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BILL TO ADD “SEXUAL ORIENTATION” TO HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION PASSES SECOND READING

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Liberals indicate support for Svend Robinson bill while Alliance does nothing   OTTAWA, June 5, 2002 (LSN.ca) - In an incredible blow to pro-family forces in Canada, homosexual activist MP Svend Robinson’s private member’s bill on “sexual orientation” passed second reading and was sent to committee.  With only about 15 Members present in the House of Commons May 29, Robinson’s Bill C-415 received unanimous support in the House. The bill expands the Criminal Code definition of identifiable groups relating to genocide (Section 318) and hate propaganda (Section 319) by including sexual orientation as an identifiable group,

Astonishingly, the supposedly small-c conservative Canadian Alliance Party did nothing to stop the bill from proceeding to second reading.  REAL Women’s Gwen Landolt who was present at the proceedings was later told by Alliance Justice critic, Vic Toews (Provencher) and Alliance Family Critic, Larry Spencer (Regina - Lumsden - Lake Centre), that the Alliance caucus had decided not to oppose the second reading passage of the bill.  Pro-family observers note that this purposeful inaction by the Alliance under new Party leader Stephen Harper appears to mark a complete reversal from the Party’s former actions on this issue.  Landolt, a lawyer and historically very accurate legislative analyst, stated that Robinson’s bill “may have grave, long-range implications for freedom of religion and for pro-family and faith based organizations in Canada.”  Landolt warned that if the Robinson bill is passed:  -  individuals could be subject to costly prosecutions, and religious publications could potentially be subject to censorship, or even prohibition.  - it will be a useful tool for organized homosexual rights activists to intimidate their adversaries.  - may well result in the closing down of full debate on the homosexual issue because of the vulnerability it creates for those pro-family and religious organizations opposed to the promotion of homosexuality.

- pro-family and religious organizations will be required to undergo costly court challenges and undoubtedly adverse publicity to defend their statements on the issue of certain homosexual lifestyle and practices.

During the debate, Conservative party spokesman, Mr. John Herron (Fundy-Royal NB) stated that his party supported the Bill. Moreover, MP Serge Marcil, (Beauharnois - Salaberry PQ), Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry, Allan Rock, said that he believed the Bill had merit and should be referred to Committee for discussion and review.  He also stated the Bill had the support of the Minister of Justice.  Landolt also records an interaction she witnessed in the House indicating that the Liberals support the bill. Liberal House Leader, Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West - Nepean) crossed the floor of the House of Commons during the debate and had a private discussion with Mr. Robinson. She then left the Chamber, likely to confer with the Prime Minister’s Office and returned shortly thereafter to confer again with Mr. Robinson. After the bill passed second reading and was sent to committee Robinson crossed the floor to Catterall and thanked her for her party’s support of his Bill.  Landolt told LifeSite that the bill would likely come up for third reading vote in October.

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