Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Canadian liberals told not to show panic

Interesting times in Canada at the moment. All parties are preparing for an election, in case an early election date is called. The Liberal party is feeling the pinch. It is trying to pass a same sex marriage bill at the moment, and Canada is divided on the issue. The party aims to make same sex marriage a charter (of rights and freedoms) issue. The Conservative Party, who would have one the election if one was called today, promises to ditch the bill.

Prime Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff flicked off an email in the past few days. It said Don't show panic - everything we do now will reflect on us"

"Don't panic? You want us not to panic and so you remind us we shouldn't be panicking about?" was the response from one Liberal. The problem for the Liberals is that they are polling the lowest since 1989.They have governed Canada for 54 of the past 70 years. Is US conservativism crossing over to Canada? I thought all the liberals in the US were taking off to Canada to get away from American conservatism.

Paul Martin has to ask himself what is more important: staying in power, or passing a gay marriage bill.

He wants to do both, but half the country or most of the country oppose his bill, depending on what poll you listen to. Polls often translate to votes and same sex marriage is a big issue in Canada - and it will be an election issue.

The Conservative party unsuccessfully attempted to derail the bill this week. Conservative leader Stephen Harper week proposed amending the bill to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman but allow for civil unions. Imagine if civil unions were accepted by conservatives in New Zealand. Imagine if the Maxim Institute came out supporting civil unions.Then again, we don’t have a Charter.

The bill is about to have its second reading, but the Conservatives may force an early election before it comes to the final vote. If the Conservatives win any such election, they will be defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and will abolish same sex marriage in the provinces. What will happen to the legal status of the 3000 same sex marriages in Canada under provincial laws?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unlike NZ, though, Canada does have a written constitution, and most of Canada's provinces recognise same-sex marriage anyway.

Would the Canadian Supreme Court support a legislative rollback? There's the question.