TORONTO, September 19, 2003 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an interview with LifeSite Friday, leading pro-life Member of Parliament, Tom Wappel, stated that Bill C-250, which passed Third Reading in the House on Wednesday, is “a terribly dangerous piece of legislation” and that “It should not have passed”. The Bill added undefined “sexual orientation” to the list of items protected under federal hate crime law. Asked why the bill received such a surprisingly strong vote, Wappel responded, “contrary to previous justice ministers and even policy of four months ago, the justice minister issued a piece of paper at the time of the vote indicating that both he and the justice department support the bill. That’s why it passed.” Wappel expanded that as of May of last year the government’s clear policy was to attempt to “kill the bill” but the government completely reversed its policy to the point where Paul Macklin, who was in May and is now the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, actually stood up in the House and clapped in favour of Svend Robinson and his bill. The four-term Liberal MP told LifeSite that “Svend was very adept at getting supporters, including the Right Honourable Joe Clark and others and dissident Roman Catholic priests”, to make arguments that the bill would not be against freedom of religion but would protect against people such as U.S. based extremist Fred Phelps who carries signs such as “God hates fags”. Wappel noted that media coverage around the time of the vote tended to conveniently emphasize Phelps, when in fact the man and his views were not at all representative of C-250 opponents.
Wappel holds little hope that C-250 can be stopped in the Senate. He stated, “My judgement is that it will sail through the Senate, without amendment, and therefore will not come back to the House for a vote and therefore will pass and we will rue the day.” As for a court challenge to the bill, the MP stated, “The only time it will be challenged is when a decision will be rendered which no one thought would be made. And then it will be a different government’s turn.” Wappel does feel there is reasonable hope that C-250 can be reversed under another government. “At least it is arguably not a matter for the constitution,” he says. “That is, if we change the law once, we can change it back again. Where we run into a problem is if it is suddenly deemed to be a constitutional issue.” It is hard not to be cynical, especially when expected supporters often cave in or even pull the rug out from under faithful pro-family MPs in the House, indicated the Member for Scarborough Southwest. But, he added, “I just had a nice visit from a couple of Protestant pastors in the constituency who were very supportive and that buoyed my spirits.”
Wappel’s last comment confirmed what many MPs have previously told social conservative lobbyists. Elected members, who are faithful to life and family in politics, receive far too little direct encouragement from pro-life, pro-family Canadians. It is a tough and often lonely role in the current political culture. These men and women are significantly encouraged, they say, when people take the time to communicate, verbally or in writing, that they appreciate the positive things that the elected member has done. Tom Wappel can be reached at (613) 995-0284, (416) 261-8613 or [email protected] Constituency Office 462 Birchmount Road, Unit 1B Scarborough, ON M1K 1N8 Ottawa Office Room 115, East Block House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6