OTTAWA, June 6, 2003 ( – The Canadian House of Commons saw one hour and 20 minutes of intense debate today on homosexual activist MP Svend Robinson’s Bill C-250 which seeks to add ‘sexual orientation to Canada’s hate crimes law. Today’s debate was the first part of the total of 2 hours or two sessions allotted to the bill before the vote on third and final reading and possible passage into law.  MPs Svend Robinson (NDP), Real Menard (BQ) and Joe Clark (PC) spoke in favour of the bill. Speaking against were Murray Calder (LIB), Vic Toews (CA), Carol Skelton (CA) and Tom Wappel (LIB).  *Note – all quotes below are from the draft text of the House of Commons Hansard. The final Hansard for today’s debate will be available Monday.

The debate began with MP Toews complaining about unfair rulings by the Committee Clerk’s Office against his amendments to the bill. He noted that Robinson “filibustered and allowed no one else to speak”.

Robinson later thanked supporters of his bill, including recent PC leader Joe Clark, new federal PC leader Peter MacKay, Police Chiefs and some religious leaders such as “a Catholic priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Dawson City, Yukon, Father Timothy Coonan, who wants to strongly support Bill C-250”. The bill is strongly opposed by the Canadian Catholic Bishops organization.

Speeches opposed to the bill were regularly heckled by Robinson. In response Vic Toews slammed the homosexual activist MP for having as his real agenda the suppression of opposite opinions.

Toews stated,  “I want to indicate that this is a member, the member for Burnaby-Douglas, who keeps on speaking about freedom of speech and every time someone tries to make a point he stands up and interrupts because he has no belief in freedom of speech. He is only concerned about a particular agenda. We all know what that agenda is and it has nothing to do with freedom or equality. It has everything to do with the suppression of people who disagree with him. That is unfortunate in a democracy, that this individual feels that only his point of view is a valid one”.  Tom Wappel emphasized that there is “absolutely no justification whatsoever” for Robinson’s proposed amendment to the criminal code, despite reasons given by Robinson. Wappel, a lawyer, stated, “the Criminal Code already provides that people can get an increased sentence if their motivation in beating someone up or killing them was because they were a homosexual. So in addition to the fact that the Criminal Code already provides penalties, it also provides increased penalties”.  Wappel quoted from a recent article by Canadian journalist Lorne Gunter warning of the broad, serious dangers of C-250 to free speech and freedom of religion:  “the danger from altering Section 318 comes via what it does to Section 319. By adding ‘sexual orientation’ to the protected categories enumerated in 318, Robinson’s bill has the effect of altering the definition of ‘identifiable groups’ in 319. And while 318 deals only with genocide, 319 makes it a federal offence to ‘communicate statements in any public place’ that would ‘wilfully promote hatred against any identifiable group’…Covered in Section 319 are all forms of hatred, not just the promotion of genocide. All forms of communication are covered, too, except ‘private conversation.’ Broadcasting, publishing and advertising are all covered; so are postings on the Internet. Indeed, speaking out against homosexuality would be forbidden in all ‘audible or visible means’ of communication. One day, even sermons delivered by priests, rabbis and imams could conceivably be forbidden to refer to homosexuality as sinful. Talking on the telephone could be covered, too, since telecommunications are federally regulated.”  Wappel concluded, “It goes on and on but it does say, ‘It is hardly fantastical to worry that an activist judge, armed with the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas’ law, could rule at the national level that all opinions troubling to gays are hateful, and none are protected, no matter what the Criminal Code says’”.  Robinson especially subjected Wappel to his heckling. The Scarborough MP responded by banging on his desk and blasted the hypocrisy of the gay rights advocate. He stated, “I am getting heckled by the hon. member. It is interesting the hon. member preaches tolerance and practises intolerance. He cannot even tolerate being in the same room as me when I do not even open my mouth. So shame on the hon. member…This is a place of debate where we listen to each other. I sat here. I listened to his speech. I have listened to other people’s speeches who are in favour of this bill. That is democracy and I ask the same respect from the hon. member… The only way the hon. member seems to be able to convince people is to shout them down and I will not have that in this House. This is a place of freedom of speech.”  Liberal MP Murray Calder related the huge public opposition to C-250 he has encountered. He stated, “in my 10 years as a member of Parliament, I have never seen an issue that has led to so many letters, e-mails and phone calls from across Canada. I have heard from hundreds of constituents and close to 10,000 Canadians from across the country, almost all opposed. Letters supporting this bill can be counted on one hand.”  Calder also expressed his special concern with the bill “in relation to the definitions of sexual orientation as well as inciting hatred.” He said,  “Is sexual orientation limited to homosexuals, or does it include those who practise other forms of sexual deviance, such as pedophiles? Are those not also sexual orientations? Am I a criminal if I express hate for those adults who prey upon children?” There has been a growing movement in Canada to legitimize pedophilia or what is called supposedly consensual “intergenerational sex”.  Sources have indicated that Svend Robinson has traded speaking time with another NDP associate, Wendy Lill. This has allowed the 2nd hour of report stage/3rd reading debate to be scheduled as early as next Wednesday in the hope that the bill will be passed before the current session ends for summer recess.  Those wishing to express support to the opposing MPs may contact:  Vic Toews: Telephone: (613) 992-3128; Fax: (613) 995-1049;  Email: [email protected].

Tom Wappel: Telephone: (613) 995-0284; Fax: (613) 996-6309;  Email: [email protected].

Murray Calder: Telephone: (613) 995-7813; Fax: (613) 992-9789;  Email: [email protected].

Derek Lee: Telephone: (613) 996-9681 Fax: (613) 996-6643 Email: [email protected]   Carol Skelton Telephone: (613) 995-1551 Fax: (613) 943-2010 Email: [email protected]   See comments on C-250 by Focus on the Family Canada