12 December 2005

Harper changing stand on equal marriage?

Not likely.

The Globe and Mail is reporting this morning that the federal Conservative Party is attempting to distance itself from efforts by conservative Christian political activists who oppose equal marriage.

Conservative aides attempted to move the Harper campaign bus ahead of schedule as news media traveling with the Conservative leader attempted to interview David Mainse and Charles McVety.

As the Globe reports, "On Saturday, Charles McVety, the Canada Christian College head who also led the Defend Marriage organization against same-sex marriage, turned up at Mr. Harper's Mississauga rally, and was ushered into an office afterward to meet the party leader. But Tory campaign aides again pushed reporters to leave before Mr. McVety had departed."

Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory told reporters that Ontarians do not wish to re-open the equal marriage debate, settled earlier this year. Harper's first major policy statement was a call to hold a free-vote in the House of Commons on equal marriage. The Conservative Party policy manual contains that commitment plus the commitment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Meanwhile a local Conservative Party supporter is attempting to deflect attention away from Conservative party policy and its association with the religious right. Liam O'Brien points to the number of Newfoundland and Labrador members of parliament who voted against equal marriage as a defense of the Conservative Party policy.

O'Brien made no mention of comments by the Ontario Progressive Conservative leader or the number of Conservative Party candidates affiliated with the religious right. The Conservative candidate in Ajax-Pickering is a a vice-president of one of McVety's organizations. Other Conservative candidates attended a convention last week to organize the religious right as a political movement.