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A tie vote

Most disheartening of all about last nights’ vote was that the first time round it was a tie vote – 134 to 134.  It was not until the speaker of the house ruled that the original Alliance motion had to stand, which called on Parliament to take "all necessary steps" to preserve marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution, invoking the spectre of the notwithstanding clause, that enough Liberal MP’s felt compelled to vote against the motion.  Nearly a third of the Liberal caucus supported the Alliance motion.

Toronto Star: PM wins same-sex vote, but only just.

John Ibbitson, writing in the Globe and Mail this morning, takes Stephen Harper to task in A stark reflection of the two halves of Canada.  He writes:

Mr. Harper and his followers have forgotten that, while homosexuality is as ancient as the race, so too is persecution of homosexuality. We have persecuted them as we have persecuted Jews and women and blacks and every other group who, to paraphrase Cecil Rhodes, were losers in the lottery of life.

Stephen Harper’s careful choices of words, referring to "homosexual behaviour", rather than sexual orientation, and Stockwell Day’s nasty fear mongering about the "homosexual lifestyle" and "compulsory social reprogramming" hearken back to Nazi Germany and the propaganda and fear mongering that Hitler used to justify genocide against the Jews.

Chantal Hebert, writing in the Star in a piece titled Neither side can force the issue, analyzes the politics behind yesterday’s vote.  She notes that:

The front bench of the government sat empty for the best part of the debate leading up to the vote. With the sole exception of Cauchon, no cabinet minister waded into the discussion. Neither leadership contender Sheila Copps nor the Prime Minister himself took the opportunity to defend the government’s plan.

It seems clear what is going to happen here. The Government knows that, as Hebert puts it, the dice are loaded in favour of same-sex marriage. So, Stephen Harper will try to make this into a wedge issue for the next election, same-sex marriage will happen by default, and Canadians are in for a round of hate-mongering the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long long time. 


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