House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendment.


Canadian Human Rights ActGovernment Orders

May 9th, 1996 / 10:25 a.m.

Outremont Québec


Martin Cauchon Liberalfor Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved that Bill C-33, an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, be read the third time and passed.

Canadian Human Rights ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Prince Albert—Churchill River Saskatchewan


Gordon Kirkby LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to speak on third reading of Bill C-33, an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act.

With this amendment we will fulfil a political commitment to the people of Canada and implement a long standing policy of the Liberal Party of Canada. This amendment will bring the Canadian Human Rights Act up to date with court decisions, with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and with the human rights legislation of the majority of the provinces which already have such legislation in place. It will give effect to the fundamental principle and value in Canadian society that individuals should be treated fairly.

The commitment is clear. The Prime Minister said during the last election campaign this amendment would be introduced. In the 1994 throne speech the government promised amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Since then the Minister of Justice has repeated the commitment.

The position of the Liberal Party of Canada is clear and has been so for a long time. The amendment has been the policy of the Liberal Party for nearly 20 years.

Nearly 20 years ago, the Liberal Party passed a resolution in support of offering protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Further resolutions to this effect have been passed, most recently two weeks ago at the Liberal Party meeting in Windsor, Ontario. In 1985 an all-party House of Commons committee unanimously passed a resolution that this amendment should be made.

The position of the Liberal Party of Canada has for many years been to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Having formed the government we are following through on the commitment.

Now I would like to talk about Bill C-33, its purpose and its effect. It is important to look at this carefully and objectively so that we clearly understand what the bill does and what the bill does not do. I have listened to the debate on the bill and I want to address the misconceptions and misperceptions that may exist about it.

Let us talk about the scope of the Canadian Human Rights Act. I think this has sometimes been lost in the debate so far. It is important to remember the real scope of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

First, the act applies only to employment and the provision of goods and services coming under federal jurisdiction.

This includes the federal government and federally regulated employers such as banks, railway companies, air transportation and telecommunications common carriers.

Second, this means that only about 10 per cent of the Canadian workforce is covered by the Canadian Human Rights Act. The rest of the workforce is covered by provincial and territorial human rights codes. The vast majority of employers and service providers come under provincial jurisdiction. Religious, cultural and educational institutions come under provincial jurisdiction and therefore are subject to the provincial codes, not the federal codes.

The scope of the Canadian Human Rights Act and this bill is limited to what I have heard said about it. This brings me to another very important point. This amendment is hardly revolutionary and hardly new, not only in respect of the Canadian Human Rights Act but in respect of all those areas to which, as I have said, the Canadian Human Rights Act does not apply but provincial laws and the charter of rights and freedoms do apply.

Sexual orientation is already in the majority of human rights laws by court order or by legislative action. Eight provinces or territories with 90 per cent of the population in Canada have already added sexual orientation to their human rights legislation, that is, to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation within the provincial legislation: Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Yukon, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and my own province of Saskatchewan. Some of these provinces implemented this legislation as long as 20 years ago.

The Supreme Court of Canada has held that section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the Constitution and thus part of the supreme law of the land, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ordered in 1992 in the case of Haig v. Canada that the Canadian Human Rights Act should be treated as though sexual orientation were already a prohibited ground of discrimination. Since that ruling, cases have been dealt with in legal fora under the act regardless of this amendment.

This amendment merely confirms what has already been put in place by the courts. The amendment in Bill C-33 will bring the Canadian Human Rights Act into conformity with these court rulings and with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It is time for parliamentarians to act on this. Canadians should not have to turn in cases such as this where we are dealing with discrimination or protection against discrimination to find out what the law is. The law should be plain on its face and there for everybody to see.

The law is composed of statutes, court decisions and common law. When a court decision has the effect of changing or modifying a statute, it is important that the court decision changes the statute in a manner which reflects or deals with the court decision so the law is plain on the face of it.

Courts have made these types of decisions for many many years, even before the charter of rights and freedoms came into effect. Legislatures and Parliaments across this land since then have dealt

with legislation that has been altered or modified by court decisions to make the legislation more clear.

It is the responsibility of Parliament to articulate and codify principles of equality. This should not be left to the courts. I have listened to some people suggest that we have not had time enough to debate this issue, which is not so. This issue has been around for 20 years. It has been discussed and debated. Parliament has addressed this issue many times.

There have been many private members' bills. There was legislation introduced by the previous government. There has been an all-party report by a parliamentary committee which held hearings across Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada has addressed the issue. The government has received countless letters and submissions. The elected legislatures of eight jurisdictions in Canada with almost 90 per cent of the population have voted to enact such amendments.

Much has been said on this issue and much time has been taken already. The issues are clear and now it is time to make a decision. I know there are strong feelings and beliefs on this issue which I respect. As a matter of fairness and justice we have to address this issue. It is an issue of how we treat people in the workplace and in the marketplace. We have tried to explain this.

I will take the opportunity to talk about what this amendment does and does not do. This amendment will prevent basic forms of discrimination. It is to prevent what we all agree is unjust: firing someone from a job because they are gay or lesbian; denying someone service at a bank because they are gay or lesbian. This is a matter of simple fairness. Canadians do not think it is fair to fire someone from a job or refuse them service only because they are gay or lesbian.

I have heard it suggested that this bill provides special rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bill C-33 will not give special rights to anyone. If an individual is discriminated against on the basis of colour, whether black or white, they are protected by human rights legislation. If an individual is discriminated against on the ground of religion, be they Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or some other religion, they are protected by human rights legislation. Similarly, if an individual is discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation, be they heterosexual or homosexual, human rights legislation offers protection.

Protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at the federal level means that a person who has been fired by an air carrier or a railway company or was denied service by a bank is offered a remedy under human rights legislation.

Human rights laws are intended to ensure that individuals can be hired and employed and services provided to them on the same basis as everyone else, not to be fired or refused a service merely because of their colour, religion, sex or sexual orientation. This is not special treatment; it is the very opposite. It is intended to stop employers or service businesses from singling out homosexuals, blacks or religious minorities and instead treat them the same as everyone else. This is not special rights. It is equal treatment.

The law will protect heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. But it is clear that it will protect those who need the protection the most, that part of our society that has been subject to historical disadvantages and stereotyping, to discrimination and worse. The evidence is clear. Gay bashing, discrimination within the workplace, discrimination in obtaining goods and services: tribunals and courts are replete with such examples of discrimination and we must move to remedy that situation.

The Parliamentary committee that looked at this issue wrote as follows:

We were shocked by a number of the experiences of unfair treatment related to us by homosexuals in different parts of the country. We heard about the harassment of and violence committed against homosexuals. We were told in graphic detail about physical abuse and psychological oppression suffered by homosexuals.

The amendments will reinforce the message that Canadians do not tolerate prejudice and discrimination. We will not permit our colleagues, our friends, our relatives, our sons or daughters, our fellow citizens to suffer simply because of their sexual orientation.

What is the impact on the family, on marriage, on other societal institutions? The bill will not detract from marriage and family. Marriage, whether it is solemnized according to provincial laws or is common law, and the family are fundamental parts of our society. Nothing is going to change that. In our laws, our policies, our practices, we will continue to provide support to these institutions. That will not change now or ever.

The preamble of Bill C-33 makes this abundantly clear. It recognizes the family as the foundation of Canadian society. It also affirms that the amendment will not alter the fundamental role of family in our society.

As mentioned above, the Canadian Human Rights Act deals with discrimination in employment and the provision of goods and services. It is not broader than that; it is not more than that. I will repeat it again because this has been the source of some misunderstanding. The Canadian Human Rights Act and the amendment we are dealing with deals with discrimination in employment and the provision of goods and services only. The purpose of the preamble

is to keep the focus on this and to make it clear that the amendment will not detract from the importance of the family.

What about marriage? This amendment cannot change marriage because the Canadian Human Rights Act has absolutely no application to marriage. The act applies to employment and the provision of goods and services. Maxwell Yalden, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, said last month before the Senate committee studying Bill S-2: "We are not talking about who is married and who is not married. That is none of the business of our commission".

That is right. The Canadian Human Rights Act simply does not apply to marriage. The common law has always provided that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. The common law has equal force with the statute law.

When this law was challenged under section 15 of the charter, protection against the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the court held: "The common law limitation of marriage to persons of the opposite sex does not constitute discrimination". This is the law across Canada.

The inclusion of sexual orientation in the charger and in the majority of provincial human rights statutes has not changed this. As I said, the Canadian Human Rights Act and this bill cannot change this because they, without a doubt, have no application to the laws on marriage.

I have also heard people worry about the grounds of family status in the act. In 1993 the Supreme Court of Canada decided in the Mossop case that family status does not include same sex relationships. That was the decision of the court then and it remains the law today.

While some have expressed concern about the court revisiting this, the concern has been resolved. In the Egan and Nesbit case last year the Supreme Court of Canada made it clear that issues about benefits in respect of same sex relationships will be dealt with as a matter of sexual orientation. This is now in the law by court order.

The grounds of family status and marital status were not involved. It is clear there is simply no need for the courts to reopen the definition of family status or for a definition of marital status to be legislated.

I have also heard suggested that the bill affects adoption. This is plainly and clearly wrong. This is a simple matter of the constitutional division of powers between the federal government and the provinces. Adoption is a matter of provincial jurisdiction. This law covers only matters coming within federal jurisdiction. This amendment does not, cannot and will not affect adoption.

I have been asked about the question of benefits for same sex partners. Let us be clear that this amendment makes a simple change to the Canadian Human Rights Act. It does not change the law on benefits. Whatever we do here, the issue of benefits is already before the tribunals and courts. Whether we make this amendment or not is not relevant.

The tribunals and courts are already dealing with the benefits question. This amendment will not change that. It will not change the law. Moreover, in the Egan case last year the Supreme Court of Canada held unanimously that sexual orientation is a prohibited ground of discrimination under the equality provision, section 15 of the charter. The court also held that such discrimination did not support the extension to same sex partners of the pension benefits, the issue in that case.

As I mentioned earlier, eight of the provinces and territories prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Although the prohibitions have been around for some time, these provisions have not led to the automatic extension of benefits to same sex partners.

Sexual orientation has been in provincial human rights statutes going back as far as 1977. It has also been included by the courts in section 15, the equality right guarantee, of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As a result there have been a considerable number of cases in which tribunals and courts have looked at discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. They have interpreted it to mean homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality. The courts and tribunals are clear on this. There is a clear understanding of this. The definition is clear.

Further, the seven provinces which have added sexual orientation to their human rights legislation have not defined it. Even the Supreme Court of Canada, which considered sexual orientation under the charter in the Egan and Nesbit case last year, saw no need to define the term.

It is clear this law protects lawful conduct, nothing else and nothing more.

Any currently prohibited behaviour will remain unlawful under the Criminal Code and be afforded no protection through this amendment.

To remove any doubt, the preamble of the bill provides that the law applies only in respect of lawful conduct.

I have heard it suggested that it would be better to drop the list of grounds from the Canadian Human Rights Act rather than add sexual orientation. Again, I am not certain if I understand the point. If we drop the list of grounds, what would it be replaced with? How would we protect against discrimination on the basis of

race, religion, sex and sexual orientation? How would we know what forms of discrimination are prohibited and which are not? I simply do not understand what this would accomplish. Either we protect against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and the other listed grounds or we do not.

In my view it is mischievous to suggest dropping the list. I believe ultimately the suggestion is meaningless. It is simply designed to stir up controversy, trouble and confusion. It is intended to avoid the real issue.

If we are to protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation the amendments in the bill will do that. There is no other way.

I have tried to address the questions I have heard, the fears and the misconceptions. When we look at this amendment issue by issue, point by point, we can develop a better appreciation of what the bill does and what it does not do. We develop a better appreciation of what the amendment is all about. It is about human rights. It is simply a matter of justice and fairness.

It is a matter of justice and fairness.

Today's debate comes down to a basic question. Do we think it is right to discriminate against gays or lesbians, to fire them from their jobs or refuse them service because of their sexual orientation? We believe the answer is no. The answer flows from the Canadian tradition of tolerance and fairness.

This is a proud tradition.

These are values we all hold close.

These values are fundamental to our identity as Canadians.

After having reflected on this thoughtfully and carefully I think the way is clear. I believe the bill deserves the support of the House of Commons.

Canadian Human Rights ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.


Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for his speech. I also appreciated his efforts to deliver a few words in French and would like to tell him his French is excellent and that I have no doubt things will improve. As the member knows, I try to speak English. I am taking courses three days a week at 8 a.m., with the firm objective of becoming perfectly bilingual within two years. This, however, is not the subject of today's debate.

There is no way we can forget that all sorts of remarks have been made on the subject of Bill C-33 in the past two weeks, since the debate got under way. Some remarks have caused us to grow, some have caused us to blanch and some have caused us outrage.

I would like to continue in the same vein as the hon. parliamentary secretary and try today to remain very generous, very open in what I have to say and try especially to put a number of things back into context.

I would recall that our debate today concerns an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act. So we are not talking about the charter. Sometimes journalists and perhaps our fellow Canadians get these two mixed up, but the act is an organic law with the same status as all the laws we pass in this Parliament. The difference between it and the Canadian Charter of Human Rights is that the charter is enshrined in the Constitution and cannot be amended without a round of constitutional negotiations and the use of the seven and fifty amending formula, which requires seven provinces representing fifty per cent of the population to approve any amendment to the Constitution Act of 1982, which is the country's supreme law.

That said, the Canadian Human Rights Act is a very important act because it is one way we have as parliamentarians to put a stop to potential discrimination in this country. There are in fact three ways to do this: the charter, of course, which has already been mentioned; the Canadian Bill of Rights, which was passed in the early 1960s by the Diefenbaker government and which continues to apply; and the Canadian Human Rights Act, which, and I do not think it can ever be said clearly enough, applies to firms under federal jurisdiction and to individuals receiving services from the federal government. So, we are talking about some 10 per cent of Canadian workers.

The Canadian Human Rights Act has been in existence since 1977. It is worth remembering that, first, when the Canadian Human Rights Act first came into effect-I was rereading the 1977 debates-some parliamentarians proposed including sexual orientation with the nine other prohibited grounds for discrimination. For a whole lot of reasons that do not warrant going over this morning, it was not possible. What we are doing today as parliamentarians-a little later in the day, at 5.30 p.m., if my information is correct-is changing the Canadian Human Rights Act to include an 11th item in the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination.

Now, let us have a closer look. What is discrimination, under the Canadian Human Rights Act, which applies to businesses under federal jurisdiction and to people receiving services from the federal government? Discrimination is defined as follows, and I think we should bear the definition in mind during the debate. To discriminate against someone is to treat that person in a different,

negative or unfavourable manner, for no valid reason. When the courts have had to interpret discrimination they, of course, stumbled over two elements of the definition: "to treat" and "no valid reason".

As we are speaking, there are prohibited grounds of discrimination and I want to mention them. There is of course discrimination based on race. As we know, an extreme form of such discrimination can lead to tragic cases of intolerance, as we have seen all too often during this century. Then there is national or ethnic origin. No one can be deprived of services or discriminated against regarding employment, based on his or her race, national or ethnic origin, or colour. This reminds me of comments made by some members which were, and I know you will agree, absolutely unacceptable in Parliament and in society in general. Then there is religion. Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is prohibited to discriminate against someone on the basis of religion.

Then there is age. As we know, it is because this is in the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination that the government cannot, for example, force an individual to retire at age 65. Madam Speaker, you could, if it is the voters' wish and yours as well, remain in the Chair beyond the age of 65.

Then there is sex, including the fact that one is pregnant. Other prohibited grounds are marital status, family status and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted. Indeed, all those who were found guilty by the courts and who served a jail sentence, but were then granted a pardon under the established practice in our legal system, cannot be discriminated against because they have been granted such a pardon. Physical or mental disability is of course another important item on the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

What the bill seeks to do is to add sexual orientation to this list. The parliamentary secretary mentioned it earlier. I think we have to say it, and I agree with the government. There are certain issues regarding which I fully endorse the government's views. Then, of course, there are others regarding which I do not want to be associated with it. However, this time, it would have been a serious mistake on the government's part to try to define sexual orientation.

Why not define sexual orientation? First, because between 1977 and 1993, out of the seven provinces and one territory that sought to provide such protection regarding sexual orientation in their human rights code, none defined sexual orientation. They did not include a definition because, given existing legal precedents, this expression clearly refers to three possibilities: homosexuality, heterosexuality and, of course, bisexuality.

The saddest thing that has gone on in this debate, where certain members, which the most elementary courtesy prevents me from naming, have unforgivably overstepped the bounds, is of course the absolutely ridiculous, idiotic, confused and unfounded connections made between the protection we want given on the basis of sexual orientation, and pedophilia.

I rely on all the strength of my convictions in telling members and listeners that there is no possible connection between what we are now discussing and pedophilia. And do you know why? For two reasons. First, because it is very clear, as both the parliamentary secretary and the justice minister have said, that what is prohibited under the Criminal Code will, in all circumstances, continue to be prohibited.

It is very clear, under the Criminal Code, under conventions, in the case law, that pedophilia is an offence. There is not a living soul, and certainly not the one now speaking to you, who, however liberal he might be, is going to tell us today that protecting people against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the work place or in the delivery of services by the federal government will lead to the recognition of pedophilia.

Pedophilia is a criminal offence. Not only is it a criminal offence, but I challenge-I do not know if I may do so through you, but I challenge-any member of the Reform Party to rise in this House, with statistics to back him up, and to put his seat on the line and table studies or rulings showing that either administrative or legal tribunals have, in the past, offered protection on the basis of sexual orientation to pedophiles. It has never happened, and it cannot happen, because pedophilia is a criminal offence and must continue to be one.

It must continue to be a criminal offence because it depends on the exploitation of a child by an adult. Once there is exploitation, non-consent, and this is true for rape, it is very clear that the provisions of the Criminal Code come into play. I find it utterly dishonest, and I am being polite, to make the sorts of comparisons that have been made by certain members of the Reform Party.

It is not only dishonest, but irresponsible. It is irresponsible because it suggests that all homosexuals are pedophiles. Furthermore, according to the rigorous studies that have been conducted, 98 per cent of all pedophilia charges laid in the last 20 years-not last year, not two years ago, but in the last 20 years-were laid against heterosexuals. Make no mistake: 9.8 out of 10 people who commit the crime of pedophilia are heterosexuals.

I am not saying that our society must not try to rehabilitate pedophiles. It is clear that it is a deviant behavior, that it is truly

pathological in the etymological sense of the word, but, for pity's sake, let us be responsible and stop drawing parallels that are not supported by jurisprudence, psychology or criminal law.

Although the government should probably have acted earlier, I am happy that it has finally done so. What matters is the outcome. The government knows it could not find a better ally in this debate than me, but why did it have to introduce a bill like Bill C-33? Because people forget-I do not want to alarm you with this, because I know you have many other concerns-that the Canadian Human Rights Act is unconstitutional. That is a fact.

In 1992, the Court of Appeal of Ontario ruled that some of the provisions in the Canadian Human Rights Act were unconstitutional.

Let me remind the House of the events that led to that point. In 1990, an officer in the Canadian Forces-"there's no life like it"-went to see his commanding officer and told him he was homosexual. The year was 1990, and the commanding officer applied a directive. He did his duty in applying the directive then in force in the Canadian Forces. Although it is no longer in force, that 1990 directive provided for the demobilization-that is the word used in the directive-of those members of the Canadian Forces who declared themselves or were presumed to be homosexual.

The officer in question, Mr. Haig, brought the case before the courts. Officer Haig was demobilized. He tried to avail himself of a provision and filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The commission was unable to hear his case because there were no grounds for filing grievances based on sexual orientation.

Officer Haig tried to avail himself of the protection based on marital status but his complaint was rejected. The Canadian Human Rights Commission, which is in fact an administrative tribunal, suggested that Mr. Haig, who was demobilized because he had admitted being homosexual, take his grievance to an ordinary court of law.

So the legal saga from an administrative tribunal to the Court of Appeal of Ontario led to some of the provisions in the Canadian Human Rights Act being ruled unconstitutional.

I do not remember whether the decision was unanimous or not, but the fact remains that the Court of Appeal of Ontario ruled that, under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms-which the parliamentary secretary was referring to earlier and which, as you may recall, came into force in 1985 and is part of the Constitution-every individual is equal before the law.

That is why, since 1992, not only has the Canadian Human Rights Act been declared unconstitutional, but also it has become common practice to construe that the charter and the Canadian Human Rights Act should be read as including sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination.

In 1992, Kim Campbell was the Minister of Justice. This may be a good or a bad memory for this House, but the historical fact remains that Ms. Campbell was the Minister of Justice at the time. Kim Campbell, as the Minister of Justice, decided-and we should be grateful to her for this-not to appeal the case. As a result, not only did the Ontario court's decision become binding in Ontario, but Ms. Campbell decided to make it binding across Canada.

That is why the government decided, in its generosity, to include sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act. In fact, legally speaking, and I know that the hon. parliamentary secretary's many qualifications include a law degree, we had no choice but to make this change.

I have followed the debates on Bill C-33 assiduously, as you know. I was here the whole time, but not once did Reform members rise to call attention to this obligation. Not once did they take the logical line of reasoning of saying that, parliamentarians' wishes aside, what we are about to do a few hours from now-and there is no doubt that we will win this battle-is to bring the legislation in line with a decision made by a court, a court of appeal, an ordinary court of law, namely the Court of Appeal of Ontario.

I think that our viewers, anyone who is concerned with human rights must be reminded of these historical facts.

We started down the slippery slope of confusion and dismay the moment you and those before you gave the floor to the Reform Party. Then we heard about everything but the kitchen sink. We were threatened with just about everything except being prohibited from eating our Corn Flakes with milk, if this bill went through. Canada was going to turn into some kind of Liberia and was facing potential anarchy.

Fortunately, this debate is an opportunity to get our facts straight. First, let their be no mistake. I think it must be out of some freudian obsession that every member of the Reform Party told us the definition of marriage would be altered if this bill were passed. I bet you a quart of beer of your choice, Madam Speaker, that the next Reformer to speak after me will make the same point.

We must bear two things in mind. First, the solemnization of marriage comes under provincial jurisdiction. Second, nothing in this bill-it is merely three clauses long; it cannot be all that

difficult to read-will in any way, shape or form, directly or indirectly, change the definition of marriage.

In fact, if the government had wanted, which is doubtful, to make any change to the concept of marriage, its decision would most likely have been invalidated. Do you know why? Because, in 1995, last year then, a judgment was handed down under common law. I wish to dedicate this judgment to my Reformer friends.

In the matter of Layland and Beaulne versus the Province of Ontario, the claimants challenged under section 15 of the charter, to which I referred earlier-it provides for equality for all and therefore protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation-the requirement under common law that marriage be the joining of a man and a woman in matrimony.

The charter, which is enshrined in the Constitution, takes precedence over any other act. In essence, the Layland and Beaulne judgment said the following: "The restriction imposed by common law in that marriage must be entered into by persons of different sexes does not constitute discrimination against the claimants in violation of section 15 of the act".

Until now, no court of justice has ever sought to change the definition of marriage under section 15, and it is unlikely that we should ever see such a ruling. Of course, other countries in the world, such as Denmark and Norway, while not allowing same sex marriages, do authorize declarations of civil union. This is not a sacrament: it is a declaration of civil union allowing spouses to enter into a mutually benefitting contract.

I tried to be as clear as possible in making this clarification. I hope that those who are listening, including Reform Party members, will understand that this bill does not change the notion of marriage. There are legal precedents in these countries and, without predicting the future, I think that if a fellow Canadian, whether from Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan or anywhere else, were to attempt, under the Canadian legislation or the charter, to change the notion of marriage, there are firm guarantees that, under the common law, a marriage can only take place between two people of opposite sex.

This is not to say that I am not personally in favour of giving some guarantees to same sex spouses. I even tabled a bill to this effect. However, this is another issue, and it definitely does not involve marriage. These clarifications had to be made regarding the case law and the justice system.

Another often heard misconception is that, should the legislation go through, the family will suddenly, as if by magic, be undermined in our country.

First of all, this bill concerns individuals. Those who file complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission involving possible challenges relating to sexual orientation are definitely individuals. In recent years, such complaints accounted for 4 to 10 per cent of the total number.

Second, there is no reason to believe that a bill such as this one will allow us to redefine or to undermine the family. The justice minister, unnecessarily in my view, played it safe and added a preamble stating that the family remains the basis, the foundation of Canadian society.

I am not necessarily any happier that this preamble is there, because I do not think it is necessary. But it is there, so be it, and we are not going to amend it, we will live with it.

So, there is confusion between couples and families. It is true that, in the past, the Canadian Human Rights Act-in fact, not just the Canadian Human Rights Act, but various administrative tribunals, including certain labour relations boards-has forced employers to give certain benefits to same sex partners.

You are indicating that I have only ten minutes left, Madam Speaker. How time flies. I wonder if there would be consent to let me have more time. I would guess not. I will therefore try to wrap up my remarks, but ten minutes is more than I need.

The fact is that certain rulings have been made under the Canadian Human Rights Act by tribunals throughout the country, particularly administrative tribunals, allowing certain benefits to same sex partners, in the case of dental or health insurance for example. That is true, it would be dishonest not to mention it, but that in no way changes the definition of the family.

A couple is a couple. It is true that I myself think that a couple can consist of a man and a woman, two men, or two women, but this does not constitute a family.

However much of an activist I may be, recognition of same sex partners will not lead me to say that two lesbians or two homosexuals constitute a family. It is not true, and it is not what we are talking about in this bill.

I think another distinction should be made. You will remember that in 1985 a parliamentary committee toured Canada. It included the member for Mount Royal, whom I would like to salute, because of her strong commitment in recent years to promoting human rights. The year 1985, you will remember, was the year section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect. It identified various discrimination scenarios, scenarios that continue to exist today.

Still, in 1995 and 1996, there are people who are not promoted because they are gay. There are people who are deprived of federal services because they are gay. There are people who are deprived of services. Not so long ago a group that was at my house reminded me that a priest of a parish, a parish I will not name, had refused to

rent them a hall, because the group was openly identified with promoting homosexual rights.

We are, today, not only updating legislation, we are sending a very clear message to all elements of Canadian society that we as legislators cannot allow discrimination to continue.

Most important is the fact that we are able to work so that, in ten years, should we find ourselves again in the midst of a debate, things will have changed and people who are 14, 15 or 16 and discover they are homosexual may know that there are guarantees under the law and also that legislators, those who have a public voice, out of respect for the family and the constituent majority, will ensure that we may tell homosexuals they have their rightful place in society, like all taxpayers. They have a rightful place as producers, creators and citizens.

This is the most important aspect of the bill. Today as legislators, we will say on both sides of the House that we assume our responsibilities, that we disapprove of discrimination and that we want their rights and the services they receive protected under the federal system. We will not tolerate discrimination.

Allow me to close with one point. We had one day where we heard witnesses in parliamentary committee. There was a pediatrician from Calgary, a city represented by the Reform Party. I am going to talk to the Reformers and thus be out of order. The pediatrician in question is a university professor. He had done a longitudinal study, that is, one over several years. He reminded us that, in Canada, two million young people die by their own hand each year, for various reasons of course. Of these, 60 per cent, according to the professor from Calgary, are unable to cope with the discovery of their homosexuality.

This is what Bill C-33 is about. It, with a number of other measures, because the problem is not solved, will allow us to say to young people who are homosexual-Because do not think for an instant that it is a matter of choice, that you wake up one day and say: "Today I am homosexual, tomorrow I will be heterosexual, and on the weekend, who knows?"

But that is not the case. When one discovers one is homosexual-and, as you are aware, I know what I am talking about-one knows it is not a choice but a matter of predetermination. That is why Bill C-33 is important, because it will tell young people across the country-whether they live in rural or urban areas, whether they are students or workers, whether they want to become professionals or technicians-that we recognize their rights as first class citizens.

Not only do we recognize their rights as first class citizens, but we will not tolerate discrimination. Not only will we not tolerate discrimination, but we want them to succeed on the basis of what they are in their professional environments. I sincerely believe that all those in this House who will rise in a few hours to vote against this bill are committing a serious, an irreparable violation of human rights for which they will have to account some day.

I will say in closing that both the parliamentary secretary and the Minister of Justice were very eloquent in this regard, and I hope that I too made some impression. What we are discussing today is legislative protection. Nothing in this bill will change the family. Nothing in this bill will prevent someone who is proud to be heterosexual but who is tolerant deep down inside from receiving services from the federal government or having the sex life he wants for himself.

May I make a final appeal to Reformers; I know there are generous people among them. I know that, like us all, they too were elected and that all of us in this House share the same mandate. To them I make a final appeal to review their position and vote in favour of this bill.

We may well disagree on economic policies or on the national issue. I, for one, will continue to defend my ideas on economic matters-which may sometimes go against those of the government-and I will remain a sovereignist. However, when we as parliamentarians witness open discrimination, we have a duty to help end these practices. To Reformers I make a final appeal to review their position and find it in their hearts to vote in favour of this bill.

Canadian Human Rights ActGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.


Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-33, as it addresses amendments to add sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

I want to review and put into the record how we feel about the inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected category in the Canadian Human Rights Act.

We have considered the arguments for and against the inclusion of these words and we take the following positions. We affirm that all Canadians, including homosexuals, are entitled to life, liberty, security of the person, freedom from discrimination regardless of personal characteristics, and that these entitlements should be strictly enforced.

We affirm that these entitlements should be based not on personhood, not on sexual orientation or any other personal characteristics.

We oppose the tendency of the courts and of Parliament to create or recognize different categories of persons in Canada for the purpose of defining or augmenting their rights under the charter or the Canadian Human Rights Act. We oppose the practice of granting undefined or unlimited rights under the charter or the Canadian Human Rights Act.

We oppose the government's announced intention to specifically include sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act as both unnecessary and inadvisable.

As I begin to speak to Bill C-33, I salute the people in the House who have stood against the tide. During the last one and one-half weeks there has been a gargantuan effort to pull together strategies and an information battle by the government and the press, a campaign of misinformation or diversion from the real issues.

I state today that the government is bereft of credibility in the program it has put before the Canadian people. It has been driven to hide its own deficit in integrity through what it has done here.

We see the government's cheap political ploys, innuendo and its working with the media to stir up controversy rather than looking at what needs to be asked and addressed. We see things happening that cover the fact that the Liberals failed on their GST promise. They failed on their handling of the Somalia affair, the Krever commission, the Westray mine. The families and people involved are looking to this place and asking: "What are you doing?" The unity debate, what have we done there? This government has failed the Canadian people in so many ways.

Two and one-half years ago I came to this place not to save the country. Many people here have certain reasons for coming to this place. Certainly part of what was in my heart was to address the weakening structure of this country's families. I say that from the heart. There is not a lot of glitz. There is not a lot of glamour in saying that I stand for family, but our families and the institutions surrounding them are fundamental to so many things.

The importance of the family within Canadian society is like building a wall of defence for this country, but it can only be built one brick at a time. And the wall will only be as good as the bricks that make it up. If those bricks are fractured, chipped or substituted with something else, the building blocks will weaken the wall of defence. We will have a wall that is open to decay, open to attack and open to a loss of security for this very country.

Today, that wall which has been built with the bricks of families is crumbling beneath us. We see it in our justice system. We see it in our economic system. Families in distress. We see it in the loss of hope of Canadians.

The heroes of our day are those who invest their time and effort into brick making, that is, creating strong and healthy families to build this country. Those folks are in our homes, in our communities, in our churches right across this land. Those people are on both sides of this House. They have stood bravely.

Today I am pleased to express not just my concerns about Bill C-33 but convictions that I hold. First, I believe in the equality of all Canadians. The basic principle that Canadians are equal under all our laws is one which defines the policy and approach of the Reform Party. It has affected many of our policies.

In our unity principle for Canada, we stand on the fact that Canada is created of 10 equal provinces under this great Confederation. There are no special rights for any one province. The equality principle extends to the basic definitions of the rights and privileges of every individual in this country.

The Reform Party and I utterly reject the definition of equality based on a listing of groups and the promotion and protection of certain categories based simply on historical disadvantage. Where in that is true equality today?

The Liberal mindset is to list categories, to elevate or to look at the different rights of different people and elevate the rights of one group which by definition is at the cost of another.

For instance, we see the failed policies of employment equity rejected by Canadians, that is, the right to hire and to promote people based not on their ability, based not on getting the best person for the job but based on their membership in a category in one of those lists. I say shame on that mindset. That makes the rights and privileges of these individuals unequal. In fact, some in our society become more equal than others.

The Reform Party rejects the listing of categories in the Canadian Human Rights Act and in the charter.

If we look back in history we see that it was Trudeau's repatriation of the Constitution that brought in our charter of rights. It brought in that first list. The charter of rights replaced the pre-existing bill of rights which had no such list. But a man introduced a list and the impression of equality by category.

In this debate I learned that the American bill of rights and before that the French declaration of the rights of men and citizens of the 18th century have no lists. Equality is simply stated as the universal right of every individual. That is the model used in many countries of the world.

However, for whatever reason, our Prime Minister of years past decided that a list was the way to go. It has allowed the courts to pit the rights of some Canadians over others. It has introduced a system of special rights by inclusion in the list and lesser rights by exclusion from it.

An hon. member mentioned earlier how we could question a list. Great thinkers in history have done very well without a list. The list is again mirrored in this approach to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Interest groups are lining up to be included.

Our party has said it would delete the entire list, not add another category to something that is already at fault. We believe in equality before and under the law for everyone and the equal protection from discrimination under the law which is provided in the charter. We believe that all Canadians should have their rights protected, including the very right we are discussing today, the right to freedom from discrimination. My first conviction is that equality for all Canadians is a basic right.

The second conviction I bring to the House today is that the government has abandoned Canadian families. The family is the foundation of society. As our families go, so will society go. The Liberal attempts to redefine it to reflect our changing times do not make sense. We should be looking at how we can strengthen this institution. It is the basic building block of our society. It has been defined through time and tradition. When anyone attempts to alter its importance in society it should not be taken lightly. Our families build this world. It is strength in our families that will lead to strength in our nations.

Today I would like to demonstrate where the government has abandoned the family. Under the guise of human rights it will promote the reconstruction of the basic definitions and the understanding of this basic building block of our society. It will open up a gateway of interpretation for our courts once it is passed. This gateway of interpretation will facilitate a social reconstruction which will affect more Canadians in more aspects of their lives than we can image.

The government has abused its majority. It has rammed through this legislation. To prevent the implications from being realized, the government has rammed this legislation through in approximately two and one-half days of debate and one and one-half days in committee. Even then the committee was loaded with pro government witnesses and pro government MPs. This is an abuse of power and it is a deception of the Canadian people. It is a lack of integrity within the process that would address this most important issue.

It was interesting in committee. Two people on that committee also sat on the 1985 all-party committee which has been quoted so often in the House. That was the very committee which recommended for the first time that sexual orientation be added to the Canadian Human Rights Act. It was interesting that the chair of the present committee, who was also on the 1985 committee, admitted it was the member for Burnaby-Kingsway who wrote that committee's report.

In my earlier presentation to the present committee I said that the 1985 committee went beyond its mandate. I challenge this House: Who is it that authors reports from committees in this place? Why was a member from a third or fourth party-whatever it was at that time-assigned to author that report? That report is quoted again and again to justify what we are doing today.

Most members were in the House last night. We saw graphically the lack of promises. The avoidance of the issue was demonstrated once again. The justice minister time and time again either has put forward statements which I believe are misleading or has refused to answer specific questions. Those issues were put to the test last night.

We asked the minister to make promises or to clarify where the bill was going. In committee, within this House and in dialogue with him we asked what were the implications of the bill. Last night, those members with concerns about the bill spelled out their concerns and put them forward as amendments. They are the concerns not only of people in this place, but of Canadians from coast to coast. With just a few days to ask these questions, we put them forward. We put it to the government to answer the question of what the effect will be of this bill. Our concerns should be the concerns of every Canadian and I believe they are.

What is the government record? The justice minister has said that this legislation is simply a matter of adding two words to the act, a very simple bill of two clauses and that those two words would prevent discrimination and would have no bearing on other legislation. He also said that there are eight provinces with similar legislation which has not caused any problems and why in the world would we be worried about such a thing here. I will briefly look at four major areas of concern which were brought up last night.

One of the questions Canadians are asking is whether this will authorize same sex benefits. Will spousal benefits come out of what we are looking at in this bill today? Report stage Motion No. 14 sought to verify that no change would be implicit in this bill in regard to spousal benefits. It added a new clause to affirm that nothing in the bill would result in same sex benefits, a very simple amendment. The amendment was defeated by the government in a vote of 166 to 50. The government was not prepared to make any commitment on that promise even though it seemed to indicate it on every side.

The Ontario bill 167, last year when it was brought in for a free vote, as supposedly this one is, they were at least honest enough to explicitly state it would change benefits and some other things. Last year in a free vote in Ontario it went down to defeat.

Bill C-33 neither states this will be an implication nor has it been given any time for public discussion or debate. Again the claim by the minister is that the bill is simply basic protection from discrimination.

The Minister of Justice wrote a memo to Liberal MPs not long ago stating this amendment will not result in the extension of benefits to homosexual partners. I am sure Liberal members said "good, I can go home and tell my constituents they have nothing to fear".

Government officials and the justice minister have admitted this will logically lead to a provision of spousal benefits. I quote Max Yalden, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, March 15, 1994: "We are strongly in favour of an amendment to the human rights act that would prohibit any discrimination based on sexual orientation. That means if benefits are paid to a heterosexual couple, the same benefits should be paid to a couple living in the same situation, except that they are two men or women".

The justice minister in an exclusive interview with a pro-homosexual newspaper in March, 1994 is quoted as saying: "If the government takes the position that you cannot discriminate, it follows as a matter of logic that you have spousal entitlement to benefits". He and Max Yalden seemed to agree at that time anyway. However, neither is willing to admit it at this time either to the House or to the Canadian public.

If the Canadian Human Rights Act has nothing to do with spousal benefits, why is the majority of cases dealing with same sex matters before the Canadian Human Rights Commission based on spousal benefit? It is those cases which are waiting for a decision to be made here. It will happen.

The second question every Canadian is asking is whether this will lead to a redefinition of family, family status, marriage or spouse. This was addressed last night by several of our amendments. Motion No. 11 simply added a clause to the bill affirming that sexual orientation will not define marriage, family, spouse in any act of Parliament. That is very straightforward.

Motion No. 21 suggested adding a clause reflecting a definition of family that would be understood by the majority of Canadians. The definition of family is those related by blood, marriage or adoption. A marriage is defined as a union of a man and a woman, as defined by law. That definition is what most Canadians would abide by.

When the justice minister came before the committee he steadfastly refused to put any definition or proposed definition to the word family in the preamble of the bill. The justice minister in a press release of April, 1996 said: "The proposed amendment will have no bearing on definitions of marriage, family or spouse. It will simply guarantee human rights".

In the committee both the member for Burnaby-Kingsway and I, for two different reasons I am sure, pressed the justice minister time and time again. We asked if this would include same sex unions and what kind of definition of family are we talking about. Neither one of us could get any kind of answer from the justice minister.

I was reading a summary of Canada v. Mossup of February 25, 1993. This case had to do with benefits, as many cases do. I quote from it. It is in relation to definitions within legislation. At that time it was looking at the definition of family status: "Parliament's decision to leave family status undefined is evidence of clear legislative intent that the term's meaning should be left for the commission and tribunals to define. The enumerated grounds of discrimination are established so that the meaning is not frozen in time and scope and may evolve".

It admits at this time that the lack of definition for the term family status is specifically so that courts can change that definition.

Logically from that, the lack of will to define family within legislation leaves it within the purview of the courts not only to define it but to evolve that definition. It means redefinition by courts by not defining it.

In 1993 Chief Justice Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada commented on the effect of the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act. He said if sexual orientation had been included in the act we are looking at today, his interpretation of the case which he had just reviewed could have been or very likely would have been that homosexual couples would have legal family status.

With sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act would change the definition of family status. It would change the definition of spouse. It would change the meaning of over 50 federal statutes in relation to those definitions.

Will this lead to affirmative action programs for homosexuals? That is a concern for many Canadians. Motion No. 18 last night stated that nothing in the addition of the words sexual orientation in the two sections will result in the inclusion of those terms in section 16, the section dealing with special programs or affirmative action.

Even though specifically these words are not included in section 16 of this proposed amendment of the government, these words are included in section 3. The first words of that section read "for all purposes of this act" and then goes on to include sexual orientation.

Therefore it is not only possible, probable, but perhaps surely sexual orientation will be read into section 16. Last night the government again defeated the amendment that would have clarified that concern.

Why are the words sexual orientation now appearing on application forms in post-secondary institutions? Why in this upcoming census for all Canadians, a census whereby the government gets the proportions to use in affirmative action programs, for our employment equity program, will sexual orientation questions appear? It would appear that will become part of the government program.

In the committee we had the Ottawa police delegation. It admitted it now uses employment equity practices in its hiring and in its promotion. Right now it is actively and proactively recruiting gays and lesbians for the force. It does not take a lot of imagination to see that becoming part of its total employment equity program.

Will individual freedoms such as the freedom of religion, expression and association be affected? This is a concern of every Canadian.

The justice minister in his opening speech on the bill gravely misquoted the Catholic catechism in his speech. This is in terms of freedom of religion. He spoke that day for religions and basically said the legislation did not offend any religion. In saying this, the justice minister made a gross intrusion on and a gross misrepresentation of many Canadians. He abused the jurisdiction of his office in saying that.

I have letters from different religious organizations firmly opposed to what is going on here today, the Ontario Association for Catholic Families, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Christian Ministers Association, British Columbia-Yukon District Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, the First Baptist Church in Nanaimo, the Vancouver Chinese Evangelical Ministerial Fellowship, the Bishops Office of the District of Kamloops, to name a few.

How could the justice minister have been so blatantly wrong in making that statement? The justice minister also stated the provincial experience indicates there have been no conflicts and no ill effects of implementing sexual orientation in their human rights acts.

I have just a couple of examples. There was a legal case in 1980 in Quebec. The Catholic school board of Montreal was forced to rent out its facilities to the homosexual association of Quebec. The Catholic school board of Montreal argued homosexuality was condemned by the church and it, as an educational institution and as a church, had the right to resist renting out its facilities. The courts did not agree.

A second example is in Alberta, Queen's Bench, 1994. The employee of a religious institution was dismissed because he did not comply with that institution's policy on homosexual practice. The right to his employment was struck down on appeal. It has been said the very movement at the federal level for introducing this term into the federal Canadian Human Rights Act has been precipitated by the fact that this provincial court struck this down, and in order to ensure this would be the direction of this particular place the legislation had to be done sooner rather than later.

However, the issue remains a religious institution challenged as to its own choices and who should work with it.

A third example is the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, March 1993 in Winnipeg. The case was Kippen v. the Big Brothers Association of Winnipeg. It was alleged that the Big Brothers Association of Winnipeg discriminated against this individual when it refused to match this individual with a little brother because he was gay. Big Brothers did have a policy not to match a gay person with a little brother unless the parents specifically indicated a gay man would be acceptable to that match. However, that provision was not good enough. This was challenged within the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

This was deemed to fall under the category of provision of services, which falls under the Canadian Human Rights Act, but it went against the Big Brothers Association of Winnipeg.

A fourth example is a decision by the B.C. Council of Human Rights, dated August 4, 1995. In this decision it was determined that a doctor discriminated against a lesbian couple when he refused to provide them with artificial insemination services because they were lesbian.

It is interesting to note that this doctor had provided this type of service to a previous lesbian couple, had been caught up in their litigation and so had decided to withdraw from this kind of scenario for his own reasons. The doctor, who had previous artificial insemination litigation, argued that professionals should be able to provide services to whom they choose. However, the council did not agree with him and so it was struck down.

The two people involved in this litigation, Tracy Potter and Sandra Benson, are constituents of mine and I have met with them. Last year I received a birth announcement from them so obviously they found someone who would meet their need. In the meantime there was a human rights challenge against this doctor.

A fifth example has to do with the effects of provincial decisions. The justice minister claimed that what happens in the provinces has been fine and has no effect through the country.

The Leshner case was before the Ontario board of inquiry and the Canadian human rights report, September 1992, states that the majority concludes that the definition of marital status be read down to remove recrimination based on marital status by reading out the phrase "of the opposite sex". Further, it urges the Government of Ontario to make every effort to persuade the

Government of Canada to change the Income Tax Act, and if political persuasion is unsuccessful then to take legal action.

In addition to these court cases I would also like to put to the Canadian public and to the members of the House that when we think of lists and categories, I think of the experience with visible minorities here in Ontario. I am familiar with police departments that are not allowed to keep criminal statistics by visible minority categories.

Yesterday the issue was raised that these are facts that would help society not to discriminate against a group but to help the whole. If there is problem within a group that should be addressed and not be denied on the basis of discriminating against a group.

However, last night a member of my party was challenged when he brought forward health statistics. What will happen if statistics, if facts, if the very things that will create decision processes are not allowed to come forward whether it be for treatment, funding or anything. What if these facts can be put down and made untouchable, groups made unaccountable, because of the protection of this word discrimination.

What about freedom of expression? I am aware that a homosexual lifestyle is already being taught as equivalent to a heterosexual lifestyle in our schools. I am also aware there is federal involvement through Heath Canada in our schools. There has been a curriculum development through violence initiative funding or it had been there.

The government has put out a guideline to sexual health that is in every province. It has outlined curriculum for sexual health and those guidelines go from kindergarten to grade 12.

Do Canadians know this has happened? I do not think so. Has there been freedom for parents to speak up and choose what it is that is being taught to their children, and the freedom to know of government involvement in this area, or what it is their children are being taught or suggested by the government?

I believe Bill C-33 is a gateway to the agenda of a powerful special interest group. It is not about individual discrimination, it is about special rights. It is about an invasion of family rights and privileges.

I believe that the family deserves special recognition in our society. It should not be tossed away lightly by a government which has already been responsible for much of its decline. In the name of progress, openness and rights, the family is increasingly becoming the unfortunate casualty.

I have a shocking quote from a government witness to the committee on Bill C-33. The first vice-president of the Canadian Association for Community Living said last week: "While we hear a great deal of lamenting of the fact that the traditional family is deteriorating, we must acknowledge that many of those changes have benefited women, children and society at large". This seems to be the mindset of the government. It seems to be the mindset of the bureaucrats. It is definitely not the mindset of the vast majority of Canadians.

I am reminded of one of my experiences when I was in China. While there I visited the great wall of China. The people of China wanted security behind the wall from the barbaric hordes that lived to the north. The wall was so high they thought that no one could climb over it. It was so wide they were convinced that no one could break it down. It was an awesome sight to look in both directions as far as the eye could see to see this wall snaking across the top of the mountains. It was wide enough for a chariot to drive on. Even today they say it is the only man-made structure which is visible from outer space. It is not surprising that the Chinese settled behind that wall, secure in their accomplishment.

During the first 100 years of the wall's existence China was invaded three times. Not once did the barbarians break down the wall, nor did they climb over it. Every time they bribed the gatekeeper and marched right through the gates in the wall. The Chinese were busy relying on wisdom and accomplishment and forgot the importance of integrity.

The process that we have seen in the last few days is bereft of that integrity. It is true that integrity will not come from edicts and legislation. Governments, try as they might, cannot legislate the moral fibre of the nation, but governments and the laws which they make can and do have a profound effect on those institutions which are the bedrock of society. Integrity is the most important single quality for any individual or nation. It is born and thrives in the bosom of the homes of the nation. To blithely reorder society's foundation is to threaten the nation's future.

Our future lives in the institution of family, faith and cultures. The lawmakers that deny or attempt to disregard the fundamental necessity to safeguard these historic institutions will eventually undo the fabric of the nation.

I would like to move:

That all the words after the word "That" be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

Bill C-33, an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, be now read a third time since, as assigning special categories to certain groups in law, this bill does not seek to uphold the principle of equality of all Canadians while at the same time, it fails to ensure that the current legal definition of marriage, family and spouse in

federal statutes and regulations will not be altered and that fundamental freedoms in society will not be infringed upon.

Canadian Human Rights ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member did not include the word "not" in her amendment. I assume she meant it. Would she so indicate?

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12:10 p.m.


Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Yes it is, I believe.

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12:10 p.m.


Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order on exactly that point and the balance of the wording in the amendment. It is my understanding that only a reasoned amendment can be moved at this time. I question whether the amendment as worded meets the requirements of a reasoned amendment.

We are on third reading. We cannot, at this time, amend the clauses of the bill. The traditional type of reasoned amendment can be made but-the House leader is not here and the whip is not here-the wording of that amendment does not meet the requirements of a reasoned amendment.

Canadian Human Rights ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The member neglected to read the word "not" which is in the text. The amendment was submitted in advance. People who are far more knowledgeable than I am in these matters have ruled that it is an acceptable amendment. Accordingly, it is a receivable amendment.

Canadian Human Rights ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Don Valley West Ontario


John Godfrey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Hamilton West. I rise to offer my unqualified support for Bill C-33.

It was not my original intention to speak on this bill. I came to Parliament for a number of reasons, as did the member for Port Moody-Coquitlam. My reasons were long. I came here to try to promote national unity, to help with wealth and job creation, to deal with Canada's participation in an expanded NAFTA, to promote programs for early childhood support-my contribution to the family other than having a two-year-old-and to support issues in science and technology, to defend Canadian culture and the environment.

I did not really think I would be standing here and speaking on this motion today. My original view of Bill C-33 was that it was so restricted in its application, so obviously necessary, so consistent with the principles of my party that it was hardly worth debating or discussing. It is precisely this debate and this division within the House and indeed within my own party, this passion, which has convinced me not only to support the bill, something I had always intended to do, but to speak today.

What is the bill about? This bill simply adds sexual orientation to a list of prohibited categories for discrimination. We are talking about basic human rights here. We are not talking about lifestyle choices. It is simply about outlawing discrimination for that 10 per cent of Canadians who work within institutions covered by federal jurisdiction.

With respect to the hon. member for Port Moody-Coquitlam, it has nothing but nothing to do with the five examples she gave us from Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia and wherever else she spoke. All of those are strictly a matter of provincial jurisdiction. They are covered in the 90 per cent of the population that this bill does not deal with. It is not about provincial jurisdiction, despite the examples she cited.

This bill does not cover 90 per cent of Canadians who live and work outside federal institutions. It does not apply to marriage, which is a provincial matter. It does not apply to adoption, which is a provincial matter. With respect for the member for Port Moody-Coquitlam, it does not apply to the family. Indeed, the preamble to the bill "affirms the importance of family as the foundation of Canadian society".

Oddly enough, it is not even about religion. To suggest such a thing is to read things into the text which simply are not there. We could add a number of things which it does not concern. It is not about the Canadian Wheat Board. It is not about Pearson airport. It is not even about the Great Wall of China. Nowhere do the words Great Wall of China appear in the text.

Let us go through some of the arguments made by the member for Port Moody-Coquitlam. The first one is why a list and why a specific reference to the category of discriminated persons. It is obvious. In the absence of a specific reference to sexual orientation one can quite categorically affirm that there have been examples of blatant discrimination within federal institutions, notably within the armed forces.

The second point is the family, which I have already alluded to. It is not about the family, even though we have reaffirmed our basic faith in the family in the preamble. The member asked why is there no definition of family. The member answered her own question by her inability to give one when pressed without a piece of paper in her hand. If it is that complicated, why on earth should we put the definition of a family in that she could not provide under pressure?

The third argument the hon. member raised had to do with ramming through. Who is ramming through? I thought we had declared this a free vote. I noticed that on our side there was some division of opinion last night and there may even be later today. What I did not detect was any sign of a free vote on the other side of the floor from the very member who made the point. Those who had views on either side seem to have been excluded, whatever the moderation or extremity of the views. Who is ramming through what?

The hon. member said there were no references in the legislation to same sex benefits. I find this a very curious logic. On the one hand the member asked us to add all sorts of detail to define the family, to talk about marriage, benefits and so on, but on the other hand eliminate any reference to categories of discriminated persons. Either in logic one believes everything should be included in the bill, that is to say both lists of discriminated persons and exemptions and exceptions and all the concerns she raised, or one is for simplicity in law. To be half for simplicity and half for complexity leaves me a little confused.

Given what the bill is about, which is modest, and what it is not about, which is vast, what is the real reason for this passion in the debate? Without giving a detailed psychological analysis of all present, which would probably not be appreciated by anyone, it seems the bill carries on its thin and bony shoulders the weight of a tremendous burden; that is, the weight of all changes that have taken place in Canadian society since 1950, plus the Great Wall of China to boot.

It is simply an expression of fear of change. A fear of the differences which are emerging in our new Canadian society. That is what the passion is about. That is not what the bill is about. Therefore those are the reasons that convince me to vote for the bill and to speak in favour of the bill; however, it is this very passion, this very fear, that convinces me we need such a bill.

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12:15 p.m.

Hamilton West Ontario


Stan Keyes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, this has become an extremely controversial debate. However, my constituents in Hamilton West will know I have never shied away from addressing important issues such as this one.

They will know I have consulted with many of them and I have read their correspondence. My constituents know where their MP stands on the issues.

My constituents are entitled to know my position on Bill C-33. Therefore I consider it a privilege in the House today to clarify my reasons for voting in favour of the proposed amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Amid the current angst over same sex relationships and other related issues, it seems rational considerations have been overshadowed by narrow minded, sometimes self-righteous statements from some members in this place. As opposed to embracing one of the conveniently packaged positions, for example the news headlines that scream out right wing fundamentalist homophobe or gay rights activist, it is worthwhile to examine Bill C-33 for what it is. It is an act to amend the human rights act.

It is truly unfortunate that the central focus of the bill has been distorted by other peripheral issues. In recent days I, like many of the other members in the House, have received phone calls and letters from individuals in my riding who have some very passionate but often ill informed views on this issue.

As a member of Parliament I am concerned about the general welfare of my constituents. Consequently from time to time I, like many of my colleagues on this side of the House, do everything I can to help my constituents address various needs and deficiencies related to the federal government and federally regulated services and operations.

In keeping with this I am primarily concerned with identifying how the proposed legislation, the bill before us today, will help us ensure federally regulated workplaces are tolerant and free from unwarranted discrimination.

I take this opportunity to address some of the specific concerns raised in various letters I have received from my constituents with respect to Bill C-33. For example, in their letter John and Judy wrote: "It is only used to promote tolerance for a particular lifestyle today. What will it protect tomorrow, pedophilia, incest? Also, we feel it will break down the family unit which God has instituted from the very beginning. Why should we pay for benefits for same sex couples when our country is in debt already?"

Pedophilia is not a sexual orientation. It is a crime. It is a crime regardless of whether the offender is heterosexual or homosexual. The suggestion that pedophilia may be read into the phrase sexual orientation has no legal basis.

Seven provinces have had similar wording entrenched in human rights legislation for almost two decades. In that time the term of sexual orientation has never been used as a defence against criminal charges of pedophilia. Clearly pedophilia would not be protected by human rights legislation under any circumstances.

With regard to the definition of the family, no changes are planned or necessary as a result of this amendment.

On the issue of same sex spousal benefits, the amendment will not extend same sex benefits to partners of gays and lesbians. On this point it should be noted that in Egan v. Canada the Supreme Court of Canada held unanimously that sexual orientation is a prohibited ground of discrimination under the equality provision, section 15, of the charter. In that case the court also held that such discrimination did not support the extension of pension benefits to same sex partners.

In another letter, Ruth wrote: "I do not desire the bill to be made law that gives homosexuals equal rights to be married and adopt children".

First of all, marriage and adoption fall under provincial jurisdiction. This amendment deals with discrimination in employment, accommodation and provision of services, and nothing else. It does not condone or condemn homosexuality or heterosexuality.

In his letter, Norman wrote: "This addition removes the right of upright individuals to teach and practise moral convictions based on the truth of the Holy Bible simply to accommodate individuals practising the most loathsome, unnatural and filthy lifestyle".

On the same point, Paul wrote: "In all probability it will be illegal to teach, even in places of worship, that homosexuality is immoral, even though this is clearly the doctrine of many faiths, including Christianity".

It should be noted, however, that churches, religious organizations and schools are not under the federal jurisdiction. The amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act will not affect the way they teach or the way they operate.

Throughout this debate there has been confusion with the provision of special privileges or immunities and prohibiting discrimination. The bill represents the latter and not the former. The Canadian Human Rights Act and the amendment we are speaking of today are intended to prohibit acts of discrimination based on, among other things, age, race, religion, colour and sexual orientation.

As evidenced by the recent racist and homophobic remarks uttered by several members in the Reform Party, it appears we need legislation just like this in order to illustrate in very clear terms our distaste for discrimination and the rejection of racist and homophobic attitudes in society.

Once again to be clear, the purpose of this legislation is to make certain that workplaces in federally regulated industries are tolerant and free of unwarranted discrimination. The clear majority of Canadians support this amendment and have for many years according to various opinion polls. Most people do not even consider the issue to be extremely controversial.

I am proud my colleagues on this side of the House and some of the more progressive members opposite have shown such overwhelming support for the government's attempts to protect the basic human rights of our fellow citizens.

In the first session of the 35th Parliament the government passed legislation to toughen sentences for hate crimes and moved to address the needs of vulnerable communities in society. Not only does the government realize that discrimination exists in society, but we are ready, willing and able to deal with it head on through the legislative process.

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John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I continue to hear members on the government side saying how great this piece of legislation is and how they think it will advance society.

We have one law dealing with sex in the workplace, the sexual harassment law. It states sexual innuendo, sexual prowess, sexual adventure, sexual escapades, sexual anything are absolutely not to be tolerated in the workplace. Courts have passed judgement on that. The Treasury Board has issued guidelines on that. There are numerous investigations by the Treasury Board of complaints by civil servants who feel they have been sexually harassed in the workplace.

Now Minister of Justice has introduced this piece of legislation which states sexual orientation is fine in the workplace. I have to scratch my head and wonder which legislation will take precedence. Will sexual harassment now be tolerated in the workplace if someone can identify or show their sexual orientation is somehow important and they need to have that protected? Or will sexual harassment still be absolutely and totally forbidden?

Does the member support the sexual harassment legislation? If he does and says that sexual anything is not allowed in the workplace, what will he allow and what will this piece of legislation do to sexual harassment? Will it be allowed or will it be forbidden?

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Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard the comments of the member opposite and of many of his colleagues. I can only conclude we are witness to the ill intentioned conversing with the ill informed. That is precisely why we are bringing forward this kind of legislation.

The legislation before us has nothing to do with all the peripheral items the members opposite and those who are ill informed in the community are trying to bring forward. They are trying to make something out of this bill, out of the amendment that is just not there.

Why not see the amendment to this bill for what it is? Why not recognize that in today's society we have to deal with communities fairly and forthrightly? The amendment does precisely that, and that is all it does.

Members opposite can try to drag in all types of different arguments, for example arguments on what constitutes the family. Can the member opposite provide for me a definition of family? We heard it from the member for Port Moody-Coquitlam, man, woman, child or children.

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John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

And married.

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Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

And married says the hon. member, proudly.

My best friend in my riding was married once and divorced. The lady he lives with was married once and divorced. They both had two beautiful children from each of their previous marriages. They came together to live and reared those children from the ages of 10 until today those four children are now gone. They have left the nest, as they say, and have gone on to become productive members of society. They have gone on to do what they have to do to get jobs and get an education. That now leaves my best friend, who is divorced and not married, living with his lady friend. Does that make them any less of a family in the member's eyes? Is this couple, who have brought up their children from previous mar-

riages and have been living under the same roof for over a decade, not a family?

One can imagine if we had to try to define what is a family. Is a single mom living with her daughter not a family? I can understand the complications that would come about as a result of trying to make that kind of a definition.

Again even I find myself straying from the main point which is that the purpose of the bill is strictly an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Let us deal with it for what it is and not what hon. members opposite might want it to be.

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Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was 16 years ago in the special committee on the Constitution of Canada that I as a new member of Parliament having been elected in 1979 first introduced an amendment to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the equality rights section of the Constitution of Canada, section 15.

That amendment was to include the two words "sexual orientation". That amendment was defeated overwhelmingly. I will never forget the words of one of the committee members in speaking against that amendment. He said: "A family cannot include every barnacle and eavestrough in the Constitution of Canada".

I was then what he would have called a barnacle or an eavestrough. I am a gay man but it was not to be until the spring of 1988 that I came out publicly and affirmed that it was a part of who I am as a human being.

We have travelled a long road in 16 years. I recall another committee I sat on in 1985, a special committee on equality rights. That committee held hearings across Canada about what the meaning was of equality in Canada in section 15 of the charter of rights and freedoms. The committee was made up of five Conservative members of Parliament, one Liberal member of Parliament, the member for Mount Royal, and myself.

We travelled across this land. We held hearings on my private member's bill that would include sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act. That committee was moved by the power and the eloquence of those witnesses we heard, in some cases behind closed doors, appealing to their elected representatives to do the right thing and recognize that gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Canada are entitled to basic equality.

Basic equality, not special rights. How many times have we heard the suggestion that this amendment is about special rights? This amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with special rights or privileges. This amendment is simply sending out a signal from the Parliament of Canada that gay and lesbian people are entitled to be treated in law as equals. It is not a revolutionary change.

It will soon be 20 years since these changes were made in Quebec, in 1977. Quebec was the first province to list sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for discrimination in its charter of rights and freedoms.

Since then seven provinces and the Yukon territory have done the same thing. The courts have moved. Indeed in 1991 the Ontario Court of Appeal, in an appeal by Graham Haig and Joshua Birch, wrote in the words "sexual orientation" in the Canadian Human Rights Act. It said if Parliament was not prepared to ensure that equality was included, the courts would do it for Parliament.

Here we are today, five years after the courts have said this is what this section requires. I find it incredible that the two words "sexual orientation" should still generate such emotion. Gay and lesbian Canadians are not people from another planet. We are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, neighbours, friends, mothers and fathers, and co-workers. We are saying that our time has come. Indeed, it is long overdue.

I want to make it clear that this day would not have arrived had it not been for the tremendous courage, strength and commitment of many gay and lesbian people across this land, people like Jim Egan and his partner Jack Nesbit. They have been together for over 40 years. They fought to the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court of Canada, for the right to have their relationship treated as equal, to have their relationship affirmed in law.

I think of people like Doug Sanders. He was there in the 1960s in one of the first groups, the Association for Social Knowledge, fighting courageously for awareness and for equality. I think of people like Michelle Douglas. She is a former captain in the Canadian Armed Forces. She was one of the finest young officers the forces had seen. She was told one day that her job was gone simply because she was lesbian. She fought back and she won. I think of people like Jane Rule, Timothy Findley and others who have put into such beautiful words, such powerful and eloquent words, the struggle of our people for equality and justice.

There are so many others who I cannot name, but who made it possible for me to take the step of coming out publicly in 1988 at a time when many of my colleagues suggested it would be political suicide. The people of Burnaby-Kingsway have re-elected me twice since then. They have sent a powerful message that what

matters is not one's sexual orientation, but one's ability to do the job. That is what this bill is all about. Nothing more, nothing less.

The bill sends a signal to the people of this country. While we cannot change their attitudes, if they want to send gay and lesbian people to the back of the shop, if they want to fire them from their jobs, if they want to deny them access to goods and services or to homes, they are not going to be allowed to do that solely on the basis of sexual orientation. For anybody who thinks that it does not happen, it happens all too often. This law will be a signal from the Parliament of Canada that it is not acceptable and there is a recourse in law to the Human Rights Commission.

As long as someone is afraid of losing their job or being thrown out of their home, that has a profound impact on another area as well. The committee that studied this bill heard from Chief Brian Ford of the Ottawa Police. I want to pay tribute to Chief Ford and to members of his hate crime section, Dan Dunlop, David Pepper and others. They pointed out that if someone is afraid of losing their job and if gay bashers beat them up, they are not going to report it.

Two weeks ago I was in Red Deer, Alberta. I was told about a gay man who was beaten up in Calgary the previous month. Both his arms were broken, his ear was cut off and he was in a coma. Why? Because he was gay. In some cases people like that are afraid to report the bashing because they do not want to lose their job. That is not good enough.

It is shameful that still today in some jurisdictions in this country fear exists because there is no human rights protection: Alberta, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador. This is another reason for the bill, to send out that signal that this is not acceptable.

Some members of the House have asked about the possibility that this might recognize gay and lesbian families. Let me say that when gay and lesbian people are involved in committed loving relationships, caring relationships which survive against incredible odds, we as communities, we as a country should be affirming and celebrating those relationships and not denying them. If this bill in any small measure helps to affirm and to recognize those relationships, then I say that is a good thing.

The courts have ruled on discrimination. Supreme Court of Canada Justice Cory was supported by Judge Sopinka and a majority of the court when he said: "To treat persons of the same sex who represent themselves as a common law couple differently from persons of the opposite sex representing themselves as a common law couple is a differentiation which must be based upon sexual orientation". He is right.

I hope that this legislation, this modest amendment will be another means whereby the Human Rights Commission and the courts can indeed extend that equality to committed loving gay families. If anybody needs any proof of that love and commitment, look at the AIDS ward in a hospital in Toronto, Montreal or my own city of Vancouver. Look at the kind of compassion and love that is demonstrated in the face of this epidemic that we as gay people are living in. If those are not traditional family values, if those are not values that should be affirmed and celebrated, I do not know what is.

This bill is a response to the plea of my late friend Kevin Brown, one of the founders of the B.C. Persons with AIDS Society. He talked about how gay and lesbian people have to confront the HIV virus but they should not have to confront another virus, the virus of homophobia, of hatred, of fear. This bill is a small step in confronting that virus as well.

This bill is not the last word. This is a change in law which ultimately must change a society which allows widespread hatred and discrimination which is doubly profound and serious for those who have to face racism, sexism, anti-Semitism. Ultimately the bill is not about liberation, which is the ultimately objective of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, because there are many steps that remain to be taken.

We still have to recognize the struggles of trans-gendered people who too often are invisible, whose struggles are not acknowledged, in some cases even in gay and lesbian communities.

We cannot speak about full freedom and justice as long as gay, lesbian and bisexual youth still have levels of attempted suicide and suicide which are devastatingly high. Only aboriginal youth have comparable levels.

On the fear, the alienation that too many gay, lesbian and bisexual youth experience in their daily lives, the fear of coming out, we heard very powerful evidence from child psychiatrists before the committee about the impact this has.

I remind the House that alone, among all minority groups, gay, lesbian and bisexual youth in some cases cannot even turn to their own families for love and support. Their greatest fear is their families may find out, so they struggle alone in silence. They cannot even in some cases turn the church because they are condemned as sinners by too many of the churches.

I want to acknowledge and celebrate the struggle of those working within the churches to change those attitudes, people like Bill Siksay in the United Church, the Metropolitan Community Church, groups such as Dignity, Affirm, Integrity and many others, pleading with their churches to recognize and celebrate the reality.

I refer to a Catholic priest who wrote a letter to the Vancouver Sun at the time the member for Central Nova was speaking out in a particularly hateful way. In the letter, Father Norman Birch spoke about a young gay parishioner who had been rejected by his family. He was told by his father ``if I was there, I would kill you''. His mother said do not come home. Father Birch told the young man that God loved him and that Jesus rejected no one. Father Birch said the day after he met with him that this young man took his life.

At the prayers before the funeral his two sisters and his lover were there, but no parents. When the casket was opened, he said: "I looked at that young man and I realized that homophobia and hatred had put him there. We buried Eddie in a beautiful place at the Gardens of Gethsemani. May he rest in peace".

Father Birch said: "Then I read that the MP for Central Nova said people like Eddie defile humanity, destroy families and annihilate mankind. In this case the reverse happened. Eddie was annihilated by mankind, represented by good Christians like the member for Central Nova. Whatever happened to `love one another as I have loved you"'. I ask that question. What happened to "love one another as I have loved you?"

I feel a tremendous sense of privilege to stand before the House today as an out and proud gay man and to speak for equality, justice, dignity and for respect for a community which has too often been denied that.

The bill is not the last word, but it is an important word. It is important that members of the House from all parties affirm we as gay and lesbian people are entitled to equality. It is important because it may save a few young lives. It may prevent a few people from losing their jobs. It may encourage a few more people to be out, to be open. It may mean our communities, our neighbourhoods, our country are more decent and equal places.

We are global citizens. Of course there is still much to be done internationally. There are many countries, many jurisdictions in which it is a crime to be in any way openly gay. As our government has acknowledged in a variety of international fora, we must do far more at the international level. I commend the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the leadership he has demonstrated on this issue at the international level.

I thank the Minister of Justice for moving ahead with this legislation. It is an important step forward. For 16 long years I have been battling for this. The first bill I tabled was almost 16 years ago. I have sat on many committees, questioned many ministers.

For me as an individual, for me as a gay man and as a member of a community that has struggled for many years, this is an important day. As long as gay and lesbian people continue to be victims of bashings, as long as gay and lesbian youth are taking their lives and attempting suicide, as long as people are losing their jobs and are not treated as full and equal citizens, as long as our families are not recognized and celebrated, there is still much work to be done.

Today let us join in celebrating this very important step.

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12:50 p.m.


Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as always, I listened very carefully to the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway because I know that over the years he has had a very passionate interest in this subject and has worked very hard to promote his point of view.

I find it very interesting that if one is arguing in favour of the hon. member's point of view, it is quite all right to quote members of various churches. If one is arguing against the hon. member and one quotes anyone from a church, all of a sudden one is bigoted, one is homophobic.

My friend quoted directly from a letter from a Catholic priest. I ask my friend the following question based on the catechism of the Catholic church. My friend brought the subject up, not I.

The catechism of the Catholic church states: "Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. Basing itself on sacred scripture which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine effective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. Homosexual persons are called to chastity".

This clearly does not accord with the hon. member's view.

Since this is fundamental tenet of a recognized religion in this country, does the member consider that statement to be homophobic, and if he does should people who believe this as a fundamental tenet of their religion be categorized as homophobic and should this type of religion be outlawed in Canada?

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Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe labels are at all desirable in this debate. I think we have seen too much of that.

What is important is to acknowledge that there are a variety of deeply held religious beliefs in this country. Certainly the belief the hon. member for Scarborough has quoted from is one shared by a number of members of the Catholic religion.

One of the things we celebrate is not only, one would hope, freedom from discrimination but at the same time freedom of religion. I have fought long and hard for freedom of religion in this country and I will continue to speak out for freedom of religion.

At the same time I take this opportunity to note that part of the campaign of distortion around this legislation from the member for Scarborough West and others has been the suggestion that somehow this amendment would open the door to a variety of criminal practices. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is absolutely despicable to link homosexuality with illegal practices such as pedophilia.

The reality is, as has been documented very powerfully in a study published by the American Academy of Paediatrics in July 1994, which I would be pleased to table in the House-

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Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have to assume that in his remarks the hon. member is suggesting I have linked pedophilia with homosexuality. That is absolutely false. I call on him to apologize because that is a slur-

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The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Scarborough West will probably have the time to make that point in a moment as a matter of debate, which I submit it is.

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Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I briefly want to note the results of this study of 269 cases of child sexual abuse. This was published in the Journal of Paediatrics . The title is ``Sexual Abuse by homosexuals?'' Of the 269 cases, two offenders were identified as being gay or lesbian. In 82 per cent of the cases, the alleged offender was a heterosexual partner of a close relative of the child.

I am delighted to hear the hon. member is not making that link. Certainly that is not clear from reading the documentation he circulated to the House. I welcome his affirming that during the course of this debate.

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Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough West, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is not a single piece of material bearing my name that the hon. member can show anybody that shows I have linked pedophilia to homosexuality. That is absolute nonsense.

It has been a propaganda tool used by those who are opposed to the views I advocate to make me seem something I am not. What I have said and will continue to say is sexual orientation, as a phrase, means far more than heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. Recognized experts in the fields of law, medicine and psychiatry who have appeared before various committees of the House have given that testimony. It is not I, but they.

None of them has made any link between homosexuality and pedophilia. What they have said is various types of sexual orientations are within that term. They have said pedophilia is a type of sexual orientation. That is the debate and that has constantly been twisted by the hon. member and others to indicate that I have somehow linked pedophilia with homosexuality. That is a total and complete falsehood.

I ask the hon. member if he would agree with me that Dr. Stephen J. Wormith, chairperson, and Dr. Howard Barbaree, member of the criminal justice psychology section of the Canadian Psychological Association, have indicated that sexual orientation is a key and fundamental component of pedophilia.

John Conroy, chair of the committee on imprisonment and release, national criminal justice section of the Canadian Bar Association said: "I would take the definition that you raised a minute ago. That has certainly been the definition I have always understood, homosexual, heterosexual or some other sexual orientation. It could be any kind of sexual orientation and it could be something that is illegal".

My point is that if we are to have debate, that is fine. Let us stick to the facts, not lies.

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Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I trust at the conclusion of my time you will want to draw to the attention of the hon. member his unparliamentary language.

On the definition of sexual orientation, perhaps the hon. member is not aware these words have been included in legislation in Canada since 1977, in the province of Quebec since 1977, in seven provinces and one territory. They have been included in jurisdictions throughout the world and not once, never, have those words ever been used to defend any illegal conduct.

For the hon. member to suggest that somehow sexual orientation could be interpreted in a way that would include illegal conduct of whatever nature flies totally in the face of reality. If this were to happen, I would suggest that somewhere in the world in the course of the last 20 years someone might have raised that point. Nobody ever has.

It is just as when we talk about the definition of family. This is another example where the hon. member has said this legislation might actually lead to the recognition of gay and lesbian families.

The fact of the matter is that gay and lesbian people are involved in committed, loving relationships. The fact of the matter is that family in Canada today is a concept that certainly extends well beyond the definition that was proposed by the Reform member from Edmonton yesterday who talked about family being a heterosexual couple with children.

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An hon. member

That's right.

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Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Kingsway, BC

A Reform member says that is right. Are they saying that single parent families are not families in Canada? That is absolutely unbelievable. For a party that suggests it believes in

the family to say that the only families it recognizes are families which are headed by mothers and fathers and have children is unbelievable. That is what Reformers are saying.

It is ironic that the best known Canadian family around the world was a family composed of a brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, an older brother and sister who were never married and their adopted child, Anne Shirley, otherwise known as Anne of Green Gables. When Matthew died, Marilla's friend, Rachel came to live with the family and they adopted twins.

God forbid: the Anne of Green Gables family is not the tradition family. When I hear the member for Scarborough West and when I hear Reform Party members saying that we should define family to exclude gay and lesbian families I say they should wake up and look at the reality of the constituents they represent because it includes gay and lesbian families.

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The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member has raised the question of the use of the word lies. The Chair did not think the member was addressing the word lies to accuse that member of using lies. Would the member for Scarborough West wish to clarify that point?