June 20, 2005

Dear Paul ...

I sent a letter to the Prime Minister last week, when I read news stories hinting at a deal (not another one ...) between the Conservative Party and the Liberals to allow the budget bills -- with NDP add-on -- to pass while stalling the same-sex marriage bill until the fall.

Dear Prime Minister,

I am extremely disappointed to hear that the government is considering delaying the passage of the same sex marriage bill until the fall. Just a few weeks ago the government made a commitment that the House would sit, through the summer if necessary, until key pieces of legislation -- the budget and the same sex marriage bill -- were passed.

Courts in most of our provinces and territories have spoken. The Supreme Court has spoken, in the reference case put forward by the previous Liberal government. Today, newspapers across the country reported the military's first on-base same-sex marriage, with Major Steve Beler of the Canadian Forces Human Rights and Social Policy branch describing the marriage as a "non-issue": "As far as the Canadian Forces is concerned it's: 'Who cares?' We've moved well beyond that".

Same sex marriage is simply not the wedge issue that the Conservative Party would like it to be. I sincerely hope that you do not allow their stall tactics to win the day. This is not about a democratic deficit in the committee hearings for this legislation -- that is a smokescreen. This is about rights (including religious rights, which are already adequately protected in the legislation) and about doing the right thing -- a courageous, progressive thing. Canada has an opportunity to be among a small handful of countries that have changed their laws to recognize that same-sex partners have a right to marry.

Please do not trade away this legislation for passage of the budget bills. There is nothing meaningful to be gained in delaying this cornerstone piece of legislation, and much to be gained by showing the conviction required to pass it. There is no question that the legislation has the support to pass (more so than the budget legislation), and if it were in fact passed before the budget, there would be no reason for Liberal MPs to vote against the budget as a means of forestalling passage of the same-sex marriage bill.

I sincerely hope that news reports of a deal with the Conservatives are premature. Please pass this legislation before the House retires for the summer -- Canada is ready.


Anatole Papadopoulos

The letter wasn't received very well. That is to say, it wasn't received at all. I received an error message from a PCO mail server saying the message couldn't be delivered. I sent it again, this time cc'ing Justice Minister Irwin Cotler and House Leader Tony Valeri. The e-mail went through to them but bounced from the PM's address again. Why can't I e-mail the Prime Minister at the PM address (pm@pm.gc.ca)? I tried again, attaching the original message, and got yet another bounce, this time with a message from my own outgoing mail server saying that my attachment (the original e-mail) had caused some consternation.

I was beginning to think that my e-mail was being rejected by some sort of "I can't hear you lalalalalalalala" sort of filter, but my fourth attempt appears to have succeeded.

Posted by anatole at June 20, 2005 12:06 AM

Did you see the story in the globe that they are more seriously talking of sitting through the summer on this one? : )


Posted by: Mike at June 21, 2005 09:24 AM

Did you see the story that they're actually doing it now, in a piece of shifty politics that no doubt will garner mention here soon? =)



p.s. Bastards. Don't they understand the news cycle?!?

Posted by: Alasdair at June 23, 2005 11:22 PM

I did read about it, and I'm enjoying hearing Harper and others rave like mad fiends. Hannibal Lecter?!?!?

Sorry about the bad timing for you. ;)

Posted by: Anatole at June 24, 2005 06:56 PM