MP James Lunney's HoC Bill C-38 speech

Explicity Christian defenses


House of Commons Hansard - April 5, 2005

Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is real pleasure to take part in this debate on marriage, which is a civil and religious issue.

    Our office has received a great deal of input on this bill. I am sure that most of the people of Nanaimo-Alberni prefer to keep the traditional definition of marriage. On
September 7, 2004, some 500 people congregated in front of my office to show their support of traditional marriage. There are some people among us who think their own ideas are more profound than those of the Supreme Being, but one million Canadians disagree.

    This subject, whether we like it or not, has a very deep and profound religious significance. The judges in several provincial jurisdictions have ruled that the common law understanding of marriage discriminates against homosexual and lesbian couples who wish to marry.

    The Supreme Court ruled that while Parliament had the authority to change the definition of marriage, it did not demand that Parliament do so. The Liberals have claimed that this issue is about charter rights. Indeed young Liberals at a recent convention sported badges declaring "It's the charter, stupid". Well let us talk about the charter.

    In the opening statement the charter begins with a small but profound declaration: "Whereas
Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law".

    Among the thousands of letters I have received on this subject, one writer stated, “I fear God, do you?.” I want to state to the House that yes, I also fear God.  I am a Christian.  Half a lifetime ago, I became convinced of the reality of God and I committed my life to Him. I accepted Jesus, the Son of God as my saviour - and determined at that time to follow Him.  

    I am glad that the Charter lists as the very first of fundamental freedoms, the freedom of religion and conscience. Therefore, I feel welcome as a Christian in my country and in this House, but I fear that Bill C-38 is a direct assault not only on marriage and on the family but on freedom of religion itself.

    The Liberal government declares that freedom of religion is protected because religious authorities will not be compelled to perform marriages contrary to their faith. These assurances are empty. The foreign affairs minister says to the church to stay out of it. Bishop Henry of
Calgary is told by officials from Revenue Canada to desist from criticizing the government or the church's charitable status might be revoked. Or, as I read just today, a news release from my own province from Quesnel, B.C., Dr. Chris Kempling, a school psychologist, has been suspended for three months by the local school board because he wrote a letter criticizing the government's same sex legislation. What about the charter rights of Bishop Henry and Dr. Chris Kempling?

    Already marriage officers in
British Columbia and Saskatchewan have been advised that they must surrender their licences if they will not perform same sex marriages. What about their fundamental rights? What kind of Prime Minister postures about protecting charter rights while overruling the very charter rights of his own cabinet and half of his caucus? Similarly, the leaders of the Bloc and the NDP are denying the rights of some of their own members by pressuring them to support a party line on this issue. I hope that Canadians are taking note of this issue.

    I am proud to be a member of the only party and to serve with the only leader who will protect the rights of his own members, including his future cabinet on votes that involve matters of conscience. That party is the Conservative Party of Canada.

    Parliament has already afforded recognition and benefits to other types of relationships. Changing the definition of marriage involves an institution that is the very foundation of society. That institution is the family. Marriage is an institution centred on the inherently procreative relationship between a man and a woman. The right of a child to have both a mother and a father will be negated.

    It is almost universally considered a tragedy when a child loses a parent. There are fundamental and well established reasons why most people feel that way. Christians and others of faith already feel the attempts to intimidate and the pressure to keep their views private because the state has prescribed the correct view and what the state has now relegated as antiquated or politically incorrect views do not belong in the public sphere.

    This anti-religious bias is not new in the world or unique in
Canada. It is the foundation for religious oppression and persecution. When the government asked the Supreme Court to rule whether a pastor, a rabbi or a clergyman could be compelled to perform a marriage contrary to his or her religion, it clearly demonstrated that the Liberal government did not recognize section 2 which deals with fundamental rights. The question would never have been asked by a government that respects the charter. These are already clearly defined charter rights.

    However, Christians have no confidence that this government or the politicized courts will act to protect their rights. We understand that the law without enforcement is of no effect.

    The government failed the people when it failed to appeal lower court rulings. The court has failed the people by refusing to protect religious rights of Christians and other faiths to follow the teachings of their faith and their conscience when they contradict the new orthodoxy.

    This country was founded by men and women of faith, from Champlain and Cartier to Father Brébeuf. Our schools and universities, our hospitals and our colleges were almost without exception founded on principles of faith.

    Our own Fathers of Confederation found inspiration in the Bible for our national motto, which adorns our coat of arms to this day, A mari usque ad mare, from sea to sea. This is from Psalm 72, "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea". Until recently, this very nation was known as the Dominion of Canada for the same reason. It is taken from the Bible, from Psalm 72.

    These words are inscribed in the arch over the
Peace Tower, along with the words, "Where there is no vision, the people perish".

    The same King Solomon who penned these words, renowned for his wisdom, wrote, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom".

    The member for
Kelowna, speaking to Bill C-38, referred to the prayer with which we open the House daily. In that prayer, we address almighty God and we ask for wisdom to make wise laws.

    I assure members that I will not be supporting Bill C-38 because it is not wise legislation. It is contrary to the teachings of the Bible. It is contrary to the tradition and practice of Christians and other faiths. It will therefore lead to increasing conflict with those who adhere to religious beliefs and practices.

    Over the door in the shadow cabinet room in the offices of the leader of the official opposition are inscribed the words "fear God". These words have been a part of the foundation of our nation, part of our heritage, and a reminder of the principles of faith and belief in God and service to our countrymen that made our nation the great success that it has been.

    It is possible that the Prime Minister and his colleagues may find an abundance of time to contemplate the writing on the wall, for the Conservative Party is committed to defending the traditional definition of marriage and we will certainly give Canadians that opportunity in the coming election. I urge all members to hear the voice of wisdom and stand for the traditional understanding and definition of marriage.