Thank You, Stephen Harper

How the Press Manufactured Last Week’s Same-Sex Marriage Debacle

Graphic Myriam Arsenault

In case you missed the ear-splitting cries of activists and journalists alike online, a civil rights ‘crisis’ erupted in Canada last week.

Thousands of foreign gay couples who tied the knot in Canada awoke to news that their marriage had been annulled.

As the day passed, and news of the regressive policy rippled through the media with force, it became clear that the man to blame was Stephen Harper, snickering at the helm of his repressive Conservative ship. Or so we were led to believe…

The issue at hand stems from the 2005 marriage of a foreign couple, who now want to divorce.

A lawyer in Harper’s Justice Department, upon a review of Canada’s marriage laws, discovered that the couple could not legally separate for two reasons: 1) they had not lived in the country for one year, and 2) they were technically never married.

The current law states that all foreign couples married in Canada must also be able to marry in their own country. Now admittedly, Harper doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to same-sex rights, and as such, skepticism of the government’s actions was perfectly justified.

But wasn’t Harper’s Justice Department simply following the law—ones they didn’t enact?

Why didn’t anyone report this simple fact? Because the prime minister trying to overthrow the civil rights brigade makes a better story than the truth.

As always, the jump-on-the-bandwagon anti-everything-Conservative whackjobs went absolutely ape-shit at the first inkling of conspiracy, and the Twitterverse entertained a smear campaign decrying “evil” Harper and his Conservative cronies.

But what would have gone differently had the Liberals been in power? It’s worth a thought or two.

Let’s face the truth: The Harper government’s handling of this past week’s same-sex marriage debacle deserves praise of the highest order.

They promptly planned to amend the law on two accounts: to recognize all marriages performed in Canada, regardless of foreign laws, and to permit all those married here to divorce here as well. Why this wasn’t already the case is beyond us.

And what did the Liberals do when it was pointed out that they failed to catch these legal loopholes in 2005, when they codified same-sex marriage?

Liberal leader Bob Rae accused the Conservatives of not living up to “the best and finest traditions of Canada with respect to our traditions of tolerance.”

Really? Then what exactly did he do, Mr. Rae?

In the end, this fabricated fiasco demonstrates little more than a severe lack of critical thinking by some of the loudest voices in Canada today.

And for citizens across the country, it speaks not to a robust and virtuous opposition, but rather to a bored and powerless left that sees no sign of taking the helm anytime soon. Hats off to you, Mr. Harper!