Pro-family critics say traditional marriage
definition leaves substance of gay bill intact
By Tim Bloedow
The federal Liberals continue in their push to entrench same-sex benefits and, as a result, to redefine marriage in Canadian law through Bill C-23. As of this writing, the House of Commons Justice Committee is examining the bill, but critics say the process is nothing but a sham – more a publicity stunt than a sincere attempt to solicit the views of concerned Canadians.
Reform MP and family critic, Eric Lowther, presented a motion in the committee, asking that it travel to every province to hear witnesses on the revolutionary initiative. The motion was defeated.
“Since Bill C-23 was introduced by the government, the e-mails, letters and faxes of opposition have been pouring into MP offices,” said Mr. Lowther. “The Liberals clearly know that the more people find out about this bill, the more opposition they will face. Their conduct in forcing this massive bill through without proper debate and by excluding public input is shameful,” he added.
Ron Gray, leader of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada, also condemns the committee process. He told The Interim: “The very day that C-23 was rammed through second reading, I contacted the chairman of the committee and the clerk of the committee, then the [prime minister] and the justice minister, then every member of the committee, to tell them that I wanted to make a representation. For a week I received no replies at all – then a note from Andy Scott saying ‘I’ll see what I can do’ – and since then, nothing.”
“This illustrates vividly that the Liberal government does not want to hear what the people of Canada have to say on this issue,” concluded Mr. Gray.
Sensing the mounting opposition, however, justice minister Anne McLellan introduced an amendment in committee to add, in the interpretation section of the bill, a further clarification to the definition of marriage. It reads: “For greater certainty, the amendments made by this act do not affect the meaning of the word ‘marriage,’ that is, the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of others.”
Both pro-family groups and homosexualist activists have denounced the move. Focus on the Family says it is “worthless” because it has no legal weight. Peter Stock, national affairs director for the Canada Family Action Coalition, also notes that, while the definition of marriage may be addressed in the amendment, the bill still redefines family.
These organizations, however, say the fact that the Justice Minister made such a move indicates that she is feeling significant pressure from opponents of the bill. “The fact McLellan would table this amendment … after insisting all along it wasn’t necessary indicates the government is feeling the heat from millions of Canadian,” says Darrel Reid, head of Focus on the Family.
Others have also pointed to a growing risk of sharp division in Liberal ranks over the bill. Pro-family Liberal backbencher, David Iftody (Provencher, Manitoba) told the Winnipeg Free Press that he has received over 500 phone calls and letters on Bill C-23 and that virtually all of them supported his stand against the measure. “The response far exceeds anything that has ever happened in this office,” he said. Mr. Stock claims that the internal Liberal division is growing: “It appears there is some movement to our position on the Liberal side and we expect the vote to be a lot closer at third reading.”