OTTAWA (BP)–For supporters of traditional marriage, Canada’s election June 28 brought little good news.
The Conservative Party, which social conservatives had pinned their hopes on, failed to win a minority government status, gaining only 99 seats in the House of Commons. The incumbent Liberal Party, which along with Prime Minister Paul Martin has pushed for the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” lost ground but maintained minority government status with 135 seats.
To make matters worse, two parties that are to the left of the Liberal Party — the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Bloc Quebecois — gained seats.
The House of Commons likely will have a vote either late this year or early next year on the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” It is already legal in three provinces, and pro-family activists in the country aren’t optimistic.
“With the numbers that we’re looking at right now, we would lose it,” Janet Epp Buckingham, director of law and public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, told Baptist Press.
Pre-election polls indicated that the Conservatives and Liberals were neck-and-neck, with the Conservatives having a shot at winning minority government status and Conservative leader Stephen Harper becoming prime minister. But that didn’t materialize, and they gained only 17 seats.
In Canada’s multi-party system, a party must win at least 155 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons (or, Parliament) to form a majority government, which the Liberal Party previously had with 168 seats. Although the Liberals lost that status, they likely will form a coalition with the NDP and the one member that is independent to reach the 155 threshold.
The NDP gained seats, going from 14 to 19. The Bloc Quebecois went from 33 to 54 seats. Buckingham said that from what she knows, neither party has any member that opposes same-sex “marriage.”
“The social conservatives certainly did not carry the day, and in fact, there was some indication that the vote ended up going more towards the Liberals because there was a backlash from socially liberal people in Canada,” Buckingham said.
Courts in three provinces have legalized same-sex “marriage,” and the issue has divided the country, where polls show that half support legalization, half oppose it. But that division likely will not translate to Parliament, where a vote for legalization probably will pass, Buckingham said.
She estimates that 30-40 Liberals would vote against legalization, as would most of the 99 Conservatives. But that is far short of the 155 votes needed.
“That’s just not going to be sufficient to carry the day,” Buckingham said. “What’s happened with this minority government is that it has shifted things more socially liberal, which means that we’re more likely to get same-sex ‘marriage’ and not have a government that’s willing to look at any alternatives.”
Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of the Canada Family Action Coalition, said he remains hopeful that same-sex “marriage” legislation will lose. He said he believes that a few Bloc members will vote against the legislation. In addition, he said, some of the more extreme left-leaning Liberals lost during the election.
“There’s a little bit of hope,” he said.
For more information about the debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit