Jean Chretien

Liberal Party

Pierre Trudeau

Canadian Alliance

Liberal delegates support decriminalization of marijuana

Date: MAR19-00
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Keywords: demoralization, drugs

The important thing about Liberal Party of Canada conventions is that they provide helpful documentation of the moral filth and anti-civilized views that are entrenched in the party from the bottom up.

It is beyond my degree of creativity to conceptualize a context in which I could be both a Christian and a Liberal Party member at the same time - completely beyond my ability to reconcile the two allegiances.

Posted: JUL14-00
Jean Chretien Index

JENNIFER DITCHBURN OTTAWA (CP) - Liberal delegates at a weekend convention voted against legalizing same-sex marriage but supported decriminalizing marijuana in a policy debate that could form the backbone of the party's election platform.

The resolution on same-sex marriage was defeated by a vote of 468 to 365 on the final day of the party's biennial convention Sunday. An attached motion to broaden the definition of common-law spouse to gay couples in federal legislation, however, passed handily.

Another resolution to include sexual orientation in hate crimes legislation was also approved.

The government already has legislation before the Commons to extend benefits to same-sex couples. But cabinet and a majority of MPs are reluctant to delve into the politically charged realm of same-sex marriage. "For us and for this government, marriage is a unique institution," said Justice Minister Anne McLellan. "It is one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

"We also (want to ensure) that unmarried relationships, be they same-sex or opposite sex, are treated fairly and treated the same.

Defence Minister Art Eggleton, and MPs Andy Scott, Jacques Saada, and Joe Fontana voted against the marriage resolution. Others abstained or quickly exited the convention hall.

The motion was widely supported by the Liberal youth wing, which often acts as the left-wing conscience of the party. Queen's University student Jascha Jabes urged delegates to be a party of social change by recognizing the right of gay couples to legally marry. "There is a time and place for government to step out of the way and allow for the only prerequisite for a successful marriage to be love, not gender or sex, but love," Jabes told the gathering.

Linda Schultz of Calgary disagreed. "If we give all benefits to anything, what is there to encourage the next generation to take on that responsibility, that commitment, to live 25, 50 years of marriage?"

While legalizing gay marriage proved unpalatable to delegates, decriminalizing possession of marijuana, so that it would no longer be a Criminal Code offence, received a much easier ride. A further resolution to legalize the drug entirely, so that selling it would be acceptable, did not succeed.


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