... if Prime Minister Paul Martin attends just one Gay Pride event anywhere in
Canada next week. Shake my hand - at least figuratively - Mr. Martin, and you'll
earn my vote."
We encourage voters in ridings where there is a risk that a Conservative could win, not to be so blinded with anger that they refuse to look at what they are voting for. Will the fact that Harper's Conservatives are being open about discriminating against us make the injustices to come any more bearable?
Adovcacy News - Martin comes out cruising for votes
June 19, 2004
comes out cruising for votes
the last federal election I voted Conservative for the first time in my life,
not because I supported the Progressive Conservative Party platform but mainly
because I wanted then-Tory leader Joe Clark to get a respectable percentage of
the Canadian vote. I trusted Joe and he rewarded my vote by accepting to be Grand
Marshall of Calgary's Gay Pride parade the following summer. This year I am planning
to vote for the NDP for the first time ever, and not because Jack Layton makes
a point of regularly attending Pride parades across the country. Rather - and
I think this is the real reason why the Liberals are doing so badly in the polls
- it's simply time for a change. But I can and will change my mind again if Prime
Minister Paul Martin attends just one Gay Pride event anywhere in Canada next
week. Shake my hand - at least figuratively - Mr. Martin, and you'll earn my vote.
Last year, during pride week in Toronto, the Law Society of Upper Canada hosted its annual reception honouring the LGBT community. We were in attendance and photographs of us with justices of Ontario's courts were posted on this site's report about the day. Opponents of equality were scandalized. It was a reaction very similar to ones that we have witnessed when local newspapers have placed a photograph of us kissing on their front cover. Makes some people scream every time.
But the outrage went further than mere complaints. Darrel Reid (Focus on the Family) cited our web site's coverage of the Law Society's event as proof that the court's judgment is corrupted (the Supreme Court of Canada refused to allow the appeal to proceed.).
Why do we mention this again? Because Canada's Justice Minister brought it up two days ago in a press release.
"In a little noticed but not unrevealing statement, in the aftermath of the Ontario Court of Appeal judgment upholding equality rights under the Charter," the press release begins, "now Opposition Leader Stephen Harper accused Liberals of 'stacking courts with pro-gay judges to foist same-sex marriage on Canada.' "
Without any sense of irony, Irwin Cotler, the man who backtracked from the progress shown by his predecessor Martin Cauchon, says that Harper's Conservatives "reflect the statements and actions of people who inhabit the time-warp of the pre-Charter universe ... Stephen Harper has said that he would withdraw the Same Sex Reference to the Supreme Court and enact legislation reinstating the traditional definition of marriage. But this is to ignore and disregard Appellate Court judgments in Ontario, B.C., and Quebec that struck down the very legislation Mr. Harper would propose, as being a breach of equality rights and human dignity. "
Cotler conveniently holds up the judgments of the courts in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec when it suits him, but Cotler seems to forget (or perhaps he thinks we do) that he is the person responsible for delaying the arrival of marriage equality in the rest of the Canada. The Liberals, under new leadership with a new cabinet, wanted to "punt" gay marriage past this election, so Cotler stopped a process underway to add one more question to a list of four. A question already answered by 15 justices in 3 provinces. By adding a fourth question, much answered by the very authorities Cotler accuses Harper of ignoring, the Justice Minister joined a long line of dishonourable politicians who have politicized marriage equality for their own purposes, rather than simply getting on with addressing the equality gap.
During the debates, Paul Martin desperately tried to differentiate himself from Stephen Harper. It's more than ironic that the issue of equal marriage was one of the issues he used.
Irwin Cotler says, "Mr. Harper cannot be held personally responsible for every offensive statement made by members of his Caucus, but his failure to unequivocally condemn such statements of those who would be part of a Government he seeks to form, is a failure of moral leadership."
Well, we say the same of Mr. Cotler and Mr. Martin. Where are the condemnations of Liberal MPs like Dennis Mills (to mention only one, because he is our MP)? Mr. Cotler and Mr. Martin can only condemn the Conservatives after they have cleaned their own house. Mr. Martin should promise that the Liberal party, like the NDP party, will vote as a block for marriage equality in Parliament (Mr. Martin has previously promised a free vote).
As dishonest as the fair weather friendship of Mssrs. Cotler and Martin is, it is far preferable to the cloaked enmity of Stephen Harper. Harper continually insists that the homophobic statements of his candidates reflect the opinions of the individual party members themselves and are not party policy. If a majority of the party faithful is homophobic, then doesn't the free vote mentality of Harper make their views party policy?
We are among the many people angry at the Liberal party, and not without cause. It is a struggle, as Dennis Mills likes to say. There is no risk of a Conservative candidate winning in our riding, so we don't have to hold our nose and vote for the Liberal incumbent who doesn't support our rights ("Goodbye Dennis"). But we encourage voters in ridings where there is a risk that a Conservative could win, not to be so blinded with anger that they refuse to look at what they are voting for. Will the fact that Harper's Conservatives are being open about discriminating against us make the injustices to come any more bearable?