Monday, June 27, 2005

Open mouth. Change feet. 

Harper under fire for same-sex comment: Harper does it again -- he just cannot seem to squelch his 'inner Reeeformmm'.
This time Harper said "Because [gay marriage] is being passed with the support of the Bloc, I think it will lack legitimacy with most Canadians. The truth is most federalist MPs oppose this. It's only a deal with the Bloc that's allowing it to pass."
So who did he think he was going to win over with this line? Quebecers? The majority of the country that supports gay marriage? Former Progressive Conservative voters? He derides the Bloc, yet he himself was quite willing to defeat the Liberal/NDP budget bill with a Conservative/Bloc alliance.
This remark sounds like the Conservatives are experiencing a resurgence of the get-French-off-the-cornflakes-box crap which doomed the old-line Reform supporters in central Canada.
Needless to say, Quebec will not be forgetting this one quickly. Here's the Commons reaction:
Giles Duceppe: "We're elected. Our mandate is every bit as legitimate as any member who sits in this chamber. That's what they call democracy." The Conservatives could help end the Bloc's influence by supporting Quebec independence, Duceppe wryly suggested.
Jack Layton: "Mr. Harper is essentially saying that Quebecers' votes don't matter - aren't on an equal par with the rest of Canadians. So he wants to deny equality to same-sex partners, and he wants to deny equality to Quebec voters. Maybe Mr. Harper should think about why people aren't listening to him by just simply looking at what he says.' "
Scott Brison: "This is another case of Stephen Harper trying to divide Canadians and pit one group against another. For him to imply that federalists are not as supportive of human rights and equality as separatists is truly offensive."
And Joe Clark, who was Grand Marshall of Calgary's 2001 Gay Pride Parade , might well be heard muttering "I told you we shouldn't have done it. I told you".
UPDATE: I realized today, hearing Harper still harping on this, that he is actually saying this just so that he can tell his Reform/Christian right/Focus on the Family supporters that he "won" because gay marriage wasn't supported by a majority of what he terms "federalist" MPs. Its just a pathetic political spin game so his fundraising won't suffer. What he and the rest of the conservative party don't seem to realize (likely because they have no Quebec members) is how seriously angry Quebecers are about his remarks -- take a look at Scott of Montreal's comments in the "Comments" to this post.

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