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Jason Kenney Insists That Ontario Is A Boy

Kenney's joke got a big laugh from people at the Ontario PC Party convention.

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People are calling out Jason Kenney for a joke about gender neutrality at the Ontario Progressive Conservative convention this weekend.

Global News

Kenney, a former minister in Stephen Harper's government and currently the leader of Alberta's United Conservative Party, addressed Ontario conservatives at a Toronto hotel ballroom on Saturday before the results of the leadership race were announced.

"Ontario has always played a special role as the older brother of Confederation — or as Justin Trudeau would say, the gender-neutral sibling of Confederation," Kenney said to laughter and scattered applause.

That joke didn't go over well with some people watching.

Barely a minute into his speech, Jason Kenney starts making jokes about gender-neutrality. Keep it classy UCP. #happywarriors #ableg

Many people interpreted it as mockery of trans and gender nonbinary people.

Way to promote your party diversity #pcpoldr by ridiculing Trans kids, including mine. @jkenney - the guy who never punches up, only down #onpoli

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"Is respecting human beings for who they are, and who they identify as, really so terrible?"

Jason Kenney and his "gender-neutral" joke, shows the worst that #onpcldr has to offer Canada. Is respecting human beings for who they are, and who they identify as, really so terrible? #pnpcbc

Others expressed disappointment that Kenney's jab got such an approving response from the Ontario PC Party members.

I'm not sure what I find more troubling. Jason Kenney's need to take a stab at the term "gender-neutral" or the big laugh it received from the convention floor. #onpoli #PCPO #PCPOLdr https://t.co/BRMPJyWLw2

Jason Kenney has long been criticized for his approach to LGBT issues. As leader of Alberta’s official opposition, he has suggested informing parents in some cases if their children join gay-straight alliances in school — a position LGBT advocates equated to “outing gay kids.”

Kenney also voted against marriage equality in 2005 when he was a Conservative MP, although he supported a change to the federal Conservative Party’s policy in 2016 to drop its strictly heterosexual definition of marriage.


Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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