MP Rob Moore
Advocacy News - Equality,
George Bush notwithstanding
17, 2004 (Updated Nov. 20)
George Bush notwithstanding
Rob Moore's Bill
C-268 tests Harper not marriage
Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell
afraid we're all going to have to pay some attention up here or we'll find we
have laws based on Christian morality and religious leaders plunging into politics."
Sears, columnist, the Ottawa Sun, Nov. 16, 2004
anything, in the next election, Harper and his party could be casualties of a
Republican-style strategy rather than its beneficiaries."
columnist, the Toronto Star, Nov. 10, 2004
of 308 Members of Parliament," a statement from MP
Rob Moore said yesterday, "Moore will be the 2nd Conservative Member
to have their Private Members bill debated in the House of Commons this session."
sounded pleased to have won an early slot in the schedule, and even more pleased
to demonstrate his lack of understanding of the role of MPs, Parliament, and the
Courts in a constitutional democracy.
needs to own up to its responsibility and take a stand on this important issue,”
stated Moore. “Members are elected to represent their constituent’s views and
I hope this will happen when this bill is debated in the House.”
act in question is Bill
C-268, a misguided attempt to go back in time prior to the June
10, 2003 Ontario court decision that changed the definition of marriage in
Canada (subsequently upheld by courts in 6 other jurisdictions).
Conservative party tried this last year, under its
previous incarnation as the Alliance Party. It didn't
work then. What's different now?
the election of George W. Bush, for one thing. U.S.
consultants are working with the Alliance party in Alberta politics. Conservative
extremists in Canada are emboldened.
would think the lessons from Canada's own recent elections would be lingering
just five months after Conservative MP Randy White gave
away his party's potential minority leadership to the the Liberals, because
Canadians rejected discrimination.
An Act to confirm the definition of marriage
and to preserve ceremonial rights.
marriage has always been recognized in Canada as the union of one man and one
woman to the exclusion of all others; Whereas, because of certain court decisions,
it is now necessary to confirm the definition of marriage;
Parliament, under the Constitution Act, 1867, has legislative authority over marriage;
Parliament has recognized relationships other than marriage under the category
of common law partnerships and certain provinces, exercising their legislative
authority over property and civil rights, have also provided legal recognition
to relationships other than marriage such as civil unions or registered domestic
Whereas the institution of marriage is a matter of great public concern;
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House
of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
1. This Act may be cited as the Definition of Marriage Act.
Despite any other Act of Parliament, marriage means the lawful union of one man
and one woman to the exclusion of all other persons.
For greater certainty, nothing in this Act affects the freedom of officials of
religious groups (a) to perform ceremonies; or (b) to refuse to perform ceremonies
that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs.
Conservative party's stance against same-sex marriage hurt its opportunity to
govern Canada. Its American-style of politics scares, if not amuses, Canadians
who are determined to protect their valued Charter
Moore, with his Bill against gay marriage, seems determined to join Randy White
in carrying on the Alliance/Conservative party's long tradition (Cheryl
Gallant, Elsie Wayne) of demonstrating why the
party cannot be taken
seriously, no matter how often it rebrands itself .
last year's attempt to stem the ongoing advances of marriage equality, Bill C-268
doesn't even imply that the bill would have to be enforced by invoking the Notwithstanding
Clause (the ability to override Charter protections for a 5-year period),
perhaps to soft-peddle the issue.
is the only way gays and lesbians will be kept from marrying in the remaining
holdout regions (a dwindling minority).
Rob Moore, with his background as a lawyer, should know this. Certainly the law-students
who attended our lecture at his alma mater
did. Such are the protections found in a constitutional democracy: MPs are empowered,
but only within the limits of our Charter.
Moore's attempt to preempt a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, the court
is aware of attempts to politicize marriage equality
and we trust that the esteemed court will have a timely response to such attempts
(since the oft-sited Ontario court decision, subsequent cases have been resolved
quickly). The court's
response during the hearings gave us every
reason to expect the progress of equality to continue.
attempting to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples, a right now endorsed by
a rapidly expanding vanguard of provinces and territories, traditionalists are
essentially admitting homespun moralizing and ecclesiastical persuasion aren't
changing behaviour and must now be replaced by laws that impose beliefs. But how
well can those laws work in a country that celebrates its differences and encourages
diversity? Unlike the melting pot to the south where the line between church and
state is blurring and the firmly held views of the self-styled moral majority
pushed George W. Bush back into the White House, Canada draws its strength from
tolerance, not conformity."
James Travers, columnist,
Star, Nov. 16, 2004
doesn't have the stomach to strip a targeted minority group of its rights. Canadians
wouldn't stand for it. Not 5 months ago, and not now, George Bush notwithstanding.
On November 18, the Subcomittee on Private Members' Business ruled the bill non-votable
(reasons were not given, but most likely this was due to Moore's lack of consideration
of the constitution in his bill). Moore is appealed the decision and, predictably,
was turned down again on Nov. 25.