Colby Cosh doesn’t quite ask a question worth considering:
It’s clear enough that a majority of the Liberal caucus is opposed, right or wrong, to gay marriage in principle. The same could probably be said of the Opposition; yet we’re to have gay marriage in Canada all the same. It does make you wonder what the point of sending MPs to Ottawa is.
Or, for my non-comparatively-inclined friends, a hypothetical translation into the American political context:
It’s clear enough that a majority of Democrats are opposed, right or wrong, to gay marriage in principle. The same could probably be said of the Republicans; yet we’re to have gay marriage in the United States all the same. It does make you wonder what the point of sending Congressmen to Washington is.
Alec Saunders, on the other hand, doesn’t think gay marriage is a legitimate subject of political debate; the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada’s equivalent to the U.S. Bill of Rights (plus a healthy dollop of the 14th Amendment, minus those pesky 2nd and 3rd amendments that were at least partially motivated by anti-British sentiment), has spoken—or at least been interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada to speak in that way.
What’s interesting to me is that Alec’s a self-identified “traditional conservative” while Colby is generally libertarian in his outlook, yet they take the opposite sides on this issue to those you’d expect Americans with those political leanings to take. (Incidentally, my position is closer to Alec’s, simply because legislative bodies are at their worst when enacting social and economic regulation; the “Do Something” instinct too often prevails over common sense in these cases.)
In Colby’s case, I might explain his preference for legislative involvement as vestigial sentiment for the idea of parliamentary sovereignty—the idea that the final arbiter of the Law is the legislature, as is embodied in Westminster parliamentary tradition. But I find Alec’s position a bit more perplexing, although I can perhaps understand his disinterest in the use of this particular issue by the embryonic Alliance of Progressive Conservatives (or whatever the hell they decide to call themselves). God knows I cringe every time the Republicans pull the same stunts, although in Mississippi the Democrats usually join in the fun too, so here it’s essentially a wash.
Then again, the Smug Canadian reads Colby’s comments differently. So what do I know?