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CANADA: Liberals dig up video of Scheer speaking against same-sex marriage

The video, tweeted by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, dates back to April 2005
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OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are urging Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to attend the Ottawa Pride parade this weekend after circulating a video of him speaking out against same-sex marriage during a debate in the House of Commons nearly 15 years ago.

The parade in the national capital takes place Sunday, just a week after Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson came out as openly gay after decades in public life.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tweeted a video of Scheer's April 2005 speech opposing the Civil Marriage Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in Canada later that year.

"There is nothing more important to society than the raising of children, for its very survival requires it," Scheer said in his speech, delivered about a year after he was elected as the Conservative MP for the Saskatchewan riding of Regina-Qu'Appelle for the first time.

"Homosexual unions are by nature contradictory to this," he said.

"There is no complementarity of the sexes. Two members of the same sex may use their God-given free will to engage in acts, to co-habit and to own property together. They may commit themselves to monogamy. They may pledge to remain in a loving relationship for life," he said.

"In that sense they have many of the collateral features of marriage, but they do not have its inherent feature, as they cannot commit to the natural procreation of children. They cannot therefore be married."

The majority of Conservative MPs voted against the bill, as did a number of Liberal MPs.

The message by Goodale hints at some of the notes the Liberals will strike during the fall federal election campaign, when they hope to keep progressive-minded voters in their camp instead of voting for the New Democrats or the Greens.

The Conservatives responded by saying the Liberals were trying to distract Canadians from the SNC-Lavalin affair and pointed out that many Liberals MPs, including those currently sitting, had at one time or another voted against same-sex marriage.

"Andrew Scheer unequivocally supports equal LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage as defined in law," the Conservative party said in a statement.

"He has advocated in the House for marginalized LGBTQ communities around the world," the statement said. "While the Trudeau Liberals will do anything to distract from their record of scandal and failure, Andrew Scheer will continue to share his positive vision to help Canadians get ahead."

Goodale voted in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage in 2005, but voted against a private member's motion calling for the recognition of same-sex spouses in 1995.

In 1999, Goodale voted in favour of a motion saying it was necessary to state that marriage should remain between one man and one woman, and that Parliament should do what it could to protect it.

He was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

Scheer has softened his stance on same-sex marriage since the debates over the Civil Marriage Act.

He supported a move to erase the traditional definition of marriage from the Conservative Party of Canada's policy book at its 2016 convention, arguing Canadians already had their say in two elections where same-sex marriage was a major issue, and that it had been legal for more than a decade.

"It wasn't the Conservative party taking a new position on marriage," he said in an interview with CPAC at the time.

"It was just deleting a clause that, in the minds of many, had become a little bit anachronistic."

But the Conservative leader has declined to march in Pride parades.

— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter

Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press

 




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