Hamilton—This morning at the Hamilton Airport Stephen Harper again refused to reveal his intention to use the not withstanding clause against lesbian and gay Canadians. Harper needs to be honest with Canadian voters about his intentions.
When asked this morning whether he would invoke the notwithstanding clause, he refused to come clean about taking away the Charter rights of lesbian and gay Canadians.
“Constitutional experts would agree, that Harper gets an ‘F’ in constitutional law,” said Laurie Arron, political coordinator of Canadians for Equal Marriage. “Three Courts of Appeal each unanimously ruled that denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage violates the Charter rights of lesbian and gay Canadians. How could he say he would pass this regressive legislation without using the notwithstanding clause? He either doesn’t know the law or he’s being willfully blind to it. More likely he just doesn’t want to tell Canadians what his real plans are.”
“Mr. Harper seems afraid to tell Canadians whether he would use the notwithstanding clause to override the courts on equal marriage,” said Alex Munter, Co-chair for Canadians for Equal Marriage. “He knows that vast majority of Canadians don’t want to use the notwithstanding clause to take away the Charter rights of gay and lesbian Canadians.”
When asked who should have the final say on a conflict with the Charter, 71% of Canadians said that it should be the Supreme Court and only 24% said it should be Parliament.” (April 2002, Centre for Research and Information on Canada)
“When he tried last September to pass a motion against equal marriage, he said that Parliament should ‘take all necessary steps within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada to preserve’ the opposite-sex definition of marriage,” added Mr. Arron. “Today he said using the notwithstanding clause is within Parliament’s jurisdiction. Why is he afraid to tell Canadians what he plans to do? Why won’t he come out and say that he intends to use the notwithstanding clause?”
For more info:
Kent Roach, Professor of Law, University of Toronto 416-946-5645
Alex Munter, Canadians for Equal Marriage, 613- 236-5492
Laurie Arron, Canadians for Equal Marriage, 416-928-1238 (o), 416-839-7178 (c)
Cicely McWilliam, Canadians for Equal Marriage, 416-928-1238 (o)
Egale Canada ©2007