Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 14, 2005
Volpe's flip flop targeted
Defend Marriage Canada upstages Liberral convention
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Defend Marriage Canada, a coalition of pro-family and religious groups, upstaged the March 3-6 Liberal convention when it launched a campaign against Immigration Minister Joe Volpe.
Volpe, a Catholic MP who promised to fight for traditional marriage, now supports same-sex marriage legislation.
Defend Marriage Canada spokesman Charles McVety said Volpe is the first target in a campaign that will also hit Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan, Natural Resources Minister John Efford and the minister of state for Northern Ontario regional development, Joe Comuzzi.
It's the Charter, stupid!
McVety, who led a demonstration of about 50 to 100 people outside the convention March 5, said the tough campaign was prompted by the Liberal Youth's slogan "It's the Charter, Stupid!"
"When they invoke U.S.-style attack campaigning and call us stupid, it causes a change in direction," said McVety, who is also president of the Canada Family
Action Coalition (CFAC) and president of Canada Christian College in Toronto.
"Every time MPs speak, videotape is rolling," he said, noting these politicians made promises to fight for marriage, appealed for support, then betrayed those promises. He asked Volpe not to put power over principle. He said that standing up for principle "is always costly" and would mean the loss of the perks associated with power.
Defend Marriage Canada took out a full page ad in the National Post entitled
"Can we trust Joe Volpe?"
The group also released a video of Volpe making an August 2003 speech at Canada Christian College via www.josephvolpe.com.
In that speech, Volpe said he believed that the Ontario court changed the definition of marriage "wrongly in my view.
"I need to have your support to ensure that the error does not continue," he said. "No government can put itself in the position where it interferes with that relationship. If we believe in something, then we must defend it."
Volpe added: "I don't think this calls for the easy way out."
The major television networks devoted a significant part of their Saturday convention coverage to Defend Marriage Canada's campaign. Inside the Liberal convention, journalists swarmed Volpe several times, some asking him if he was a hypocrite for changing his position once he was in cabinet.
Volpe told CCN that his being around the cabinet table enabled him to help shape the legislation, first by ensuring that the bill was about "civil marriage," not "consecrated marriage," and second by ensuring that religious freedom was protected.
"I would be rather foolish to vote against my own input and suggestions."
The Canadian Catholic bishops have warned the religious freedom promised in Bill C-38 is outside federal jurisdiction, since solemnization of marriage is under provincial jurisdiction. They also have said that the freedom for religious officials does not take into account the conscience rights of lay people or marriage commissioners.
Also, the bishops do not differentiate between a civil marriage and a consecrated marriage. Instead, they argue that marriage, as a social institution for the procreation and raising of children, is necessary for the common good of society, not just Catholics.
Calling himself a "good Catholic boy," Volpe pointed out that Canada is a pluralistic society and he had the opportunity to demonstrate the Catholic point of view around the cabinet table.
Though Prime Minister Paul Martin tried to discourage youth from wearing the red "It's the Charter, Stupid!" buttons, many youth delegates wore them as did a couple of cabinet ministers.
Alcock, McCallum buttoned
Treasury Board President Reg Alcock wore one throughout the convention. Revenue Minister John McCallum, whose department deals with charitable status, was spotted wearing one on Friday, March 4.
The Liberal convention overwhelmingly supported a resolution in support of same-sex marriage. Resolutions at three previous conventions had been voted down. When the Liberal Seniors' Commission put forward a motion in support of traditional marriage in a workshop, the handful of people who spoke in favour were booed.
Defend Marriage plans a massive demonstration on Parliament Hill April 9, and is encouraging people to come from across the country. More information can be found at www.march4marriage.ca. More information on the coalition is available at www.defendmarriage.ca.
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