Assertion, unsupported by fact, is nugatory. Surmise and general abuse, in however elegant language, ought not to pass for truth. Junius

2005/01/02

On the Same Page

So what are Conservative MPs saying about same sex marriage? If you're looking at their webpages, it turns out that they're saying very little. In fact, 34 Conservative MPs of 99 have no webpages at all; one (Bradley Trost MP, Saskatoon-Humboldt ), curiously has his accessible only by password. Of the rest, only 19 have made statements, usually in the form of press releases. A few examples:

Rona Ambrose MP (Edmonton-Spruce Grove)
Press Release: "'I am encouraged that we will finally have this debate in Parliament,' said Ambrose. 'The Supreme Court decision reinforces the fact that Parliament has the responsibility to deal with important social policy issues on behalf of Canadians.'"

Gary Breikreuz MP (Yorkton-Melville)
Press Release: "'If the Liberal government does bring forth legislation to change the definition of marriage, the Conservative Party will, as usual, have a free vote, and I will certainly be voting against any change to the definition of marriage,' stressed Benoit."

Rick Casson MP (Lethbridge)
Press Release: "'I was clear during the past campaign that I support the traditional definition of marriage and I will maintain that position during any debate and vote that comes up in the House of Commons on this issue,' Casson concluded."

Diane Finley MP (Haldimand-Norfolk)
Text on Website: "I will protect and uphold the traditional definition of marriage."

Ed Komarnicki MP (Souris-Moose Mountain)
Text on Website: "It’s time to preserve and defend the traditional definition of marriage and maintain traditional values that make this country great."

Inky Mark MP (Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette)
Press Release: "'I will continue to support the majority of my constituents and vote to preserve the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,' Mark concluded."

Chuck Strahl MP (Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon)
Press Release: “'During the upcoming public debate on this issue, I will argue for the traditional definition of marriage,' Strahl said."

Maurice Vellacott MP (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin)
Riding newsletter: "Traditional marriage, between one man and one woman, provides a safe environment for human procreativity, and is the safest context for the nurture of children."

The opinions expressed, in fact, were pretty well consistent. Traditional marriage. Parliamentary supremacy. Free Vote. Three messages and not a lot of evidence for deep thinking on the Tory benches: Conservative MPs, it seems, have been content to mouth the party line. Makes you think the Conservative Party's much-hyped boast of allowing a free vote among their members is somewhat hollow.

There are exceptions, of course. James Moore MP (Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam) has publically declared he will vote in favour of same-sex marriage and he clearly has given much consideration to the topic. He writes on his webpage:

In short, I believe in equality under the law for all Canadians for civil marriages, which in a perfect world would be termed civil unions. And I also believe strongly in the separation of church and state in order to protect the rights of religious institutions and people of faith from having to embrace or perform same-sex marriages if they choose not to. As a result, I plan to vote in favour of equal access to civil marriage for all Canadians, while at the same time focussing my efforts on protecting the religious freedoms of all Canadians.

Carol Skelton MP (Saskatoon-Rosewater-Biggar) while not giving away on how she plans to vote, stated in a press release

“If Canadians are being discriminated against for their sexual orientation, we, as elected officials, need to step forward and help put a stop to it. Even within this debate about the definition of marriage, I will not accept or defend any statements that are hateful or discriminatory,” affirmed Skelton.

Interestingly, Ms Skelton is the only Conservative MP to attempt to pre-emptively shut down any hate speech that is sure to come out of the upcoming Parliamentary debate. Also interesting is that an online poll on her website --- for what it's worth --- shows a small majority in favour of the government's proposed legislation.

And lastly, there's my favourite Tory MP and putative Foreign Minister, Stockwell Day. His pronunciamentos on the subject have left your humble ob't servant more than baffled. Or maybe he's a little too deep for me. Of course, Mr Day is against same-sex marriage. But then he attempts an unfortunate fruit analogy and things go downhill from there:

An apple is an apple. You cannot call it an orange. You have every right to enjoy an orange, but you cannot call it an apple. Nor should you be able to enact a law that forces everyone to change the definition of an apple, just because you prefer oranges.
Got that? My mother used to say that if you need to say something bad about somebody, you have to say two nice things about them first. Okay: Stockwell Day has nice teeth. And. . . damn it, just can't do it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only Stocky, with his unfailing gift for saying and doing precisely the wrong thing, would try to articulate his position on gay marriage...using fruits.

Sunday, 02 January, 2005  
Blogger treehugger said...

No real surprises here. The Stockwell fruit analogy is quite interesting and even pathetically humourous.

As for the free vote idea, it is really summed up in absovling Harper from making anything resembling a stand on the issue. Good on him, obscurity will be his lasting contribution to the Canadian political scene.

Sunday, 02 January, 2005  

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