Our National Sexual Emergency

A heat wave powered on just prior to the long weekend. It’s hot around here, like mid-summer, baking in a stew of low-level smog and sweat. Ottawa, the unsexiest of the unsexy, mumbles to itself about something uncomfortable stirring at the base of that clock tower shaft on the Hill – some conversation building in the left chamber. Over at the museum, they’re talking gonads and G-spots. Down in Kingston, a painting of the naked prime minister hangs in a library. It’s spilling over. And here we are now, having a national discussion about sex.

Really, the painting of our naked prime minister was only the queasy afterglow to a problem started by that museum exhibit that somehow didn’t make anyone upset in Regina or Montreal, but as soon as it landed in Ottawa, had the heritage minister frothing. It’s inappropriate, James Moore said when he was asked for his opinion. The rules were therefore tightened. So much for seeing it if you’re a 12 year-old. Hold your questions about masturbation and vaginas and condoms and things, everyone. In the meantime, go home and dumbly press your pelvis into something firm and wait a few years, I guess. Sorry kid, you have to be 16 to take this ride. It’s an age of eligibility thing. This government has this thing about raising them. It’s tough to explain. Anyway, the door’s that way.

“Come on, daddy-o,” MP Rosanne Doré Lefebvre derides the absent heritage minister in question period. “It’s not 1955. Sex happens. And it’s better if youth are more informed, not less,” she continues. Then, a question: Would the government please stop meddling in museums and culture and science? Across the House of Commons, a backbench Conservative MP, Wai Young, screams “do you have children?” like it matters.

Paul Calandra, the heritage minister’s stand-in for the day, addresses Doré Lefebvre. "As I am the father of two young girls, I will not be visiting it," he says, inadvertently bragging that he, at least, already knows how it all works. But his point was about parental choice. So, which kids should get to go to this thing? "It is up to parents to make that decision on their own,” he adds. "We know Canadian parents can make their own choices," he repeats a moment later. Yeah, we get it. It’s about those people of legal age making the right choice for their own lives and their own children. Let's remember that one.

I flip over to Sun TV News. The same umbrella chain will publish a quote from a concerned parent, worried that it all “felt like a sexual agenda being pushed.” Over to you, Michael Coren. He looks out at me on the screen, his guest of the day in the box to his left. The exhibit, the guest says, has words in it – words that look like this: “C-O-C-K” and “P-U-S-S-Y,” he explains, spelling each one I guess just in case Coren’s evening broadcast audience is that coveted 5-12 demographic. But where were we? Oh right. The words. Let's get that shit out of our museums, and pronto, before something terrible happens, like disseminating contextual knowledge for people under the age of 15. That’s Urban Dictionary’s job. But then, Coren assures everyone that it’s not long for this life, this tell-all sex exhibit – certainly not, he says, if “we have anything to do with it.”

And what do they have to do with it? What does anyone have anything to do with it? Oh, the money – that funding for the museum that made this an issue in the first place. Conservative MP and Adult Government Spokesman, Dean Del Mastro tells CBC a day or so into the National Sex Emergency that the whole thing is outside the mandate of a museum of science and technology. Beside him, fellow panelists and opposition MPs snigger. It’s called biology, Dean, they say. “It’s called a lot of things,” he replies, “it’s not biology.” Whatever. I stare at Del Mastro’s Looney Toons necktie. Under the circumstances, I find it disconcerting.

It seemed like only a minute ago we were talking about things like an omnibus budget bill and the state of our parliament's power. There was talk of accurate costing information for a fleet of fighter jets that will protect our sovereignty and dictate our military agenda for a generation. We were discussing whether any job was a good job for someone on employment insurance. There was a moment when the Speaker of the House withheld a government question in the House because of poor decorum, and there were other points where he seemed to care less about that. At one point, opposition MPs grilled the environment minister for four hours, late into the night. He duly answered in kind. Some polls showed the NDP ahead by a bit. Some kids rioted in Montreal.

But we stopped talking about all those for a few minutes. Instead, we sat in the heat, wondering whether biology is classified officially as being under the purview of a science museum or if there’s an agenda being pushed. Yeah, there’s an agenda. For the conversation, anyway.


Hey Harper, nice baby dick.

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