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Saskatoon:

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01USE 1" C15512S
C32363
Maurice Vellacott, MP
Saskatoon-Wanuskewin
Saskatchewan NDP government decision
to fire commissioners violates human rights
For Immediate Release December 10, 00!
"##$%$ Conservative Party MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin) says that yesterdays Supree
Court opinion on the sae-se! arria"e re#erence has cleared the way #or the Saskatchewan "overnent to rescind
a directive orderin" all arria"e coissioners in the province to arry sae-se! couples or resi"n$
%&n li"ht o# this decision, it is now clear that the directive 'y the Saskatchewan "overnent to #orce arria"e
coissioners to per#or sae-se! arria"e cereonies is not re(uired 'y the Charter o# )i"hts and *reedos,+
said Vellacott$ %,s a conse(uence, it is also clear that the -overnent o# Saskatchewan is in violation o# not only
the reli"ious #reedos enshrined 'y the Charter, 'ut also in violation o# the provisions o# Saskatchewans .uan
)i"hts Code$+
Vellacott raised the dilea #acin" Saskatchewans arria"e coissioners in the .ouse o# Coons /hursday,
askin" the #ederal 0ustice Minister to intervene to protect the reli"ion and conscience ri"hts o# the provinces
arria"e coissioners$
&n response, 0ustice Minister &rwin Cotler opposed discriination a"ainst arria"e coissioners who re#use to
per#or sae-se! arria"es #or reasons o# reli"ious 'elie# and conscience$ .e said1
/he 2ud"ent is clear that no o##icial should 'e copelled to per#or a sae-se! arria"e i# it is
contrary to reli"ion or conscience$ We will take this up at the #ederal-provincial-territorial
con#erence in order to ensure that provincial le"islation is in line with the #ederal and provincial
coitents under the charter$
/he 2ud"ent o# the Supree Court o# Canada delivered yesterday has le#t the decision o# whether to le"ali3e
sae-se! arria"e up to Parliaent$ 4o le"islation has yet 'een passed 'y Parliaent in that respect$ *urtherore,
the Court re#used to declare the traditional, opposite-se! de#inition o# arria"e unconstitutional$ Vellacott noted,
%/he Supree Court has cate"orically re2ected the ar"uent that sae-se! arria"e is a #undaental huan ri"ht$+
Vellacott had previously asked Saskatchewan 0ustice Minister *rank 5uennell (as attached) to review the directive
in order to protect the reli"ion and conscience ri"hts o# Saskatchewans arria"e coissioners$ %& trust that the
46P "overnent will re-evaluate its treatent o# these pu'lic o##icials and desist #ro work-place discriination
a"ainst arria"e coissioners with reli"ious convictions$+
& '0 &
For further comment, call (aurice )ellacott at *+1', --.1/--