Edmonton - Monday, May 12, 2003 - by: Ron Thornton


A former Reformer like me out to defend Progressive Conservative matriarch Elsie Wayne; who would have thunk it? However, considering how many folks are getting their lederhosen in a knot over Wayne's failure to embrace homosexual "marriage" and hedonistic displays, even within her own party, I wondered just what had become of free speech and open debate in this country. While she may have presented a perspective some disagree with, Elsie Wayne does not need to apologize for her views nor her right to defend them.




For the record, the union of two people of the same sex is not a marriage, any more than it is a truck or a penguin. A penguin is a flightless bird, a truck is a heavy road vehicle, and a marriage in our society is defined as the union between a man and a woman. One may debate if the definition of a marriage should be altered or whether a homosexual union should be termed a "life bond" or some such expression, however to hold such a debate requires two proponents who may equally present their point of view. One may even question the validity of even having such a debate, if they so choose. That is how democracy and free speech is supposed to work. However, this is Canada.




In Wayne's case, her failure to just go along with this social engineering project was branded as "rabid prejudice" by Tory MP candidate Scott Brison, a P.C. leadership candidate who appears to embrace a bigotry against those who speak their minds on an issue in a democratic discussion. NDP MP Alexa McDonough accused Wayne of "spewing hatred", describing her view as "screaming intolerance", yet McDonough seemed to demonstrate a venomous discrimination against those who might hold an opposing view to her own. One advocate for the "politically correct" cause says Wayne is "losing touch with the Canadian values of equality and respect." Well, it appears she has a firmer grasp on these values than those who desire to see debate one-sided and stifled, while reserving intimidation tactics for those who refuse to meekly toe the line. We can either hold a civil discussion on the issue, which should be the right of us all, or we can sink down to some old-fashioned mug-slinging. Whatever method is adopted should then be deemed as acceptable and expected from both sides, not just one.




As for her revulsion with hedonistic displays that seem to dominate gay pride parades and the like, it is Elsie Wayne's right to be disgusted by the actions of others. Like millions of folks who like to keep their trousers on while in public, I look upon such displays as slimy, immoral, and patently inconsiderate. It is the same view I hold in regards to the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans or the revelry associated with Spring Break at Daytona Beach. I guess I just sing from a different thong sheet than some.




Social change is always tough, especially if it runs contrary to our traditional values and norms. History shows that sometimes such change proves to be a good thing. Yet, I can't help but feel that in this case we are not simply being asked to tolerate or accept such change. As we witnessed recently, even a Parliamentarian risks persecution if she fails to censure her views and embrace homosexual "marriage" and hedonistic displays as a societal ideal. Then again, why waste time formulating intelligent argument to sway public opinion when getting down into the muck seems just as effective in getting what one wants? Elsie Wayne spoke out in opposition of an issue, and for doing so was met with intolerance by those who should have known better.




Ron Thornton

  CBC, Split evident among MPs on gay marriage, May 10, 2003
  CBC, Tory MP stands by 'shut up' remark to gays, May 9, 2003
  CTV staff, Wayne stops short of apologizing for remarks, May 10, 2003
  Alberts, Sheldon, PC deputy leader to gays: 'Shut up', (PDF) May 9, 2003, National Post
  Raphael, Mitchel, Don't have a cow, Elsie, (PDF) May 10, 2003, National Post



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