By John-Henry Westen

OTTAWA, January 25, 2006 ( – If you believe CBC News or the Conservative Party spokesman in New Brunswick prior to election day, the Conservative party is “not against same-sex marriage”. In reality, official Conservative Party policy states explicitly that “A Conservative Government will support legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

A CBC News story last week, “Wayne, Conservatives disagree on same-sex marriage”, tried to paint former Conservative MP Elsie Wayne, who is now campaigning for traditional marriage, as at odds with the party on the issue.Â

For comment the CBC went to Richard Bell, identified as the spokesman for the Party.ÂCBC presented Wayne as speaking “against same sex marriage” and noting that “the party shared her views.”Â

After quoting Wayne onÂthe moral and other aspects of homosexuality unrelatedÂto the partyÂpolicy, the report goes back to Party representative Bell who told CBC “That certainly doesn’t reflect anything that the Conservative Party of Canada holds as a value system, I can tell you that.” contacted Bell to ensure CBC quoted him accurately as saying the party is not against same sex marriage, and he said that was a fair assessment.“All that Stephen Harper has promised is that the House of Commons will have a free vote on the issue,” Bell told CBC.

CBC ends with Wayne saying the party does hold a pro-marriage position withoutÂaffirming thatÂofficial party policyÂconfirms her statment.

The official Conservative Party policy on the issue, passed by a 75% majority at the Conservative convention, states, “A Conservative Government will support legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”Â

When read the policy to Bell he reacted saying, “How old is that?” When informed it was the policy agreed to at the founding and only convention of the new Conservative Party, Bell replied, “Yup, that’s fine.”

He explained the discrepancy noting he was referring to the party election platform which only emphasized the free vote promise rather than the overall support for traditional marriage stated in the Party policy book.