Advocacy News - Stephen Harper:
February 18, 2005
Harper: growing condemnation
views rejected: local and national
spokesperson for the Family Services Association (FSA)
of Toronto said Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper is dead wrong
to imply that gay and lesbian couples are unfit parents.
Savoie, Executive Director of FSA, was responding to Mr. Harper's
statement during the equal marriage debate yesterday where he noted
that both Netherlands and Belgium "legislated some differences in
same-sex marriage as opposed to opposite same-sex marriage in many
areas, but particularly in areas like adoption."
raising the adoption issue, Mr. Harper seems intent to suggest that
gay and lesbian people are unfit parents," said Yves Savoie of FSA.
"In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Study after study
shows that children of gays and lesbians do just as well as children
of opposite-sex couples and are no more likely to be gay or lesbian
Savoie pointed out that step-parent and third-party adoption rights
are already allowed in nine provinces and one territory in Canada
with courts ruling that the exclusion of same-sex couples from adoption
rights is unconstitutional. All provinces and territories permit
a single gay or lesbian person to adopt.
lingering attitudes of intolerance remain - including those promoted
by Mr. Harper - courts have considered expert evidence and decisively
rejected the view that being raised by a lesbian or gay person is
not in the child's best interest," said Mr. Savoie. "It is insulting
to all Canadians that Mr. Harper insists on furthering these stereotypes."
COMMUNITY LEADERS CONDEMN
HARPER'S DIVISIVE SPEECH
leaders in the Japanese-Canadian community say Harper was wrong
to play politics with an ancient historical wrong.
"By raising the issue of Japanese Canadian internment, Mr. Harper
is resorting to cheap political shots at deceased politicians rather
than facing the inconsistency of his position on human rights.
Professor Audrey Kobayashi of Queens University.
Dr. Kobayashi has been a National Director
of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, a member of the
team that negotiated Japanese Canadian redress, and a member of
the Advisory Committee of the Japanese Canadian National Museum
Canadians are keenly aware of the injustices of the past, and of
the politicians who perpetrated them. But the Japanese Canadian
redress agreement was not written based on cheap political shots
and retribution. When Brian Mulroney announced the settlement in
Parliament in 1988, he received a standing ovation because MPs from
every party recognized that the guarantee of human rights transcends
partisan politics. It was a sincere acknowledgement of past injustices,
and a blueprint for a future in which no Canadian should suffer
injustice or be deprived of human rights because of the actions
of his or her government. Bill C-38 should form part of that better
Hanazawa of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association
Human Rights Committee.
wrong to question Martin's faith
group: Challenge the Church
"Just because people
question some of the edicts that come from their church, it doesn't mean
that they are any less committed to their religion," says Helen Kennedy,
a former Toronto-area city councillor. Ms Kennedy speaks for Challenge
the Church, a Toronto-based group of progressive Canadian Catholics.
In his speech
to the Commons, Mr. Harper attacked Prime Minister Paul Martin's
comments about religious conviction by saying: "No one takes his
(Martin's) commitments to religion seriously anymore."
"How dare Mr.
Harper suggest that only those with whom he agrees have the correct
rejection of same sex civil marriage is regressive - a step backward
to times not so long ago, when civil rights were denied to Aboriginals,
Blacks, and Asians based on race. Although the fight against racism
and racial discrimination is far from over, supporting Bill C-38 for
equality rights in marriage for same sex partners IS today's civil
Judy Hanazawa of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens'
Association Human Rights Committee.
Ms. Kennedy pointed
out that many religious organizations - from reform Jewish rabbis to the
United Church of Canada - want to be able to perform same-sex marriages.
"When it comes to
issues like the ordination of women, the use of contraception or discrimination
against gays and lesbians, most Canadian Catholics disagree with the Vatican,"