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


Jim Pankiw

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Jim Pankiw

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address the comments of the member from the Liberal Party who said that the House of Commons does not have the guidance of the highest court in the land, that any reference that has been made to the courts in respect to the legal definition of marriage would not matter if my private member's Bill C-450 was passed. She said it would shortcut the process and render the Supreme Court reference redundant.
That is the whole point of the bill. I am suggesting that this is such an obvious thing and that the will of the public is so clear and obvious. Certainly, that is the direction I am getting from my constituents. They do not want to see a reference to the Supreme Court because they do not care what will be said by the Supreme Court. They want Parliament to exercise its authority, its responsibility, and make a decision on this matter.
I would suggest that regardless of the arguments in opposition to the very clear and concise nature of my private member's bill, which would resolve this issue, by invoking the notwithstanding clause, the debate would end. Marriage would remain the union of a man and a woman. The Liberals are subverting democracy. There is no legitimate reason for them not to allow a vote.
In fact, I would suggest that not only are they making their intentions clear, clearly they do not intend to protect the legal definition of marriage or they would not be playing the charade that they are. By making the Supreme Court reference and by denying the right of every other member of Parliament in the House of Commons to have a private member's bill voted upon, they are interfering with my duty, my obligation, and my responsibility to my constituents to represent them by bringing forth issues that they want to see debated and voted on in the House of Commons. Constituents do not want to see their elected officials shirk their responsibility by shuffling these issues off to a court.
I think that the government's refusal to allow this to go to a vote in Parliament is shameful. It is a subversion of democracy and is making a mockery of the proceedings of the House of Commons.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Canada Marriage Act
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