Friday, 20 July 2012

Brian Pallister: Whose rights will he oppose next?

Sole Manitoba PC Leadership candidate
Brian Pallister. 



He voted against
equal marriage rights for same-sex couples
and delivered a lawyerly speech defending
his position. 

Image Source: Global Winnipeg
The "Progressive" Conservative Party of Manitoba hasn't really been socially progressive in the 21st century. Despite running (and getting their butts kicked) on economic issues, it's not just serving fat cats, trampling over workers' rights, and class warfare against poor Manitobans that attracts people to the PCs. Much of their rural base is motivated by a social conservatism that, while not talked about at PC press conferences in Winnipeg, certainly generates great voter enthusiasm and the massive leads in some Southern rural ridings. This dynamic rears its ugly head from time to time on crucial matters of equal rights.

Take, for instance, a Manitoba NDP/Manitoba Liberal backed bill in the early 2000s to give same-sex couples adoption rights in this province. The Manitoba PC caucus came to a decision: oppose it.

Think about it. The "Progressive" Conservative Party of Manitoba came to the consensus that it wanted to oppose adoption rights for loving parents. This was official party policy.

Stuart Murray, the PC leader at the time, claimed that he didn't have "an issue with that [same-sex adoption] personally". Denying loving parents the right to adopt was simply the cost of doing politics for Murray. His decision to deny people rights resulted from a simple electoral calculation as opposed to a difficult process of personal moral reflection.

But what about Pallister?

Today's sole PC leadership candidate was in federal politics at the time, after all. His party was having free vote on the matter of recognizing same-sex marriage. He could have chosen to stand up for equal rights for same-sex couples, like CON MPs Gerald Keddy, James Moore, and Jim Prentice did.

Instead, Brian Pallister voted against the bill recognizing marriage rights for same-sex couples and delivered a convoluted, sophistic speech against equal rights for same-sex couples.

The red-herring laced speech basically claims that there's something uber-special about marriage and that it would be poor judgement to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples because that uber-special quality would be lost. What is that uber-special quality? After rambling, Pallister settles on this.
Marriage has had at its core the characteristics of permanence, procreativity and child-centredness. It is a symbol of interdependence between men and women. If we decide that marriage is to become nothing other than a form of intimacy between consenting adults, it will represent a paradigm shift and a fundamental reinterpretation of the core social purpose of marriage.

(Hansard - Civil Marriage Act (C-38) debate - Brian Pallister (CPC) - as reposted on "Canadians for Equal Marriage")
 Pallister, to the best of my knowledge, has never tried to limit marriage rights for sterile couples or couples disinterested in children. Same-sex couples -even those that adopt - are apparently a greater threat to child-centric nature of marriage in Pallister's mind than straight couples that can't have, don't want to have, or even hate children.

But the then Manitoba CON MP goes on to allude to the fearfulness and paranoia of some of his friends.
A local pastor and friend of mine commented to me recently that it was good that homosexual people were coming out of the closets because those closets would be needed very soon for Christians. That is a fear that many, not solely Christians, in Canadian society have. 
(Hansard - Civil Marriage Act (C-38) debate - Brian Pallister (CPC) - as reposted on "Canadians for Equal Marriage")

 This is the type of man - one who'll use any laughable excuse in the book to deny people rights - that's running for leadership of the Manitoba PCs. A man who, rather than calming down irrational fearfulness with principled leadership, fuels it through pandering speeches in the House of Commons. This man has gone on to brand himself as "compassionate".

Conservative's know that they've lost when it comes to denying rights to same-sex couples. There isn't that much to worry about from a  Pallister Premiership on the same-sex rights front.

But the question Manitobans have to ask is that, given Pallister was willing to deny same-sex couples rights when it was politically convenient, who's rights will he deny next if he becomes Premier?

21 comments:

  1. So what you interpret to be Pallister's 'non-socially progessive' stance - is that better or worse than the NDP's demonstrated non socially-progressive stance?

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    Replies
    1. The (Manitoba) NDP's non-socially progressive stance on what?

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  2. So when Jack Layton rallied his troops to condemn,shun,kick out of coccus and destroy Bev Desjarlais' political career when she voted against same-sex marriage , that's OK with you.
    Both Liberals and Conservatives allowed a free vote on that issue and any members who voted against s-s marriage did not get the Layton treatment.
    Hypocrisy and the NDP, two peas in a pod.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Liberal cabinet was whipped to vote for it, Liberal backbenchers were given a free vote. The only parties that had free votes for everyone was the Bloc Quebecois and the CONs.

      Boo-hoo for Bev Desjarlais. And get your facts straight. She was backbencher and later quit the Caucus when the riding association for Churchill (i.e. the rank and file) nominated someone else. She was perfectly free to serve the rest of her term in the NDP Caucus.

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    2. Thanks for this blog. The last thing we need is to promote the bible belt mentality that is creeping into our politics. Becoming like Alberta is the last thing we need.

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    3. So sorry, the NDP was so small at that time I ignorantly thought everyone was treated equally and fairly.
      Tell me RAG-man, was Jack right not to allow a free vote on same-sex marriage? Why the heavy-handedness?
      The NDP being so hot on human rights, even the traitoroue Desjarlais should have been allowed by the Party to vote as she thought fit with no consequences( i.e. exercising 'her' human rights).
      Finally, I'm apolitical (all Parties are corrupt) and I don't subscribe to any religion or church.

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    4. So, Anon, are you saying that whipped votes are immoral?

      Regardless, your "point" is ridiculous: whipping votes in favour of equal rights is perfectly reasonable. Incidentally, a New Democratic MP forwarding an actual petition presented by constituents was backbenched by Alexa McDonough, to considerably less controversy.

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/1999/06/20/ndp990620.html

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    5. My point was quite clear and unambiguous; the NDP were the intolerant ones not to allow any form of a free vote on the issue at hand, unlike every other party in parliament.
      Your choice to dump on my honest opinion by calling it ridiculous speaks volumes to your own brick wall mentality towards anyone who tries to have a decent discourse on a public blog.
      So be it.
      The sandbox is all yours. Any toys you find are for your exclusive use only.

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    6. Yes, how dare I call opinions I honestly find ridiculous "ridiculous". What euphemisms would you prefer? Perhaps "not exactly in line with my current provisional understanding of reality, normative and non-nromative".

      I am for substantive discourse rather than softball discourse, btw.

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    7. "Aim" rather than "am, that is.

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    8. No. You're a hack, not an analyst. You should stop pretending to be the latter.

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    9. Yeah, there's no analysis or research done at all for this blog.

      On another note, the whinefest from Riverman, Riverman Jr, and you in the comments seems illustrative of Dr. Altemeyer's thesis.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_authoritarianism

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  3. BBWWWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA... Seriously?!
    You're a party hack.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems like you're a viciously partisan hack for the league of ignorance.

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    2. If so, who cares?? I'm not trying to pass myself off as an "analyst". You're a party hack, which there's nothing wrong with.

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    3. Prove your hack allegation. Do I apply a different standard to NDP betrayals of social and economic justice than to Tory ones? A thorough look through the blog will reveal that I apply the same standard to parties of any stripe.

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    4. I'll believe it when I see a "country club" NDP jab.

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  4. It will be interesting to see if the NDP will allow a free vote on the gun registry if they try to bring it back. Seems to me there could be a lot of trouble for individual MPs if they do.

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    Replies
    1. Tom Mulcair, it seems, is enforcing a lot more party discipline on the issue than Layton did.

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  5. I agree. The issue is huge in Quebec and it could find many MPS in trouble if: Nothing is done or something is done.

    Kind of like the Liberals on the abortion issue. They are hampered from taking a side on the issue where a vote would be whipped. Too many MPs would say no.

    Could be an Achilles heel for party unity.

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