ST. PIERRE-JOLYS, MB
This July, Manitoba’s third largest city will host its first ever Pride march, which has presented the ultimate catch-22 for any southern Manitoba politician: show up at the Pride walk and be sent to the gulags by local voters…or stay away and be labeled intolerant by the rest of the country. To avoid such extremes, southeast politicians have been mysteriously fleeing the area. Some have cited, for example, a commitment to attend the Frog Follies Festival in nearby St. Pierre as reason for not attending the Pride march.
Illustrative of the political climate in Provencher are the comments of former Green Party candidate Jeff Wheeldon. During the 2015 federal election campaign, he was asked by CBC whether he’d attend a Pride event if it were held in his riding. “If there was, I would go,” said Wheeldon, “and I would expect my political career to be over immediately.” So volatile is the situation in southern Manitoba, that elected officials are desperately signing up to attend frog jumping competitions.
This strange phenomena has even drawn reaction from the amphibian community. In an exclusive interview with the Daily Bonnet, famed muppet Kermit the Frog offered a rather nuanced view of the situation.
“I can see both sides of the issue,” said an unusually candid Kermit. “I’m a pretty liberal-minded frog. I mean, same-sex, opposite-sex, pig-frog–it doesn’t matter to me. Love is love. However, if it means committing political suicide, I get why elected officials around here might stay away, but I just wish they wouldn’t bring us frogs into the matter.”
Frog jumping has not been the only reason given for not attending. One local politician said he’d be in Syria for the entire month as, “it’s a lot safer than being a Steinbach political figure at a Pride march.” Another said he would be rolling over Niagara Falls in a barrel on July 9. “Many have tried, but only a handful of people have ever survived it,” he said. “I think that’s better odds than I have of being re-elected if I’m seen attending a Pride march.” A third politician said she had an unbreakable commitment to play Russian roulette that day. “I’ll take my chances,” she said.
Kermit the Frog noted that his time on the Muppet Show and Sesame Street has broadened his perspective on issues of sexuality, though he recognizes the complex social, religious, and political waters that need to be navigated by leadership in the area if they hope to stay afloat and maintain a political career.
“It’s a difficult situation for them. As a puppet frog, I get it,” said Kermit. “Still, let’s not forget that it’s not that easy being green…but it’s a lot easier than being an LGBTQ person in southern Manitoba.”