Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Is he or isn't he?

There are a lot of conflicting reports in MSM this morning regarding how close Stephane Dion is to allowing each member of his Liberal caucus to vote his or her conscience in the upcoming government motion.

National Newswatch is carrying a link to a Star article: "Liberals Will Have Free Vote on Gay Marriage".

Andrew Coyne's National Post editorial is also highlighted. He endorses a true free vote, even though he is a self-proclaimed "long-time supporter of gay marriage"

...I was for gay marriage before gays were -- I'd say the Lifesite version of events was closer to the mark. Parliament is entitled to decide any matter it pleases; on "divisive" issues, it is more or less obliged to. (The Star's "spectrum" would presumably exclude the 38% of Canadians who told a Strategic Counsel poll this week they want the law permitting gay marriage scrapped in favour of the traditional definition.)

(Golly gee! A supporter of SSM who still thinks that Lifesite is a credible source of information! Who knew?)

..But the Supreme Court, whose views on that score count rather more than either of ours, has yet to decide the issue -- in fact, it pointedly refused to do so when asked -- and while it is highly likely the court would rule any attempt to restore the traditional definition of marriage was a violation of the Charter, until they do so no one can say with certainty.

...Putting the matter to a truly free vote would send an important signal: that the 40% or so of my fellow Canadians who do not feel the same way as I and my liberal friends do about gay marriage are not pariahs or bigots, but on the whole are decent people with legitimate concerns that are entitled to be represented in Parliament.

Thank you Mr. Coyne for that bit of non-partisan sanity.

I truly do believe that an actual free vote could satisfy the concerns of many Canadians that democracy was somehow circumvented by Paul Martin. I don't expect the motion to pass, but at least the "people" will have had some kind of representation in this debate.

On a personal level, I feel that anything that strengthens the family unit is a positive step. Whether or not gay marriage will do that remains to be see. Certainly monogamy is preferable to promiscuity.

From a purely strategic POV, Stephane Dion would be wise to listen to the voices of cultural minorities in Toronto. He may lose their support if he doesn't allow a free vote.

Update: He is!! Dion to Allow Liberals Free Vote!

Further Update: Conservative M.P. Harold Albrecht just gave an awesome speech tonight! I wish he was my M.P.


Anonymous said...

What is Stephane's stance on a 'free vote' today?
It seems to change/morph/nuance daily.

I am suspicious that the latest commitment to a free vote is because he knows he will lose MPs if he whips it. The Conservative party web-site calls him out on a flip flop, as Dion voted against SSM in 1999.

I'd be interested to see if anyone who says that 'nation' is more than a word will say that 'marriage' is just a word.

Myrddin Wyllt said...

As I watched CPAC last night Three parties(guess which ones) argued against democracy, it was a disgusting display of party before country.
The NDP went so far as too say they had to whip the vote as it was party policy and I thought well what does the D in NDP stand for? Is democracy NOT an NDP policy?
I'd love to hear them answer that question.
The Conservatives are the only party in Canada that puts Canada first and is actually a democratic party.
The three opposition parties have abandoned democracy.
While the oppositions claim to speak FOR Canadians only the government is willing to speak with the voice of Canadians.
The very basis of democracy is the referendum, mention the word and listen to the howls of the non-democratic parties.

Anonymous said...

Joanne, sorry to be off topic - but are you going to join the Conservative Women's Network bloggroll?

vicki said...

Joanne...can we read the Albreght speech in Hansard??

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Vicki, I'm sure we can. It usually takes a while to get written up.

There are a lot of great speeches tonight. Maybe I'll post the highlights tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching the debate on CPAC and I am struck by how passionate the Cons are in defence of the constituents in their riding. It's quite heartening to see how they stand up for the people who vote and pay for them.
Pity, Emerson blew off his constituents, but I bet you he votes NO tomorrow.

C. LaRoche said...

Joanne: how free is the free vote?

Paul Martin's "free vote" still required that the cabinet tow the party line.

And what, nothing on the Dion-France-Citizenship fiasco?


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Laroche - Not sure exactly what your point is, but Harper is allowing his cabinet to vote their consciences and a large number are voting against the motion. That is pretty "free"; unlike Martin on this issue.

And what, nothing on the Dion-France-Citizenship fiasco? lol! Only so many hours in a day, but I do have a few thoughts on the subject. What are yours?

C. LaRoche said...


I had no point, really. As usual. :)

My thoughts on the France thing?

Ideally, the leader of Canada would only have allegiance to Canada, right? A French citizenship implies split allegiance. That doesn't matter so much until Dion has to deal with France-Canada affairs; at that point, there may be some conflict.

On the other hand, will making him renounce his citizenship change the reasons he has it? Probably not. Will they change his views toward France? Probably not. And from what I gather, his French citizenship thing is a deeply personal matter.

On a broader front, forcing our PM to renounce any citizenship to any other country or any ties to his international heritage seems like a very un-Canadian thing to do. We are a nation built on immigration -- and suddenly we're saying, to be our Prime Minister, you have to shed off any official documentation of your pre-Canadian heritage? This seems a bit like a double-standard, especially since Dion's French citizenship comes through his mother, and he has pledged complete commitment to Canada. Regarding issues of loyalty, I suppose we're democratically obliged to give Dion the boot if they come to bear on his leadership. A fundamental problem here may be that dual citizenship does not necessarily imply loyalty. For example, I am very nearly a U.S./Canadian citizen (missed being born in Texas by a matter of weeks). Regardless, I am not particularly sympathetic to the U.S. Conversely, Trudeau was more sympathetic to China than most, but didn't have any formal commitments to Asia. So what's to say Dion is sympathetic one way or another toward France? Not much.

So, as you can see, I am a bit divided on the issue.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Laroche - Interesting topic. Even though I am officially "on leave", I would like to comment on that.

Personally I have no problem with Dion's dual citizenship. I saw him being interviewed on CBC last night, and I do believe that his first allegience is with Canada.

However, he did actually say that if it would hurt his chances of defeating Harper he would revoke his French citizenship. That surprised me.

If Alberta takes issue with it though, he may have to, if he ever wants to be PM.

C. LaRoche said...

Joanne: I agree. I don't think anyone should have a problem with his dual citizenship... I think there are something like 40 MPs who also hold dual citizenships.

BUT, if from an electoral strategy perspective it looks like Dion's double-status will be a very, very bad thing (I can see placards now: "Do you want a French citizen to run your country? Dion's Liberals do!"), then he should think about dropping it, if only to avoid running headlong into problems in the leadership debate.

If I were Dion I would start memorizing which CPC high-ups have dual-citizenship status -- and maybe which famous Canadian politicians held that status, too.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Laroche, yeah. Frankly I'm surprised this didn't come up sooner in the Liberal Leadership convention if it was going to be an issue. Maybe nobody thought it would.

Have we ever had a PM who holds dual citizenship before?