Both Mr. Wappel and Mr. Steckle have previously voted against their own government to oppose including sexual orientation in hate crimes legislation in 1995, to oppose protecting lesbians, gays and bisexuals from discrimination in 1996, and to oppose recognizing same-sex relationships in 2000.
Tom Wappel is on record as saying: “Homosexuality is statistically abnormal, it’s physically abnormal and it’s morally immoral.”
Only a heroic and passionate one-hour speech by Svend Robinson, the Bill’s sponsor, exhausted the allotted time and staved off a vote that would have seen the Bill doomed to certain defeat. Debate on the Bill continues, with Svend Robinson retaining the floor.
If the Committee has not concluded debate on the Bill by May 27, 2003, it will be deemed reported back to the House of Commons, where it will go to third and final reading.
“It was shameful that Liberals with a track-record of offensive comments and anti-gay voting patterns stacked the Justice and Human Rights Committee in a blatant attempt to deny lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people the equal protection of hate propaganda legislation,” said John Fisher, Director of Advocacy for Egale Canada, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered rights organisation which appeared earlier this week as a witness on the Bill. “These MPs had not attended a single hearing on the Bill they were there to oppose and are neither Members nor Associate Members of the Committee. The presence of notorious anti-gay MP Tom Wappel as a stand-in for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice casts a shadow over the entire process and seriously calls into question the government’s commitment to equality.”
“Thanks to Mr. Robinson’s heroic efforts, it looks virtually certain that the Bill will be returned to the House for a vote at third reading. Egale calls upon Minister of Justice Martin Cauchon to confirm immediately that the Bill has the full support of himself and his government and will be adopted without further delay. Anything less will send the message that the government opposes hate propaganda on the existing grounds of race and religion, but considers lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people fair targets for the promotion of hatred.”
For further information:
John Fisher, Director of Advocacy, cell: 613-291-5187