Advocacy News - Bad news ... no wait, good news after all
November 30, 2004
news ... no wait, good news after all
By Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell
gave us a gay and lesbian discount when we were paying into the CPP, so we should
not have a gay and lesbian discount when they're paying out of the CPP," said
Doug Elliott, the lead lawyer for the claimants."
Various media outlets incorrectly reported the outcome of this important decision last Friday. The mistake was understable to anyone who scans the court decision looking for a quick answer. Even the law firm representing the surviving spouses thought they had lost.
"First," the court decision from Ontario's court of appeal said, "same-sex surviving partners, by reason of their sexual orientation, were already a vulnerable group, and one subject to stereotyping as a result of that orientation. They had the same need for survivors' pensions as opposite-sex survivors. The denial of those survivors' pensions, without any corresponding ameliorative benefit to a more disadvantaged group, perpetuated the view that same-sex survivors were less worthy of recognition than opposite-sex survivors, when in fact same-sex survivors were equally deserving of concern, recognition, and respect. Further, the denial of pensions to same-sex surviving partners increased their vulnerability and perpetuated such stereotyping. Finally, same-sex surviving partners were denied recognition of both the emotional and financial loss resulting from the death of their partners."
The court extended Canada Pension Plan coverage for surviving gay and lesbian partners to April 17, 1985, the day the Canadian Charter came into effect. Estates, however, of gays and lesbians who died waiting for survivors' pensions were not awarded money by the courts.
The government has not announced whether it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, however, the government still seems to be in denial.
Cotler appears to lack a basic understanding of his portfolio. He seems unable to act in accordance with our Charter, and he is apparently willing to lie to Canadians. Fortunately, the courts engaged in the various marriage hearings and this pension case are buying none of Cotler's crap should he continue to dish it out during his ongoing fight against widows widowers and living, loving same-sex couples.