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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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12/09/2004

This May Get Ugly

I was delighted to see the Supreme Court of Canada affirming that
"Several centuries ago it would have been understood that marriage should be available only to opposite-sex couples. The recognition of same-sex marriage in several Canadian jurisdictions as well as two European countries belies the assertion that the same is true today,"
cbc
I have just skimmed the headnotes(which you can find here) but it is encouraging to see that the Court took the position that the Feds, by failing to appeal the various provincial decisions that excluding gays from the marriage benefit was discrimatory, had essentially adopted that position.

Where it is likely to get ugly is that the Liberals seem intent on introducing a bill redefining marriage. Which is possibly the most dumb assed stunt they have pulled to date. In light of the lower Court decisions and the opinion of the Supreme Court there is absolutely no reason to introduce such a bill. Gay marriage is legal in in a majority of Canadian jurisdictions right now. The Court opines,
While federal recognition of same-sex marriage would have an impact in the provincial sphere, the effects are incidental and do not relate to the core of the power in respect of "solemnization of marriage" under s. 92(12) of the Constitution Act, 1867 or that in respect of "property and civil rights" under s. 92(13).
scc

The problem is that the Liberals may not have the votes to pass their bill redefining marriage. Sadly, the Conservatives are going to smell blood on this issue. And there are a number of Liberals, at least a dozen, on record as opposing gay marriage. Add to that the Catholic lobby in the Maritimes, a Bloc which is not particularily interested in helping the Liberals out and a free vote and you have a potential mess.

While the 19 New Democrats are solid - or else they will get a spanking from the ghost of Svend - there is a real possibility that the measure will be defeated. And then where will we be?

As it happens, probably where we are right now. In fact the federal jurisdiction over marriage is rather weak. Weak enough that even if the bill were to be defeated and we returned to status quo ante it would take a good deal of constitutional maneuvering and possibly an invocation of the notwithstanding clause, to overturn the decisions of the lower Courts.

But what a mess.

Had Chretien had the wit to simply accept the fact that in some provinces gay marriage was judicially approved he could have simply washed the federal government's hands of the whole thing. Instead, for reasons I have never been able to fathom, his government decided they needed legislation. And a Supreme Court reference to hold up matters past the election.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives' socon wing is going to run with this issue and, judging from the results in the US election and the 11 states which held referndums on the gay marriage issue, there is every danger that this will resonate with the Canadian public.

While I would love to see the Liberals defeated in the next election, if the Conservatives ran on an anti-gay marriage platform I would have to vote for the Liberal in my riding. And I am afraid that is exactly what the Tories are going to do.


12/07/2004

So now I know what I'll be reading every Monday

Gary Becker and Richard Posner have started a blog. One of the few things which made the slightest sense to me in law school was work in law and economics. Specifically, Becker and Posner. They certainly get the blogosphere,
Blogging is a major new social, political, and economic phenomenon. It is a fresh and striking exemplification of Friedrich Hayek’s thesis that knowledge is widely distributed among people and that the challenge to society is to create mechanisms for pooling that knowledge. The powerful mechanism that was the focus of Hayek’s work, as as of economists generally, is the price system (the market). The newest mechanism is the “blogosphere.” There are 4 million blogs. The internet enables the instantaneous pooling (and hence correction, refinement, and amplification) of the ideas and opinions, facts and images, reportage and scholarship, generated by bloggers.
becker and posner

12/05/2004

Bush Nails Grits

James Burns, while still suffering from a major case of Bush Derangement, has not lost his analytical capacity altogether. Over at the Blogs Canada he writes,
I would argue that the Liberals are now weaker domestically as a result of Bush's visit, and I think that was Bush's intention. It was a sugar coated horse pill that the Liberals now have to try and choke down.
blogs canada e-group


I commented,
I happen to like and support Bush but I think you are right in pointing out that his forcing the BMD issue likely weakened the Liberals. (Which I think is just dandy.)

The problem is that the Grits have been trying to play both sides of the issue. Bush has no time for that sort of fence sitting and, truth be told, not very much for the Liberal Party. So he stuck it to Martin in a strikingly undiplomatic way. Basically Bush forces Martin to make a decision.

As the past few months have shown the last thing in the world Martin wants to do is make any decision more difficult than whether or not peelers should be vetted individually or as a class. (And even here the Grits seem to be waffling.)

Bush, bless him, is not interested in a waffle: he wants a straight answer. Indeed he wants a particular straight answer and he made that very, very clear.

Which buggers Martin because the NDP and assorted Annex dwelling MSM Euro-Canadians (that is Old Europe, French Cadet division) hate BMD because a) its American, b) it "weaponizes" space - like GPS hasn't already, c) well, it's American.

Poor Paul was reduced to pretending that BMD wouldn't weaponize space because the actual missles would, er, maybe, be shot from the ground.

Do ya think Bush cares? Not one bit; in fact I rather suspect he enjoyed making the sanctimonous Grits squirm in their none too comfortable pews.