Nanaimo-Cowichan Member Stands by Anti-Homosexual Speech
November 28, 2003
200 Granville Street, Ste.#1, Vancouver BC V6C 3N3 Canada
By Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Sun
OTTAWA—Nanaimo-Cowichan Alliance MP Reed Elley
refused Thursday to back away from a speech he made two years ago condemning
decriminalization of homosexuality even though his party colleague Larry
Spencer was severely punished for saying gay sex should be made illegal again.
“People can read the speech and if they don’t agree with my historical
assessment that’s their prerogative,” Elley told The Vancouver Sun.
Elley, like Spencer, a former Baptist clergyman, refused to answer when
asked several times if he agreed with Alliance leader Stephen Harper’s
statement Thursday the state has no business in the nation’s bedrooms and
that homosexual activity should remain legal.
Harper made the comment after announcing that Spencer had been fired as
family issues critic in the party and had voluntarily withdrawn from caucus
for anti-gay statements he made to The Sun.
“In that speech [in 2000] I presented my views on the break-down of
society as I saw it,” Elley said.
“I had deep concerns about the erosion of traditional values, and
I...still continue to stand up for traditional family values,” he said.
“I’m not going to make any more comments.”
In the speech Elley said an increase during the 1960s of single-parent
families and the stand taken by bra-burning, vengeful feminists, led to a
“gradual blurring of the sexes” and a rise in “militant”
“In 1968 then-justice minister Pierre Trudeau mouthed his infamous words
‘the government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation,’” Elley
told MPs who were debating the government’s extension of benefits to
“He and his cohorts passed omnibus justice legislation which legitimized
behaviour which until then for centuries had been considered outside the realm
of normal and good family and personal relationships.
“He legitimized homosexuality between consenting adults. At that point in
Canadian history, I believe our government started its assault on traditional
family and marriage.
“In my view, no government can make legitimate any behaviour that has for
centuries by tradition, custom, faith and the social contract been seen as
destructive to family life.”
Elley said the Liberals under Prime Minister Jean Chretien have enacted gay
rights legislation in order to continue “its assault on the family which
started in 1968.”
New Democratic Party MP Svend Robinson, who is gay, said Harper should
permanently expel Spencer from caucus and discipline Elley and other MPs who
have made what Robinson called “bigoted” comments about gays and lesbians.
He cited a statement during the 2000 debate in which Saskatchewan MP Garry
Breitkreuz said: “In the 1950s buggery was a criminal offence. Now it’s a
requirement to receive benefits from the federal government. This is...
Robinson said there are other examples, such as former Reform MP Bob
Ringma’s 1996 statement that blacks or gay clerks at a store should be moved
to the back of the shop or fired if their presence offends customers.
“It’s a bit like picking up a rock and exposing the creatures
underneath it to the sunlight and watching who scurries away,” Robinson
“For everyone like Spencer who’s dumb enough to speak on the record to
the media, how many others are there who share his views?”
But Alliance MP James Moore said Harper’s hard line is a true
representation of both the Alliance and the proposed new party after the
planned merger with the Progressive Conservatives.
“Stephen showed decisive leadership for the kind of new conservatism that
the new conservative party is going to represent,” said Moore (Port Moody-Coquitlam-Port
Two Alliance MPs, Ted White (North Vancouver) and Gurmant Grewal (Surrey
Central), refused to say whether they endorse Harper’s declaration that the
party believes homosexuality should be legal.
White, a devoted populist who has always said he will reflect his
constituents’ views rather than his own, said:
“My job, as you know, is to represent my constituent views and I
haven’t the faintest idea what the majority feel on that.”
Grewal said Harper has effectively ended the controversy but refused to
endorse Harper’s statement on the issue of homosexuality’s legality,
saying he didn’t have enough time.
But Moore, at 27 Parliament’s youngest MP, had no trouble defending his
“The government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation. And it is
no business of any politician to even comment, let alone legislate, let alone
preach, about the consenting behaviour of two adults behind closed doors,”
“And Larry Spencer was way over the top and I think his comments were
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