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Advocacy News - Harper draws the line ... to obscurity

January 21, 2005 (Updated with media responses, Jan. 27)

Harper draws the line ... to obscurity
Fearmongering, bigotry & coercive attacks on rights

By Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell

"Once it becomes clear that Harper is using ethnic minorities and making promises he can't keep, the Conservative party leader might well find that gay marriage is his Waterloo."
Editorial, Vancouver Sun, Jan. 24, 2005

"This is bizarre, way out there," said a senior adviser to Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm ... "The strategy has got our political people just shaking their heads. Is this where you draw the line, really? How about dealing with issues that really affect our lives."
"Harper's gay marriage strategy exposes rift among Conservatives, Canadian Press, Jan. 27, 2005


If an election is scheduled for this year, as some suspect, Conservative party leader Stephen Harper has sealed his fate as being unworthy to lead Canada into the future. Instead he has ensured his path, and perhaps the fate of the Conservative Party, will be a slide into obscurity.

Harper took over the Conservative party last year in an attempt to shed the reputation of bigotry and intolerance that his previous parties (the Alliance and Reformers) had justly earned. The makeover was a spectacular failure thanks to dinosaurs like Randy White (anti-gay) and Cheryl Gallent (against women's rights). Harper has had the opportunity to distance himself from these clowns, but instead, he has maintained the status quo.

It seems Harper, known for his arrogance and self-assurance, has learned nothing from the past election. Leadership of the country was within his grasp when voters were unhappy with financial scandals in the Liberal party last year. But as always, he tripped over Charter rights issues (threatening women and gays), and frightened voters right back into the arms of the Liberals. He's doing it again, this time without the help of his underlings."It is not my intention to go into an election. We want to govern," Martin told road-weary and astonished Canadian reporters who are nearing the end of a gruelling nine-day Asian tour. "But if you're are asking me am I ready to go into an election to uphold the Charter of Rights against those who would attack it? The answer is certainly yes."
PM Paul Martin, Canadian Press, Jan. 21, 2005

Yesterday Harper said, "I hate to say this, but I think you have to draw the line somewhere ... I believe we have to recognize the traditional definition of marriage in law. Otherwise, we will continue to be presented with demands that just get more and more radical."

Harper has retreated to scaremongering, drawing illogical connections between same-sex marriage (a Section 15 Charter equal rights issue) with polygamy (a Section 2 Charter religious rights issue, if that).

"I think that's where we should draw the line, and I don't want to get into the polygamy debate - but I fear if we do this, the next thing on the Liberal agenda will be polygamy and who knows what else," Harper said in a news conference. "Polygamy is ok for cows."

"Today, Canadian Conservatives face the same hard questions. How could they have lost last year's federal election ... The easy thing to do -- as too many Conservatives do in private -- is to blame Canadian voters for being sheep. The harder, but more useful exercise, is to conduct a ruthless self-examination about why conservative ideas and the way they are advocated by Conservatives, aren't connecting with enough voters. It's either that or ... [march] to the beat of their own drum -- into what may well be political oblivion."
Editorial, Calgary Sun, Jan. 24, 2005

"In fact, successive B.C. attorneys-general have resisted investigating the Bountiful commune precisely because they feared a constitutional challenge, and that was before gay marriage was even on the agenda," The Vancouver Sun wrote in a Jan. 24 editorial. "The linking of polygamy and same-sex marriage is nothing more than a mendacious ploy by those who have run out of arguments."

Purging toxic religion in Canada - gay marriage exposes faith-based bigotryHarper has aligned himself with the likes of Catholic Bishop Fred Henry by promising to use the "coercive" powers of government - namely the notwithstanding clause of our Charter, to make gays and lesbians second-class citizens in Canada. He is attempting to appeal to recent immigrants who come from countries with less respect for human rights, by placing anti-gay ads in the media targeting new Canadians.

"That's not my Canada. It will never be my Canada." Paul Martin said today from China where the PM is on a trade mission. "Unlike Mr. Harper I will stand up for the Canadian Charter of Rights."

It's spectacular proof that Harper doesn't need any help from his underlings to sabotage his credibility. He's quite capable of being a goon himself, foolishly unaware that his statements appear more radical than marriage equality now legal in most of Canada, without any of the doomsday impacts that a hysterical Harper warns of.
A Conservative Party thug shows what he thinks about gay rights.  (External link to Globe and Mail story - photo by CP)
Gay marriage advocate Bob Smyth, right, was punched during the last election by a Conservative party thug at a rally for Stephen Harper in Guelph, Ont.
("Old Issues Continue to haunt Harper", Globe and Mail, June 3, 2004, Photo by CP)

The Liberal party was quick to capitalize on Harper's stupidity. Despite losing the last election on the same platform, the delusional Harper responded "We're confident that our position is the position of the majority of Canadians."

The Canadian Charter - Now you see it, now you don'tHarper forgets his party has already lost one vote to invoke the notwithstanding clause to restrict gay marriage, he ignores polls demonstrating support for marriage equality, and he overlooks the fact that the notwithstanding clause would have no effect on the 8 regions where same-sex marriage is already legal, with thousands of these marriages now in existence. Denial, denial, denial.

"His government is one that would strip away the rights of individuals and strip away the rights of minorities," Prime Minister Martin said today. "During the election campaign Stephen Harper accused us of supporting child pornography, something he refused to apologize for. Now for him to accuse us of having polygamy on our agenda, I just can't conceive how anybody can say that and not understand just how ridiculous that he [Harper] must look."


Where do you draw the line?

You can tell Harper what you think by calling The Conservative Party toll-free number: 1-866-808-8407


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