April 29, 2004 (37th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Jim Pankiw

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jim Pankiw (Saskatoon—Humboldt, Ind.),

seconded by the member for Elk Island, moved that Bill C-450, an act to amend the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Act in order to protect the legal definition of "marriage" by invoking section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker,I would like to thank my colleague from Elk Island for seconding the bill. Despite any political differences he or the leader of his party may have, he certainly is very respectful of democracy in seconding my bill and allowing it to come forward for second reading debate in the House.
The definition of marriage in the dictionary is “the legal union of a man and a woman”. To propose changing that definition we are actually trying to change the English language and what marriage actually is. I have always defended the legal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, which is why I tabled Bill C-450 in Parliament: to protect the legal definition of marriage from being changed by taxpayer funded court challenges and special interest groups.
The method by which the bill would seek to do that is to invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution, in other words, allowing Parliament to exercise its supreme authority over activists, courts and judges and taxpayer funded lobby groups which we do not see enough of.
I would also like to note for the record that I have voted in Parliament to preserve the current legal definition of marriage on two occasions. I am opposed to efforts that would force religious organizations to perform same sex marriage ceremonies if that is against their wishes.
I would like to highlight what the political parties' positions are on changing the legal definition of marriage and what their leaders have had to say. I will quote directly from a policy document of the New Democratic Party at page 31. This was moved by the NDP's lesbian, gay and bi-sexual committee and ratified by NDP convention delegates and MPs. It states:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NDP fully supports same-sex marriage--
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that an NDP federal government would, within its first mandate, introduce legislation, without a free vote, to make same-sex marriage legal; and--
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that should the issue come before the House, members of the NDP caucus shall vote in favour of same-sex marriage--

Just before I move on to the other leaders, I would like to note that the portion of the NDP policy document that states “without a free vote” is italicized and underlined. That is a highly contradictory policy because how can it be a democratic party if its policy is to not allow free votes?
With respect to the Conservative Party, their leader said that he could support codifying civil unions in law for same sex couples. He was quoted as saying on August 13, 2003 “I think that would be a reasonable compromise”. On March 23, 2004, he said that he would accept the concept of same sex civil unions under provincial laws.
With respect to the Liberal Party, former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on August 13, 2003, said “We want to legalize the union of homosexuals”.
The current Prime Minister on March 13, 2004, said “In all likelihood I will probably support same sex marriage”. On January 29 of this year the current Prime Minister promised that he would follow through on his predecessor's bill to legalize gay marriage.
Despite what misleading media reports want us to believe, recent polls show that a clear majority of Canadians, 67%, want the legal definition of marriage preserved. Unfortunately, none of the political parties are prepared to stand up and defend traditional family values or prevent the courts from taking the next step and ordering religious organizations to perform same sex ceremonies.
It is therefore up to Canadians to send Ottawa a message. In the upcoming election, I urge the constituents of Saskatoon—Humboldt to analyze this very closely and carefully in terms of my strong defence of the legal definition of marriage to make sure their voices are heard.
More than a year ago, as members are well aware, the rules of the House of Commons changed and since that time all private member's bills before the House are automatically deemed votable.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Canada Marriage Act
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