Monday, June 20, 2005

The Lingering Fate of C-38

The opening words from a post of mine a month ago today, May 20th:
"Final thoughts on this week of intrigue and maneuvering... Though I favored an election, it does please me that the substantive elements of the budget will pass and that the issue of same-sex marriage might finally be put to bed [though I fear the Liberals will stall its final implementation for political purposes]." [emphasis added, of course]

And so, right on cue a month later, a CTV story from the Hill: despite having the votes for it in the House, supporters of Bill C-38 continue their protests to see it finally become law. Sadly, looks like these will go on a little longer:
"Right now, the bill is stalled in the House of Commons. The Liberals say it may
not be passed until the fall, as Parliament is scheduled to end for the summer
on Thursday."
Now, of course I recognize that the Tories and obstructionist tactics are partly to blame for this, and it remains a profound mystery why Harper's strategy seems to want to focus obsessively on his opposition to this inevitability.

BUT, if it Martin and Co. wanted this finished before heading for home, it could easily be done. As the Globe stated a few weeks ago: "The Liberals could still use a majority vote to invoke closure on debate. They could also extend the sitting hours of the House to allow for more debate time each day, or extend the session -- any of which could make the bill law before the end of the summer break."

I am shocked, frankly, that the NDP have been relatively silent here in failing to see this finally resolved. Certainly no surprise at the failure to live up to the rhetoric on the Government side from this corner, though. As at least one Liberal has already pointed out, if this was truly the "human rights" issue that Paul Martin championed so loudly during the last campaign, you would think he would place it a little higher on his list of Parliamentary priorities for the end of this session. Too tired this morning to track down other links/similarities arguing the same.

Suffice it to say that Radwanksi was correct back on June 3rd: It has been debated ad nauseum, so let's get on with it. So to the government - move on. Stop using this issue only as a tactic to beat "crazy, angry" Harper over the head with and just get the law passed.

I am not holding my breath.


Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

Why would the Liberals use closure and turn themselves into the bad guys? As I pointed out on Calgary Grit's site, have gay marriage as the fourth priority when 30 backbenchers oppose it really isn't so bad.

9:20 AM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

How would invoking closure make the Liberals the bad guys?

Passing the same-sex marriage bill -- with protection for churches that refuse to perform the ceremonies -- is the right thing to do.

Mind you, it would require having a leader who was committed to doing things because they're worth doing, rather than playing everything for maximum political advantage.

I understand the position of a majority of people in the Conservatives -- they're against same-sex marriage. But a clear majority of Parliament is not. Please, get this issue laid to rest before the next election. Especially because my guys might win. Don't play games with policies you ostensibly favour.

[I ain't holding my breath either.]

9:50 AM  
Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

Right now the debate is whether the thing has been argued enough. The Liberals win. Invoking closure would turn the debate into whether the Liberals should end debate - a much more problematic argument.

BTW, my personal opinion is that closure should never been used unless there is an emergency in some way. As a matter of principle, I would oppose doing it no matter how much the issue has been debated.

4:16 PM  

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