The more the merrier?
Sun, January 15, 2006
Perhaps history one day will record the early days of the 21st century as the time when Canada finally crossed the line into an anything goes society.
As a country, we're anxious not to appear biased or prejudiced against any group of people and we badly want to avoid the risk of offending anyone who has chosen Canada as a home.
So we are willing to twist ourselves out of shape to show that we're fair and open and tolerant and if that means running roughshod over the moral values of the majority of Canadians, well so be it.
Think of a couple of important events that have made the news in recent weeks.
First of all we had the Supreme Court decision in late December that there's nothing wrong with the operation of swingers' clubs in Canada, and that Canadians are tolerant of orgies, partner-swapping and voyeurism.
Hey, we're no prudes, and we suspect lots of people are comfortable with the thoughts of mass romps — threesomes and fivesomes and tensomes — as long as everyone involved is a grownup and no one has been forced to join the action. But we're equally aware that lots more shudder at the thoughts of group sex, either as a participant or a spectator.
More disturbing, though, is a recently-released federally-funded study that calls on Canada to get rid of its law banning polygamy.
"Criminalization does not address the harms associated with valid foreign polygamous marriages and plural unions, in particular the harms to women," says the document, compiled as part of a $150,000 project launched a year ago and paid for by the Justice Department and Status of Women Canada.
If past is prologue, the matter will find its way to the country's top court for decision and the Supremes will rule once and for all whether we can walk down the aisle arm-in-arm-in-arm-in-arm. Talk about changing the traditional definition of marriage.
And don't forget that if Prime Minister Paul Martin has his way the decision from the Supreme Court will be unassailable, since Martin favours ending the right of politicians to overrule judgments by scrapping the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution.
Somehow we're not terribly comforted by the words of Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, who says he rejects lifting the criminal ban on polygamy, but then adds ominously: "These reports will become part of the knowledge base on this issue and will be taken into account."
Fortunately it looks increasingly likely that Martin and Cotler will be gone from the government benches before that happens.
And another thing....
When Dalton McGuinty became premier, we briefly thought the days when our region was ignored by governments that seemed to think Ontario ended just east of the Don Valley Pkwy were over.
Now we hear the province will spend $19.8 million to improve and expand care programs at five regional cancer centres, with the cash divided up among facilities in Mississauga, Oshawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Yoo-hoo, Mr. Premier, over here. Remember us?
© Canoe Inc. 2006