No Referendum

   14 December 2004, early morning

Canada won’t have a referendum on same-sex marriage. I thought this quote in the Globe and Mail on the reasoning was quite good:

The idea met even stronger opposition from Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe and NDP Leader Jack Layton. Both argued it is wrong to subject minority rights to a majority vote in a referendum.

“We are speaking of rights. These must not be submitted to referenda,” Mr. Duceppe said. “A society has to be excessively vigilant of the rights of its minorities.”

PM rejects same-sex referendum by Campbell Clark

I also thought it was nice that even Stephen Harper, leader of Canada’s conservative party, has come out against the idea of a referendum on the matter.

John Stuart Mill used the term tyranny of the majority to refer to the idea above, subjecting a minority to the will of the majority.

The will of the people, moreover, practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people; the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority; the people, consequently, may desire to oppress a part of their number; and precautions are as much needed against this as against any other abuse of power.

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill



  1. Hey Ram,
    I’m one of Ahilan’s friends, just wanted to say I like your page, politics and all. I once had a professor tell me that the most effective way to measure a society’s level of justness was to evaluate what level of rights they had in place to protect their minorities. I highly value his opion and use this as my yardstick now.
    Am so incredibly glad that we didn’t leave something as fundamnetally important as gay rights to a whim of the majority. as the U.S. has proven, there are definitely more bigots and fanactics out there than there are tolerant humanists. Or who actually vote anyways. I can just see all of our hicks banding together in their churhces to vote no to same sex marriages. I think Canada has an amazing opportunity here to really show what kind of human rights we uphold, and to place ourselves in the same ranks with some of the more Liberal countries in the world, and to set a positive example for our neighbours down south. I can only have faith in our Supreme Court(5 women, pretty amazing in itself) to make the right decision. And if not, to protest afterwards.

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