To be a leader for all Canadians, the Conservative Party leader should now end his lifelong boycott of Pride events and explain whether he would still deny same-sex couples the right to marry, as he said in Parliament. pic.twitter.com/5WEyja6Ov5
— Ralph Goodale (@RalphGoodale) August 22, 2019
On the face of it, I have no problem with the Liberals digging up old video of Andrew Scheer voicing his opposition to gay marriage and using it against him. Yes it was 14 years ago and it’s entirely possible that he thinks differently now (find me one person who hasn’t changed his mind on a single issue in that amount of time), but especially when it comes to things like running a country and being able to set policy agendas, stunts like these can be somewhat instructive. Past behaviour is often a pretty good indicator of future performance, and as voters it’s good to know where everyone stands.
But when I say everyone I do mean everyone, and that includes the Liberals themselves. Once that video surfaced they had to know it was only a matter of time before somebody did a little digging into their own record on the issue and discovered that maybe they should have thought a bit harder about who got to send out that tweet.
For starters, there’s the awkward fact that Goodale himself voted against marriage equality in 1995 and 1999. For context, by May 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada was already ruling that same-sex couples were entitled to spousal-support benefits under family law, even if it hadn’t yet formally legalized same-sex marriage. It was that decision that prompted Goodale and 215 other MPs to vote for an opposition motion reasserting that marriage was still exclusively for heterosexual couples. Anyone could read the writing on the wall as far as the judicial interpretation of the Charter went, but only 55 MPs voted for equal rights in 1999.