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Raising Canada’s Rainbow Flag

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by Bonnie Wurst – Montreal Times

The flag of Canada has been raised in several of its incarnations since 1867 and now there’s another one proudly waving alongside it – the Rainbow Flag in all its glorious colors, the colors of gay pride. Canada is growing up and it is a country maturing like a fine wine.

On June 12th 2014, Kathleen Wynne became the first woman and openly gay premier elected in Canadian history. She led the Ontario Liberals to an impressive victory, capturing 59 out of the 107 available seats – something unimaginable not so very long ago.

In most of Canada, the Rainbow Flag has become a bright beacon to those far and wide. Even in Oz, Dorothy always knew there was something over the rainbow – although I don’t think she imagined it would be found in Canada. Even with the acceptance of the Horse of Many Colors in the Emerald City, Oz still segregated several of its communities, merry Munchkins included. Glinda the Good Witch rarely came out of her bubble.

But in Canada, at the other side of the rainbow, we have learned to discern the many individual hues in between the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet spectrum. With the legalization of same-sex marriage and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, everyone has the right to live without fear in this country.

Kathleen Wynne achieved what many people thought impossible, even her fellow colleagues doubted her appeal and ability to win the election. The Ontario Liberal party entered the campaign with hopes of at least clinging to power after a one billion dollar scandal rocked the party and forced then Premiere Dalton McGuinty to announce his resignation in October 2012. A shaky Ontario Liberal Party then chose Kathleen Wynne as their leader and she was sworn in as Premier on February 11, 2013.

Less than a year and a half later, she won them a sweeping majority.

After her victory, Premiere Wynne called her partner Jane Rounthwaite (who she married in 2005) up on stage to be by her side. In her speech she said she was proud to be the first woman elected premier of the province and went on to say, “This is a beautiful, inclusive place that we live in, Ontario, and I want us every single day to treasure that. I want our kids to feel that as they grow up in our schools and understand what a gift it is to live in a place like this where anyone can be the premier. It doesn’t matter. Anyone can be the premier. So that thing I said… about how Ontarians do not hold prejudice in their hearts, that Ontarians want to be an open and inclusive people, we have so proven that tonight.”

I believe ‘Ontarians’ have clearly spoken for the majority of Canadians and apparently so does actor George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru ‘Sulu’, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the TV series Star Trek. In one of his popular movie quotes he says, “We’re lost, but were making good time” (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier), and if it was today he might be saying, “We have caught up and the time has come.”

Takei, an advocate of gay rights, shared this news with his one million Twitter followers on the Friday morning after the election, “The Liberal Party in Ontario, Canada has swept to power, and with it their leader Kathleen Wynne will become the first open LGBT head of government. This historic fact was a complete non-issue throughout the election. Congrats, Ontario!”

In Canada we have proudly and ‘boldly gone where no man (or woman) has gone before!’

Congratulations Premiere Wynne, you have found the pot of gold and showed us that we all have a Rainbow Connection. It’s time for me to take the Habs flag out of my car window and seeing that I’m not into World Cup Soccer, perhaps it’s time for me to fly the Rainbow Flag.

O’ Canada, our home and native land

True patriot love in all thy sons… daughters and every color in between the rainbow’s command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free!
Ton histoire est une épopée, Des plus brillants exploits
God keep our land glorious and free
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits
O’ Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

Bonnie Wurst is a freelance journalist, a weekly columnist and feature writer for the Montreal Times, a novelist, ghost writer (not the scary kind) and humorist. Her book “Damaged Goods Re-Stitched” can be found on Amazon.com. For ‘HUMOR SOUP FOR THE SOUL’ speaking engagements & workshops, please contact her at bonnierwords@gmail.com

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