House of Commons
February 16, 2005
Check against delivery
I rise today in support of Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act. I rise in support of a Canada in which liberties are safeguarded, rights are protected and the people of this land are treated as equals under the law.
This is an important day. The attention of our nation is focused on this chamber, in which John Diefenbaker introduced the Bill of Rights, in which Pierre Trudeau fought to establish the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Our deliberations will be not merely about a piece of legislation or sections of legal text – more deeply, they will be about the kind of nation we are today, and the nation we want to be.
This bill protects minority rights. This bill affirms the Charter guarantee of religious freedom. It is that straightforward, Mr. Speaker, and it is that important.
And that is why I stand today before members here and before the people of this country to say: I believe in, and I will fight for, the Charter of Rights. I believe in, and I will fight for, a Canada that respects the foresight and vision of those who created and entrenched the Charter. I believe in, and I will fight for, a future in which generations of Canadians to come, Canadians born here and abroad, will have the opportunity to value the Charter as we do today – as an essential pillar of our democratic freedoms.
The whole speech can be found here.