Madam Speaker, I grew up in a secure and loving family where both my father and mother were present. It was not a perfect marriage but I knew that they loved me and each other. There was a commitment to stay together in spite of all the problems of married life. That made my growing up years very happy and memorable and it instilled values and morals in me which I have brought to my own marriage and family of eight children.
I know that not every family had that kind of good beginning but it seemed to be the norm in the Canadian society of the 1940s and 1950s. However, insidious pressures were being placed on family life. Post-war parents had seen thousands of shattered relationships. Some of them had lost spouses in the war and had to start all over again. Other relationships had been destroyed by adultery both overseas and at home, brought about by the separation of six terrible years of war. In the lives of these people there was a growing bitterness about love and marriage itself.
In the post-war years Canada enjoyed an economic boom. With that came an ever increasing higher standard of living which placed the temptation of getting and spending before us. Both government and Canadians in general went on a huge spending spree. The government response to pay for all of it was to raise taxes bringing us to this day where we are almost the highest taxed nation in the world.
This in itself was yet another economic pressure on Canadian family life. As inflation spiralled, many women who wanted to be stay at home mothers had to become breadwinners with their husbands simply to keep up. Both men and women were working longer and spending less time with each other and their families. The commitment to develop strong relationships in family life was taking a back seat to other less worthy priorities. Some of my school chums' families started to disintegrate. Divorce become more frequent but still was not an epidemic. However, the pressure on the family was building.
By the mid-1960s we were in the midst of a sexual revolution. Some segments of our society hailed it as liberty, a freeing up from traditional values like chastity and fidelity which had provided, in my view, structure and safety for the Canadian family.
Many women were tired of the abuse they felt they suffered at the hands of a male dominated society. More of them were working, taking their places beside men and they wanted equality. Some of them wanted even more. They wanted vengeance and retribution. The feminist movement started a strident campaign to bring women into the 20th century. They burned their bras, demanded protection from unwanted pregnancy, spurned chastity and scorned the pro-life people.
A gradual blurring of the sexes occurred that gave young men growing up in many female dominated, single parent homes an identity crisis. This led to a rise in militant homosexuality, a coming out of the closet of gay men and women who also demanded equality. The things that had been considered improper went looking for a desperate legitimacy.
In 1968 then justice minister Pierre Trudeau mouthed his infamous words “the government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation”. He and his cohorts passed omnibus justice legislation which legitimized behaviour which until then for centuries had been considered outside the realm of normal and good family and personal relationships. He legitimized homosexuality between consenting adults. He provided couples who were being split by disharmony and infidelity with an easier way out, no fault divorce.
At that point in Canadian history, I believe our government started its assault on traditional family and marriage. In my view, no government can make legitimate any behaviour that has for centuries by tradition, custom, faith and the social contract been seen as destructive to family life.
This brings me to the year 2000. After 32 years of disintegrating family life, rising divorce rates, the murder of millions of babies by abortion, the decline of authority and discipline in families, school and judicial institutions, to the latest attack on the family, the attack on the very foundation of family life in this nation, the institution of marriage itself.
May I suggest that the majority of Canadians, people of faith, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Sikh, have a common belief that the institution of marriage, one man and one woman, was part of the Creator's divine plan for the orderly conduct of life and the continuation of the human race. Those of us who believe in this are wondering why our government continues its assault on the family which started in 1968. Why is it so determined to allow in legislation the gradual diminishing of influence of the traditional family and marriage itself?
Bill C-23, unfortunately in my view, is the logical progression of trends started long ago, where now in the form of same sex benefits, government continues the blurring of the traditional family and marriage. It does that by suggesting strongly through this legislation that common law relationships of heterosexual or same sex couples are no different than that of marriage as the union of man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.
This sends a destructive message to all our children. This says that the marriage of man and woman for life is not important. It does not matter whether couples get married or not and it does not matter with whom one cohabits. What a terrible message to send to our children. How will the future of our country be influenced by this?
In moving in this direction, I suggest that this government has given in once again to the tyranny of the minority. Minority pressure groups in our society that demand legislative change to legitimize their position do not really question the morality of it. They are afraid to ask the important question: Is it really the right thing to do? They simply change the law in the name of equality. Having equal rights does not make those rights correct or moral. We cannot legislate equality any more than we can legislate morality. Those are attitudes of the heart and soul that the government has clearly forgotten about.
Now, the party that told us that government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation, continues to invade them. Ironic, is it not? We have a bill that gives benefits and obligations on the basis of conjugal relationships.
What are the youth of today saying? When I listen to them, I hear them wanting to return to a better day, to a day when family life and marriage had more security and more commitment. For instance, in a study done in 1971 young people between the ages of 18 to 34 were asked if they agreed that extramarital sex was okay and 34% of them said yes. In 1995, 18 to 34 year olds were asked the same question and only 11% said yes. Who are these 1995 young people? They are the children of the baby boomers whose lives were supposed to be made easier by free love, easy divorce and the legitimization of homosexuality.
They are the ones who suffered the results of the age of promiscuity, the lack of commitment, parents who were not there for them when they needed them and, quite frankly, they want a better life. They want to be better parents and more committed to their spouses, with more order and structure in their family lives and for their children.
Why does our government always have to be so many years behind the real feelings of the majority of people when it crafts and passes legislation? This is exactly what is happening with Bill C-23.
I look at our nation today and weep. I weep for the hurting children who do not really know their parents. I ache for the women who suffer post-abortion trauma and have deep regrets for their actions. My heart breaks for young people who have grown up in homes where the lack of structure, discipline and love has led to rebellion and bitterness.
The Reena Virk incident is a tragic result of the things that I have talked about today. I see a government oblivious to the whole thing, determined to march to the orders of a tyrannical minority which will cause us all to reap the results of the whirlwind in the years to come. I say shame on it for not having open eyes to see what is going on, open ears to hear the wishes of the majority of Canadians who are opposed to the bill and open minds to admit that it is.
If this bill passes without the amendments we have suggested, it will be a sad day for Canada and I, for one, would never want to be a part of that kind of country.