Legal News Canada - The 4th question: trading rights for votes
April 5, 2004
4th question: trading rights for votes
"As for Cotler, his was the kind of acrobatic feat that was almost too painful to watch ... By adding a question to the three the justice department had originally asked, the minister has ensured that the case that had been slated to be heard in April — potentially in the middle of an election campaign — will now be pushed off to the fall, with no ruling until sometime in 2005." Toronto Star, Jan. 29, 2004
A fourth question, one that has been answered in the negative by fifteen judges in three provinces, was asked when Paul Martin took office as Prime Minister. It was a question that the Supreme Court of Canada has already answered, when it declined to hear an appeal of the Ontario marriage decision:
The fourth question was asked as a delay tactic in order to ensure that the issue of same-sex marriage was "punted" past a spring election.
"Paul Martin wants to evade the issue of gay marriage because he's afraid of the impact on his support at the ballot box," Justice critic Richard Marceau (Bloc Quebecois) said on Jan. 28. "To satisfy his thirst for power ... it shows how low they are willing to go to get elected."
The AGC says that the opposite-sex requirement for marriage:
"The restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples denies gay and lesbian individuals and their families a basic aspect of full membership in Canadian Society. This affects their interests in a profound way. For all these reasons, the opposite-sex requirement for marriage has the effect of impairing the dignity of gay and lesbian individuals."
It is wonderful that the AGC is expressing this support. Again. The previous AGC of Canada will justly receive an award this month at Equality Forum, because of the previous government's commitment to live by such sentiments. It would be more interesting to hear the AGC explain why this fourth question had to be asked at the expense of a timely response to widespread violation of citizens' rights.