Each election, Egale rates party leaders and candidates on their stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBT) issues. Egale analyzes voting records, public statements and other actions, and also distributes a candidate questionnaire.

Conservative party leader Stephen Harper received the lowest possible grade — an F. On Equal marriage, Mr. Harper refuses to accept that Parliament has decided, and has made re-opening the debate an election issue. Each time a vote on LGBT equality was before Parliament, Mr. Harper voted against, including on protection from being fired because of sexual orientation and hate crime protection. Stephen Harper’s statement that he supports equality rings hollow in light of the fact that he has consistently voted against the inclusion of LGBT people.

Top grade goes to NDP leader Jack Layton, who earned an A plus based on a lifetime of unwavering, active support and leadership in the struggle for LGBT equality, including supporting equal marriage in every way possible.

Liberal leader Paul Martin received an A, moving up more than a full grade from his B minus rating during the last election, based on his effective leadership on equal marriage. He overcame Conservative delay tactics and threats from some in his own caucus to pass the Civil Marriage Act.

Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe also received an A, based on his perfect voting record in Parliament and strong statements in favour of equal marriage.

Green Party leader Jim Harris received an A minus. He was not rated in the last election but the Green Party’s strong showing in that election means it would be unfair not to include him now. Mr. Harris is a solid supporter of LGBT equality but has not yet been put to the test in Parliament.

“There are important differences between the leaders, but four of them face forward while one faces backward,” said Laurie Arron, Egale’s Director of Advocacy. “While Mr. Harper has long opposed advances in equality, for the first time ever he is seeking to take away equality rights. As a human rights organization, Egale is concerned that a leader who’s prepared to act against one minority would be prepared to act against other minorities as well.”

“Egale encourages all equality supporters to visit our website and educate themselves about where the parties and their local candidates stand on these issues as part of their decision on who to vote for,” said Gilles Marchildon, Egale’s Executive Director. “It’s important to consider where local candidates stand on equality issues, and Egale is continually grading local candidates as information about their positions becomes available to us. Most importantly, we encourage all Canadians to get out there and vote.”

Here is a summary of the leaders’ grades. These grades are limited in scope to LGBT issues and do not represent an endorsement of any particular candidate. Information on party grades and local candidates is available at Egale’s website.

  • Jack Layton: A+
  • Paul Martin: A
  • Gilles Duceppe: A
  • Jim Harris: Aâe”
  • Stephen Harper: F