To Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on Same Sex Marriage, August 27, 2003

August 27, 2003

August 27, 2003

Right Honourable Jean Chrétien
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister Chrétien:

Members of the CAW have just concluded our 7th Constitutional Convention held in Toronto from August 19 to August 22, 2003. Over 700 delegates, representing 260,000 CAW members, attended from all regions of the country. These members work in all sectors of the Canadian economy from automotive to airline, from manufacturing to health care, from small workplaces to workplaces with over 10,000 employees.

During our convention a Pride Policy Statement was debated by the delegates. One of the recommendations, which passed unanimously, was in support of passing legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry if they so choose.

I have already written to you and to the Justice Minister Martin Cauchon in support of same-sex marriage legislation. This issue is simply about respect for gays, lesbians and bisexuals as full and equal participants in our society.

I am dismayed by recent media reports indicating this legislation may not pass because members of your own caucus intend to vote against it. On behalf of the CAW, I urge you to impose caucus solidarity to ensure passage of this bill. It is puzzling to me that financial bills - even, for example, the Bill which dealt with compensation for hepatitis victims - are treated as matters of confidence requiring caucus discipline, yet issues of fundamental human rights are not accorded the same status. Following court decisions in three provinces, it could not be more clear that excluding same-sex couples from the definition of marriage constitutes a serious violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. To treat this Charter issue as one that falls to the discretion of individual MP's just does not make sense.

Your government's legislation to advance equal rights in the definition of marriage is on the right track. I urge you to use all of your powers as Prime Minister to ensure that it is enacted.

Yours truly,
Buzz Hargrove


cc: Stephen Harper, Leader, Canadian Alliance (by fax 613-947-8885)
Jack Layton, Leader, NDP (by fax 613-230-9950)
Peter MacKay, Leader, Progressive Conservatives (by fax 613-947-8898)
Gilles Duceppe, Leader, Bloc Quebecois (by fax 613-954-2121)
The Honourable Martin Cauchon, P.C., M.P. (by fax 613-990-7255)
J. O'Neil, B. Chernecki, H. Mitic, P. Nash, L. Gottheil, T. Collins, R. Dhaliwal, L. Kelly, L. Brophy

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