Thank you to my colleagues, and to my wife, for sure, for putting up with me for 35 years.
She is just as determined as I am that this is a wrong decision, that this is an illogical decision. Quite frankly, for many Canadians, including myself and my wife, it is more than an illogical decision; it is an immoral decision, and it is not necessary to go down this road. Other countries have found a solution to this problem.
I have polled my constituents repeatedly. What have they told me? Over 90% repeatedly say do not change the definition of marriage. It is a man and a woman, full stop. But we recognize the signs of the times. We understand that people of the same sex are going to live together in intimate relationships. We understand that the courts are driving this agenda and that the courts, whether you or I like it or not, are determined to offer recognition to these people. Fine, recognize their relationship in some way, register it at city hall, call it civil union, like they do in France, call it something else, but do not call it what it is not: marriage.
I am fundamentally opposed to the decision itself, and I want to comment now and explain why I am so opposed to this incredible process that we have been put through. I see the hon. parliamentary secretary opposite. I listened to him from my riding office earlier today, in my riding of London—Fanshawe, before I flew here. I heard him and I heard other members of this House argue, including the government House leader, that there has been a full debate, all kinds of debate, a full opportunity for democratic process. That is sheer nonsense, and those of us who have been here know that is sheer nonsense.
The reality is that I sat on the justice committee from February to June 2003. Yes, we heard some 400-and-some-odd witnesses, but what happened in the end? We did not even report. That committee did not even issue a report. Our work was totally pre-empted by arrogant judges in the Ontario Court of Appeal who issued a ruling saying they instantly redefine marriage. Now what did the government of the day do? What did Minister Martin Cauchon and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien do? They rolled over and played dead on the issue. They refused to appeal that decision. Absolutely incredible. That was their agenda, and that is why the Supreme Court of Canada--and you didn't need to be a lawyer to know what they would do--refused to answer question four. They had not gone through the proper steps if they really wanted to appeal that.
The first committee, whose witnesses everybody likes to cite, did not even issue a report.
I would like to see the evidence that this latest committee referenced and how it worked those submissions into its final amendments and report.
The first committee was rendered a farce by the courts.
Then, of course, we had one of the most duplicitous situations at that time, where we were even denied quorum at the justice committee. Let us talk reality. I was there. A teaming up of the Bloc Québécois and some Liberal MPs on that committee--