Sunday, February 12, 2006

Watch the news for these guys 

By the way, good catch for Canadian Cynic to report that Focus on the Family is now setting up shop in Ottawa -- hoping to be just the first in a long line of anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-feminist, anti-union wingnuts who can now begin spewing forth lots of bogus "studies" showing the awfulness of gay marriage, feminism, etc.
Watch for an uptick in editorial-page "opinion" pieces authored by these people or their fellow travellers.
And watch for newspapers to send their reporters dutifully trotting over to interview these guys and get some pithy quotes about the issue du jour -- maybe we'll find that Marge Barlow and the gang at Rabble will no longer be the "go-to" guys for social issue quotes.
Here Focus on the Family is calling themselves the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada so this is the name that will begin to pop up in editorial-page bylines and 'fair-and-balanced reaction' quotations.
Heading the think-tank is executive director Dave Quist, who has worked on the Hill for seven years—six years as executive assistant to former B.C. Conservative MP Reed Elley and one year in the office of the Leader of the Opposition. “I know how busy an MP’s office is, and quite honestly, there simply isn’t time in the day sometimes to do all the necessary research it takes to debate an issue,” he says. Joining Quist are two researchers, a communications director and a secretary. He also recently published the inaugural issue of IMFC Review, a twice-yearly magazine . . . Reinforcing that desire to be heard, Quist believes, is “a general awakening by the social conservative community across Canada…people asking, ‘How did we get here and what can we do to strengthen family in the years ahead through policy?" [Focus senior VP Derek] Rogusky insists, however, that the paramount goal of the IMFC is to help Parliament craft family-friendly laws, regardless of who forms the government.
“It is very much non-partisan,” he says. “We’re not about grassroots lobbying. We’re not about trying to vote certain people out of office. We’re not behind one particular party or one particular candidate—never have been and never will be.”
“We’re not going to be organizing the petitions and letters to the MPs. There are other groups that will do that,” Quist adds. “We want to say [to them], ‘Here’s the impact on children, here’s the impact on moms or dads or couples, if you go down this road.’”
At the same time, Rogusky does not rule out temporary partnerships with secular groups and individuals to achieve mutually desirable results. “We’d be eager to work with anyone and everyone, but it would be on a case-by-case basis, obviously….That includes other think-tanks, academics, people in the media, civil servants and even elected officials,” he says.
Rogusky concedes “it’s going to take some work” for the IMFC to overcome the perception fostered by critics of Focus on the Family that it is merely a front for the “religious right.” But he is confident that will happen. “We’re not going to be bullied or intimidated by anyone,” says Rogusky. “And over time, with a real emphasis on consistently putting out good quality research and defending that research, you may not always agree with us, but eventually you’re going to have to respect us.”
Er, NOT!

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