Oh, Canada. The sun is shining, the lockdowns have eased and more than 20 million of us are fully vaccinated. So, naturally, it’s time to head to the polls and elect a leader to run the country for up to the next four years.
It’s been a whirlwind 16 months since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic and our country shut down. We’ve weathered the storm much better than many of our neighbours around the world—we’re now a global leader in vaccination rates—but it wasn’t without tremendous loss: more than 26,000 dead, 1.4 million ill.
And that’s just COVID-19. We’ve also witnessed many other historic events in the past year: Black Canadians taking to the street in the face of police brutality; Indigenous people calling for accountability, as thousands of mass graves were unearthed on the sites of former residential schools; the precariously housed fighting police as they were pushed out of public parks in Toronto and Montreal; the marginalized battling for rights.
This forthcoming election comes at a pivotal moment, as our country continues the fight against COVID-19 and people continue to fight for a better Canada. It’s an opportunity to hold those in power to account, and to make meaningful change—especially for our country’s LGBTQ2S+ communities.
That’s why Xtra is once again covering Canada’s federal election campaign. For the next five weeks, we’ll be following the election from a uniquely LGBTQ2S+ lens. That means coverage on all of the big issues affecting our queer and trans communities—like whether a winning party will actually end the blood ban and how a future government will address a now-looming end to conversion therapy in the country. But we’ll also be on the ground, talking to the queer and trans activists and organizers fighting for better housing and health care, against police brutality, for stronger action against climate change and more.
Here’s what you can expect:
In 2019, during the last federal election, Xtra was the only publication to create a database of openly LGBTQ2S+ candidates across the country. We reached out to each and every candidate, asking them the questions that mattered most to you—from the LGBTQ2S+ policy they wanted to enact if elected to the reasons they were inspired to run. In an effort to track representation in our Parliament, we’re doing it again this year. Stay tuned to see which LGBTQ2S+ candidates are running in your area, and get to know the queer and trans changemakers across our country.
Every week, we’ll be curating everything you need to know about the Canadian election in our award-winning newsletter, Rainbow Votes 2021. Subscribe for original essays by yours truly and a roundup of all the latest election news. (If you were subscribed to Rainbow Votes 2019, you’re already on our list!)
While politicians hold the power, it’s grassroots organizers who hold them to account. Watch for our regular Dispatch columns every other week, featuring LGBTQ2S+ voices from the ground discussing the issues that matter most to you. (Have an issue on your mind that you want Xtra to cover? Shoot me an email at [email protected] to let me know!)
And if that’s not enough to satiate your political thirst, let us know what you want to read about this election season. Tweet us @XtraMagazine.
See you at the polls on Sept. 20!