Mr. Speaker, this week members of Parliament will speed through the intersection of values and politics. Not even a skid mark will trace the collision between a radical agenda and the foundations of our society. Fleeing from the scene is any hope of full and open debate. No legislation is more consequential than laws which affect the core values, the building blocks of our civilization, the cornerstone of our culture.
In this respect, Bill C-33 will be the most significant legislation since the charter of rights. We have shifted our aims from a just society to a frontier society, a society lacking structure, without guiding values, with no blueprint for the next generation.
Family is the bridge between our roots and the foundation of our future. Its demise, the dilution of its purpose, will reduce children to little more than a commodity, the guinea pigs of a brave new world.
To compare my objections to Bill C-33 to those of the member from Nanaimo would be as wrong as to connect the support of the Minister of Justice to the North American Man Boy Love Association, which also backs his bill.
In June 1995 I voted for Bill C-41. Its only direct consequence was longer prison terms for violent criminals who targeted homosexuals or other identifiable groups. Three years ago I was ready to support Bill C-108 which had wording almost identical to Bill C-33. I was persuaded at the time that its additional definition of marital status would limit its scope and prevent any consequence on the irreplaceable and central role of the traditional family in our society.
Today's Bill C-33 is a Trojan horse, its payload filled with legal reinforcements for the war against values currently being waged in our courts, the constitutional war against core values. Just one more tool is needed to rid our social infrastructure of traditional family values. This bill is that tool.
Bill C-33 was introduced boasting lofty words and lofty intent. I listened to the Minister of Justice tell us how this bill would help persons who may suffer discrimination in the workplace. On that intent I absolutely agree. No Canadian should be fired or demoted for any reason other than the quality of his or her work. That is fundamental and it is a principle that the government must enforce.
We all agree with the platitudes motherhood, apple pie and justice for all, but platitudes in legislation are an abdication of Parliament's responsibility to make tough, controversial and political decisions. One man, one vote has been replaced by one judge, one vote. Sadly the concept of justice is drowning in the courts.
Today the public has been largely removed from debate about how their society should evolve, about how their children should be raised. Those decisions too often rest with unelected judges responding to complaints from special interest groups. Typically the only role left for the public is to read the results in the newspaper and react with helpless outrage.
Some lawyers, appointed by politicians to sit on the bench in judgment, have abused the highest law of the land, the charter, to legitimize everything from child pornography to the sodomy of a 14-year-old by a fugitive sex offender. Timely barely permits a single example.
Vernon Logan was charged with and pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. Then, despite the guilty plea, Judge Brian Saunderson gave Logan an absolute discharge. Why? Because in the judge's view child pornography law violates the charter of rights.
I do not recall child pornography being protected in the charter but judges have nearly unlimited licence to read their own personal views between the lines of the law. Of course no consideration is given to the rights of children victimized by the pornographer. They have no standing in court.
The values of society should determine the law. The law should not determine the values of society. Clearly the courts are not guardians of our values. We cannot afford to give them any more legislative blank cheques. No more bills like Bill C-33. I looked to the Library of Parliament, our legislative counsel and even outside resources to predict the consequences of Bill C-33. Is it radical to ask to be informed of the consequences of a law before you vote for it? I was told and I quote from the Library of Parliament:
-it is not feasible to draw up an exhaustive listing of entitlements that might, in theory, give rise to the lodging of complaints based on sexual orientation under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
You should not have to be Nostradamas to predict the consequences of law. Is this not unlimited scope, a blank cheque, no legal guarantees, no collateral, no fail safe, no debate? Mr. Speaker, no signature.
My mentor in drafting the two amendments I propose was of course the Minister of Justice whose booklet on the bill declares that:
The proposed amendment will have no bearing on definitions of "marriage", "family" or "spouse". It will simply guarantee individual rights.
We have also been told that this bill will have no bearing on criminal offences. The best way to make these guarantees is in the body of the bill and that is what my amendments seek to do.
I have added a definition of marital status. Marital status means "the status of being married, single, separated, divorced, widowed or cohabiting with an individual of the opposite sex in a conjugal relationship for at least one year".
Kim Campbell referred to this definition as simply confirming the existing law. Is it any different from how almost all Canadians view marital status? Would it diminish human rights in this country to state a central value in our society? Is it too much to ask that more than lip service be given to the notion of the traditional family?
Bill C-33 is intended to have no impact on the definition of marital status, so says the Minister of Justice. If this is the case, then this amendment is perfectly consistent with the position of the Minister of Justice.
My second amendment restates the minister's position that Bill C-33 should have no impact on criminal offences. It reads: "Nothing in sections 2 or 3 shall be construed so as to render any provision of the Criminal Code inoperative or of no force or effect". In other words, Bill C-33 cannot be used to thwart justice.
To support these amendments will allow Parliament to achieve its goal of a non-discriminatory workplace. It would also signal to the courts Parliament's intent that this bill should not contribute to any redefinition of marital status or weakening of the Criminal Code. Support for these amendments would address legitimate concerns. Opposition to them makes the case that our concerns are well founded.
Bill C-33 in raw form is unacceptable to me. It is unacceptable to my church and I believe it is unacceptable to the majority of my constituents. The amendments I propose define my main concerns. They preserve the central thrust of government policy without harmful side effects for the Canadian family and children. The amendments would confine the bill to the rhetoric that is being used to sell it.
No debate about values will ever be solved with platitudes. We cannot forever deflect the challenges facing our society with glib truisms, but what we can do is make responsible changes necessary to maintain fairness in society without demolishing other key principles at the same time.
At the intersection of politics and values, conscience must always have the right of way.