They are trying to turn Canada into a gulag. It is all being done, they claim, to "protect" marriage, just as others in the past, curtailed rights of Jews and blacks to protect "honour" and racial "purity". The Nuremberg Laws were introduced with the rationale that they were necessary in order to preserve the German people. Similar reasons have been given to justify the exclusion of gays and lesbians from marriage.
May 19, 2003
Charter Under Attack
Under the assumed authority of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms the
courts have moved beyond their traditional role as arbiters of legal disputes
and into the realm of policy making. Indeed, they have become politicians."
created by the speech we have just heard is misleading and could risk damaging
the credibility of the institution of the Canadian courts and the public's confidence
in our system of justice as a whole."
With victories for same-sex marriage accumulating in the provincial courts, and as we come closer to our goal of equality, the rhetoric from right-wing extremists is becoming more desperate. The irrational and hate-filled arguments from our opponents are increasingly being seen as raw bigotry by most thoughtful Canadians. It is no longer acceptable to demonize or denigrate the gay community and attempts to do so make the offenders look mean and ignorant, as M.P. Elsie Wayne discovered last week.
A surrogate war on the Canadian Charter
In attacking the Supreme Court of Canada, these people are attempting to undermine the authority of the one place that will uphold the rights of Canadians when our own politicians refuse to do so. That is why we have a court with such authority. Otherwise the laws that govern our lives would be at the whim of politicians who pander for votes, and our Charter would be a meaningless piece of paper, empty words without any authority.
When the Supreme Court of Canada is attacked for upholding citizens rights, those who are conducting the attack are really running a campaign against our Charter and against Canadian citizens living under its protection. They are trying to turn Canada into a gulag. It is all being done, they claim, to "protect" marriage, just as others in the past, curtailed rights of Jews and blacks to protect "honour" and racial "purity". The Nuremberg Laws were introduced with the rationale that they were necessary in order to preserve the German people. Similar reasons have been given to justify the exclusion of gays and lesbians from marriage. Heterosexuality is something that societies need to actively "promote", or so claim the disturbing academics Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson(National Post, May 2, 2003). Their ludicrous implication is that the survival of our species depends on the protection of heterosexuals at the expense of homosexuals .
The Damage Done
As politicians continue to dodge their responsibilities in upholding the Charter, and then criticize the courts for adhering and complying with our rights, they are undermining the very foundation of our Canadian civilization.
The tactics of those opposed to equality have a dangerous and insidious impact. One year ago (Apr. 6, 2002), an Ipsos-Reid poll for CTV and the Globe and Mail found that 75% of Canadians believed their rights were better protected because of the charter and 70% trusted judges more than politicians to protect them. But a recent Ipsos-Reid survey, reported by CanWest News Service (May 12, 2003) revealed that two out of three Canadians think the Supreme Court of Canada is influenced by partisan politics.
It is politicians that have politicized human rights, not the courts. The irresponsible campaigns now underway are having an impact on the Canadian public because politicians across the political spectrum, but in particular, the Liberal party leaders (the Prime Minister, and the Justice Minister), have created a political climate, through their inaction and abdication of responsibilities, that enables opponents of justice to instill an impression in the Canadian public that undermines the decisions of our country's courts, and ultimately, weakens the foundation of our justice system: the Canadian Charter.
It is time for the Liberal party to step up to the responsibilities of governance, to step out from behind the robes of the judiciary, and speak up in defense of the Canadian Charter and the rights of all Canadian citizens. In their silence, the Justice Minister and the Prime Minister are undermining the authority of our highest court, and ultimately, our highest ideals.