Monday, September 22, 2003
Ottawa –- As your Member of Parliament and federal representative in Ottawa, I want you to know that the passing of Bill C-250 is a threat to religious freedom in Canada. Bill C-250 was introduced by MP Svend Robinson as a private members’ bill to amend the hate propaganda sections of the Criminal Code to add “sexual orientation” to the current list of “colour, race, religion or ethnic origin”.
The Liberal endorsement of this dangerous bill and its vote to defeat the Alliance amendment that would have provided protection for the Bible and other religious texts, confirms that the Liberal Party has no regard for the fundamental Canadian values of free speech and freedom of religion.
The bill passed 141 to 110 in the House of Commons on Wednesday, September 17, 2003. It was supported by all Saskatchewan New Democratic Party (NDP) Members of Parliament, as well as the Liberal government and most Progressive Conservative Members of Parliament, including its leader.
I believe that hate crimes should be prohibited. The Canadian Alliance’s amendments to Bill C-250 would have protected churches, synagogues and mosques from being convicted of hate crimes for teaching sections of the Holy Scriptures. Canadians should be greatly concerned that these amendments were defeated.
Making Bill C-250 part of the Criminal Code of Canada now gives the courts even more power. As we recently witnessed with the recent rulings on same-sex marriage, the courts are going well beyond their mandate. Yet our Liberal government allows this to continue, giving the courts the freedom to do what it does not have the courage to do itself.
Adding the term “sexual orientation” to the hate crimes section threatens religious freedom on the issue of homosexuality. By limiting the freedom of expression and religious freedom in Canada, we are striking down the foundation that has made Canada one of the greatest democracies in the world. It is imperative that we reverse C-250 as soon as possible.