Behind the obligatory festival of media wind therapy for John Baird (loyal soldier…nuanced statesman…not such a partisan gasbag once you get to know him, etc, etc.), it seems some hacks are desperate to tie the foreign minister’s abrupt withdrawal from public life to some dark, hanky-spanky secret — at least if gay muckraker Matthew Hays is to be believed.
“Today, five reporters contacted me from news agencies with private messages (agencies included Star, Globe, Nat Post and Ceeb),” the Concordia film prof and freelance typist posted on his Facebook page, Feb. 3.
“Questions included: ‘Does the [resigning minister] engage in rough sex?’ ‘Have you heard any stories of asphyxiation?’ ‘Have you heard cases of sexual harassment of young men?’ ‘What have you heard about the London parties?’ ‘Do you know if he engaged in asphyxiation during sex?’
They all closed with, ‘If you do hear of anything, please be in touch.’”
Of course, Hays has long had a hate-chubby for Beard and his one-foot-in-the-wardrobe routine. Hays was apoplectic when Rusty’s 2010 outing in Xtra, based on unguarded comments by a Tory candidate, went precisely nowhere beyond the poofter press.
“Aside from one article that detailed the outing in La Presse, all the mainstream dailies and radio and TV stations steered clear,” he wrote in an Xtra piece entitled The Glass Closet.
“(According to the mainstream media, Baird’s is a linguistically lopsided outing; apparently he’s gay in only one official language.) In fact, reporting on the high-profile Baird is hilarious — I haven’t seen this much coded language for ‘he’s gay but we can’t say it’ since I read what gossip columnists wrote about Rock Hudson in the 1950s.”
Hays was at it again in a 2012 shocker for Vice: Is Canada Run by a Gay Mafia? The evidence for this startling claim? Er, Beard. (Gay, gay, gay as a French horn, Hays could reveal).
“Baird recently got busted for using government properties to hang out with friends during his vacations in both London and New York. And some wondered who his ‘handful of friends’ were and what they were up to in lavish, luxurious locations.”
After that, the gruel got even thinner:
“Writing about the current Canadian government requires employing more euphemisms than an Ed Koch obituary. Maclean’s columnist Paul Wells points to several bachelors—among them Baird, Jason Kenney, the recently married and ostensibly heterosexual James Moore, and Nigel Wright—who have been very committed team players. ‘All four are bachelors, which means only that they can devote truly extraordinary amounts of time to their roles.’ Roleplaying, eh? Even reading an estimation of their commitment sounds kinky! Wells also suggests that getting ahead in Harper’s Ottawa is helped with ‘infinite flexibility and a bottomless appetite,’ which sounds suspiciously like a contortionist’s Grindr ad…it’s important to note what Laureen Harper‘s nickname is on capital hill [sic]: The L Word.”
And on and interminably on. It’s none of Frank’s business what Hays gets up to in the confines of his own imagination, though his claims that working hacks are breathlessly phoning him for tales of oxygen-starved homoeroticism beggar credulity.
Which is not to say that a little party discipline is entirely unknown among President Steve’s cabinet.
Ottawa paramedics still like to spin the tale of the night they got a call from a distraught young man at a Nepean townhouse. There had been a mishap in an upstairs bedroom and someone was passed out, unresponsive.
Alas, in his panic, he gives the wrong address, and when there’s no answer there, firefighters end up breaking down a neighbour’s door.
Precious seconds are lost, but signals finally get uncrossed and first responders are met in the correct doorway by the caller, a young professional, Blackberry still in hand. He insists that his friend has gotten his wind back, everything’s fine, thanks so much, you can go now.
The medicos, unconvinced, proceed upstairs to the bedroom, where they find an older gent in bed with the covers up over his head.
From beneath the blankets he assures them, in a persuasive voice, muffled, yet somehow familiar, that all is well, sending them on their way without once showing his face.
Just another night in Bytown.