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Wednesday, February 16, 2005 

O Canada

[Paul Martin] invoked two former prime ministers who protected human rights in the past: Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker and Liberal Pierre Trudeau. And he insisted that Bill C-38 protects religious freedoms while ensuring minority rights.

"Put simply, we must always remember that separate but equal is not equal," he told the House of Commons, rejecting the proposal that homosexual couples be limited to civil unions.

Of his political foes, whom Martin said have been trying to convince Canadians that the country could revert to the traditional definition of marriage without invoking the notwithstanding clause, he said: "They are insincere, they are disingenuous and they are wrong."

He said invoking the notwithstanding clause to remove minority rights from gays and lesbians "would set us back decades as a nation... Our rights must be eternal, and not subject to political whim."

Obviously I don't know what's in the man's heart, but as I read this, for the first time in this whole mess I feel a little proud that Paul Martin is our Prime Minister, despite the fact I voted NDP. I'm feeling very patriotic right now, in any case.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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