Gay Canadian MP’s ‘Brokeback’ Christmas Card Gets Attention


Openly gay Canadian MP Scott Brison (who was Canada's first openly gay member of Cabinet) sent out the above photo on a Christmas card this year.

It's not an unusual or controversial image, but it is making the papers:

"Scott Brison describes it as 'Canadian Gothic.'
…  'Just a couple of guys and their dog standing in a field,' he says about his Christmas card this year. But there are others, the Nova Scotia Liberal MP says, who are describing it as 'The Brokeback Brisons' – an homage to the Ang Lee movie about two gay cowboys and their love affair on a Wyoming mountain.

This is the first time, meanwhile, the couple has posed together for a Christmas card and it is likely the first same-sex married-couple MP Christmas card…It was sent to about 5,000 friends and constituents. The photo was taken by Windsor, N.S., photographer Garey Pridham.

Mr. Brison says he wasn’t trying to make any sort of political statement with the card. Rather, the couple had never gotten around to having photos taken. But this past Thanksgiving they took advantage of a wedding gift to do a shoot. (Mr. Brison made history when he became the first federal politician to marry his same-sex partner in August, 2007.) They liked the images and decided to one for their card."

One day we'll look back and think it so strange that this was thought of as something out of the ordinary.


  1. Strepsi says

    @ANDY re: “One day we’ll look back and think it so strange that this was thought of as something out of the ordinary.”

    I agree – like a politician has never posed for a photo with his spouse before? The immaturity of some of our other politicians is silly here, and someone needs to tell the Conservatives that Brokeback jokes are sooo 2005!


  2. Jeff says

    Scott and Maxime make a great couple. Scott used to be a member of the old Progressive Conservative (P.C.)party, but split shortly after the Party merged with the Alliance party to become simply the Conservative Party of Canada. He joined the Liberals and was elected several time under that banner. He also sat in Cabinet as a Liberal Minister and is currently a member of the Liberal Opposition. His constitutients like him and don’t really care about his sexual orientation. That’s why he was elected as both a P.C. and a Liberal.

    Thankfully, same-sex marriage here in Canada raises not even the smallest blip on any political radar. It’s here to stay and will never again be the subject of a political campaign.

    Merry Christmas to Scott and Maxime!

  3. Fitzie says

    “One day we’ll look back and think it so strange that this was thought of as something out of the ordinary.”

    I wouldn’t even say that it’s a big deal right now. The blog on the Globe and Mail where this was posted, “Ottawa Notebook”, publishes a lot of general interest stories from the personal lives of MPs. Even the Prime Minister’s cats make occasional appearances. Not even joking.

  4. secretagentman says

    Funny you bring up LL Bean. A friend was invited to the wedding of the LL Bean founder’s son. 500 people invited to a gay wedding. I only wished I’d met him first.

  5. DN says

    I also thought the Canadian media wouldn’t bat a lash at this, but the article’s comments section has been disabled because of “hateful” and “homophobic” comments.

    Obviously, we don’t know where those comments were coming from, but come *on* people.

  6. Scott says

    Great photo. Sad that just because he’s gay and he took the photo in a majestic rural setting, it has to be related to Brokeback Mountain.

    More interestingly, contrast the position of the Globe and Mail to the BBC. Whereas the BBC is more than happy to allow a discussion of whether gays should be executed, the Globe and Mail says “We appreciate that readers want to discuss this issue, but we can’t allow our site to become a platform for intolerance.”

  7. TCW says

    Interestingly, Canadian MP and Conservative Cabinet Minister John Baird did not send a Christmas card featuring him and his boyfriend. Then again, his boyfriends (a) are barely of age and (b) never last long.

  8. NanMan says

    The Toronto Star piece with the same cute family photo also banned comments: ” We’ll do the same here, by the way, so crazy hateful people should probably just walk away from the keyboard now. Yes, backward, just like that, slowly, hands in the air. There you go. Get outdoors; it’ll be good for you.”

    Gay stories from Google News Canada? Houston, Uganda/BBC, lesbian U.S. soldier claims refugee status in Canada, and “for the first time ever, there will be a “Pride House” in the Olympic Village” at next year’s Vancouver Winter Olympics.

  9. Libby says

    That picture was taken on the lovely Bay of Fundy, more than likely in their backyard where they were also married on a misserable August day a few years back. It rained so hard I felt bad for the boys. But they set up a tent and everyone, including former Prime Ministers, partied in the rain.

  10. DrTheopolis says

    I think it sad that in order to be ‘palatable’, male couples have to stand apart so as not to creep out the general public. Any straight couple would not have those limitations imposed on them, self-imposed or otherwise. A family’s holiday usually shows togetherness via closeness.

  11. says

    Scott is on the right. He’s my cousin – and to the previous poster, if you knew him you’d know he probably had 5000 friends BEFORE he was in politics:)

    This story makes me so sad, as his relative and as a member of the LGBT community. As a gay woman, I’ve encountered the same bigotry, but never on the level that Scott encounters as a public figure. I’m so glad he’s able to shake it off – I’m not sure I would be as successful.

    It’s a beautiful image, they are a lovely couple.


  12. Tim says

    Unlike American newspapers that would encourage the hate-filled commentary in an effort to boost pageviews, the Canadian paper wrote the following, which is in itself a great commentary on tolerance and acceptance:
    Comments have been disabled
    Editor’s Note: Comments have been closed due to an overwhelming number of hateful and homophobic remarks. We appreciate that readers want to discuss this issue, but we can’t allow our site to become a platform for intolerance.

  13. Jedi says

    “One day we’ll look back and think it so strange that this was thought of as something out of the ordinary.”

    I remain hopeful, too, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  14. Jason says

    I am glad I live in Canada :)
    Sure lots of dorks still refuse to get with the times, but my mom is married to a woman and I have a same sex partner whom I am seriously considering marriage with. I think it IS sad that even though it is a very nice picture they could and should be standing together. My idea of a christmas card is some hugs and cheerfulness. Oh well – next year boys!

  15. on says

    It surprises me how little intimacy they show in the photo. If this were a straight couple, they’d at least have their arms around each other or they’d be standing closer together. It must have been a political decision to use a card in which they are standing so far apart.

  16. EJ says

    Leave it to the Canadians, what a great shot and I love the doge !

    If it wasn’t so damn cold in the winter my partner and I would consider moving north. Love those people and their progressive thinking !

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