I’m not myself persuaded that there’s any correlation between polygamy and “skills,” but it’s easy to see the appeal of such shameless multiculti pandering at the Supreme Court. Since this magazine and I were ensnared in the “human rights” machinery, I’ve come to regard Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms as—what’s the legal term?—oh, yeah, a worthless piece of crap. The quiet lifers will doubtless coo that, after this one minor retreat, we’ll be able to hold the line. But, to return to the elusive pursuit of “da Canadian value,” if there is a core Canadian value, it’s that there is no line, and nothing to hold. You can hold a gay wedding, you can hold a polygamous marriage, you can hold your child bride’s clitoridectomy party, but you can’t hold the line.
So what? We uptight squares just need to get with the beat. A couple of years ago, Nicole Langlois of the London Free Press went to see Brokeback Mountain, the Oscar-winning gay cowboy movie, and found herself oddly distracted. “I watched it—the lush, majestic beauty of mountains and streams; the struggle and surrender between the two men,” gushed Miss Langlois, “and I thought of Stephen Harper.”
Each to her own. When I saw Brokeback Mountain, Stephen Harper was the last thing on my mind. At the moment of “struggle and surrender between the two men,” I don’t remember looking at Jake Gyllenhaal and thinking, “The West wants in.” But to Miss Langlois, brooding on the Prime Minister, the scene underlined “how truly powerless he is . . . against the rising tide of cultural acceptance for gays.”
Rising tides lift all kinds of boats: if we’re “redefining marriage,” gay nuptials will be the least of it. Last year, Aly Hindy, a Scarborough imam, told the Toronto Star that he’d performed 30 polygamous marriages just in the last few weeks. Madame L’Heureux-Dubé and her fellow progressives think that women’s rights and gay rights are like the internal combustion engine or the jet plane—that once you’ve invented them they can’t be un-invented. Yet tides rise, and then ebb. Forty years ago Nigeria lived under English common law. Now half of it lives under sharia, and the other half’s feeling the heat. Go back to Martha Bailey’s pitch for immigrants: how many highly skilled polygamists and their legions of wives have to emigrate to Canada before “the rising tide of cultural acceptance for gays” begins to ebb?
We could use some “Canadian values” right now. As it is, multiculturalism has stripped us even of the vocabulary to argue against obvious provocations. If by “Canadian values,” you mean a half-millennium of settlement and constitutional evolution, forget it: you lost. But, if by “Canadian values,” you mean the already cobwebbed disco-era Trudeaupian mumbo-jumbo, make the most of it: it’s a moment, and moments pass. And you might not like what follows.
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