Ottawa
5 min

Election watch

Family fighters, where candidates stand and the campaign to oust Dennis Mills

As this issue went to the printer, pundits predicted Prime Minister Paul Martin would call an election within the next couple of weeks for mid- or late June. If true, our next issue, on Jul 1, will unfortunately be after the vote.



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FAMILY FIGHTERS



The Calgary Herald is reporting that the rightwing Christian group Focus on the Family (FOTF) is planning a $1.5-million national media campaign to rail against same-sex marriage during the next federal election.



Bob Gallagher, national coordinator for the group Canadians For Equal Marriage, says the FOTF effort raises the stakes for those advocating equal marriage.



“There’s no doubt, we will be out-financed,” says Gallagher. “With $1.5-million you can pick anti-gay MPs you want to have elected and saturate the market.”



Canadians For Equal Marriage has between $15,000 and $20,000 set aside for a federal election campaign and wants to raise just under $100,000 through fundraising efforts.



FOTF’s parent organization is based in the US. Gallagher predicts that American rightwingers will send a lot of money this way – if they can. Canadian regulations on third party involvement in federal elections are in limbo right now, pending a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the issue. Typically, foreign money is not permitted in an election. But if the election comes before the ruling – it’s been widely predicted for this spring – it’s a free-for-all.



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WHERE DO THEY STAND?



How did regional Members of Parliament vote on the Canadian Alliance motion to restrict marriage to between a man and a woman? And where did they stand on Bill C-250 and protecting gays and lesbians from hate speech and literature? And how did they fare when Egale Canada handed out report cards a few years back?



GATINEAU • Retiring incumbent Mark Assad (Liberal) – Supported the Alliance marriage motion and was absent for the vote on C-250. Assad’s spotty record on gay rights issues earned him a C grade from Egale. Francoise Boivin has the Liberal nomination for the next vote.



GLENGARRY-PRESCOTT-RUSSELL • Incumbent Don Boudria (Liberal) – Voted against Alliance marriage motion and voted for C-250 – but he has a lackluster C- report card from Egale because of his past record. He supported amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act and hate crimes legislation – but supported a Reform Party motion to define marriage in exclusively opposite-sex terms and voted against a motion by openly gay Bloc MP Réal Ménard calling for equal recognition of same-sex relationships.



HULL-AYLMER • Incumbent Marcel Proulx (Liberal) – Voted against Alliance marriage motion and voted for C-250. Egale handed Proulx a B- when they assessed his record. Proulx also supported C-23, a bill to provide same-sex couples with equal status as opposite-sex couples in 68 federal laws.



LANARK-CARLETON • Incumbent Scott Reid (Conservative) – Voted for the Alliance marriage motion and voted against C-250. Reid has moved farther west to Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington where he is favoured to win. His replacement in Lanark-Carleton is Conservative candidate Gordon O’Connor, who is opposed to equal marriage but supports civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.



NEPEAN-CARLETON • Incumbent David Pratt (Liberal) – Pratt is defence minister. He supported the Alliance marriage motion and was absent for the vote on C-250. He has a C grade from Egale for his past record. Pratt did vote in favour of C-23 to provide same-sex couples with equal status as opposite-sex couples in 68 federal laws. But he also supported a Reform Party motion to define marriage in exclusively opposite-sex terms. He’s facing Conservative candidate Pierre Poilievre, a former policy advisor for Stockwell Day.



OTTAWA-CENTRE • Currently vacant, this riding will be one of the most interesting races to watch as former NDP leader Ed Broadbent (1975–1989) runs for a return to Parliament. He’ll face off against Liberal Party nominee Richard Mahoney, who was executive assistant to Paul Martin during his failed leadership campaign in 1990, and remains an advisor to the PM. The Conservative Party candidate is lawyer Michael J Murphy (See the Apr 8 issue of Capital Xtra in our archives at www.xtra.ca for more about this race).



OTTAWA-ORLEANS • Ousted incumbent Eugène Bellemare (Liberal) – Voted for the Alliance marriage motion and voted against C-250 – but has only a C- from Egale for his past voting history. Bellemare lost the Liberal nomination for the riding to Marc Godbout, who faces a tough race against Conservative Walter Robinson, former head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.



OTTAWA-VANIER • Incumbent Mauril Bélanger (Liberal) – Belanger is Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. He voted against Alliance marriage motion and voted for C-250. Egale gave Belanger an A for his voting record on gay rights – which places him at the head of the class of this lot of Parliamentarians.



OTTAWA SOUTH • Retiring incumbent John Manley (Liberal) – Voted against Alliance marriage motion, but was absent for C-250 vote. A Chretien loyalist, he’s not running again and the Liberal nomination went to David McGuinty, brother of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. The NDP is running a high-profile candidate; Monia Mazigh is the wife of Maher Arar (the Syrian-born Canadian deported from the US to Syria last year where he was tortured). Mazigh seems to be personally opposed to same-sex marriage (based on newspaper comments) but toes the party line emphasizing equal rights.



OTTAWA WEST-NEPEAN • Incumbent Marlene Catterall (Liberal) – Catterall voted against Alliance marriage motion and voted for C-250 – but has only a C+ from Egale based on her previous voting record. Conservative candidate Sean Casey states on his website: “The family is the cornerstone of our society. We need to ensure that our children are protected from all forms of sexual exploitation such as child pornography through stronger laws. Also, Members of Parliament should determine the definition of marriage, not the courts.”



RENFREW-NIPISSING-PEMBROKE • Cheryl Gallant (Conservative) – Voted for the Alliance marriage motion and voted against C-250. No grade yet from Egale – but based on these two votes, and homophobic comments she made to Foreign Affairs minister Bill Graham in a parliamentary debate, it would likely be a low mark.



For a complete picture of MPs’ voting records on past gay rights issues and for more about their grade ranking by Egale Canada, visit www.egale.ca.



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OUST MILLS!



Canadians For Equal Marriage (CEM) launched their cross-country election campaign on Apr 28 outside of Toronto-Danforth MP Dennis Mills’ campaign office.



Mills, a Liberal who has held the riding for the past decade, is the only MP currently singled out by CEM for a “no” campaign.



“Today we announced three key races as examples of what will be our priorities,” stated CEM organizer Craig Maynard in a press release. “It is our priority to support Andy Scott in Fredericton and Stephen Owen in Vancouver Quadra, and to defeat Dennis Mills in Toronto-Danforth.”



Despite the concentration of queer constituents in his riding, Mills was absent for both last year’s vote on an Alliance motion to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and for the vote on Svend Robinson’s Bill C-250 to protect queers from hate propaganda.



Mills faces strong competition. Running against him is NDP Leader Jack Layton, who is seeking his first seat in the Commons.



ELECTION RESOURCES

For more information on voting records of Members of Parliament on gay rights issues, where they stand on same-sex marriage and other election issues, visit:

Canadians For Equal Marriage.

www.equal-marriage.ca.

Egale Canada.

www.egale.ca