Compiled by Peter Carlyle-Gordge
Website on hot seat over slaying video
MONTREAL-Police are investigating Best Gore, the Alberta-based website that first hosted and refused to take down the video that is believed to have shown Luka Rocco Magnotta murdering and dismembering Jun Lin, a Chinese university student in Montreal. “We are most likely going to press charges against him [the website operator], but I have no idea what these charges are going to be or how it’s going to take place for now,” says a spokeswoman for the Montreal police. Toronto Internet lawyer Gil Zvulony said he believes police have a case to lay obscenity charges in connection with the Edmonton website, adding that posting the video breached Canadian law.
Magnotta, who is gay, is alleged to have murdered Jun Lin, whose torso was found in a back alley in Montreal with the hands, feet and head removed. Body parts were mailed to political parties and to two schools in Vancouver. Lin's death prompted an international manhunt for Magnotta, who was arrested in Berlin in June and will be extradited to Canada. Magnotta is alleged to have filmed the murder which includes necrophilia and cannabilism. Magnotta’s arrest in Berlin came as he spent two hours watching Internet news of his alleged crime and subsequent flight abroad.
Sperm-donor lawsuit a complicated web
TORONTO-Sperm donation laws will soon be on trial in the Ontario Superior Court. The focus is on a case involving two lesbian mothers and a sperm donor called Rene deBlois. DeBlois had agreed to donate sperm so that Nicole Lavigne, a former school friend, could carry a child that only she and her lesbian partner would bring up. deBlois says she had also agreed to later carry a child for him and has failed to live up to that part.
He is seeking to have a contract he signed for the first child — a son, Tyler, born in 2010, overturned by the courts, thus giving him access and visitation rights. The contract did not mention the verbal agreement for Lavigne to bear a child for him. “[Ms. Lavigne] threatens and intimidates [Mr. deBlois] with the existence of the contract,” the document said. “He is no longer comfortable with the arrangement, and would like the contract voided.”
Same-sex and other advocacy groups are planning to request intervenor status in the trial, expected to begin this fall. The issue is also important to single people and heterosexual couples, says Michelle Flowerday, a Toronto lawyer representing Lavigne and her partner of 15 years, Selena Kazimierski.
Vancouver, Toronto suffer most Gay-bashings
VANCOUVER-Vancouver remained Canada's capital for reported gay-bashings in 2010, despite an overall 18 per cent drop in hate crimes in Canada's biggest cities and a drop in gay-bashings of 5.6 per cent, new Statistics Canada numbers show. While Toronto had more individual gay-bashings than Vancouver - 35 compared with 30 - the percentage of gay-bashings out of the total number of hate crimes in Vancouver was 26 per cent of 117 crimes compared with 11.6 per cent of 302 in Toronto. In other parts of Canada, Ottawa had 15 gay-bashings, Montreal 13, Edmonton seven, Quebec City five, Calgary five, Hamilton four and Winnipeg one.
Will new moderator of United Church be gay or lesbian?
OTTAWA-Reverend Gary Paterson, of St Andrew's-Wesley United Church in downtown Vancouver, is one of 15 nominees from across Canada being considered for the position of moderator. He is one of three openly gay or lesbian candidates. The moderator will be chosen in August by more than 350 voting delegates, or commissioners, at this year’s general council in Ottawa. The moderator is elected every three years and presides over meetings of the church's general council and executive.
A new career for Talackova
EDMONTON-Shaw Media says it has picked up a reality show featuring the leggy transgender Vancouver beauty queen Jenna Talackova. Talackova made headlines around the world when she was initially prohibited from competing in the Miss Universe Canada pageant because she was born male. Pageant boss Donald Trump ultimately allowed Talackova to compete in the Toronto pageant earlier this month, where she was cut after making the top 12. Barbara Williams, senior vice-president of content, said Talackova’s show was picked up for a Canadian version of the Lifetime channel. Shaw Media expects to bring the female-focused channel north of the border in September.
Court battle looms over gay-straight alliances
TORONTO-A court battle may be ahead as the Ontario government puts its foot down over the Roman Catholic Church refusing to follow its anti-bullying legislation. The Church had opposed the ability of students to name anti-bullying groups as Gay Straight Alliances, but the government has overruled them, saying all schools, religious or otherwise, will be required to host gay-straight alliances – and the students can call it a gay-straight alliance.
As part of the original Bill 13, which was intended to curb bullying in schools, the province included a provision for organizations with the name “gay-straight alliance or another name.” However, the Ontario Assembly of Catholic Bishops had been working with the government to reach a compromise that would allow Catholic schools to focus on bullying in general rather than a specific group. Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten said there would be no compromises. “Schools need to be safe places for kids to be themselves — and for some kids, that means being able to name a club a gay-straight alliance,” Broten said. “I don’t think there’s anything radical about allowing students to name a club.”
Teresa Pierre, who is part of a group of Catholic parents opposed to Bill 13, said forcing gay-straight alliances into the school would erode Church teaching. “Our concern is that this anti-bullying legislation is meant to bring a change in the Catholic curriculum,” said Ms. Pierre. “We are concerned about the potential erosion of Catholic principles.
- Peter Carlyle-Gordge is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.