Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 5, 2005
'Get involved!' bishops urge voters
Euthanasia, marriage issues percolating in campaign
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
"Political involvement is a determining factor in social, ethical and economic questions."
- Canadian bishops
"When I'm prime minister, I will not whip our cabinet, I would simply ask the House of Commons in a motion whether they want to table legislation on the marriage issue to change the definition of marriage," Harper said.
That remark brought a prompt attack from the Liberals and the New Democrats.
"I believe that it falls to the leader of our country to stand up for the Charter of Rights," Prime Minister Paul Martin told a Liberal rally later that day, according to the Toronto Star. The Liberals had painted opponents of same-sex marriage as anti-charter during the debate.
"Anyone who would want to undo the human rights that have now been established, both from advice from the Supreme Court and by a majority vote in the House of Commons, I think would be doing the wrong thing," NDP Leader Jack Layton said, the Star reported.
The Bloc Quebecois is focusing on Liberal corruption. The Bloc had allowed a free vote on marriage, but most Bloc MPs supported same-sex marriage.
The permanent council makes an indirect reference to the fact that the Liberals and the NDP did not allow a completely free vote on marriage, and that many professing Catholics in the Liberal cabinet were required to vote against Church teaching.
"It is important to realize that political life is undermined in a democratic nation if those involved are obliged to distance themselves from their own religious beliefs, fundamental convictions and the voice of their conscience," said the council.
A non-partisan effort to fight for traditional marriage was launched before the campaign started. DefendMarriageCanada.org is headed by former Liberal MP Pat O'Brien, a Catholic, and former Canadian Alliance Interim Leader Grant Hill. (See earlier story on Page 19.)
Marriage is not the only issue percolating in the campaign. So is euthanasia.
While Bill C-407, a private member's bill to allow assisted suicide, died when the government fell, Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, has warned that the Liberals may bring in their own bill should they return to power.
Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) President Jim Hughes, in Ottawa the night the government fell, urged a gathering of pro-lifers to get involved in politics and elect a pro-life Parliament.
He said there are more members of various pro-life groups across Canada in non-election years than there are members of all political parties combined. "You can be on the outside looking in. You have to be on the inside," he said.
Hughes urged pro-lifers to pray, to become informed, to tell everyone about what they've learned, to become an activist and to donate to the cause.
The CLC's director of national affairs Aiden Reid urged members to help pro-life candidates even outside their own ridings.
Reid warned that many politicians will claim to be pro-life, even courting votes in churches, but once elected they act no differently than "rabid pro-aborts."
He also warned about euthanasia. "It's going to come like a steam train. We must stop it," Reid said.
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