Mr. Speaker, I do not rise to address Bill C-38 in order to filibuster or obstruct Parliament, as some contend. I rise to speak in order to change the minds of those who would vote in favour of this bill.
I sincerely and profoundly want Bill C-38 defeated. I represent millions of Canadians who do not want this bill passed. I represent millions who believe that marriage is and should remain as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
It is undoubtedly unrealistic of me to expect that every member of Parliament will take a copy of my speech and before he or she goes to bed tonight will read and ponder what I am about to say. I probably kid myself into believing that each one will thoughtfully ask himself or herself the pertinent questions which I am going to pose.
Instead of restating the positions which I have already articulated in my previous speeches on this topic, I am going to ask a series of questions which I challenge others to answer honestly, to put aside prejudgments on these questions and to try desperately to think of these things on a deep level.
Here are the questions. They are not in any particular order. I just wrote them down as they came to mind.
Question 1: Am I ready to undo the traditions and teachings which have directed societies and nations over many millennia?
Question 2: Am I ready to contribute to a weakening of the family unit as it has come to be understood and sought after by generations of people in history?
Question 3: If I have a belief in God as taught by my religion, am I ready to go 180 degrees against the teaching of my religion?
Question 4: If I have no professed religious belief, am I ready to undo thousands of years of tradition and history?
Question 5: Why is it necessary to so profoundly offend the millions of Canadians who, from either a religious or non-religious basis, do not want to have the definition of marriage redefined?
Question 6: Have I read and studied with an open mind the hundreds of studies which show that children raised in families with their biological mother and father do best in all defined measurable categories?
Question 7: Do I really believe that it is in Canada's best interest to promote the increase of families which do not have a mother and father present for the development of the children?
Question 8: Am I ready to say to children brought into these homosexual unions that they may never know their biological roots, being denied forever the knowledge of either their biological father or mother?
Question 9: Am I ready to say to every person so raised that they do not have the right to determine their genetic heritage?
Question 10: Have I asked myself why in this debate the only questions of equality are for the equality of homosexuals, instead of the broader question of equality for all relationships, including non-sexual relationships?
Question 11: What are the actual benefits to society to have the traditional definition of marriage nullified?
Question 12: What benefit is there to the children involved in society as a whole if we transmit the message that fathers do not matter, or mothers do not matter?
Question 13: Is it really true that there are no consequences to a child being raised in a home where only one gender is represented in the parentage?
Question 14: Will this redefinition assist or hinder young people in gender identity issues?
Question 15: How will children in these relationships have any hope whatsoever of learning the roles of males and females when they are not being modelled for them?
Question 16: Why did members of the Liberal Party do a 180 degree reversal of their position of supporting the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of others, as demonstrated in their 1999 speeches and vote?
Question 17: Were the Liberals right then and wrong now, or were they wrong then and right now?
Question 18: Why would the Deputy Prime Minister, then minister of justice, speak so eloquently that the equality issues can be addressed without redefining marriage if she did not believe it?
Question 19: Is there some concern about the hidden agenda in the Liberal Party when it promised right before an election, “It is not the intention of this government to change the definition of marriage,” and then after the election do the precise opposite?
Question 20: Why will the Prime Minister not permit a free vote on this important issue for all members in his party, including cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries?
Question 21: Is it not important to hear the thousands of Canadians for whom this is a very important issue and to seek a compromise solution that avoids offending deeply so many good citizens of our country?
Question 22: Is it not a bit of a hollow promise on religious freedom if in the very vote on the issue Liberal members are not permitted to exercise their religious freedom and conviction?
Question 23: If their position on this bill is so right, then why can they not trust their members to vote correctly, without coercion?
Question 24: If this is truly a human rights issue and there are apparently some 30 or more members in cabinet or in parliamentary secretary positions in the government, why are these intolerant members permitted to continue in their positions?
Question 25: Why is the government giving false assurance of religious freedom when we already have a number of cases in which people with religious faith or leaders in religious organizations are being hauled before various tribunals and in some cases are being punished?
Question 26: Is there not a concern regarding the loss of individual religious freedom when this bill addresses only the apparent freedoms of religious organizations? I emphasize the words “individual religious freedom”.
Question 27: Is there not a concern with the fact that the Supreme Court, in its reference, ruled that religious freedom in the sense anticipated by the bill is not within the federal jurisdiction to grant?
Question 28: What about the marriage commissioners in British Columbia and Saskatchewan who have been given notice to solemnize same sex marriages or lose their credentials? What about their religious freedom?
Question 29: What about individuals like the teacher in B.C. who was suspended from his position solely on the charge of expressing his personal opinions in letters he wrote to newspapers?
Question 30: What about the individual in Saskatchewan who lost a case in which he was charged with quoting the scriptures?
Question 31: What about the Catholic school board that was forced to go against the teachings and beliefs of the church at a recent graduation ceremony?
Question 32: What about the mayor of a major Ontario city who was fined for not promoting a teaching that was against her religious beliefs?
Question 33: What about the religion based camp in Manitoba that was charged because it refused to go against the convictions and beliefs of its supporting members?
Question 34: Is it a concern that the democratic process is being trashed?
Question 35: Why are the million or so names on petitions presented in this House being ignored?
Question 36: Why are members of Parliament being bullied into voting opposite to the wishes of their constituents?
Question 37: Why was the justice committee of the last Parliament shut down before being permitted to report and the present special committee totally stacked with individuals on one side of the debate, having its work truncated in order to ram this legislation through?
Question 38: Why is this issue so urgent that it justifies an extended session of Parliament into the summer?
Question 39: Is part of the tactic to push it through quickly, using the excuse that members must get back to their commitments in their ridings and other parts of the country?
Question 40: Why is it so important to stifle the opposition to this bill?
Question 41: How come, in 1999 and previous votes, the traditional definition of marriage was clearly upheld and now, just a few years later, it is under attack?
Question 42: Why is the Prime Minister so determined to jam this bill through quickly? It is because he hopes the voters will forget by the time of the next election?
Question 43: If this approach in social policy is so defensible, why is there such fear that the voters of the country will react negatively against the Liberal government?
These are important questions and they demand honest answers. I fear that many members have been bullied or deceived into supporting this legislation. In my view, this legislation is wrong. We should do the country and its citizens a huge favour by defeating it and getting the solution to these problems right.
I urge all members to support the amendments which address these serious questions and to vote against Bill C-38. We must do what is right. We must defend the family, moms and dads and the social order which has stood the test of time and history. Let us not go down the wrong road at this time and then have to deal with the consequences in generations to come.