Saturday, December 24, 2005

Hiding Agendas (6): Cindy Silver's appearance before the justice committee

As many of you know, I've been posting over the last week about the career of Cindy Silver, the Conservative candidate in North Vancouver. As I noted here, she denies that she belongs to the religious right, and that her work lobbying for Focus and the Family and other organizations was as a lawyer working for a client, a point that she's made in other contexts (see here, for example.) She has also removed endorsements from Christian Conservatives (see here, here, and here).

What are we to make of Ms. Silver's newfound moderation? For your reading pleasure you might want to check out the minutes of the parliamentary justice committee from April 1, 2003 (here). The theme was (as you might guess) gay marriage and at 11:50 who should appear to make a statement but Cindy Silver. Here she appears as an individual (elsewhere she appeared as someone's lawyer). Anyway, here is the transcript from her testimony:
Ms. Cindy Silver (Lawyer, As Individual): I'd like to thank the members of the justice and human rights committee for the opportunity to appear before you this morning to speak on such an important issue as the future of marriage in Canada.

During the marriage trials, it became evident that EGALE and their partner groups for challenging marriage are not simply seeking equal benefits before and under the law, but are really seeking to ensure and expedite broad social approval for same-sex unions and, by implication, for homosexual conduct. It is really this that is at the heart of the marriage challenge. It is an attempt to use the disciplinary power of language to exact change in people's beliefs and attitudes regarding the moral nature of homosexual conduct.

One of the linguistics experts for EGALE explained how redefining marriage would enlist social institutions in reconstructing people's beliefs in reference to the nature of homosexuality. This is possibly the most disturbing aspect of the same-sex movement, because it is likely that Canadians who for reasons of conscience or faith sincerely believe that marriage is, by nature, heterosexual will likely feel pressure or compulsion from social institutions, such as government agencies, the mass media, the publishing industry, public education and post-secondary institutions, to either limit their participation in the public square or conform their beliefs to the newly minted meaning of marriage.
So these are her opinions, not her clients. She goes on, it should be noted, to argue for the creation of civil unions for gays. But what is her ultimate argument? Don't let gays marry because social conservatives might feel marginalized or might in time come to accept the change.

Now, don't get me wrong. Cindy Silver is free to appear before committees of parliament and argue for what she believes in. Indeed, she should be praised for her commitment. Flying to Ottawa wlll have been an expensive and time-consuming business. But in a sense that's my point. Cindy Silver now wants to make it seem that same-sex marriage is not all that important to her. Surely, however, her testimony before the justice committee undermines that. Stopping same-sex marriage is important to her and she should admit that more openly.

For other Cindy Silver posts, follow the link.


Mark Richard Francis said...

Merry Christmas!

Joel K. said...

From all the opinion polls I've seen, a majority of Canadians agree with Ms. Silver, in that they would like to maintain marriage as-is, and grant civil union status to homosexuals.

Maybe you're right that she shouldn't try to hide her past, but I don't have any problem with someone having worked for Focus on the Family, an organization that provides resources for Canadian families, and supports traditional values, from a Christian perspective. Perhaps we could use a little more of this.