Stephen Harper: growing condemnation
















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Advocacy News - Stephen Harper: growing condemnation

February 18, 2021

Stephen Harper: growing condemnation
Extremist views rejected: local and national

A spokesperson for the Family Services Association (FSA) of Toronto said Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper is dead wrong to imply that gay and lesbian couples are unfit parents.

Yves Savoie, Executive Director of FSA, was responding to Mr. Harper's statement during the equal marriage debate yesterday where he noted that both Netherlands and Belgium "legislated some differences in same-sex marriage as opposed to opposite same-sex marriage in many areas, but particularly in areas like adoption."

"In raising the adoption issue, Mr. Harper seems intent to suggest that gay and lesbian people are unfit parents," said Yves Savoie of FSA. "In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Study after study shows that children of gays and lesbians do just as well as children of opposite-sex couples and are no more likely to be gay or lesbian themselves."

Mr. Savoie pointed out that step-parent and third-party adoption rights are already allowed in nine provinces and one territory in Canada with courts ruling that the exclusion of same-sex couples from adoption rights is unconstitutional. All provinces and territories permit a single gay or lesbian person to adopt.

"Although lingering attitudes of intolerance remain - including those promoted by Mr. Harper - courts have considered expert evidence and decisively rejected the view that being raised by a lesbian or gay person is not in the child's best interest," said Mr. Savoie. "It is insulting to all Canadians that Mr. Harper insists on furthering these stereotypes."


Prominent leaders in the Japanese-Canadian community say Harper was wrong to play politics with an ancient historical wrong.

"By raising the issue of Japanese Canadian internment, Mr. Harper is resorting to cheap political shots at deceased politicians rather than facing the inconsistency of his position on human rights.
Professor Audrey Kobayashi of Queens University. Dr. Kobayashi has been a National Director of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, a member of the team that negotiated Japanese Canadian redress, and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Japanese Canadian National Museum and Archives.

"Japanese Canadians are keenly aware of the injustices of the past, and of the politicians who perpetrated them. But the Japanese Canadian redress agreement was not written based on cheap political shots and retribution. When Brian Mulroney announced the settlement in Parliament in 1988, he received a standing ovation because MPs from every party recognized that the guarantee of human rights transcends partisan politics. It was a sincere acknowledgement of past injustices, and a blueprint for a future in which no Canadian should suffer injustice or be deprived of human rights because of the actions of his or her government. Bill C-38 should form part of that better future.

Judy Hanazawa of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association Human Rights Committee.

Harper wrong to question Martin's faith
Catholic group: Challenge the Church

"Just because people question some of the edicts that come from their church, it doesn't mean that they are any less committed to their religion," says Helen Kennedy, a former Toronto-area city councillor. Ms Kennedy speaks for Challenge the Church, a Toronto-based group of progressive Canadian Catholics.

In his speech to the Commons, Mr. Harper attacked Prime Minister Paul Martin's comments about religious conviction by saying: "No one takes his (Martin's) commitments to religion seriously anymore."

"How dare Mr. Harper suggest that only those with whom he agrees have the correct religious view?"

"Harper's rejection of same sex civil marriage is regressive - a step backward to times not so long ago, when civil rights were denied to Aboriginals, Blacks, and Asians based on race. Although the fight against racism and racial discrimination is far from over, supporting Bill C-38 for equality rights in marriage for same sex partners IS today's civil rights struggle."
Judy Hanazawa of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association Human Rights Committee.

Ms. Kennedy pointed out that many religious organizations - from reform Jewish rabbis to the United Church of Canada - want to be able to perform same-sex marriages.

"When it comes to issues like the ordination of women, the use of contraception or discrimination against gays and lesbians, most Canadian Catholics disagree with the Vatican," she said.

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