O T T A W A
Dear Concerned Canadian:
Re: Protection of Marriage and Bill C-250
Hundreds of you have written to me expressing your strong views about preserving the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. Many others have written to me concerning the potential impact of Bill C-250 on religious expression. [Bill C-250 is a private member’s bill of Svend Robinson, M.P., to include “sexual orientation” as an identifiable group in the hate crimes sections of the Criminal Code.]
Many of you have asked, what can I do? This letter contains my advice to you in answer to that question. While this letter deals specifically with the issue of actions to take to preserve the traditional definition of marriage, much of the advice is equally applicable to Bill C-250, although on a much more urgent basis, as it is scheduled to be voted on at third and final reading on September 18, 2003. The nine action items listed on page 3 must be done immediately in so far as Bill C-250 is concerned. The letter is lengthy and I may have worded it in a somewhat confusing manner, but I ask you to read it a few times to get the general idea, and then discuss it with others. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to write to me and ask.
I will set out what I believe are the two most likely scenarios in the future. Only time will tell which of these will occur; or possibly something else, which I have not foreseen, will happen. I will then set out specific steps that I suggest you take to deal with each scenario, and finally, some steps you can take IMMEDIATELY, pending the passage of time revealing how this matter unfolds.
First, I will set out some facts and dates which are important.
1. The federal government has announced it will not appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal decision which permits “marriage” between people of the same sex, by redefining the definition as “the union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.” This means that, at present, the law, in Ontario, is that two persons of the same sex can be “married.” For this to apply across Canada, the federal government will have to pass a law providing that “two persons” can marry, as the federal government has sole jurisdiction under our Constitution on the question of the capacity to marry.
2. Parliament will not resume until approximately September 15, 2003.
3. The federal government has announced a three-step process to implement its plan.
a. It has prepared a draft bill. I enclose a copy of the Justice Minister’s News Release, and enclosures, including the wording of the draft bill.
b. It has submitted a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada. The questions are included in the enclosures.
c. Once the Supreme Court has rendered its decision and the law is fine tuned, the legislation will be placed before Parliament (House of Commons and the Senate) for the usual consideration and the final FREE VOTE. However, remember that the legislation will contain a Hobson’s choice. If one votes against it because one is against same-sex “marriage”, one is also voting against the provisions “protecting” Churches from performing such ceremonies. If one votes in favour of the legislation in order to “protect” Churches, one will also be voting in favour of same-sex “marriage” being allowed in Canada. This is a standard government tactic (regardless of which party is in power) to try to “coerce” or “convince” reluctant M.P.s to vote in favour of otherwise unpalatable legislation. This tactic is currently being used regarding Bill C-13 (an Act respecting reproductive technologies) which supposedly bans cloning, while permitting experimentation on human embryos.
4. A new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada will be chosen by card-carrying Liberals on November 15, 2003. That person will become the Prime Minister at some point thereafter, depending on when the current Prime Minister decides to step down and whether or not any interventions come from the Governor General. (This is another topic which cannot be the subject matter of this letter.) In any event, the transition should occur no later than February, 2004.
5. There is no guarantee that the new Prime Minister will follow the present government’s timetable or plan, as outlined in 1 – 3 above.
6. A federal election will occur, most probably in 2004, (possibly in the Spring), but no later than the end of 2005.
Matters proceed as outlined in 1 – 3 above and the matter is voted on, in both the House of Commons and the Senate PRIOR TO A DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT in preparation for the next federal election. The law either passes or does not.What Can You Do Under Scenario I?
You must do the following, as soon as possible.
1. Every concerned Canadian MUST write to their own Member of Parliament, expressing your view and that of those for whom you speak, such as your family, your Church groups, your bowling club etc.
2. The letter must contain a request for your Member of Parliament to respond and tell you where he or she stands on this issue. Either he or she is in favour of the traditional definition of marriage or in favour of same-sex “marriage”. I enclose a copy of a 1999 motion to preserve and protect the traditional definition of marriage, together with those M.P.s who voted for or against. In the 2000 federal election, did you vote for any M.P., who voted “NO”? If so, why? Is your M.P. one of those who voted “YES.”? If so, ask if he or she is still of the same mind and if not, why not? There can be no middle ground. Do not be fooled by attempts to not take a position by using phrases like “It’s not up to me, the courts have decided.” That is hogwash. If that were true, the government would not be proceeding with its three-step process to implement its plan, set out on page 2.
3. Continue to call and/or write until you receive an answer from your M.P.
4. Communicate the answer, whatever it is, or indeed the fact that your M.P. refused to answer, to as many people as possible who live and vote in his or her constituency.
5. Insist that your M.P. stand and be counted, one way or the other, when the free vote comes. Understand that a free vote is just that, your M.P. will be able to vote in whatever manner he or she wishes. Explain that missing the vote by “hiding behind the curtains” or “being ill” or “being out of the country” or “abstaining” will not be acceptable to you and that this vote will determine your vote in the next election. After all, surely it is reasonable that an M.P. should stand or fall on such a crucial and bedrock issue.
6. When it comes time to vote in the next federal election (see Scenario II below) put your vote where your pen has been, and vote accordingly.
7. Communicate your views to local newspapers, your clergy, your family, your friends, local radio call-in shows and to whomever you can get your message across.
8. If your current M.P. actively and openly supports your views of the traditional definition of marriage, then support that M.P. with encouragement, prayers, campaign contributions and volunteerism, both now and in the next election.
9. Encourage as many others as possible to do the above eight items.
For various reasons, political and/or judicial, the proposed legislation is neither passed nor defeated, prior to the next federal election.
While I think Scenario II is more likely, actions must be taken as if Scenario I will occur, and other actions can be taken as events unfold.
What Can You Do Under Scenario II?
Remember that, under this Scenario, a vote on the legislation has not yet occurred and a federal election has been called.
I set out for you the steps I suggest you should be taking to try to ensure that the result of the next federal election will be a large majority of Members of Parliament who are prepared to vote in favour of preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.
1. Determine what the official Party policy of each federal political party is on the issue of same-sex “marriage.” You can contact the Parties directly, check their websites or ask an M.P. who is a member of that Party. As I am a Liberal M.P., I can tell you that, at its last Policy Convention, the Liberal Party of Canada [which is distinct for the Government of Canada] defeated a resolution calling on the Party to support same-sex “marriage.” Once you determine the official position of each Party, do not support a Party if its official position is in favour of same-sex “marriage.”
2. As soon as possible, join the party of your choice which either actively supports the traditional definition of marriage or at least does not have an official party policy supporting same-sex “marriage”. By doing so, you will be in a better position to assess the current M.P., as well as aspiring candidates for the position of candidate of the party in the next federal election.
3. When the federal election is called and you are called upon to vote, you must set aside party loyalty and examine the stance of each candidate to determine if that candidate supports your view of the traditional definition of marriage. If only one does, the logical choice is for you to vote for that person, REGARDLESS OF WHICH PARTY THAT PERSON REPRESENTS.
4. If you are fortunate enough to have two or more candidates in your Riding who publicly support marriage as we have always known it, you will be truly lucky. In this event, you can examine each candidate’s record and party platform among other indicators, and make your voting choice based on whatever criteria you establish.
5. Suppose you are in a Riding where no candidate publicly supports the traditional definition of marriage? What to do? Spoiling your ballet is not an option, in my view, as it is the complete waste of a vote. Rather, you should assess the candidates and try to determine which one is the “least risk”, and/or which party is the most likely, as a party, to support marriage and cast your vote accordingly. STEPS TO TAKE IMMEDIATELY
These steps are equally applicable for Bill C-250, and either Scenario I or II regarding same sex “marriage”.
1. Contact your M.P. by letter, advising of your position and letting the M.P. know that your vote in the next election will be determined by his or her public actions on the issue.
2. Always be respectful, polite, non-judgemental and non-confrontational in your dealings with politicians or aspiring politicians, yet be neither afraid nor embarrassed about your beliefs or your actions.
3. Mean what you say! In other words, do not just talk the talk, rather walk the walk. Vote based on the M.P.‘s public position on this issue.
4. Communicate the contents of this letter to as many like-minded individuals in Canada as possible.
5. Encourage each other.
6. Support those who support you and work against those who do not. This includes moral, physical and financial support. Understand that those who take the opposite point of view on this issue will do likewise, only in reverse.
7. Concentrate on the PERSON, not the PARTY, to determine which candidate(s) will most closely represent your views.
Understand that the advice in this letter is neither simple to follow, nor conventional. There are many excuses one can make as to why the advice is wrong or debatable. However, just remember that while the rest of us have been debating, or have been just plain asleep, those advocating same-sex “marriage” have been hard at work, with a well-defined strategy.
Provided there is an alternative candidate, if anyone reading this letter knowingly votes for someone who is publicly advocating same-sex “marriage”, regardless of what justification one uses, then that person need look no further than their own mirror to answer the question “What’s happening to this country?”
The choice is yours. What kind of Canada do you want after the next federal election? Whatever that future is, it will have been decided by the actions of Canadians who care enough not just to complain, but to act. The only question will be, which side of the issue will muster the most votes?
Remember the saying, “we get the government we deserve”.
Yours very truly,
TOM WAPPEL, M.P.