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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Printing lies

The "Letter of the Day" in today's National Post raises an interesting question about the responsibility of editors when it comes to letters to the editor (a subscription is required, but you can see enough of the letter in question in the preview to get my point).

The writer, Eric LeGresley, claims that the "courts have spoken" and that: "Diehard opponents of homosexual marriage truly have only three choices: change the Charter of Rights, emigrate to a less tolerant country or accept that Canada's constitution requires equality of treatment irrespective of sexual orientation."

Now, LeGresley is a lawyer: Legal counsel for the "non-smokers rights association" (scroll two-thirds of the way down), so he should know what the decision said and that he is spreading falsehoods. As any objective observer on either side of the same-sex debate will acknowledge, the only thing the courts "have spoken" to is that allowing same-sex marriage is not prevented by the language of the Charter of Rights—and even that was a non-binding decision. The Supremes never once said that same-sex marriage was required  under the charter. In other words, opponents of homosexual marriage have an option that LeGresley conveniently omits: They can democratically decide not to legalize same-sex marriage and still be on firm constitutional ground.

Never mind that LeGresley is demonstrating himself to be either ignorant of the law, or just plain deceptive, I'm not sure the Post can be considered an entirely passive party in this misrepresentation. The editors there well know the implications of the same-sex ruling, and yet they allow a letter to be printed that contains false news—even making it their Letter of the Day. Do they not also bear some responsibility?

While we can be sure that LeGresley's foolish letter will be met with many rebuttals tomorrow, as a fellow editor (and therefore one of the few people who likely care about such things) I am not sure that that's enough to absolve the editors at the Post of their obligation to readers, who may take the letter at face value. I cannot imagine that I could ever run a letter in the magazine that made statements that I knew to be false any more than I could run a story that I knew was untrue. Yes, I am aware there is a lower standard of care owed to readers in the letters section, but I cannot imagine it is so low as to allow lies to be told.

Posted by Kevin Libin on May 25, 2005 | Permalink


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Another constitutional option:

The notwithstanding clause, written by former Justice Minister Jean "I'm Not A Lawyer" Chretien, in order to ensure parliamentarians that ultimately they would be able to override ANY court ruling and preserve the supremacy of Parliament.

What quaint ideas.

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 1:14:36 PM

The Aspers are promoting gliberal "progressive" social policies?

What a shock!

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 1:16:09 PM

Are you suggesting the National Post should only print letters, which state facts as you see it? How can a newspaper be held to account for editorial decisions if readers who have dissenting opinions are filtered?
The law is full of differing opinions and arguments and that is why lawyers in a court of law handle things like this because it is them who determine the appropriate interpretations of the law.
I don't see the harm in presenting differing legal opinions in our papers.
From what I understand the Supreme Court has ruled that to disallow same sex marriage is unconstitutional except when protecting religious freedoms and the only way to reverse this is by using the notwithstanding clause. From what I gather no one is prepared to do this.
The vote in Parliament is window dressing and 8 out of 10 provinces sanction same-sex marriage.
I think this battle has been lost and from what I can tell none of our institutions have crumbled as a result.

Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-25 1:16:45 PM

I don't want to wade into this fray too much, but I want to be sure it doesn't get swamped by the same sort of ignorance that I am taking issue with, so before anyone gets rolling in the wrong direction . . .

Gamblog wrote:
From what I understand the Supreme Court has ruled that to disallow same sex marriage is unconstitutional except when protecting religious freedoms and the only way to reverse this is by using the notwithstanding clause.

That may be the way you understand it, but that's only because you've been swallowing the misinformation being spread by guys like LeGresley. Please take the time to click on the links I put up. One of them is from the Supreme Court itself which clearly states that:

"The Court declined to answer the question on whether the opposite-sex requirement for marriage is constitutional."

Misrepresenting that is not dissent, it is not a "differing legal opinion." It is just plain wrong.

Posted by: Kevin Libin | 2005-05-25 1:24:51 PM

But scrolling down the court upheld previous lower court rulings stating:

"The Supreme Court declined to answer the question of whether the opposite-sex requirement for marriage is consistent with s. 15 of the Charter, as answering the question “serves no legal purpose” (para. 65). The government had already clearly indicated that it accepted the lower court rulings and intended to proceed with legislation allowing same-sex marriage. There was “no precedent for answering a reference question” (para. 68) that has already been answered by the lower courts and relied upon by “thousands of couples” (para. 67). In the Court’s view, “uniformity of the law is essential”. It would be preferable for Parliament to legislate to achieve uniformity of the law, as that is “the very reason that Parliament was accorded legislative competence in respect of marriage” in the Constitution. If the Court answered this question, it could undermine the government’s own stated goal of providing access to civil marriage across Canada and risk creating legal confusion (paras. 69 and 70)."

This assumes the government will come up with legislation, however I offer you the scenario of the government passing law, which disallows same sex marriage. The courts would at the very least return to the case and rule based on the government’s position and the already accepted lower court rulings. Can you guess who will win if the court is forced into this again?
I'm pretty sure same sex marriage will prevail simply based on the number of couples who have been wed by the time it goes back to the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-25 1:45:24 PM

The plan of the groups advocating gay marriage has been followed carefully. What were apparently isolated provincial court decisions were in fact co-ordinated. The pro-gay marriage lawyers in the Justice Department carefully framed the question to the Supreme Court so that it would yield an interpretable result (as we see in the comments above). The media cabal followed the script: "done deal". Those married under the dubious decisions of provincial court judges are now to be portrayed as innocent victims if Parliament doesn't pass the Bill.

So we have a question of momentous social significance deliberately manipulated, obfuscated, and removed from popular discussion (no hearings by the committee outside Ottawa; newspapers closing down debate on PC grounds, religious groups demonized (sorry!), and demonstrations not reported). All to satisfy the current demands (there will be more) of the destroyers of real Canadian values? The 96% of Canadians who are not actively gay have been disenfranchised by these tactics. The 60% of Canadians who are opposed to gay marriage are being told: swallow it, or emigrate.

Who's country is this? Unless Canadians rise up now, the answer from the PC, liberal, social anarchists will be: OURS, not Yours!

Posted by: Patrick B | 2005-05-25 2:15:19 PM

Gamblog uses the words: "presenting differing legal opinions".

Lawyers are paid for their opinions. See the Canadian Bar Association; "legal aid lawyers" are paid by the State.

Question: Who has paid LeGresley for his opinion?
Is LeGresley a lawyer?

Please provide answers.

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-05-25 2:36:09 PM

The Post is sliding down a slippery slope. Over the past few months, they have come out in support of legalizing marijuana, legalizing prostitution, and now same-sex marriage (yes, featuring a letter like that as "Letter of the Day" is an endorsement...it might as well have been an editorial. Same department that writes the editorials edits the letters), not to mention Harper-bashing at every opportunity. As long as they still have columnists like Coyne, deSouza, Fulford, Francis, etc., I'll subscribe, but the editorial page has gone Globe & Mail on us. (And David Asper's columns show exaclty why the boss should stay far away from the editorial department.)

Posted by: NCF TO | 2005-05-25 2:58:37 PM

My question is, has anyone here written to the Post pointing out the lie??

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-05-25 3:26:58 PM

The National Post was about the best ideologically balanced and honest paper one could hope for in Canada, for about a year and a half. Even when they were so gung-ho in supporting Chretien going to war against Yugoslavia - at least they were wishy-washy or dishonest about where they stood (except for a talent for finding pictures of Milosovic with his hand raised a la Hitler!).

It's a pathetic shell now.

I wouldn't give them a penny.

It's clearly a crypto-promoter of every trendy left-wing cause, while trying to appear painfully neutral.

And David Asper is only a few baby-steps beyond Justin or Sasha Trudeau, or Belinda, or a guppy, in terms of intellectual ability.

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 3:32:17 PM

With respect, I'm not sure that LeGresley's statement that "the courts have spoken" is incorrect: the various appellate court decisions which state that the opposite-sex definition of marriage contravenes the Charter are still good law. Disagree with them or not, the law of those jurisdictions with appellate decisions (Ontario, BC, Quebec... I'm probably missing some) is that the definition of marriage must include same-sex couples or it will contravene the Charter. Those decisions have been neither appealed nor overruled.

A Supreme Court decision isn't necessary in order to definitively pronounce on the state of the law. It's possible that a future appellate decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court and they will decide differently from the current slate of decisions. Until then, though, it's safe to say that "the courts have spoken".

All that being said, you're point about policing the falsity of published statements (whether in a news story, an opinion column or a letter) is bang-on.

Posted by: Bob Tarantino | 2005-05-25 3:33:37 PM

Brian thats all true of course but they do still have a few decent columnists such as Andrew Coyne, Lorne Gunter, Colby Cosh now and then and a couple of others. Further to my note above while I didnt write a letter to the Editor I wrote a note and submitted it on Lorne Gunters blog, regarding the above subject.

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-05-25 3:36:55 PM

"Has anyone here written to the Post pointing out the lie??"

I used to write letters to the G&M, and the Post, CTV, CBC, Global, etc, but I think it's practically a waste of time.

The Winnipeg Sun just puts your letter followed by a snide silly editorial comment. Or they edit your letter so it makes no sense.

I think that people writing directly to Mark Steyn helped convince him to quit the Post.

The only media personality who actually responded to any of my letters was Charles Adler, but I doubt I ever changed his mind about anything.

Now I just go online, and listen to American radio. I think Canayjin radio is depraved, dishonest, beneath contempt.

I used to read the G7M, and listen to CBC Radio, and watch CBC's National just so I coulod see what the enemy was up to, but now I agree with Rush Limbaugh: "Why should I pay attention to anything in the MSM? I already know what they'll say and how they'll say it, even before they know!"

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 3:42:17 PM

Another exhibit in the display of reasons the Conservatives can't win...the petty, childish, smallminded, schoolyard bully attitude toward gays and lesbians.

I have no more patience for this homophobic stupidity, and I'm not going to be nice about it anymore. My Aunt and her partner of thirty five years are just as entitled to call their relationship what it is, a marriage, as are my wife of twenty years and I.

Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-25 3:44:06 PM

Re Andrew Coyne, Lorne Gunter, Colby Cosh etc @ Nat Post:

They're all on the WWW.

No way on Earth I'm gonna ever gonna give the Aspers a penny!

Especially since they're so much on the public tit.

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 3:47:03 PM

Gamblog wrote:

"This assumes the government will come up with legislation, however I offer you the scenario of the government passing law, which disallows same sex marriage. The courts would at the very least return to the case and rule based on the government’s position and the already accepted lower court rulings. Can you guess who will win if the court is forced into this again?"

Can you fathom the temerity - forcing courts into making decisions! Surely this is yet another adjunct of conservative anger, just like calling an individual who abandons her principles in pursuit of filthy lucre, er, a word used to describe an individual who abandons her principles in pursuit of filthy lucre.

Just curious, though. Although I stand in awe of every utterance from the hallowed halls of our highest court, it strikes me as odd that the reason the Super!!!-emes offer up for refusing to answer a reference question (which, if I recall my constitutional law correctly is part of their mandate) is that lower courts than them have already resolved an issue. Is this an example of some exciting new doctrine of "stare decisis" I'm not aware of that allows higher courts to abrogate their authority in favour of lower courts? Or are we witnessing an innovative new judicial convention that says "look, you rubes, WE'LL ask the reference questions here, if you don't mind"?

Let's see, what was the question they refused to answer again? Oh yes, I remember: "is traditional marriage unconstitutional". Hmmm, as fearless as I know the Super!!-emes to be, I'm thinking here that maybe, just maybe, they were a teensy bit queasy about answering this in the affirmative. That maybe the Super!!-emes were worried the young Lieberals might be less likely to wear their cool "It's the Charter, Stupid" buttons if they had just finished telling the nation that this immaculate document had rendered a 2000+ year old institution constitutionally invalid. That they might harbour just the tiniest of fears that they'd be "bringing the administration of justice into disrepute" by such a blatant act of social engineering as essentially declaring traditional marriage illegal in Canada. That it might be hard for us to take seriously their admonishments that religious officials will be protected by the Charter if they refuse to sanction SS"M" if, in the very same ruling, they're declaring said religious officials would be taking a stand in support of an institution the same Charter has rendered unlawful.

I look forward to your dispersal of the shadows of my confusion, Gamblog.

Posted by: firewalls 'r us | 2005-05-25 3:47:27 PM

A Hermit: "Conservatives can't win...petty, childish, smallminded, schoolyard bully...homophobic stupidity, and I'm not going to be nice about it anymore. My old tuppence-licking aunt and her diesel-dyke lover are just as entitled to marriage, as are my dog of twenty years and I."

I feel sorry for you "wife" if you're a hermit. I hope she's found someone else to keep her warm at night.

Does his (?) comment prove what I was saying about what a waste of time it is to argue with gliberals.

Here's a discussion on obvious dishonesty in the Post, and all they can do is make silly arguments, say "it's done - get over it - or piss off!", start calling you a dumb small-minded "homophobe", and then go crying to some kangaroo court about their pain and disappointment if you respond with anything less than complete agreement.

Dear "Hermit" (you got the internet in your cave? some hermit!), you are really beneath contempt. "I'm not going to be nice anymore!" Oh look out!

News flash - you haven't been nice since you were hanging around Chaps in that blue dress in '82!

P.S. Do you need my address, for your Human "Rights" Commision complaint?

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 3:58:39 PM

Brian, we don't have a lot of choice in this country when we search out right leaning newspapers of magazines. Thank God for the Western Standard magazine. But the closest thing we have to a right leaning newspaper is the Post, so its either that or nothing for some of us.

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-05-25 4:02:22 PM

Firewalls where have you been. Welcome back.

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-05-25 4:09:48 PM

The good , the bad, and the ugly; the Post is now a grab-bag.

Buy it for Coyne, Fulford, & etc., the rest is Liberal MSM. Those people earn a living too.

G&M, & etc. are on the 'net: it is not difficult to get behind their curtains. Sun chain has good stuff; Blatchford is a gem; she replies to e-mail, also.

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-05-25 4:12:25 PM

Why do I have such problems getting into the Shotgun website?? Does anyone else have that problem??

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-05-25 4:14:57 PM

Mike. I tend towards thinking that it's better to have real enemies than fake friends.

E.g. Belinda was corrupting conservativism in Canada, because the CPC had to (or felt they had to ) show her much more deference than she deserved, jsut to prove what a big tent this is. It was really just pandering, and a waste of time, since she was dishonest about her plans and motives anyway.

If you just stick to the principles of genuine free speech and diversity of opinion, and if you realize that :compassionate conservativism" is redundant since conservativism is inherently compassionate, and if you're unapologetic about being conservative, then things will work out.


So, just as I'd rather see a gliberal like Stronach sitting with her gliberal friends, I'd rather not support a paper like the Post just because it makes some token moves to maintain its position in the "mildly rightwing, moderately conservative" market niche that Conrad Black staked out for it oh so many years ago.

Have you read Mark Steyn's article on why he finally quite the Post. Apparently they offered him buckets of cash, but he said that on principle he couldn't let himself be used to promote yet another wishy-washy establishment Canayjin news outlet.

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 4:16:01 PM

And re "We don't have a lot of choice in this country when we search out right leaning newspapers of magazines."

That's because Canada isn't a right-leaning country.

Hmmm... well, actually, in many ways it is -- but Canayjins like to pretend they're so tolerant etc, just because they've been brainwashed that that's Canada's essential identity (peacekeepers - open - multikulti - blah blah blah).

Anyway, there are plenty of good blogs here. But inconsistent - you just have to look around a bit.

And of course the conservative blogs are more informative, honest, and entertaining than the bolshy ones.

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 4:22:15 PM

"Why do I have such problems getting into the Shotgun website??"

You threatened violent revolution before?

Or something to do with cookies settings?

I never use explorer - just Firefox, and then choose whether to allow or deny cookies for every site.

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 4:25:45 PM

I don't disagree with you at all Brian, Canada is not conservative. I live in Alberta and even here the conservatism is slowly being watered down due to the many migrants from the East, bringing their Liberal viewpoint with them. However in the case of the Post, even if I didnt want to buy it I would be overruled. My wife reads the Financial Post. I lose.

Posted by: MikeP | 2005-05-25 4:29:06 PM


As Adlai Stevenson said, "An editor is one who separates the wheat from the chaff and prints the chaff." (Present company excepted of course! ;o))

Posted by: Linda | 2005-05-25 4:29:07 PM


Go over there; capture a mug shot of a Liberal thug; he who works under the table.

Liberal, noun: Criminal.

verb, to liberal your money; to liberal a bank; to deny criminal acts; to spread corruption, as in, Liberal the suckers.

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-05-25 7:27:54 PM

The coup is now completed:

Canada is now a one-party Socialist regime.

Let the world know.

Democracy and freedom are dead in Canada.


Globe and Mail - 2 hours ago
Ottawa — The NDP will seek a long-term agreement to prop up the Liberal government in exchange for a handful of concessions, party officials said Wednesday. Fresh from winning $4.6 billion more for its priorities ...

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-05-25 7:37:17 PM

I agree that the Post has lurched to the Lib/Left since Conrad sold out and I too hate to subsidize the Aspers. But it's still worth the price to get Coyne, Fulford, Jonas, Cosh, Gunter and B. Kay.

And let's not forget FP Comments page writers, Foster, Corcoran, Watson and Kedrosky.

Posted by: JR | 2005-05-25 7:46:44 PM

Here's an excerpt from an article by Bob Hepburn in the Toronto Star

"The "Dump Harper" crowd thinks the media focus this week should have been on their leader instead of Belinda Stronach and "heartbroken" boyfriend MacKay and Paul Martin's future.

As they work the phones, the group says that under Harper the Tories remain a western-based party that is seen as mean-spirited, as being angry at Central Canada, and as being too right wing to appeal to urban voters in the East. They are deeply distressed that moderates such as Stronach, and before her Scott Brison and Keith Martin, have left to join the Liberals.

To bolster their argument, they point to a column by David Asper, chairman of the National Post, considered the media voice of the Conservative party."

So here they are portraying David Asper as the voice of the Conservative Party. Asper is in fact a Liberal as was Belinda Stronach even before her defection. Canada is truly a one party state. Other voices are allowed but in the view of the establishment anyone who thinks there is room for a conservative at the top is delusional. Conservatives will be tolerated only if they are in fact liberals. It should come as no surprise that the Aspers would pick as Letter Of The Day one which contains false statements which support their position. The SCC has not said that marriage must be defined to include the unions of same sex couples. (That they are likely to so decide is another matter). This is the way liberals operate. It's why they think the killing of innocent human life can be justified by dumb slogans about choice.

The next election will be crucial. If the Liberals are re-elected despite the corruption I think it's the end of Canada as we know it -and it ought to be.

Although I agree with the comments of JR concerning Coyne, Fulford, Jonas, Cosh, Gunter and B. Kay -and others, Conrad Black's valiant and expensive attempt to establish a truly conservative national newspaper in Canada may now be pronounced a failure. It's unfortunate (and painful) to see what was once a great paper being ruined by people as intellectually vacuous as Belinda Stronach.

Posted by: Terry Gain | 2005-05-25 8:36:55 PM

Well, er, I didn't really envision this turning into a dump on the Post party. The Post has it's strengths and weaknesses, but the question that I meant to get to the heart of, and evidently failed, was intended to be more abstract and less about the specifics of the situation. It's kind of academic, I suppose (which is perhaps why the conversation ended up going in a different direction), but I was really interested to know if a letters page owes it to readers to avoid printing things that the editors know to be false.

Bob makes a reasonable point in noting that some courts in some jurisdictions have upheld the right of gays to marry. But that's not enough to make the letter-writer's assertion true. First of all, not all courts in all jurisdictions have ruled the same way on the matter. In Alberta, for instance, I do not believe there is a pro-same-sex ruling on the books. So suggesting that the courts have spoken and they have said there must be a federal law upholding same-sex marriage is untrue. They have ruled only that certain provinces should recognize gay marriages. Moreover, the letter-writer goes off the deep end into blatant untruths in suggesting that the only options for opponents are to shut up or move. As some commenters have reminded me, there's the notwithstanding option in addition to the democratic rejection of the legislation, which remains an entirely legitimate option, if the electorate so chooses.

But perhaps, ultimately, the question about the duties of a letters editor is one best posed to the CAJ listserv.

Posted by: Kevin Libin | 2005-05-25 9:19:29 PM


"If the Liberals are re-elected despite the corruption I think it's the end of Canada as we know it -and it ought to be."

I agree. Canada may just have to completely self-destruct before many Canadians wake up from their apathetic naps. What kind of calamity will it take? Economic? Political? Natural disaster? I don't wish any of them on our heads, but as creeping totalitarianism picks up speed I'm hard pressed to decide which eventuality would be worst.

Posted by: Linda | 2005-05-25 9:24:52 PM

Kevin, I think that if a paper prints a letter that they know is inaccurate or false, then there should be a response from the editor pointing out any errors. Otherwise you'd be correct in assuming it's just a way for the editors to push a certain point-of-view without being obliged to maintain journalistic standards (whatever THOSE are - LOL)

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 9:35:41 PM

Linda - I agree - imagine if the Glibs won a majority even after all this crap.

That would be like Christmas and every birthday wrapped up in a bow for any separatist. Ha ha ha!

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 9:38:03 PM


Oops -- sorry we took the train off-topic! To get back to your question, I do think that editors owe their readers the courtesy of at least a basic fact-checking of posted letters. Obviously, this kind of thing could, theoretically, eat up lots of the editor's time, but in the example you brought up the facts are well-known and easily verified. The rhetoric of politically-charged issues is often rife with logical fallacies and outright misrepresentations of fact -- all the more reason for editors to be vigilant in order to avoid the appearance of stacking the deck. Ah well, one can dream...

Posted by: Linda | 2005-05-25 9:39:42 PM

A Hermit
"My Aunt and her partner of thirty five years are just as entitled to call their relationship what it is, a marriage, as are my wife of twenty years and I."

The CPC position is that they can call it whatever they want, they just can't require the government to use the term that most religions use to describe a sacrament, to which some religions would not admit your aunt and her partner. So what this really comes down to (aside from posturing and demonstrating who is really in charge of social policy) is who is entitled to define and enforce the use of a word.

That is the total distinction between the CPC postion and the position of the SSM advocates: the use of the word "married" - all other interactions with the government would be the same. All other social interactions would be the same, since the government does not control the degree of acceptance or exclusion your aunt and her partner enjoy in the community. Both sides assert that they will not require those religions that currently prohibit SSM to provide the sacrement to same-sex couples. The CPC does so by making a distinctin between "Marriage (opposite sex only)" and "civil union (anyone, but in particular, same-sex couples)." The SSM advocates assert that their word is their bond; they will simply leave an exemption in place allowing churches to refuse to grant the sacrement as they see fit.

Given the Liberal's record on past promises (GST, NAFTA, Gun Registry costs, Parliamentary review of judicial appointments - the list goes on...), I can understand why those with strong feelings on the issue would be reluctant to trust them on this one.



Posted by: Deaner | 2005-05-25 10:28:41 PM

Deaner, you're right . BUt I think even the CPC position is absurd. Why on earth should any government have to "recognize" gay relationships in any way? Whether one-night stands, orgies, committed relationships -- they're all private matters, and society has absolutley ZERO interest in promoting, recognizing, legitimating or rewarding any of them.

Society does have an interest in promoting married couples with kids, or the potential of kids. Thta's the whole point of marital benefits, insurance, pension plans. This is a fact: all those plans were developed in order to care for widows and orphans, and to encourage the ideal environment for raising kids. Divorced from that conext, all those programs are just aping good social policy.

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-25 10:37:23 PM

The thing that struck me most about LeGresley's letter was its smugness; its Marxian faith that LeGresley's position is historically inevitable. Imagine the outcry if Terrence Corcoran or the Fraser Institute wrote something along the lines of:

"Although their passions are heartfelt, those in favour of the welfare state should realize that they are being played by some politicians. The markets have spoken; the economic truth is clear. Private health care will become a legal reality throughout Canada."

Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow and the rest of the save-Medicare-at-all-costs crowd would have a field day with a quote like that.

Posted by: Grumpy Young Crank | 2005-05-25 11:41:23 PM

The Post still has Coyne, Fulford, George Jonas, Colby Cosh, and sometimes David Frum and David Warren.

And yeah, the pre-Asper incarnation was far superior. But if not for the Post, I'd be stuck reading the Star, so I try not to complain too much.

Posted by: dr_dog | 2005-05-26 12:15:38 AM

As a clergyman I have tried to get my denomination to stay ahead of this debate and preempt the discussion by calling for a new ordinance in the church called "holy matrimony".
We would define it our way as we would baptism.
The government has not gone so socialist that it is telling the churches how to define strictly religious terms.
However, I realize that is exactly what happened in the former soviet bloc and still happens in China, Vietnam and Cuba. If Canada goes that far, I guess the gulags for dissenters will not be far behind.

Posted by: jack | 2005-05-26 12:52:44 AM

Car & Driver used to follow up some letters with a brief factual correction or rejoinder from the editor. Is Car & Driver the apogee of responsible journalism?

Posted by: Pete E | 2005-05-26 1:35:51 AM

I married my trailer to my truck with a trailer hitch.
Did I just violate the sanctity of marriage?
Marriage is a word that means bring together, it doesn't mean anything else. In the eyes of the state it is a marrying of bank accounts. There is nothing about love, trust and taking care of each other in sickness and in health in our laws. When two people are brought together in the eyes of the state they are married.
Now if only the government would recognize my trailer and truck I'm sure I could write one of them off as a dependant.

Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-26 7:29:18 AM

Is this the most assinine thing you've heard since Paul Martin's last speech?

"I married my trailer to my truck with a trailer hitch. Did I just violate the sanctity of marriage?"

What a fool. This is why they are called gliberals.

"Marriage is a word that means bring together"

Bring things together that are DIFFERENT (hetero) not the SAME (homo)

Get a brain, you silly simpering nancy boy!

Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-26 10:33:29 AM

"The CPC position is that they can call it whatever they want, they just can't require the government to use the term that most religions use to describe a sacrament..."

I also use the term to describe what I used to do in the constructionbusiness; we "married" steel beams and rafters together...

No one is going to tell any church they have to perform a ceremony they don't believe in; try getting a Catholic priest to erform a marriage ceremony for a divorced person. Won't happen. Same rules applt to gay couples.

But there is absolutely no reason that a gay couple married in , for example, a UUC church, or the Metropolitan Church in Toronto should be denied the same recognition as a straight couple married in another church.

What the CPC position does is in effect recognize some religious beliefs as being more valid under the law than others. I would think a real conservative would find that troubling...even if you're not bothered by the obvious bigotry of demanding that gays accept a second class status.

Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-26 10:38:14 AM

We're with the hermit. All religions are valid. C'mon you bigots, cut us some slack!

Rastafarians, Old-School Mormons and Animal-sacrificing Satanists

Posted by: Peace Be Upon You | 2005-05-26 11:33:10 AM

Nancy boy? Is that to be regarded as an insult? Are you suggesting I am gay or effeminate in some way because I have a truck and trailer?
I guess that is where the difference lies between us. You think gay is bad and I am indifferent. I suppose it is because I have met many gay people in my lifetime and realized they are exactly the same as anyone else in every single way and deserve to be accepted as such.
I suppose for you my tolerance makes me a liberal despite the fact that no where is it written that you have to be a jerk to be a conservative.

Posted by: Gamblog | 2005-05-26 11:40:37 AM

I remain puzzled by the hostility on the part of SSM advocates to the recognition of civil partnerships for any two members of a household, two unrelated partners, two brothers, a brother and sister, etc. The emphasis on a sexual relationship calls into question so many of the emotional arguments made by SSM advocates, from recognition of their rights to survivor benefits, to be consulted about medical decisions, etc.

And is it true, as I read somewhere, that the government's proposed law actually imposes traditional rules about consanguinity on SSMs? If so, is there any rational defence for it?

Posted by: Robert | 2005-05-26 1:10:03 PM

"We're with the hermit. All religions are valid." - Peace Be Upon You

Do I detect a hint of sarcasm? Tell me; do you really want the Government telling you which religions are valid and which aren't?

Never mind your imaginary Satanists, are you going to be the one to tell the Unitarians or the Quakers that their faith is no longer entitled to the same legal status and protection as others?



Many people of faith who do not accept same sex marriage as part of their faith recognize that denying it to others is a dangerous precedent:

"The Religious Coalition for Equal Marriage Rights includes representatives from liberal and traditional faith communities in Canada. The Coalition attests to the diversity of religious opinion on the question of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and the growing support in religious communities for equality for these couples. We include The United Church of Canada, the Canadian Unitarian Council, the Muslim Canadian Congress, the Canadian Friends Service Committee of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the World Sikh Organization, Canadian Rabbis for Equal Marriage, Metropolitan Community Church, Ahavat Olam Synagogue (Vancouver,) Church of the Holy Trinity (Anglican) in Toronto, Apostolic Society of Franciscan Communities - Canada, Saint Padre Pio Congregational Catholic Community (Toronto), and liberal and progressive members of the Buddhist, Catholic, First Nations, Hindu, Mennonite and Muslim communities."


Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-26 1:18:09 PM

Actually Robert, it seems to me that the only people obsessed with the sexual aspect of the SSM debate are the opponents...

Posted by: A Hermit | 2005-05-26 1:32:11 PM

A Hermit:

"No one is going to tell any church they have to perform a ceremony they don't believe in; try getting a Catholic priest to [p]erform a marriage ceremony for a divorced person. Won't happen. Same rules applt to gay couples."

You obviously haven't read about the case of the Knights of Columbus Hall in Port Coquitlam, have you?

"...are you going to be the one to tell the Unitarians or the Quakers that their faith is no longer entitled to the same legal status and protection as others?"

I am not sure where you get the idea that some relegions will be "unprotected" by recognition of civil unions for same-sex "marriages." There would (still) be nothing preventing a -say- Unitarian or Quaker minister performing whatever service he or she wanted, whether on behalf of a same-sex or man-woman couple. Equally, there would be nothing preventing the couple in question from using whatever term they like to describe themselves - "married," "together," "a couple," or "a family." The only difference between this and full recognition of SSM is the requirement that the government use the term "married."

The argument *for* the use of the term is that same-sex couples will feel excluded, marginalized, etc if they government doesn't use that term. I find arguments based on hurt feelings to be pretty weak in general; they are impossible to quantify, they are almost impossible to remedy, and they are almost always beyond the purview of the government to correct - if s-s couples feel ostracised by the use or non-use of a word, how do they feel about the much more common (and, I would think, much more hurtful) scowls, dirty looks, upturned noses, etc?

Anyway, as against the hurt feelings of all the s-s couples who are desperate that the government apply the term "marriage" to their union, we have a number of people who hold that word (and some others) in special esteem because to them it represents a sacrament. You don't have to agree with them - you just have to understand that they will feel hurt, marginalized, excluded, etc, if the government applies their term for a sacred religous rite to somehting that they, rightly or wrongly, consider to be an abomination.

Now we come to the problem with policy based on hurt feelings: whose feels are more hurt? Who has suffered a greater loss? Do we measure that on an individual basis, or in aggregate? How do we measure the affront to self esteem? Perhaps we should apply that great shiboleth of the Liberal (big and small-L) bien pensents, the *precautionary principal* - we should make no change if it *might* cause damage - well, with the possible hurt feelings of those who are offended by applying the term marriage to a s-s union, I guess the case is closed, isn't it?

In practice, I think the interests of the pro- and anti-ssm factions probably balance out. I come to this conclusion by an incredibly profound method, as follows: there are an unknown number of people who will be affected positively or negatively by legalizing SSM (as opposed to s-s civil unions). These people will each suffer an unknown amount of emotional damage, loss of self-esteem and general ennui. Multiplying these two unknowns on each side yields a single unknown on each side. I know that each of these unknown aggregate emotional damages will be somewhere between zero and a billion tears. Compared to ral issues in the world, like genocide, starvation, or poverty, I am willing to accept the notion that these unknown amounts of emotional damage are approximately equal. On a more pragmatic note, I would ask why people who have been using a pretty-well defined term for a couple of millenia should be asked to suffer any inconvenience (including hurt feelings, impaired self-esteem, etc) in response to a social demand (with no economic foundation, given an equal-legal-status civil union) that has arisen only in the past decade, and whose only benefit will be a reduction in someone else's hurt feelings.

Brian Walsh (I think) take issue with the notion of s-s civil unions in and of themselves - I cannot go that far. Brian's point is that all the benfits to be granted recognition through a civil union were enacted to foster and promote healthy children in healthy families. Perhaps (I think pensions, for instance, were created to assure German workers of economic security in their old age so that they would first, not revolt; and second, spend more time making ships and cannons for the Chancellor and less time worrying about their futures).

There are a couple of things to respond to:-

Actuarially, I am a more expensive proposition than a single male, because my pension (assuming defined-benefit) will be commuted to my wife. Two lives always have a higher cost, since they will usually have a longer duration than any single life. There is no reason why homosexuals and the unmarried should be required to subsidize we married folk by paying (or having our employers pay on our behalf) the smae pension contributions; at the moment, they do.

S-s couples can adopt, or can raise their own children (obviously with one biological parent and one step parent in the family). Should we allow civil unions, but only for s-s couple with children? I think that's a stupid idea. Would we require an anullment when the children left, or if they returned to the other biological parent? Itto-day on Upid-stay.

Some of the benefits to be conferred by civil unions have nothing to do with children, including application of the Wills and Estates Act (or equivalent), the right to determine care when one spouse (or partner) is incapacitated, and statutory exemption from testimony against the other spouse or partner. None of these are insignificant, and there is no reason to deprive any s-s couple of them - on the contrary, we have to grant these rights, simply to ensure equal treatment under the law.



Posted by: Deaner | 2005-05-26 3:18:12 PM

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