Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Harper: "Screw the Charter of Rights and Freedoms"

Toronto Star: Day 1: Harper tackles same-sex
Answering a reporter's question yesterday, Harper indicated a Tory government would reconsider legislation permitting same-sex marriage, and put the matter to a free vote.

... Most legal experts agree same-sex marriage is a genie Harper will be hard-pressed to put back in the bottle. He would have to circumvent court judgments allowing gay marriage, as well as a reference opinion from the Supreme Court of Canada.

... He dodged questions about constitutional scholars who say it would be impossible to restore the traditional definition of marriage, and about whether he would use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause to do it. The clause allows governments to override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

... "It's this kind of thing that led me to join the Liberal party, that drove me from the Conservative party," said Newmarket-Aurora MP Belinda Stronach, whose dramatic defection to the governing party in May helped the Liberals hold on to power.

"I think it's just plain wrong. How can one class of citizen be more equal than another? Honestly, I think voters have moved past this issue. Parliament already dealt with that."
I wonder of the Conservatives foresaw the potential the Liberals have to use Belinda Stronach's defection as a club to beat them with. My guess is that she'll be put on outraged ex duty for the
duratoin of the campaign.

But the important thing is this: in order to revisit the question of equal marriage, which has been ruled as a matter of human rights by the courts, Harper would have to use the notwithstanding clause of the constitution. This is a very drastic step and justification far beyond the fact that his conservative Alberta base finds it icky.

I don't think Harper is actually serious about pursuing this any further. It seemed like he was trying to get the stuff he's expected to say to his base out of the way early on, but knowing the Liberals they won't let this one go.

The American press are subservient enough that they let the Republicans get away with saying one thing to mainstream press while throwing red meat to the dopes at their rallies, but the Canadian press hasn't reached that point yet.

By al - 9:14 AM |

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