have the right to choose is just wrong and anyone who doesn't support equal marriage for Canadians is just wrong," she said. "And I won't hear any arguments to the contrary."