stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
Debate exposes key differences on protecting minority rights
space
Leaders split deeply on rights as campaign endgame begins
space
By HEATHER SCOFFIELD AND DREW FAGAN
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Wednesday, June 16, 2004 – Page A1

OTTAWA -- The second round in the pre-election debates exposed deep differences between the front-runners, with Liberal Leader Paul Martin and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper locking horns over how to protect minority rights, how to improve child care, and how Canada should run its foreign policy.

In the English-language debate among federal party leaders last night, an aggressive Mr. Martin repeatedly attacked Mr. Harper and put the Conservative Leader on the spot over whether he would use the Constitution's notwithstanding clause if the Supreme Court struck down a law that would take away women's right to choose an abortion, or to override equality rights of gays and lesbians.

Calling the issue of whether gay couples should be able to marry "contentious and complex," Mr. Harper said the question should be up to Parliament -- not the courts. "My view is, this is the authority of Parliament and Parliament should simply act."

A confident Mr. Harper said he favoured the traditional definition of marriage. And he pointed out that Mr. Martin has said he would support using the Constitution's notwithstanding clause to allow churches to opt out of blessing same-sex marriages.

Mr. Harper said he would never legislate away abortion rights, nor would he use the notwithstanding clause to ban gay marriage. He raised the possibility of using the clause as a last resort to prohibit child pornography.

Mr. Martin vigorously defended the Liberal government's plans to legalize same-sex marriage, saying it's a matter of equality rights.

"I would never use the notwithstanding clause to take away the rights that are enshrined in the Charter," Mr. Martin said.

But NDP Leader Jack Layton accused Mr. Martin of avoiding the same-sex marriage issue by referring it to the Supreme Court for clarification.

"That's not leadership. We're looking for leadership," Mr. Layton said. When Mr. Harper pointed out that Mr. Martin himself voted to uphold the traditional definition of marriage in Parliament, Mr. Layton interjected: "It's back-of-the-bus human rights for same-sex couples."

The Liberal and Conservative differences were also stark over the issue of how involved Canada should have been in the war in Iraq. Mr. Martin accused Mr. Harper of betraying Canada by writing to the Wall Street Journal and apologizing for Canada's decision to not send troops.

The Liberals stressed the need to shape a foreign policy based on peacekeeping and rebuilding institutions in troubled countries, while Mr. Harper said Canada should rebuild its military and play a bigger role in international military efforts.

"The Cold War is over," Mr. Martin retorted. "We are not interested in getting aircraft carriers," he added, referring to the Conservative proposal to spend billions on new military equipment.

The divisions between the two leaders were also evident in social policy, especially when it comes to child care. Mr. Martin touted his promise to invest $5-billion to create new daycare spots, and accused Mr. Harper of having no proposals at all to improve early-childhood education.

"Your policy is nil," said Mr. Martin to Mr. Harper, bringing a sharp retort from Mr. Harper about the Conservative proposals to cut taxes for average families with children. Mr. Harper also highlighted his idea to give larger goods and services tax credits to poor families.

With the two men virtually tied in public-opinion polls, Mr. Martin needed to paint Mr. Harper as extreme last night to win back borderline voters who have reservations about the social agenda of the Conservative Party.

Mr. Harper needed to appear rational and calm, aiming to deflect the criticism and turn the debate back to areas where he was more comfortable: the Liberal spending record and the Conservative plan to cut taxes.

The debate quickly focused on a battle between Mr. Martin and Mr. Harper, with Mr. Layton trying gamely to make his points as he called on Canadians to give the NDP a "central role" in the new Parliament to guard against the risks of Liberal arrogance and the Conservatives' "hidden agenda."

Mr. Martin, who polls show would need the support of the NDP if he has any chance of forming a government, even reached out to Mr. Layton early in the debate, suggesting that proportional representation -- a pet issue of the NDP -- deserves serious study at the federal level. But Mr. Layton would have nothing of Mr. Martin's momentary peace offering, saying he didn't think Mr. Martin was serious and accusing him of arrogance for presupposing that only the Liberals and Conservatives deserve Canadians' support.

"They don't want to reward you with a fourth [Liberal] term," Mr. Layton said, arguing that both the NDP and the Liberals disagree with the Conservative tax-cut plans. "But Canadians are giving up on your party."

Even when Mr. Harper was not directly involved in the debate, Mr. Martin homed in on his positions -- describing the Conservatives as little more than a Canadian Alliance takeover.

After playing a central role in the French-language debate, Mr. Duceppe was largely sidelined last night, but not on issues that directly involved Quebec. Told by Mr. Harper that it was a "bit rich" for him to criticize Conservatives' commitment to official bilingualism because of Quebec's own language policies, Mr. Duceppe insisted that English residents in his province live in a "paradise" compared to French-speaking residents of other provinces.

Mr. Martin quickly took responsibility for the millions of dollars in sponsorship funds that have gone missing in the sponsorship scandal, and he frequently touted his plan to get to the bottom of it: the cancellation of the sponsorship program, changes in government controls over spending, and a full judicial inquiry.

"Believe you me, I want to get to the bottom of this. I want the proof to be out. I could have shovelled under the carpet. I did not," Mr. Martin said.

With a report from Kim Lunman


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Drew_Fagan Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page