Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Give Bev Desjarlais the heave

Bev Desjarlais. NDP MP. Homophobe.

Why is she still in the NDP caucus?

Doesn’t the NDP claim to stand for human rights? No exceptions? No equivocations? Didn’t Jack and a few others celebrate yet another human rights triumph last night?

Don’t, please, hand me any guff about her alleged “crisis of conscience.” She voted against human rights. Period. And she’s staying in the caucus.

If the Conservatives discovered that one of their MPs was a member of CPC (ML), would anyone (for once) challenge Harper’s judgment in making him or her sit with Chuck Cadman? If Gilles Duceppe discovered that one of his sitting members was campaigning for federalism, wouldn’t he take decisive action that no one, given the context, could challenge?

Human rights. We’re all the same before the law. Gays and lesbians are first-class citizens, and they can’t be denied access where straight people can head right in. Marriage is a state-sanctioned institution: no colour bar, and now no “orientation” test. Whatever one thinks of that creaky institution, and the state’s continued involvement in what is no more than a quaint and oppressive mediaeval custom, everyone gets equal access. No separate water-fountains, no separate institutions for gays and straights.

Bev Desjarlais thinks otherwise. Her conscience tells her that gays and lesbians shouldn’t be treated equally before the law. Her conscience tells her that they are second-class citizens. Her conscience believes in “separate but equal.” Her conscience tells her that human rights are OK, “except for.”

Hey, no problem. Let her sit with Vic Toews. He’s got one of those consciences too. But she has no business, no business at all, sitting in the caucus of a party that claims to stand for human rights. And as long as she sits there, she raises questions about the firmness of the NDP’s commitment to them.

C’mon, Jack. Do the right thing.

8 comments:

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Among other things, there may actually be legal challenges if she doesn't leave the caucus, since she had to sign a document when she was nominated stating that she would support the entire party platform. Layton knew of her opposition to the issue, but signed her nomination papers under the condition that she would abstain. She didn't.

Matt said...

Back when she started talking about not supporting the bill, I said that she should be kicked out of caucus. Unfortunately, I knew then, and it still holds true, that it would never happen in practice. The NDP doesn't have enough MPs to kick people out. She has lost her critic's portfolio, which is at least some comfort. If the bill had gone down to defeat and she had opposed it, then we might have seen some more severe consequences for her actions.

Budd Campbell said...

I support the government's marriage act, and I am glad it has passed and is on it's way to the Senate. I hope this whole issue is soon settled and can be considered old business. It has proven to be unnecessarily divisive and bitter on all sides.

Your interpretation of Desjarlais's motives is entirely a construction of your own. You don't quote anything she has said, or any other votes she has cast on issues related to LGBT issues. IOWs it's a cheap fabrication, an angry smear.

Layton had made it clear that this was a matter of party solidarity, so Desjarlais has to expect that she will loose her critics positions, just as Commuzi understood he had to give up his Cabinet job. But that's the extent of it. Any further is totally unjustified.

Dr. Dawg said...

"Your interpretation of Desjarlais's motives is entirely a construction of your own. You don't quote anything she has said, or any other votes she has cast on issues related to LGBT issues. IOWs it's a cheap fabrication, an angry smear."

Er...res ipsa loquitur.

Rick Barnes said...

I find it hard to take that one could challange the NDP on SSM. Ye an MP voted against it. Can you tell me when the first time any of the other parties put forward SSM rights, gay rights, or rights for anyone.

The one party that has been there from the beginning is the NDP.

Lastly, Bev has been dealt with and likely will lose the nomination next time out.

Still we in the NDP have to be a little more receiving of people that disagree with us.

As a former NDP government political hack, I can tell you no one was as hard on us as our own membership. Now if they would only hold the other parties to the same standard we might get somewhere.

Oh wait, we did get somewhere, as a gay man I can now matrry!

Mike said...

I don't think Bev will lose the nomination be cause of her stance on SSM, but because she was dishonest.

If she is against SSM, so be it. She has the right to her opinion. But as I understand it, when Jack signed her nomination papers last year, she was to sign an agreement to uphold human rights, including SSM. I further understand that Jack signed her nomination with the understanding that she would abstain from voting on SSM, but not actively vote against it. Well, she broke her promise.

If Bev should be turfed, it should be because she reneged on an agreement, broke a "contract" if you will. Anyone that does this should be turfed. If she voted for SSM but against the budget, she should have been turfed. If she voted for SSM but against an NDP bill to allow dog catcher's to wear pink runners, after having signed a promise to support it or abstain, she should be turfed.

This is not about being for or against SSM. This is about standing by your promises, especially those in writing. Bev broke that promise and must face the consequences. I suspect she won't be getting the nomination next time round. Too bad, I've heard she is quite a good MP.

Kurtasutra said...

Keep up the fight against Conservatives in Canada Dawg! :) I found your blog to be informative.
I have my own Battle to deal with in America.

If Blue States like New York and New Jersey should be able to sucessfully seceed from the Union do you think it would be a good idea to have then join Canada?

Dr. Dawg said...

Blue States joining Canada? Hey, why not? I've always thought of New England as Canada irridenta anyway.

But we'll need to have a referendum on that! :)