Friday, August 25, 2006

Birds of the same feathers in love with each other..

This is what really happened why the civil marriage act opposite-sex requirement is no longer in force - the rulings by lower courts in eight jurisdictions in Canada that were not challenged by the Federal Government.
Courts in eight jurisdictions have recognized that the right to equality without discrimination requires that couples of the same sex have equal access to civil marriage. And thousands of same-sex couples are already legally married.

The case varied from a same-sex couple survivor applying for benefits and denied and decision reversed on appeal. This is the precedent case in Ontario. And the Provincial Attorney General decided not to appeal the reversal. Note that a man and a woman living common-law for at least three consecutive years is under our law, legally married. Now applicable to same-sex couple.

Before the dissolution of the last Parliament, the Govt. Of Prime Minister Paul Martin, was tabling the new Civil Marriage Act and already referred the questions to the Supreme Courts as to the constitutionality of the bill. But that Bill died in the house, because of Non-Confidence vote and the defeat of the government in subsequent election.

The Supreme Court of Canada has said – and the Government agrees – that it is preferable that Parliament create uniformity of law across the country. Federal legislation is the best way to provide a clear, Canada-wide approach.

The bill also recognizes that freedom of religion is already fully protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in its recent decision. That is why its title speaks of civil marriage. Religions will continue to make their own decisions about this question.

The bill will give same-sex partners who decide to marry, the same civil legal recognition of their commitment as other married couples while respecting religious freedom.


On June 17, 2003, the Government of Canada announced that it would not appeal the decisions of the courts of appeal in British Columbia and Ontario on the definition of marriage, but would instead draft a bill extending access to civil marriage to same-sex couples while also affirming the freedom of religious belief, and refer that bill to the Supreme Court of Canada to ensure its constitutionality. On July 17, 2003, the Government referred the draft bill to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Reference asked three questions concerning the draft bill:

1) Is the draft bill within the exclusive legislative authority of the Parliament of Canada?

2) Does the draft bill conform to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

3) Does the Charter protect religious officials from performing marriages between two persons of the same sex if it is contrary to their religious beliefs?

On January 28, 2004, the Minister of Justice announced that the Government had filed a new question with the Supreme Court of Canada, asking whether the opposite-sex requirement for marriage was constitutional. The fourth question was added in order to ensure that Parliament had full information on the legal framework before they were asked to debate this important issue.

On October 6 and 7, 2004, the Supreme Court heard arguments from the Government of Canada and 28 interveners.

On December 9, 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision on the marriage Reference. The Court agreed with the position of the Attorney General of Canada on the constitutionality of the draft bill, holding that the draft bill was not only consistent with the Charter but flowed from its protections. The Court declined to answer the fourth question on the constitutionality of the opposite-sex requirement for marriage, with the result that the lower court decisions in eight provinces and territories holding that the opposite-sex requirement is unconstitutional stand. The Court gave as its reason for not answering the fourth question that many Canadians had already acted in reliance on the lower court decisions and married. The Court also indicated that other approaches, such as giving same-sex unions legal recognition by another name, such as civil union, were less than equal and so would not be consistent with the Charter, requiring the use of the notwithstanding clause. The Court found that the Charter already fully protects religious officials from being forced to perform marriages that would be against their religious beliefs, although they also found that the one clause in the bill on religious freedom was not entirely within federal jurisdiction, and that any additional protections that might be desired would have to be made within provincial and territorial laws.

The Bill was not re-introduced in the house this current session of Parliament and may not until after the next election that could take place as early as next summer or fall.

Prime minister Stephen Harper has been promising the country a "free vote" on this bill if and when it will come to that. Meaning each member can vote according to his/her conscience or the wishes of the majority of the member's contituents. But meantime, same-sex marriage is legally binding and has the status and benefits of any other marriage, as per decision by lower courts and affirmed by the SC that all lower courts decisions stand. Chances that any government that will bring this bill into law in the near future will stick to the proposed draft as it was already been affirmed by the SC as to its conformity with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms- which is the basis by which any law will be challenged.

Reference: Justice Department, Canada..

Saturday, August 19, 2006

To the Eyes of those who are there, he would not really amount to anything.

Rep Locsin maybe partly right, that to the eyes of those who are here, we amount to nothing. Really? And what would we amount had we stayed and become the victims of Political Assassinations? Unemployment? If we get sick and can't afford the treatment, because we could even hardly afford our daily sustenance? That the representatives we voted to represent us, our interest, instead once in power, more too often are the ones who betray our trust. That the the government who swear to uphold the law and the constitution is the same that is accused of corrupting its own subject. He was talking to the Ateneans, mostly, the very rich and wealthy among the society. But unknowing to the Honorable Representative there are a Lot of us who amount to something in the eyes of our neighbors, our employers, our leaders, our new country, to our fellow citizens who for reasons of their own, left their own native land and homeland and never look back.

Some of us may go back home and see our last days in the arms of our beloved Philippines. Some for the reason that we left a few or many family members we want to spend the twilight years of our lives. Some for the reason, that with the pension in dollars and the benefits we can carry all over the world, it is much, much cheaper to live there than in our adopted country. Some for the reason, that Rep. Locsin himself, has beautifully articulated in his speech.

And then for our children, who other than the color of their skin, can no longer consider themselves the nationality of their parents, but of the land they were born. That someday they will grow up and come to realize that they are equal to men and women of all colors, race, original nationalities and opportunities in life. Then and maybe then, we will amount to something wherever we are...

This piece is in response to Rep. Locsin Jr. speech delivered at the 40 anniversary commencement of School of Business, Ateneo de Manila, 6 August 2006. For complete text of the speech here is the site:
And here the particular quote which my thoughts and response is addressed to:

"To those back home, a man might seem to have amounted to something abroad; but he will never really amount to anything in the eyes of those out there. That is why we all come home all from rebellious youth and wanderlust all back to our original faith and native country; to die in their arms at last; but, before then and better yet, to amount to something as only we can in the estimation of our own kind."

Monday, August 14, 2006

To be Gay or not to be:

A certain Isagani Cruz is now a centre piece of so much controversy in the Philippines for the the piece he wrote for Philippine Daily Inquirer which to some was interpreted as biased against one of the most visible groups in the country; the Gay community. My take on the issue, which I also posted (as comment) on some of the "country blogsite" is reprinted here:

Sexual orientation is now one among the groups (others are race, colour, sex, physical and mental disability, and age), that are included in tha Anti-Hate Law of Canada.

The Law (Criminal Code) states that discussion, publication, and broadcasting of material or writing in any forms (movie, literature, novel) that promote hatred toward or among the groups is a criminal offense. Exemption maybe applied to if done in private, or in context of religious discussion. So if you’re in Canada, before speaking or writing your thoughts and views and opinions put them to test first.

By the way, same sex marriage has now been recognized legally and accorded the same legal status and benefits as traditional marriage, which is between a man and a woman. And also the issue of sexual orientation is no longer an issue in this country. It was a divisive one, but we were able put it to rest and in the end, One Great Canadian once said “The government has no business in the nation’s bedrooms." And with that a pleasant day to all..

And here is one more:

Opinions are opinions, but there are times that some of our opinions are better keep for ourselves. There is one simple test, especially for those whose opinion is widely dissiminated, to pass before considering going along and share them with others. It is going to create hatred toward or among the intended group? Is the benefits of opinion proportional with the harm or lesser than it might cause? We must remember that many tragic events had resulted because of some peoples’ opinion that could have been better left where it started, in the head of its creator.

I would like to make it clear that I, being a card-carrying member of the Conservative Party of Canada, supoorted the stand of my Party which is against same-sex marriage. But the Court through its ruling on a case brought before it decided that the law which states that marriage is only legal between a man and woman of legal age is in violation of the Rights to Equality. The court has decided and to that we all must abide. For the sake of Unity and the Common good of our Society, we have to tolerate and accept our diversity in every aspects of our life including our cultures, lifestyle and way of life. This True North will be forever Strong and Free...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Philippines' Association of Colleges and Universities Annual Picnic

Today, I was downloading pictures taken by my niece Bibs and nephew Pao during their Toronto holiday last month and some of the pictures were taken during the Annual Philippine Colleges and Universities annual Picnic.
For the past several years now, the Philippine Colleges and Universities Alumni Association of Greater Toronto Area hold an annual Picnic at Centennial Park in the City of Mississauga. A very prosperous and progressive city Bordering south of Toronto, lead by Mayor "Hurricane" Hazel Mccalllion, the ageless (in her 80's) unchallenged, uncontested, beloved mayor of one of Canada’s foremost city for more than three decades. As if Hazel needs my plug here.

The annual event is your typical reunion of alumni, faculty and staff and families of most educational institutions represented by few and some by many. From Centro Escolar, to Central Philippine University of Iloilo, U.P. and U.E., Ateneo and La Salle, for one day in one summer’s weekend get together and just have fun, fun in the sun. With lots of beer and the Cops just look the other way around. Guys, just don’t drive drunk.. For one day in summer, no politics, no war, no terrorism, just fun in the sun!!..You just wish.. it’s the same the day after...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Limit: Election Expense Limit

Posted August 9, 2006: Now The Election Expenditures and the Limit.
In previous posting, I summarized the source of ‘election financing’, which a candidate, the registered party and association can raise for the purpose of political spending related to Election expenditures. For the purpose of this subject discussion, all contributions to and expenses of registered political parties and party associations are considered "political financing" by law, because the continuing entities are recognized to exist only for Political purpose. But individual candidate is not and is covered strictly by the guidelines which and which is not an election Expense.

For Individual Candidate :

Based on the number of voters to be published by the Chief Electoral Officer in the official Canada Gazette, the expense limit is based on riding to riding (district) case by the following formula. The preliminary list is published per riding not later than 31 days before the date of election and the revised not later than 7 days and the number that the expense limit will be based on the greater of the two figures. Below is the graduation of the limit:
$2.07 for each of the first 15,000 electors
$1.04 for each of the next 10,000 electors
$0.52 for each elector over 25,000
Depending on the area of the riding, the limit is adjusted to higher amount for large riding with less voter on a square miles basis.

For Registered parties:

The maximum amount that is allowed for the election expenses of a registered party for an election is calculated in two steps:

Step 1: Multiply $0.70 by the number of names on the preliminary lists of electors for electoral districts in which the registered party has endorsed a candidate or by the number of names on the revised lists of electors for those electoral districts, whichever is greater.

Step 2: Multiply the result of step 1 by the inflation adjustment factor that is in effect on the day of the issue of the writs for the election.
Other expense like volunteer labour is not counted and so is non-monetary contribution use for election purposes as long as the person contributing is not in the business of providing such property or services and the value is less than $200. Otherwise the value is the lowest at the time for the same property and services..

And for the kids:

Yes, Elections Canada offers two election simulation kits for schools. They provide a realistic experience of voting, based on actual federal election procedures.

The kit 'Canada at the Polls' is intended for Grades 5 and up. 'Choising your mascot' for younger children, kindergarten to Grade 4. Both are available by contacting Election Canada or going to its Web Site.

Elections Canada also offers an interactive CD-ROM, Exploring Canada's electoral system. It gives a virtual tour of the system and it features a game for one to three players.

The Earlier the Children learn their democratic rights and responsibilities, the brighter and stonger the futures holds.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Political Financing: how much?

Perhaps one of the most important issue that involves the Electoral Process is the "Financing" of Election; from the nomination of Candidates to the campaign during the "period" and also to electing Leadership of the Political Party. And here should the Law pertaining to contributions, process of recording of contributions and donation to Candidates, political party and to political association should be clearly defined and enforcement should also be emphasized.

For Canada at Present Electoral Financing Comes from Three sources: (I will note as I go along the part that is in the plan to be scrapped or reformed).

1.. Individual Citizen-Every citizen is encouraged to contribute and participate in the process. Contribution for individual as of present, is limited to $5400 for a registered party, candidate or association. As an incentive to encourage contributions by individuals, a 75 percent tax credit, for donation of $400 and a maximum of $650 Tax Credit for $1250 or more. Although most party member or individual may contribute less, the maximum limit will assure the voting public that no individual, no matter how rich he or she maybe can influence the outcome of the election by unlimited contributions. Any fraud involves in this matter is under the Criminal code and will be enforced by the police upon the advice of Election Canada.

2..Corporation and Labour Union-Maximum contributions allowed of $1000. This one is subject to debate at the moment and some quarters wanted it scrapped altogether. Since to my understanding, there is still no limit to how many candidates and parties and political association both the corporation and the union can contribute. And the biggest loophole so far and it is being addressed at the moment is that the Officers and Families of two entities can avoid the limitation by going the route of Individual Donation. This come to light at present as the Liberal Party is now in the process of electing its Leader. One of the leadership candidate was exposed to have received donation from the whole family members of Corporate "biggie" to the individual Maximum and was forced to return the money. Corporation can also go around this, by using their employees to contribute to the favoured party or candidates at the company’s cost. This is one reason why our Chief Electoral Officer wanted a detailed list of all contributors and the amount contributed and the records should be kept for at least two years and subject to audit by Election Canada and Revenue Canada.

3..Government..The Government will pay $l.75 (dollar seventy five cents) per vote received by the party in the previous general election, provided the party has received in the last election either the 2% of the valid votes nationally or 5 % of the votes in the ridings where the party ran a candidate. Also the Government will reimburse 50% of the Registered Parties Election expense as well as 50% of Individual candidate expense provided he or she received at least a 10% vote cast in the riding..Caveat: For those who want to run for office, anyone over 18 is qualified, no minimum qualification required, but a deposit of some amount is also required and will be forfeited is such candidate can not get enough vote as per guideline for "nuisance candidates". This one is for people, who want their names in the ballot but won’t even go out and vote for themselves. You abuse the system you pay for it, in money or in time. Have your choice..