June 5, 2006

Let’s Re-open Gay Marriage Debate - with a response to Cherniak

Stephen Harper is sticking his neck out on the line. He has to placate the religious right in this country who wants to deny two people the right to sign a court document saying they vow to love each other forever.

The Liberals, well most of them, argued their side very well in the last parliament. Why should we do Harper a favor and let 85 Tory MPs who voted against last time get off? We have to be willing to defend the charter at any time. Besides, Harper wants to debate what people believe is a fundamental issue. My guess is he gives it another six hours.

In the years since the courts started marrying gays, society has not collapsed. The Church has suffered more damage at the hands of a 435 page novel about a Renaissance painter. It surprises many people that I remain a devout Catholic given my rather strong views on the issue. I was taught that everyone is supposed to love everyone. I was taught that we must care for all of our brothers and sisters because there is only one judge, and that we should not try to do his job. After all, wasn’t Jesus the first socialist?

So why let Harper get off with a free pass? I say we should be proud to defend our beliefs again. What will it cost us? 6 hours of our lives? It is the least the Liberals could do to defend the Charter we so lovingly repatriated 24 years ago. It doesn’t ever hurt to be right does it?


I am just gonna respond to Jason Cherniak, who I enjoy reading, but with whom I disagree with from time to time.

Stephen Harper has framed the debate so he can get away without damaging either wing of his party. Nobody ever called the man stupid. Harper doesn’t need to ask our permission to re-open the debate, he can just re-open it. There was no debate to kill the gun registry. There was no debate to kill Kyoto. Harper now wants our permission to debate killing gay marriage?

The Liberals need to grow a backbone here. For those who accuse me of playing politics with the issue, you are clearly mistaken. Harper is playing games. Don’t ask for a debate, have the damn debate. He gave the extension of a military mission 6 hours; I expect he would do the same for SSM. If the Liberals want to treat it as a closed issue, let them support SSM on the actual vote, not on the permission slip.

For Quebeckers, there is no such thing as a closed issue. Our federalist premier trails in the polls presently, although the fire in Jean Charest is back, and I think he will bounce back to win. But with the PQ ahead in the polls and talking of a referendum, you would think we could only wish for closed issues.

As a result, I believe the Bloc might vote to have a debate. The hypocrisy there would be too hard to resist.

As for Joke Layton and the NDP, aren’t they only there to have debates? Following NDP logic, debates get results for working families! Perhaps we should have a second debate on how parliamentarians are allowed to have a conscience. They should have no fear of debating the issue again, to their credit, they never feared debating this.

This is not playing with the rights of gays and lesbians, but re-affirming our support for them. Are we really scared to vote on this again? Harper wants to make sure his right-wing base is placated while not scaring the Quebeckers and Ontarians he wishes to woo next election. You have to pick one Stephen. We have to make him pick one. Remember how he wanted to kill this issue quick early in the NOVEMBER portion of the election campaign? Let’s not get him off the hook again.

Harper’s issue is that the Liberals rushed the bill through Parliament. While I think there was ample debate, I say let’s dance. We have a few months to convince members of our caucus to support SSM, not to support not talking about it. Take it from experience, SSM can be a very difficult pill to swallow, and I believe Canadians have not swallowed it. Once SSM passes in a Conservative Parliament, Canadians will have swallowed the pill and they will have some closure on the issue for themselves.

6 Commentaires:

Blogger Jason Townsend a dit...

I am on the one hand embarassed that the international press may report "Canada has second thoughts about gay marriage" because, truly, the vast majority of the country isn't having second thoughts. It has already been reported as a "tightly fought debate" on the issue or such tomfoolery, and now we'll have more of the same.

It's unfortunate that a minority of Canadians with Charter-reading issues can make the rest of us look dumb.

That said, I'm obviously not afraid of the debate. Harper will try to parse it to cause maximum damage to the Liberals and minimum to him, but doing both that and placating his base is a tall order. Hopefully we can throw a few good wrenches in the mix, and remind Canadians just who the CPC are and what they stand for.

6/03/2006 2:45 p.m.  
Blogger juicynewf a dit...

Best MSN name ever, Antonio... "Let's re-open the debate, I don't mind being right again!"

Among many, many other things that I will be putting on a t-shirt!


6/03/2006 5:50 p.m.  
Blogger Manitoba Liberal a dit...


I think it would also be useful to see how many members of our own Liberal caucus would try to squish charter rights. It would be nice to know going into a leaderhip race and nomination meetings for the next election.

6/03/2006 7:03 p.m.  
Blogger Diamond Fan a dit...

Is Marc behind the Draft Diamond site as well as the Youth for Volpe site?

I think he is!

6/03/2006 10:09 p.m.  
Blogger Manitoba Liberal a dit...

Young Liberal President Richard Diamond endorses Volpe coruption

6/05/2006 11:27 p.m.  
Blogger andrewridgeley a dit...

Fact is, Canada has a government in power that has acted in a manner that suggests it might not fully respect the Charter rights of its citizens. It is, as a result, incumbent upon the Official Opposition to hold the government to account. I believe voting to reopen the debate is necessary, not because it allows for the prospect of 'soundbites' from the Conservative caucus' philisophical ideologues, but because it will mandate that the government expose its views on the defense of human rights, which the Prime Minister would prefer to conceal from the public eye. What Harper wants is equivocation: he wants to affirm to his Reform base that he remains opposed to the Civil Marriage Act while appeasing the support of moderates in Ontario and Québec with the impression that he orchestrated a losing vote. In politicizing the issue, Harper, if he gets his way, will lift from his shoulders the weight of his publicly recognized homophobia. I don't see voting to reopen the debate as a mode of strategy, I see it as an obligation to free society.

You couldn't be more right about the need for this vote, Antonio.

6/06/2006 2:05 a.m.  

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