I got a text around noon on Thursday asking me if I could remember how many Liberal MPs had voted against the passage of same-sex marriage. What a strange question I thought.
After checking a few sources, and looking for an online link that I could provide, the answer was 32. That’s if you don’t count the three Liberal MPs that had gone on to sit as independents when the vote happened in 2005.
It wasn’t until later that I found out why the question was being asked.
Turns out that Liberal MP and Trudeau cabinet minister Ralph Goodale had tweeted earlier in the day about Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and his comments on same-sex marriage in 2005.
To be a leader for all Canadians, the Conservative Party leader should now end his lifelong boycott of Pride events and explain whether he would still deny same-sex couples the right to marry, as he said in Parliament. pic.twitter.com/5WEyja6Ov5— Ralph Goodale (@RalphGoodale) August 22, 2019
Alright, the Liberals dug through the Parliamentary archives and found a nearly 15 year-old clip of Andrew Scheer talking about his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Does it count that he has said this is a settled issue? Does it matter that social conservatives denounced Scheer for voting for a motion at the party’s 2016 convention that saw the party drop their opposition to same-sex marriage.
Here is how the Toronto Star reported on the issue in May, 2016.
Two of the party’s leading social conservatives, Jason Kenney and Andrew Scheer, had said it was high time to update the party’s stance on marriage to reflect modern reality and doubted there would be significant fallout.
Okay, can we say that Scheer, based on two votes a decade apart, has changed his mind?
If your answer is no and that you can’t accept it then I suggest it is because you just want to score partisan political points.
Here is the simple fact of the matter. In 1999 most Liberals voted against a motion on same-sex marriage including Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, the PM and future PM.
Also on that list of Liberals against SSM would be Anne McLellan, the esteemed Liberal that just wrote a report for PM Trudeau on the role of the attorney general.
Oh….and Ralph Goodale.
In 1999, Ralph Goodale was against SSM before he was for it in 2005.
Yet somehow the Liberals think they can bring out an old clip and say they have changed their minds but the other guy hasn’t.
Let me tell you something, I was there. I was there for one of the late night votes that helped pass this in 2005. I remember sitting at home watching TV. At the end of the latest episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, I checked CPAC on a hunch.
The bells were ringing for a vote.
The vote wasn’t supposed to happen until the next day but the Liberals called it early, or late in the night as it was. I remember rushing down to the lobby of the House of Commons to speak to MPs before and after the vote.
The smell of booze coming off of them was something else. MPs from all parties had just poured out of the restaurants around the Hill and stumbled in for a vote on a serious issue.
Here is the reality that the Liberals don’t want to talk about. The whole debate on same-sex marriage ripped apart all the parties in Parliament.
The Liberals now want to act like they are pure, that they were always on the “right side of history.” That’s not the case.
It wasn’t the case in 1999 when Chretien, Martin and Goodale voted against SSM. It wasn’t the case when the vote came in 2005 and 32 Liberals, including several current members of the Liberal caucus, voted against the idea.
I know Liberals keep saying that none of these people are running to be PM but if what Scheer said in 2005 is so bad he can’t be elected PM now, despite changing his mind, why could someone with the same views be acceptable for cabinet or even the Liberal caucus for that matter.
The Liberals want to look at the Conservative record from 15 years ago but not their own from the same time period.
So, since the Liberals want to raise the issue of who said what way back when, here is what some Liberals said back in the day.
Here is Rodger Cuzner from April 2005.
When entering into marriage, a couple joins in an institution which is based on four pillars: first, each is of a certain age; second, they are not family; third, marriage is only between two people; and fourth, marriage is between one man and one woman. To compromise any of these principles, do we not compromise the institution?
Here is Francis Scarpaleggia from March 2005.
On a symbolic level, Bill C-38 reduces marriage to a vehicle for the affirmation of mutual romantic and sexual feeling and commitment between two individuals. Marriage’s profound role of linking the generations and bridging the gender gap is no longer central to the institution.
And here is John McKay in December of 2006.
So at the risk of painting a target on my head, here is what I believe. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, period. I do not think I can make it any shorter or clearer than that. I may have to be taken out to re-education camp, but nevertheless I still believe that.
And again in the same debate.
Mr. Speaker, my point is that gay relationships are inherently sterile and that is just simply a biological statement of fact, in the absence of some intervention of a third party or some technological intervention of some kind or another. They are qualitatively different if we take the view that the core issue, the core reason for marriage is the creation of children and societal perpetuation.
So the bottom line here is that the Liberals, while pointing the finger at Andrew Scheer, have at least three fingers, if not more, pointing back at them.
The Liberals are so desperate to talk about anything but SNC-Lavalin or Jihadi Jack that they are going back to 2005 to re-litigate same-sex marriage without wondering what their own team said back then.
Its not the best move, in fact it shows their desperation and perhaps shows that the latest poll that I reported on showing on may be right. If only a quarter of the voting population thought I deserved to be re-elected, I might make a desperate move like this as well.