As reported previously in LifeSite. Reform MP Eric Lowther on February 15 accused the Liberals
of violating the integrity of Parliament by distributing the same-sex benefits bill, C-23, to
others, specifically the homosexual activist outfit EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbians
Everywhere) prior to introducing it in the House of Commons. Derek Lee, speaking on behalf of
the government, dismissed the complaint. Arguing that EGALE’s comments were constructed from
the general public knowledge that the Liberals were planning to move on this issue. “Quite
frequently the press is able to put together enough information about impending legislation to
write about it before the bill is actually introduced. That is one of the things that happened
in this case,” he argued.

Mr. Lowther, however, argued that EGALE must have been in possession of the actual legislation
because their “analysis comments on the terminology used in the bill. It comments on sections
of the bill that were included and parts that were omitted. It talks about a detailed analysis
of this bill.” He sought the necessary unanimous consent of the House of Commons to introduce
EGALE’s comments as evidence, but some MPs refused to grant the necessary permission. Hansard,
the transcript of Commons’ proceedings, doesn’t indicate who objected.

Earlier this week, on February 21, the Speaker also dismissed Mr. Lowther’s concerns, using
the same reasoning introduced by Mr. Lee. The Speaker of the House is supposed to be non-
partisan and the integrity of the position depends on such a commitment to, and appearance of,
non-partisanship. Gib Parent has long been criticized by opposition Members, particularly from
the Reform Party, for failing to maintain the necessary standard for his role as Speaker.

Original complaint by Eric Lowther:
Speaker’s ruling:


Leading pro-family Liberal MP, Tom Wappel, had his chance to speak to his government’s Bill
C-23 on Monday. Not surprisingly, he was very clear in stating his opposition to the same-sex
benefits legislation. He told the House of Commons that he had discussed the bill with his
colleagues, including those in the cabinet and that he had told them he could only support a
bill which extended benefits to same-sex partnerships if three conditions were met. “First, I
asked for a definition of marriage to be enshrined in statute so as to protect it from
judicial attack,” he said. “I asked to extend the benefits based not on sexuality and sexual
behaviour but on economic dependency. I also asked that there be full and complete debate in
parliament including not invoking time allocation or closure.”

Not one of these conditions had been met by the government with Bill C-23, putting Mr. Wappel
in the position of having to oppose it. He is also encouraging as many of his colleagues as
possible to join with him in opposing the legislation.

Mr. Wappel is a lawyer by training and he took the opportunity of speaking to Bill C-23 to
point out the logical and legal absurdities in the legislation. The first point he made was
that his government was inventing a new definition for the term “conjugal” by virtue of their
use of the word in the bill in reference to same-sex couples. “In my view the bill is fatally
flawed for the following reasons,” he said. “It uses the term conjugal to include same-sex
relationships. This is, quite simply, incorrect. The ordinary meaning of the word conjugal in
the English language is as follows: ‘Of marriage; the right of sexual intercourse with a
spouse; of the mutual relation of husband and wife’. To the question why the word conjugal has
been used to describe same sex couples, the justice department answers that the term conjugal
has a meaning in law that is different from that in dictionaries. This also is simply
incorrect. What is the legal meaning of conjugal? It is: ‘Of or belonging to marriage or the
married state; suitable or appropriate to the married state or to married persons;
matrimonial; connubial’.”

For Tom Wappel’s entire House of Commons speech, go to:


Last week during debate over the government’s same-sex benefits legislation, Bill C-23,
Liberal backbencher, John McKay (Scarborough East) spoke openly about his opposition to the
controversial bill. Nevertheless, when it came to the second reading vote on it, he wasn’t in
the House to join his 14 colleagues who did defy the Prime Minister’s wishes. In a press
release Wednesday, Reform House Leader, Chuck Strahl, took him and colleague Joe Volpe
(Eglinton-Lawrence) to task for “[standing] behind the curtains of the House of Commons and
wait[ing] until the vote was finished before taking their seats.”“In doing so,” he added, “neither MP indicated to their constituents which side they would
support on the issue of extending benefits to same-sex couples. … I didn’t think that
democracy was a spectator sport. We are all sent to Ottawa to represent the views of our
constituents. No matter what your view is on this issue, you must stand and be counted.” [Anchor]

Not all federal Liberal Members of Parliament are enamoured with their government’s support of
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) or the initiatives it spawns
in this country. On February 21 in the House of Commons, Liberal backbencher Paul Steckle
(HuronBruce, Ont.) expressed concerns about the long-past UNICEF/Elections Canada vote held
on November 19 last year, accusing the feds of keeping Canadians “in the dark” about the
nature of that youth election. He then made it clear that his concerns were based on the
controversial nature of the child rights convention which formed the basis of last falls’s
Elections Canada-sponsored child rights election.

Mr. Steckle made it “perfectly clear” that he was not taking a position for or against the
convention, but added that he has “very grave concerns with some of the potential problems
that have been brought forward by the many people who have signed petitions opposing this
document.” He noted that the convention has not been subject to the democratic process yet in
Canada, pointing out that it “was passed in 1989 by cabinet only. “Opponents of the convention
have long claimed that the wording of the document is anti-family,” he added. “I have also
come to believe that this is one of the reasons the Canadian parliament has yet to debate the
matter and why the United States has failed to ratify the convention to this day.

Mr. Steckle had raised his concerns about the UNICEF-sponsored election once before in the
House, prior to the election on October 25. At the time he asked Don Boudria, the Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons, why Elections Canada was involved in the election
given the “controversial nature of the [UNCRC].” Mr. Boudria answered him that it was a
reflection of the elections agency’s commitment to educating Canadian children about

Paul Steckle’s recent comments in the House of Commons: