By Patrick B. Craine
OTTAWA, Ontario, October 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Canadian government is set to insert references to Canada’s recognition of homosexual “marriage” and “rights” into a revision of its study guide for immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship, reports Postmedia.
The current version of “Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship,” released last November, makes no mention of homosexual “rights.” It does, however, include a photo of Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury that identified him as a homosexual activist. The new study guide replaced the 1995 version developed by the Liberals.
Rick Dykstra, parliamentary secretary for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, told Postmedia that a new version of the guide will mention same-sex “marriage” and Canada’s prohibitions against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Though Dykstra said the wording has yet to be decided, he noted that it would be similar to that added in the summer to the country’s “Welcome to Canada”document.
That document points out that homosexuals are protected from “unjust discrimination” and that they have been granted the right to civil “marriage.” It notes, further, that religious institutions cannot be compelled to perform such “marriages.”
Dykstra called the government’s move a “very, very good step forward.” “As with everything else, the potential for evolution and improvement is there,” he told Postmedia.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, had previously stated, “We can’t mention every legal decision, every policy of the government of Canada,” he told the Canadian Press after the document’s release. “We try to be inclusive and include a summary. I can tell you that if you were to read the old book, you wouldn’t even know that there are gay and lesbian Canadians.”
New Democrat MP Olivia Chow, one of the leading critics of the current version, said the government conceded in the face of political pressure. Nevertheless, she criticized the fact that the government would mention that religious institutions do not have to perform same-sex “marriages.”
“I wouldn't have put it in there, but I suppose if the whole notion of religious freedom is also a right, so if some people feel that because they don't want their mosque to marry lesbian couples, then that's up to the mosque,” she told Xtra.
“It's something that I'm very pleased that they're finally getting around to restoring, but they're only doing it because of pressure and outrage from opposition parties and from rights groups across the country,” Justin Trudeau, the Liberals’ immigration critic, told Xtra. “They're Conservatives … They're not comfortable with the Charter, and it shows up in a whole bunch of ways.”
Dave Quist, executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, said that while his organization supports true marriage, he considers it appropriate for the government to recognize the current legality of same-sex “marriage.”
“We have to acknowledge that civil marriages for homosexual couples is legal in the country,” he told LifeSiteNews. “To acknowledge that it exists in Canada is – while I don’t condone same-sex marriage – it is appropriate to the government document to at least acknowledge that it exists in the country.”
But Brian Rushfeldt, president of Canada Family Action, took a different view, insisting that even the current version is being used inappropriately to promote homosexuality. “The government has caved to homosexual pressure and puts in a picture of a homosexual,” he said, referring to Tewksbury’s photo.
“Will the guide include pictures of heterosexuals announcing they are activists promoting one man one woman marriage?” asked Rushfeldt. “Will they use a picture of a priest as an activist promoting opposition to abortion? What about a doctor opposing euthanasia?”
By promoting homosexuality above normal sexuality, the government is engaging in “discrimination against heterosexuals and [giving] an unfair picture of Canada as a whole,” said Rushfeldt. “If they discriminate against heterosexuals then the government should be challenged also.”
LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from Citizenship and Immigration Canada by press time.
Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
325 East Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Email: [email protected]
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
80 Wellington Street
E-mail: [email protected]
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Pro-Life Canadian Minister Blocks References to 'Homosexual Rights' in Citizenship Guide