1. Scott Cunningham says

    Only when we don’t split the majority liberal vote down the middle and let the thuggish minority win, I’m afraid. And as someone with conservative family members, I have to say, none of them have paid much attention to what their party does in years, so they seem to vote based on what it once was or might-have-become back in the 1980s. My family are also still holding out the belief that they’ll reverse their record on the environment, as if all parties will learn to do the right thing eventually, and they want the Tories to be the ones to make public about-face and stop climate change.

    Right. Don’t I wish that’s how politics worked. If only.

  2. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    Harper and his cronies are neocons, intent on dragging civilization back to the 12th Century.

  3. says

    I wouldn’t be so quick to take this as fact. As Dan himself notes in an update, it seems this might just be a false claim from a standalone lawyer. In the absence of any clear reports on the matter, I suggest we wait until the Harper gov’t or any other representative makes a clear pronouncement on the matter.

    Honestly, I don’t think even a bunch of neocons like Harper & co. would do something like this. But then, I’ve been wrong before.

  4. jolo5309 says

    Before you go crazy, you should understand, this is a single (government) lawyer making the argument. Somehow I doubt this is federal policy, until it is written as law, I think you are flying off the handle.

    Wait a month when the court makes it’s decision before you go nuts, ok? I also doubt the lawyer’s argument will fly, with court or with the actual parliament, although question period will be interesting this week.

    As for those blaming Harper, I sincerely doubt that he knew about the court case until he was asked by the media.

    It does show how problematic our same sex marriage laws are, particularly when divorce laws are taken into account.

    Lastly, an comment from a conservative columnist:
    To be clear — the suggestion that these couples were never married under Canadian law, a suggestion advanced by a single government lawyer — is ridiculous. The notion that Canadian law should be dependent on the local laws of every single other jurisdiction on the planet is asinine. A government that has made so much of standing up for Canada’s values on the world stage has no business declaring our own laws subservient to any other land’s. We might not have the hard- or soft-power to give our laws much weight abroad, but we can at least honour them in our own country.

  5. Eric O says

    I don’t like Harper and I wouldn’t be surprised if he really did try to pull something like this, but I’m with Joé. Don’t despair yet – this could all be due to one lawyer’s idiocy.

  6. interrobang says

    Why did the “single government lawyer” in the most repressive, enforced-lockstep government Canada has ever seen, make such a statement if he wasn’t damn sure this was official policy of the Harperoids? MPs can’t even talk to the press these days without getting official permission from Il Douchebag’s official communications sanitisers, so why give them the benefit of the doubt?

    With the CRAPs, always presume they’re up to no good unless and until demonstrated otherwise. Given their track record, “up to no good” is the null hypothesis.

  7. shouldbeworking says

    I thought that marriage was a provincial jurisdiction area. Just because a lawyer says something doesn’t make it law here in Alberta.

  8. says

    I’m reading When the Gods Changed by Peter Newman. This is the story of the fall of the Liberals in Canada. Like it or not, it’s the Liberals who made Canada the country we admire today. They also drove themselves into the ground, and the Conservatives took over. This new breed of conservatives is alarmingly like the American Republicans, and they have a majority government for the 3-4 years. They will move Canada incrementally to the right (they already have for 5 years…) It truly sucks.

  9. Risa says

    I was just going to post the same thing. It looks very much like a comment reflecting the opinion of a single lawyer, albeit a government one. Although I am no fan of Stephen Harper, he does appear to be taken by surprise by the comment and seems to be saying that he has no intention of reopening the issue to “determine” if same-sex marriages in Canada are still valid.

    Here is a statement from a lawyer answering questions in the Globe and Mail:

    So, to be clear, at the moment, they only mean that the government intends to make this argument in Court. Nothing has changed in the legal landscape. If they withdrew the argument, or lost in Court, there would be no effect.

    The whole discussion can be found here:

    It also doesn’t make sense that if the government was going to backpedal on same-sex marriage that they would limit their sights on out-of-country unions. If Harper opposes same-sex marriage, then my guess is that he opposes all of it.

    The long and short of it is that it’s probably a little too early to be getting enraged, but probably worth keeping a close eye on how Harper reacts.

  10. sambarge says

    The Liberals made Canada the country you admire? The Liberals stole every good idea they had from the NDP, pretended to be progressive and screwed the country at every opportunity. Gay marriage is possible in Canada because of a Supreme Court decision, not the Liberals (who looked for ways to bring the same discriminatory marriage law back before finally accepting the change). They just happened to be the party in power when the Supreme Court told them the law was unconstitutional.

    Sorry, but the Liberals haven’t been progressive since Pearson. They deserve to be in the hinterland of Canadian politics – which is where the Conservatives were before the Liberals imploded.

  11. Anonymous says

    I must second (or third/fourth/fifth…whatever) the comments regarding this being just one lawyer’s opinion. As I understand it the problem is that people who do not live in Canada can get married here, but you have to actually live here in order to get a divorce. This is not a problem unless you also cannot get a divorce in the country where you do live. It is a weird, unintended consequence of having same-sex marriage legal here but not elsewhere. It is a hole that needs to be patched, they are now working on how to patch it and this is only the suggestion of one person. It isn’t yet policy because there isn’t any policy yet. As much as I dislike the conservatives, they haven’t actually done anything wrong….yet. Give it time.

  12. sambarge says

    As much as Harper probably doesn’t like gay marriage (and, as a born-again Christian, I’m guessing he kind of hates it) he loves being Prime Minister too much to touch a contentious issue like gay marriage.

  13. Adela says

    The best way to fix this technical hole in the law is for us to not marry non residents in the first place even though that goes against a grandfathered in tradition of doing so for heterosexuals world wide. It would get rid of tourist marriages for all orientations.

  14. Utakata, yes that pink pigtailed Gnome says


    While the *TorStar is more or less reporting the same thing…this is still a huge embarrassment to us Canadians internationally who pride ourselves on being a tolerant country. Harper’s only recourse is to make sure those out of country marriages stick….or he has, whether it was his intention or not, re-opened the same-sex marriages debate, which he campaigned he wouldnt do in our last federal election.


    (Note: I can’t the reply feature work properly this time. My apologies if this does’t go who it’s intending to.)

  15. shouldbeworking says

    Rmarriage licences re issued by the provinces and our Supreme Court, IMHO, overturn any federal attempt to ban noncitizen same sex marriages. Even Alberta still allows same sex marriages and our last 2 premiers and the wannabes would make Attila the Hun look middle of the road. I mentioned this to a gay married coworker and she wasn’t at all worried, chalking it up to a (insert bad words I didn’t think she knew) lawyer who could find his arse with both hands and a picture guide book.

  16. leftwingfox says

    CBC is also focussing largely on the divorce issue as opposed to “We just annulled over 4000 marriages of visiting gay couples”, which I think would probably have taken priority had it actually happened.

  17. lordshipmayhem says

    This does appear to be a case of mega panic over a report that was wildly inaccurate. The Prime Minister seems genuinely surprised that anyone came out with this.

    It seems that a lawyer declared in court that as far as he was concerned, the foreign marriages (not ALL gay marriages, just the ones to people who are not Canadian residents for the requisite period of time) were invalid. This wasn’t announced by the government, there was no “declaration” that the marriages were invalid, it’s one lawyer’s opinion.

    And it was stated before a judge, in a court case that is far from over. The judge hasn’t had time to consider the lawyer’s opinion. I’d remind everyone that a lawyer had the opinion that Linux had code in it that belonged to The Scox Group… except the judge disagreed (appealed 2x, and upheld).

    Let’s see what develops before we start condemning anyone for doing things they haven’t done, shall we?

  18. Brian Lynchehaun says


    The solution is for other countries to get their shit together so that their citizenry don’t have to leave the country in order to be treated as human beings.

  19. says

    I won’t argue. I’m talking about the Liberals throughout the 20th century. It’s true that they did nothing really great since Chretien. Just go read about Laurier, King, Pearson and Trudeau.

  20. cmv says

    This is mostly a matter of divorce. It sounds like, unless you are resident long enough to get a divorce in Ontario (a year), you would have to have your marriage recognized in the jurisdiction wherein you reside. Until I heard the tone of Harper’s voice in his comments, I thought this was worse than it looks, but he sounded like he wanted to quash any problems quickly.

  21. Bean says

    It could be an overreaction but leave it to Stever to play “WTF?”-innocent on the issue. In any case Jen as you can see we have George Bush Jr.’s slightly more intelligent evil muppet twin running the country. Sorry to disappoint.

  22. Kyle says

    I agree with everything above. Methinks the original blog post should be changed to reflect that.

  23. Anonymous says

    Even then, one of the main things Canadians are proud of is our universal health care and Tommy Douglas was not a liberal.

  24. jolo5309 says

    @Bean, or you could be talking out of your ass. For the Conservatives to reopen the same sex debate would be a losing proposition for them.

    The problem is that the same sex laws in Canada are vague regarding divorce, now of other countries would get off their butts and make it same sex marriage legal there (I am talking about you, USA) then this would not be an issue. As it stands, the law states that you must be a resident of Canada for one year before you can get divorced here. The couple is trying to get around that using shifty means (claiming a charter of rights infringement that the residency requirement violated their Section 7 right to “life, liberty and security of the person” and their Section 15 right to equality under the law, yet their own fucking country does not recognise their rights.)

    Once the flawed law that was created by Paul Martin and the Liberals is fixed, I assume all of you will be issuing apologies for your over reactions…

  25. says

    It’s just been announced that the legislation will be changed to ensure that marriages are recognized – amazingly the Conservatives are actually doing the right thing.

  26. Scott Cunningham says


    Why did the “single government lawyer” in the most repressive, enforced-lockstep government Canada has ever seen, make such a statement if he wasn’t damn sure this was official policy of the Harperoids? MPs can’t even talk to the press these days without getting official permission from Il Douchebag’s official communications sanitisers, so why give them the benefit of the doubt?

    The tldr version: Canadian conservative party politics are like your Primary season year-round. Stephen Harper is trying to shut everyone up to prevent gaffes, which makes them rebellious, producing bigger gaffes.

    The PM rose to power on a further-right party by taking away the Alberta conservative base from the more moderate Tories. Now that he’s in power, he has to do exactly what the old Tory party did – try to work a less partisan agenda without alienating the rabid Alberta base. That base doesn’t get it, hence the new new right-wing parties like the Wildrose party, who may one day consume Harper’s Conservatives just as the Canadian Alliance did the Progressive Conservatives, then find itself in the same position: they can’t stay in government without trying to act like Blue Liberals (for Americans: conservative Democrats) and alienating the rabid Alberta base.

    Stephen Harper understands this cycle. His MPs and backbenchers do not. They are partners he had to take on to consume the Tory party by being more partisan – they were not chosen for familiarity with national politics or maturity. That means they are now a liability. That is why this government shuts out the press and works very hard to control its message. That is why his MPs and backbenchers are kept in lockdown. That is why his party has undergone a series of political purges, first expelling old Progressive Conservatives after the merger to secure control for the Canadian Alliance, and then purging outspoken Alliance members to steer the party back into the calmer political waters where the PCs dwelt.

    But again, those allies PM Harper took on to consume the Tories are too partisan and inexperienced to understand. They are chaffing at his tightening grip on them, and rebel with private member’s bills and partisan, hate-based initiatives that turn into a can of worms for the party – the very thing they’re being muzzled to prevent. This appears to be another such backbench incident.

    The press, of course, have nothing else to report on because PM Harper tries so hard to shut up his MPs and tightly control his appearance in the press. Journalists are starving for stories, and it guarantees that every time some backbencher or party constitutional lawyer opens a can of worms in hotheaded rebellion to the PMs tight controls, they jump on it.

  27. jolo5309 says

    It’s just been announced that the legislation will be changed to ensure that marriages are recognized

    Well this statement is wrong, what they will do is change the legislation that “if married in Canada, you can get divorced in Canada”.

    In the meantime I will wait for the apologies of Jen McCreight and Dan Savage (plus the rest of the over reactors) to start being posted.

  28. says

    Massive pet peeve about the term “neocon”: you can’t just throw it around as an insult to any conservative you don’t like. Neoconservatism is something specific — domestically, Reaganomics, and foreign policy more or less based on applying a Cold War lens to anything that might qualify as a threat, even if it was just a dream Dick Cheney or Paul Wolfowitz had one night after a long night of drinking. It’s no secret that a lot of neocons aren’t especially religious, and frankly the Religious Right rather does not like them, at least in part because they feel the Bush administration played them for patsies.

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