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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What a bunch of phonies

Harper states what has been the party policy for quite a while, and they chime in hysterically almost in perfect unison, that he is RE-OPENING the debate. Canadian mainstream media, a bunch of phonies.

Globe and Mail; Tories reopen same-sex marriage debate

CBC: Harper reopens same-sex marriage debate

CTV: Harper would allow free vote on gay marriage

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 29, 2005 in Media | Permalink


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» The only time I will bring this up from Opinionated Lesbian
It's been two days, and I'm still puzzling out why Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper brought up... [Read More]

Tracked on 2005-12-01 7:42:03 AM

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Stephen Harper, leader of the Canadian Conservative party, has declared that one of his primary issues will be to redefine marriage to mean union betw... [Read More]

Tracked on 2005-12-01 11:16:21 PM


Here we go again. Frum's column today was right on the money. Maybe it's time for the CPC to fight back.

Posted by: Michael Dabioch | 2005-11-29 8:37:50 PM

If Harper had refused to answer he would have been accused of a "hidden agenda".

Harper is simply airing this phoney issue out early so it can be spent and discredited well before voting day. Looks like the LibMedia has taken the bait.

Posted by: Bart F. | 2005-11-29 8:46:27 PM

Naturally, the TV news didn't show whether or not Harper volunteered to discuss the SSM party position or that he point blank was asked about it by a reporter. I suspect it was the latter. If so, how could he possibly have responded any other way than by stating what the party's policy is?

Which brings me to my second point:

I was at the convention in Montreal and I do not recall it being in the party platform that the PARTY wouls reintroduce the motion to repeal SSM. I thought the stance was to allow a free MP-sponsored vote. Perhaps someone has the policy book at hand and can find the passage relating to this issue.


To the reporter who asked Stephen Harper if he loved Canada, I expect that same reporter to now ask Paul Martin "Are you a crook?". Such BS "reporting" from the "When did you stop beating your wife" Ryerson journalism school.


PM keeps crowing about how good things are...

150,000 manufacturing jobs lost in Ontario this year alone not including the 30,000 plus with the GM collapse. The number one sector that is seeing job growth in Ontario - the public sector.

Eight budget surpluses based on overbilling of the EI system and putting it into general revenues. Take the EI surpluses out of the totals and the LP has run budget DEFICITS eight years in a row.

Posted by: Gord Tulk | 2005-11-29 9:49:52 PM


Harper was responding to questions. His response was virtually verbatim from the Conservative policy declaration, section 63:


So CBC/Globe/CTV/CP/Torstar now considers the affirmation of longstanding policy a gaffe?

Posted by: Bart F. | 2005-11-29 10:07:52 PM

Sure would be nice if the gouls at the CTV, Pravda and the Globular Mail would suggest that Harper will open up the cans of worms that fester in the Liberal party around the theft of millions, the countles boondogle costing Canadians billions while creating fortunes for friends and families of Liberals ...

about his desire to repair damages done to our great friend, protectorate and trading benefactor the the South (no not Cuba).

Tbe long snouts of the main stream media get gas when they consider what may happen if their slop providers are religated to purgatory even for a term.

Let me say that they won't like the new Canada that results if the Criminals are relected and the West pulls it's hopper out of the feed lot.

My great hope is that the Country of Quebec manages to finally pull up stakes tossing Ontario into a catatonic state whereby the West can simply sachet away from the frey while the bloodletting is in progress along the Ottawa River.

To the regret of many Canadians who vainly try to "love Canada" I believe it's over and there's nothing to do but negotiate the terms of the decree.

Even if Harper can wrest this former jewel away from the organized Crime/government based in the East it will not be kept out long enough to get this country off of life support .. the patient will die and the parts will be recycled.

That will be the hidden but unintended agenda of the Liberals.

Meanwhile: Laugh with me at http://dukemcgoo.blogspot.com
Duke's Place

Posted by: Duke | 2005-11-29 10:21:02 PM

Geez BartF that was quick.

For the record, here is the section 63 part iv):

"A conservative Government will support legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

Pretty clear I would say. I just hope ot isn't the "hill we die on". There are far, far more important issues and causes the CP stands for to lose this election over this issue which I think Stephen Harper from the Get go has opposed primarily on the non-democratic way it was handled by the LP.

On the other hot topic of the day....

Okay, so PM may have the lead on the "I love Canada" (shades of Howard Dean) Rant but Stephen Harper should hammer it right back like so ...

"If Paul Martin is so in love with Canada, why did he run a shipping line that sails only in the Great Lakes yet has registered its vessels in Panama in order to evade Canadian taxes and those same ships have for decades polluted the Great Lakes for decades by purposely dumping their iron ore dust?

And If he loves Canada so much why does he subvert and undermine the Canada Health Act by purchasing his health services from private for profit clinics?

Mr. Martin seems to love Canada because he is the leader of the "entitled", corrupt and criminal Liberal party that has been a parasite on this great country for over a decade.

I will campaign and work tirelessly to wrestle this Great country from Paul Martin and his corrupt party's hands.

And I will work just as tirelessly to help this great Country reach its true potential of being head and shoulders the safest, wealthiest and most democratic country on earth.

Ordinary Canadians deserve and should expect nothing less from their leaders. Mr. Martin and his cronies want to strip mine this country of its wealth for their and their elite friend's benefit - Canada be damned."

Posted by: Gord Tulk | 2005-11-29 10:53:31 PM


The problem with your suggested statement is this: the media would only report three words "Canada be damned."

Posted by: MSYB | 2005-11-29 11:25:52 PM

From the CBC: "Harper, who has long promised that if elected he would hold a free vote on marriage, raised the issue himself during a news conference Tuesday in Ottawa."

From CTV: "Harper raised the issue after his handlers had cut off further questions from reporters."

So, Gord Tulk, you suspect wrong.

Posted by: JKelly | 2005-11-29 11:26:39 PM

Harper said the reporter had initially asked a question but wasn't given a chance to repeat it. Harper gave him that chance. I don't think there's any question that Harper was responding to a question. The media interpreted Harper's positive action to allow the reporter the question as an indication of raising the issue himself.

Having said that, might as well get this issue on, then perhaps off, the table right away.

Harper has restated his position. He then did everything not to talk about it in an interview with Mike Duffy later.

It looks like the only time Harper will discuss it from now on is in defence against attacks made from Liberals.

It appears his preference is to stay away from social issues in order to fry some bigger fish. If he's forced to defend himself on such issues, he will.

My preference would be a more forceful defence of traditional marriage. But, obviously, it's not a debate Harper wants to be sucked into this election. He want's Liberal governance to be the top priority.

Personally, I think gay marriage could be tied into Liberal corruption and elitism in general. Yet it's a hornet's nest Harper seems intent on staying clear of.

Posted by: The Cyber Menace | 2005-11-30 12:26:33 AM

Last opinion polls I've seen said the majority of Canadians support maintaining traditional marriage. You wouldn't know this, however, listening to the pundits last night, who try to claim this is a losing topic for Harper to even mention.

Posted by: Joel | 2005-11-30 3:35:31 AM

The negative approach to Harper is the press's default position and is an extension of the Liberal's new election campaign. It's much worse than anyone thought.


Posted by: Blair Hansen | 2005-11-30 6:19:51 AM

Mark Steyn has an election prediction contest:

My depressed entry:

1) Liberal minority
2) 115
3) Conservative 103
Bloc 65
NDP 25
4) Ignatieff 42%
5) Liberal Quebec seats won: 10
Liberal Ontario seats won: 68
6) Svend 41%
Hedy 33%
Tony 17%


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-11-30 6:28:49 AM

It is nice to see people are getting stirred up but let's get passionate about things that should make a difference.

We all knew/know that the conservatvie party is going to be attacked in areas of vulnerability. Right now it is a much more diverse group of people than are probably the liberals or the NDP and this in itself makes the PC more vulnerable - particularly in the social area. Rather than blaming everything on the media, ask the questions of the liberals that might prove disasterous as well as research and bring up the past/present policies of the liberals that are abominable - and there are many.

It is up to the conservatives to attack the liberals in areas of their vulnerability and they are vulnerable on so many fronts because of their track records and the length of time they have been in charge of the governance of Canada.

I can empathize with people in thier 20's and 30's in terms of their cynicism. Canada has been and continues to be going to hell in a hand basket - much of this started and was continued for several decades and unfortuately they are bearing the heavy end of the rot right now. Yes, the stench is horrible and it now becomes - o.k. what can we do about it.

To feel that Canada is so young and that we have nothing to be passionately proud of is a sad thing but I do understand where this feeling exists. I used to have these feelings of passion at one time but don't anymore - and why is this.

The liberals would love to distance themselves from all liberals that went before them but they simply cannot do this - except in their own mind and convince themselves that it is o.k. There are conservatives now who would like to distance themselves from the Mulroney years as well but that also is a fools paradise. The slate is never wiped clean and never will be. Change will come when the will is their but rot begets rot and why would most people change to put themselves out of a job or out of power.

What has gone to hell in a hand basket and why.

It started as early as the late 1960's and early '70's and the sledge hammers have been primarily the Trudeau legacy of the forced policy of Official Bilingualism, repatriation of the constitution in the manner in which is was done, endoding the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the constitution in the manner it was done. Most particularly, all were done by the liberals and perpetuated under Mulroney - not that there was much chance of repealing any of this in the Mulroney years as the ammending formula that was planted makes it basically not doable.

All of the above has evolved Canada into a country governed by 13 people - judges of the Supreme Court of Canada - and not the legislature elected by the people for the people. We all know how blatently partisan appointments to the Supreme Court are, not to mention the lesser and almost as important other levels of the judiciary. Also, not to mention the senate - the very existance of which perpetuates much of what is rotten in the country.

There is enough fodder in the department of Citizenship and Immigration alone that should be sufficient to sink the liberals. The foreign embassies are staffed primarly by locals. Policies of granting immigrants entry based on professional qualifications simply to have them doing menial jobs. Naive Canadians have no idea about what graft and corruption really are. Missing blank passport applications, delays in processing papers, wrong people getting into Canada with no will/process to get them out once in. Etc., Etc., Etc. Why would the liberals change anything - it is a significant part of the way they do business to maintain voters.

All of the above have contributed to the marginalizing of the civil service, the military, and the RCMP. The hiring and more particularly the promotion practices have been, still are, and will likely continue to be totally abominable. If you are not a Francophone - you can pretty much forget about even applying, never mind seeking a career in any of these institutions unless you are a woman, an aboriginal, or a "visible minority". Even the term "visible minority" is repugnant and demeaning. In my mind there are two classes of people in Canada -either Canadian citizens or those who want to be. There is no room for hyphenated Canadians - we are all proud of our heritage but why flaunt it and worse yet, have it rewarded. There used to be something called competence that counted for something - I could care less what the eithnic origin is. What second generation of Canadians wants to be tagged with the label "visible minority"!!

On and on this could go.... and we haven't even got into the department of pulic work or income trusts!!

Posted by: calgary clipper | 2005-11-30 7:05:05 AM

A candidacy in shambles. It wasn't meant to be this way for the self-styled saviour of Canada. Michael Ignatieff, the 20-years-abroad egghead who's Harvard-based perch was thought by acolytes to be the perfect springboard for a thinly-veiled assault on the Prime Minister's Office, all conveniently dollied-up as the second coming of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Now, however, his undemocratic drop-in "acclamation" is being rebuffed in Etobicoke-Lakeshore as determined local Liberals, including the president of the Toronto branch of the Ukrainian Congress, move forward with their own nomination meeting tonight. This growing nightmare can only find one logical outcome. Ignatieff will have to step aside. Worse, senior Liberals in Toronto, Bourque has learned, are readying a game plan that will allow the egghead to step aside in favour of devoting more time to his students. Developing >>>
via bourque.com

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-11-30 7:43:12 AM

Lowell Green (CFRA Ottawa) says it was brilliant of Harper to get this issue out now, right at the start.

(I comment that if the Tories have a free vote but the other parties don't then it's not going to go anywhere. This should be a referendum issue. It would be a politically bad move though.)

Posted by: greenmamba | 2005-11-30 8:01:37 AM

Was I the only one who noticed that when Stephen Harper was discussing same-sex marriage he was wearing more make-up than a drag queen?

Posted by: Concerned Observer | 2005-11-30 8:01:39 AM

If I were Harper, I would deny the CBC access to CPC functions. No interviews at all, and forbid them from press conferences. If they do ask, tell them that their objectivity is in jeopardy because once a CPC government gets in, the CBC will be destroyed and the reporter's job will be eliminated. Hard to be objective when faced with that!

The CPC should make it a priority to eliminate Canadian cultural protectionism. Removing foreign ownership requirements would open up the industry to new impulses. Plus it would save billions in taxpayer dollars from being wasted on Tronna's elitist artists.

Of course they fear the CPC - they have every right to be - because their entire existence is threatened by the CPC. Good!

Posted by: Scott | 2005-11-30 8:05:12 AM

I think that Harper has to take the initiative in every issue. That shows him as a leader. He can't be seen just as reacting to Liberal accusations (eg, SSM). Therefore, it was correct for him to bring up SSM. And yes, his position is that it was not put through in a democractic manner. He has to stick to key issues, such as process - democratic rather than the authoritarian Liberal...

I think the Bloc is pretty secure in Quebec and the Bloc is, despite its verbiage, moving out of separatism - which is held by the PQ - and, in a strange way, replacing the Liberals in Quebec. But they are not for Liberal homogeneous federalism run by a central govt in Ottawa but for a decentralized federation. Therefore, the Bloc can be a 'good partner' in a new parliament, as long as it doesn't demand special status to Quebec. If it demands more powers to Quebec, it has to acknowledge that these powers also go to the other provinces. My goal, is decentralization and the dismemberment of the enormous central federal gov't.

I'm hoping for a Conservative minority. Not a majority. You don't overturn the ideology of a generation that fast; it has to start slowly, and the Liberal Trudeaupian gross errors gradually removed (centralism, homogeneity, bilingualism, patronage, equalization). Those five - those must go. They are repressive and have moved Canada, economically and socially, downwards.

The key is, yes, Ontario. Why? Because it has been the most brainwashed by Ottawa - into a belief in bilingualism, homogeneity, centralism, etc, etc. And, because of the history of the country, which settled the central part first. Ontario doesn't quite realize that the West is 'there' and has far more energy and innovative dynamism than Ontario has. A few gains in Ontario - but informing them that all the Conservatives want is a Minority, not a Majority, and that they will work with the other parties - that will do it.

Posted by: ET | 2005-11-30 8:12:58 AM

ET you are right on...And in a nut shell I HOPE that it is going to go that route...If a minority Harper, Quebec will see that the CPC can be good for them...Not necessarely on one way favoratism to temporarely appaise them and at the same time piss off therest of the country (The Lib way) but to: BRING DOWN THE BIG WASTEFUL MACHINE (OTTAWA) THAT'S DESTROYING CANADA'S UNITY TO THE SIZE IT SHOULD BE AND GIVING BACK THE POWER THAT BELONGS TO ALL PROVINCES EQUALLY.

Posted by: metalguru | 2005-11-30 8:48:02 AM

Tories to re-open SSM debate?

When was the first one? Can someone point me to the pages in Hansard where I can read the great speeches on the subject?

Posted by: Mississauga Matt | 2005-11-30 8:58:42 AM

Cyber Menace: Unfortunately, he *will* be forced into defending the party position on SSM, no matter what other issues are at hand.

The Liberals will bank on the fact that the debate has already been "settled", and people don't care anymore. Even if Harper's opposition is more procedural (ie. it should've been decided by a free vote in the house) than moral, it won't matter.

They ought to drop this -- it's not worth losing an election over.

Posted by: dr_dog | 2005-11-30 9:17:19 AM


You guys should listen to yourselves.

You want Ontarians to vote your choice of party at the same time as you denigrate them as brainwashed idiots from Tronna who simply fail to understand what dullards they are and what super-duper splendiferousness are the mighty westerners.

You think this sort of rhetoric helps?

Or do you think that maybe, just maybe, you sound like the Alberta version of the BQ to any Ontarian who drops by blogs like this to try and get a handle on what the CPC means to it's staunchest proponents?

Having lived and worked in five provinces, let me assure you that the differences in Canadian's desire for prosperity is not limited by provincial borders.

Now you can debate the merits of a particular party's established means to achieve that ends and have electoral success. Or you can do as you are and attempt to resort to recruitment by insult and see where it gets you.

I think you'd have better luck with the former option..... because what I've read here thus far is sure not helping sway me to your side in any way whatsoever! More the latter actually. Because petty insults have that effect on me.... as they do on MOST people.


Posted by: zeppo | 2005-11-30 9:20:59 AM

Here's a good, long list of the Liberal "record" that the good people at Proud to be Canadian put together:


Posted by: Cathy | 2005-11-30 9:32:32 AM

Zeppo- we have, here on this blog, one or two people who regularly insult Ontarians. In my view, they have 'psychological problems'. But, you can have the same situation on Ontario or Quebec blogs, where people can insult others - from the West, from the Maritimes etc.

I'm from Ontario. There are LOTS of people on this blog, and other western blogs, that don't insult Ontarians. Therefore, just as I ignore the few here who seem to be able to do nothing other than insult - I suggest you do the same.

My suggestion - focus on the issues. We have a gov't in Ottawa that is not only corrupt, but is focused on an infrastructure (centralism, homogenization, welfare statism)that is socially and economically disastrous. We need a gov't that moves out of the ideology of ONE generation ago - recognizes the serious problems this ideology trapped us in, recognizes the demographic changes in Canada, recognizes the globalization of economic and political networks - and starts to act.

Posted by: ET | 2005-11-30 9:39:34 AM

o.k. Stephen

Thanks to Cathy et al - you have more than you need to put the liberals out of business. Do something with it!!!

Thanks to the people who have compiled this exhaustive list

Posted by: calgary clipper | 2005-11-30 9:43:18 AM

Thanks for the list Cathy. Some of it brings back some very un-fond memories of liberal abuses which is why I am currently an undecided.

Some of it, however, is rampant straw-grasping.

Major cases in point:

6) Tainted blood. The Krever inquiry related to issues with the blood supply from '86 to '90. How much compensation to award was certainly a contentious issue, however the case itself related to problems from the Mulrooney era.

And there are a lot in there that are irrelevant. Individual civil servants get nailed for expense abuses all the time under - saddly. It was that way under Mulrooney too. That is harldy an indicment of the ruling power except in cases where it might NOT be prosecuted. I mean, complaining that the government actually charges and/or dismisses Silly Servants who violate regulations seems completely disengenuous.

Similary complaining that the government charged lobbyists for violating ethics rules seems odd (192). The lobbyists AREN'T the government after all. Is your preference that such offenders NOT be dealt with?

Like I said, some good reminders in that list. But it should be pared down to exclude actions of people outside the government for which they were properly punished as that IS what we want to happen.

And the inclusion of questionable elements such as those take away from the credibility.

It is far better to attack with fewer stronger cases than to bury them in semi-relevant fluff.


Posted by: zeppo | 2005-11-30 9:49:14 AM

If Canada supports 'traditional' marriage then why are they not supporting Harper???


Harper will 'preserve' the 3,000 odd marriages already performed??? How does that work??? Hey while we're at it lets put the issue of woman voting up for debate too!

I wanted Paul Martin to be taught a lesson and go down in a ball of flames but if this guy is the other option I'll stick with the criminals.

Harper just lost the election and unfortunately Paul Martin might have just got his majority.

Posted by: Justin | 2005-11-30 9:51:00 AM

If gay marriage was the principle matter of interest to most Canadians you'd have a point.

But for most of us it is hardly the predominant issue on which to base our ballot selection.

If it's all YOU want to vote on, do so. However THIS "idiot" has a few issues that seem far more relevant to how I want my country run thank you very much.


Posted by: Zeppo | 2005-11-30 9:58:43 AM

Stick with the criminals Justin but they will not win.

Posted by: metalguru | 2005-11-30 10:00:17 AM

This was a big mistake on the part of the media. This story will get old real fast and the Conservatives can move on to real issues. Liberals pulled the trigger too early on this one.

Just so I get a turn beating this dead horse: take marriage out of the realm of law altogether. Call it a "registered domestic partnership", make it open to anyone, give it the same tax laws, etc. Then it won't be an issue. Small-government types will like it. Separation-of-church-and-state types will like it. Religious folks can save the term "marriage", meaning a sacrament.

Posted by: Norman Lorrain | 2005-11-30 10:27:52 AM

Zeppo- Justin is one of the few people on this blog who does nothing but insult; he has nothing substantial to say. The others insult Ontarians; he insults everyone, and informs us how wise he is. A Robert McLelland is 'another Justin'. Ignore them.

Now, my point is that I don't think the one should elect/not-elect based on 'actions done in the past'. That is - corruptions, errors, have occurred, but something more important is at stake. I think that Canada is at a threshold phase in its history and it has to make some hard decisions - that have nothing to do with punishment for civil and/or criminal wrongdoing but have to do with the economic, political and social infrastructure of this country.

The issue is: do we want to retain the old political infrastructure (see the Star editorial of a day ago), based around:
1)a centralized political, economic, social infrastructure, with major decisions for the WHOLE country made by one central legislature, with the provinces embedded followers

2)economic equalization, which takes from resource or innovative rich areas and gives to resource/innovative poor areas

3)a gov't with most of the authority vested within appointments out of one office - unvetted, unaccountable, unelected

4)bilingualism to promote homogeneity

Just consider those four areas:
1)A centralized gov't which makes all key decisions is viable only in a small population and - in a small geographic territory. Centralization worked a generation ago, when Canada had a population of 11 million, most of it in the 'heritage founding areas' of Quebec and Ontario.
It won't work in a terrain - with such a vast geography as Canada, when the population has tripled, when the economy has shifted to the West.

This requires decentralization, with self-organization of the economy and social issues, decided by the population who are directly affected by these decisions. The Liberals are all about centralization. I maintain that it is a full generation, demographically and economically, out of date. Dangerously out of date. The Soviet Union tried to centralize a vast territory under a homogeneous ideology. It won't work. These are basic priniples of economic and political structure - nothing specific to Canada. Centralization won't work in a population of our size and geographic spread.

2)Equalization is disastrous for an industrial economy. It is valid only for a no-growth peasant economy, which must ensure that no kin group gains control of the resources. A larger population will require asymmetry of resource control.
An industrial economy requires surplus to be removed from daily use and invested in longterm future oriented projects..where you don't see the results for many years. Therefore, your economy must enable a proportion of the population to be 'unequal' and accumulate wealth to invest. Otherwise - you can't be an industrial economy.

Canada does not enable its population to acquire this class of investors. Therefore, it relies on foreign investment to carry out the long term future oriented industrial dev't. That means that Canada becomes econmically and financially a depdnent economy. On the US - and - if we don't allow our own population to accumulate and invest - we'll have to ask China and India to build our factories for us. If we don't allow Alberta, Ontario, BC, to accumulate surplus - and invest - then, we'll have to ask non-Canadians to do it for us.

Furthermore, equalization, by removing the ability of people to accumulate so they can invest and then, pouring that into non-resource rich areas, sets up fake economies in these 'have-not' areas. It makes them forever dependent and keeps a fake population base there. It is better to allow that area to self-develop an economy that is located THERE, where the money comes from THERE, and supports a valid not fake population base. If you require Ottawa to pump in money for a make work project, to support a town of 30,000 - and that town doesn't develop an economy that would, using local resources, support 15,000 - you are in trouble. That town becomes forever dependent.

3)Our gov't is no longer a democracy. The electorate has lost control of decision-making, for the elected portion of gov't is only about 300, while the unelected appointments are about 3,000. Most decisions are made by these unelected appointments - and are out of any control by the electorate. This has to be stopped.

4) Homogeneity. Bilingualism is a disaster; it has effectively barred 80% of the population from key authoritative positions. It's one generation after its imposition, and we have reached a threshold of bilingualism. Only 10% of the 80% anglophone population are bilingual. About 45% of the francophone population are. That means that the majority of the Canadian population are barred from key gov't posts. That's not a democracy.

It is these basic issues that have to be addressed.
Do we want a political structure of centralization, homogeneity, all citizens of one middle-middle class, and with the electorate with no power? Or -do we want to decentralize power, to give decision-making power to the people who are affected by decisions, and - do we want to enable Canada to control its future, rather than foreign investors?

Posted by: ET | 2005-11-30 10:40:28 AM

That has always been the problem in that the term "marriage" has both civil and religeous meanings. And from a purely legal point of view your concept has merit.

Where the difficulty lies is that the term marriage in and of itself has an emotional meaning that is unconveyed by the secular partnership terms and so is a hard sell to the public.

Because the extension of your idea would be the notion that those hetro couples married in purely civil ceremonies would also be expected to give up their use of that word.

Already churches argue as to whos "marriages" they deem valid. Divorcees, for example, might only get their union blessed or may go to a civil ceremony for a subsequent union and be deemed not to be married by their own congregations even while all concerned treat them as a married couple and refer to the spouses as husband and wife.

Which is to say that the purely legal framework you propose still leaves the question open as to who gets to call themselves married.

In my opinio, trying to solve this issue by removing the word marriage from the secular lexicon only risks alienation of a lot of people.

And from my point of view, if you are going to allow them the same rights you might as well give them the word. To be honest, whether a gay couple down the block has a piece of paper or not really doesn't impact my life or my marriage, so I am rather indifferent to this issue - except where proposed solutions risk DIRECT impact on my own marriage as yours would.

Because I was married in a civil ceremony, and you can rest assured that I consider myself to be married.

Posted by: zeppo | 2005-11-30 10:49:25 AM

zeppo: "You guys should listen to yourselves."

'kay. If we say nice things about Torontonians will you vote Conservative?

Posted by: greenmamba | 2005-11-30 11:11:46 AM

No mamba, I'm not asking you to suck up to me nor am I succeptible to such a simplistic sales technique. No - Flattery won't much help. Especially false flattery.

However insults are a sure-fired way to alienate voters that you WANT to have on board.

So how about you do neither and instead discuss the issues? You know - treat people with the same respect that you would expect.

Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: Zeppo | 2005-11-30 11:19:15 AM

There was a debate on SSM. It happened in 1999 though, when the house voted 218 to 55 to preserve the traditional definition of marriage.
There must have been more than one or two Liberals who voted for it.
Odd how the media seem to have overlooked that.


Posted by: Virgil | 2005-11-30 11:19:37 AM

A centralised gov't is not the issue, per se. The issue is who is governed. A central authority has existed for centuries in China, because of the homogeneous nature of the people. It did not work in the USSR, not because of the ideology, but because of the heterogenous ethnicity of that polity. Solidarity in Poland arose not in resistance to socialism, but because of attempted Russification. The same sense of ethnic kinship was seen in Estonia, Lithuania, the Ukraine and Chechnya with the same desire, to resist Russification.

Canada's failings stem from its origins as a bifurcated ethnic state. If the British had finished the job of the French diaspora, centralisation would not be an issue.

The erosion of freedoms in Canada, (as outlined by J.S. Mill in his treatise On Liberty) are long in the making. Drummond Wren was the thin end of the wedge, curtailing freedom of association, becoming an issue because of the growing diversity of Canadian immigration. A heterogeneous society will erode freedoms.

Bilingualism is a disaster, but not because of an attempt to bring homogeneity, but the exact opposite. It was an appeasement plan that rewarded ethnocentrism in return for unity. It is the constant theme of liberalism over the past century of Canadian politics. Appeasement for unity, from King to Martin, its resonance has not wavered.

Equalization payments would not be an issue in a homogeneous society because of ethnic altruism. It's the fact that Quebecers, an outgroup, (Catholic and French)receive such largess from the ingroup (English and Protestant) that rankles so many. If it were only Maritimers getting the benefits, no one would much care. Why, because of ethnic alturism.

Posted by: DJ | 2005-11-30 12:51:24 PM

DJ- you are trapped in 'pseudo-science'. Your reduction of social behaviour to genetic causality - is false. Genes do not direct social behaviour. There is no gene for 'ethnic altruism'. None. The books you read may posit it, but words can say anything. It takes scientific, empirical, controlled experimental proof. And, there isn't any such proof.

You are not, yourself, a biologist, and don't know anything about the transformation of the genetic data to protein behavior. It isn't a direct linearity.

Posted by: ET | 2005-11-30 1:09:54 PM

No one said there is a gene for 'ethnic altruism.' Sure, behavioural outcomes are always mediated by multiple causes. However, genetic similarity plays a clear role in social behaviour. It's shared genes, genetic similarity which drives social behaviour. Moreover, as Rushton has demonstrated, shared genes can govern the degree to which an ideology is adopted, a point that Marx failed to address. The more consanguinous the society the greater the power of genetic similarity.

However, the ultimate measure of success for humans is not production, but reproduction. Thus, it matters little if there is not a direct linearity.

Posted by: DJ | 2005-11-30 2:37:55 PM

No, DJ - there is no correlation between genes and ideology. There is no correlation between genes and social behaviour. It simply hasn't been proven. It may be asserted (as Rushton and Salter assert) but there is no empirical proof.
We cannot say, for example, that because a population shares some similar genes, that they will share social beliefs. That would deny the particular unique quality of human cognition, which is - symbolic rather than indexical.

Rushton and Salter's focus on 'similar genes' imply 'similar thoughts' is what is called an 'indexical relation'. This means a physical link between the two. But human cognition is not indexical (as it is in the lower biological species); it is symbolic. There is no indexical link; the thoughts are 'free' of biology, and therefore, we can 'think anything'.

If human cognition were indexical, and bonded to a genetic composition, then, no-one could ever think anything different! There would be no innovation, no scientific advances - which require people to reject normative ideas and think differently.

As for success being tied, not to production, but to reproduction - I disagree. I think that a society of 100 million people who cannot think except in a robotic 'everyone agrees' manner cannot last.

Production of innovative ideas, however, is a measurement of success. It enabled, for example, a switch from human to animal labour, and the use of the deep plough, which greatly increased the crop production in Europe..and so on. So, people trying out different things, enables production to increase...

Posted by: ET | 2005-11-30 2:50:06 PM

" If gay marriage was the principle matter of interest to most Canadians you'd have a point."

Zeppo - you missed my point.

Support for SSM is code for 'tolerance' which is code for 'Canadian.' The opposite is 'intolerance' which is code for 'American'.

That Harper would even bring up SSM and a free vote proves that he's going to make it an issue - to the detriment of the campaign and to the country. SSM is a non-issue - I agree - but to most wingnuts (like the ShotDumbers) it's very important.

It's so so absurd to even bring up the issue anymore. It's done people - the good guys won - so let's just move on.

Posted by: Justin | 2005-11-30 3:11:53 PM

J-J-J-J-uh-st-eeeee!s back! Huzzah!

(Still waitin' for your "what the Americans are doing in Iraq is way worse than what Kim "steamroller" Jong does in Korea and Saddam "acid hot tub" Hussein did in Iraq" post, Jus - surely you've had enough time to reflect by now, non?)


As to Harper "bringing up" SS"M", c'mon Justy, it only happened yesterday - I know your memory's better than that - it was one of those behemoths of objective, unbiased journalism, a Corpse reporter, who "brought it up" by asking Harper a question about it.

Perhaps your homophobia is clouding your recollection, Just, my boy. Please refrain in the future from referring to those heartwarming SS nuptuals as "3,000 odd marriages" and alienating our fellow lesbian/transgendered/sexually disoriented travellers by stating "the good GUYS won" the ephemerel SS"M" debate.

Posted by: Great Walls of Fire | 2005-11-30 3:40:05 PM

ET - How can there be no correlation between genes and behaviour when an UCLA mapped how genes affected brain structure, and intelligence? After tracking 9,500 pairs of twins, born between 1940 and 1957, the team was "stunned to see that the amount of gray matter in frontal brain regions was strongly inherited, and also predicted an individual’s IQ score."

Herrnstein and Murray documented extensively the impact IQ had upon behaviour.

"The most extensive clinical studies of neglectful mothers have been conducted by Norman Polansky...He described the typical neglectful mother as follows:

She is of limited intelligence (IQ below 70), has failed to achieve more than an eighth-grade education, and has never held....employment.... She has at best a vague, or extremely limited idea of what her children need emotionally and physically. She seldom is able see things from the point of view of others and cannot take their needs into consideration when responding to a conflict they experience."

Clearly such an individual is not 'free of biology' and cannot 'think anything'. Her behaviour is directly governed by her IQ and her IQ is clearly predictable, and inherited, using the empirical data derived by the UCLA study, based upon the bounty of gray matter in her frontal brain region.

Posted by: DJ | 2005-12-01 12:41:23 AM

Who did you say did that study? Oh yeah....the UCLA! The union of Christian loathing Americans.

Posted by: Andrew | 2005-12-01 2:26:41 AM

DJ - You are using the wrong variables.

This woman's low IQ, which may or may not be inherited is not predictive of her social behaviour. A low IQ parent can produce an average IQ offspring and vice versa. Then, all that the IQ is defining, is the parameters of COGNITIVE ability, not social behaviour. So, the individual might be unable to make logical connections, such that IF you don't feed the child, THEN the child will become ill. This is a cognitive connection not a form of social behaviour...even though the cognitive act is expressed in a social setting.

You can have two individuals, both with exactly the same average IQ, and one can behave in an altruistic manner and the other can behave in a selfish manner. Nothing to do with IQ, obviously, and nothing to do with genes.

Social behaviour is, as the term suggests, social - which means that it is learned. There can be some families where altruism is a deep value, and some families where it is not. Same with societies - and this is usually related to the economic mode.

Posted by: ET | 2005-12-01 7:39:47 AM


A lot of sociopathic serial killers have high IQ's. What's your connection to behaviour?

An IQ can make you a more effective creep but can't take the creep part out if it's there.

How bout this: I have a friend (oldest son) who's younger brother is a crook. The youngest child (his sister) and my friend both turned out to be moral, upstanding citizens. The middle child is a creep.

You pass on sets of genes that are not exact replicas of yourself. You mix and match with another person. Each sperm and egg has a different set of genes from your respective collections. When put together, you get a randomly determined set of genes (only part is random, everyone shares a core set which makes us function.)

There are genes that are recessive which only come out rarely (blond hair and blue eyes are both recessive genes, have one blond gene and one brown gene and you end up with brown hair - thus the hair dye dept. at the pharmacy.) A dominant gene (like brown hair) is one where the trait will occur with just one occurance out of the two sets of genes. There are also lots of genes that equate to defects which is why you shouldn't marry your sister. The odds on you passing on a defect increase if you inbreed - sorry Scott, you're screwed.

Your genetic make-up can effect behaviour (this is well established ET) but since these genes are common across humanity, race is not an issue in determining behaviour. Neither are you pre-determined to be just like your parents.

More importantly, you can take a white male baby and raise him in the West Bank by a terrorist family and there is an equal chance that the guy will self-detonate with a native-born person.

Take an Arab from the West Bank and raise him in a western family in Calgary and he'll turn into a good, law-abiding and productive citizen. Culture and values has at least - if not more - to do with determining behaviour than genetics.

The idea of using an example of a person with an IQ of 70 is specious. This is an outlier and is thus not representative any more than a super-genius would be (and both can end up criminals. The genius would just be better at it.)

In the Nature/Nature debate, click "all of the above" to what determines behaviour. Everything (including diet) has an effect on the physiology and functioning of the brain.

And, as someone who went to UWO, I can tell you that Phillip Rushton is a crank who gets his research grants from racist organizations. He's the Klan's in-house propagandist. He's not worth quoting if you want to be taken seriously.

He even tried to use the century-old technique of measuring head size. He's an idiot. I don't know how he ever got himself employed - never mind tenure.

Posted by: Warwick | 2005-12-01 8:32:00 AM

I agree with most of what you say, Warwick, - including diet and various other chemical stimuli but I'm still open to debate about genes and behaviour.

I don't think that it's been scientifically established that there is a direct link between genes and behaviour. The problem is that so much of human behaviour is learned and it's difficult to separate out the innate from the learned.

There can indeed be, for example, a familial trait, i.e., a chemical state, for violent and rapid reaction to stimuli versus a slow reaction to stimuli, but how this is expressed may well be learned. And, as you say, these genes (e.g. rapid/slow reaction) are common across humanity, therefore race and ethnic grouping are not relevent.

For example, among hunting and gathering economies, e.g. in Africa, altruism or sharing, is the key infrastructure of the society. All food is shared, no matter who was the hunter or gatherer. In larger populations, the sharing moves into the family or kin group. This same people, when their population becomes larger, change their social interactions.

In yet larger, the exchange moves outside the kin group and the links develop as trade between others. In the largest populations, the group identities dissolve, and the economy and social interactions move between individuals. Social behaviour is not genetic but depends on the population and economic mode.

I agree with you about Rushton. It's called 'academic freedom'.

Posted by: ET | 2005-12-01 8:57:44 AM

The literature I read in university said that genes INFLUENCE behaviour, it was not an absolute pre-determination of outcome. Nature, nurture and environment all influence the outcome and shape the person.

I personally believe that there are genes (or at least chromosome damage - fetal alcohol type stuff) that can cause things like psychopathic personalities. I believe that there is a biological deficiency in these people.

Lots of bad people had good parents and good upbringing in a good community. There is something beyond nurture in these cases.

Posted by: Warwick | 2005-12-01 9:55:18 AM

In reply to Warwick - yes, there is something beyond nurture but science still doesn't know what and where. I am certainly opposed to the 'nurture is everything' school, for I don't accept that a biological entity is a lump of plasticine to be moulded as one wishes. That's been shown to be false; there's something more than 'nurture'

In fetal alcohol syndrome, and other syndromes, there is clear evidence of brain damage. That's different. The questions concern differences in personality between two people whose brains are not damaged. What causes the differences? And, what causes similarities? We still don't know. It's a combination and we still don't fully know how cells communicate, how neurons communicate; we know they do - but the literature is full of tests and conclusions. It's still an early science.

As for group behaviour, that's learned. Individual behaviour is part genetic, part learned. Group behaviour is learned. That's where some people mix things up - between the individual and the collective.

Posted by: ET | 2005-12-01 10:07:45 AM

CTV promotes their election blog as 'unfiltered'. They then proceed to pre-read and filter all posts. I've noticed almost all the comments on the CTV blog are pro liberal and especially anti Harper. Any comments I have attempted never made it to the blog and they were very considerate. Liberals win again I guess. Shame on CTV. Write them and let them know what you think about their 'unfiltered' blog.

Posted by: Chazz | 2005-12-01 10:23:20 AM

Yep...Mainstream Media is dominated by LIberal Sentiment.
CBC - paid for with our taxes uses postition to promote Liberal position and consistently displays anti- conservative POV.
If I could I would....Shut Down The CBC.
I do not appreciate my tax dollars being use to fund a propoganda machine for left wing causes.
See My Blog>>>>> http://ommag.blogspot.com/

Posted by: PGP | 2005-12-01 6:05:24 PM

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