Monday June 29, 2015
Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Monday June 29, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court has made same-sex marriage legal throughout America, ruling Friday that the constitution gives gay and lesbian couples the same rights as straight couples.
The historic decision invalidates the same-sex marriage bans of 13 states, from Texas on the Mexican border to Michigan and North Dakota on the Canadian border.
The vote was 5-4, reflecting the deep divide on the issue in American society. The court’s four liberals were joined by the conservative Anthony Kennedy, who wrote his third landmark opinion expanding gay rights.
In powerful, unequivocal language, Kennedy declared same-sex relationships no less worthy of the sacred institution of marriage than relationships between men and women. (Source: Toronto Star)
Meanwhile, a growing number of third parties are exploiting a loophole in the law that puts no serious restrictions on how much is raised or spent before the campaign officially begins. Canada’s electoral laws are intended to limit the influence of big money in campaigns by enforcing strict contribution limits, making the names of all donors public and banning donations from corporations and unions.
The newest entrants are Engage Canada and HarperPAC, and they are not really third parties so much as offshoots of the three main political parties.
Engage Canada was started by two former senior Liberal staffers in Ontario, Don Guy and Dave Gene, and Kathleen Monk, an equally prominent federal NDP strategist. Take my word for it, because you won’t find any disclosure of who is behind the group from its website.
On the other side is HarperPAC. The name tells you all you need to know.
The group is a “political action committee” in the U.S. mould and dedicated to re-electing the Harper government.
It’s the brainchild of Stephen Taylor, the former Manning Centre and National Citizen Coalition activist, and a dozen former Conservative staffers whose photos and bios are prominently displayed on the group’s website.
PACs aren’t entirely new to Canada. In Ontario, a coalition of unions under the banner Working Families is credited, or blamed, for undermining the campaign of former provincial Conservative leader Tim Hudak in the 2014 election. (Source: CBC News)