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More advice for the Conservatives

Stop walking into traps! As I mentioned before, the Liberals promotion of gay marriage was solely chosen to throw the Conservative caucus into turmoil and draw out extreme statements from backbenchers. They couldn't give a damn about this issue, which should be a provincial responsibility anyway. But it's a slow-acting poison that works only on conservatives, with damage that increases with exposure, so the Liberals found it useful to uncork. And now we're going to get plenty of exposure:

After putting C-38 on the back burner only two weeks ago, Paul Martin's government once again labelled it a bill of national importance and vowed to tackle it in the coming days.

Government House Leader Tony Valeri will move today to postpone summer vacation slated to begin for MPs Thursday and keep them working until midnight every weekday until they exhaust debate and vote on whether to legalize same-sex marriage.

Valeri said the extension will ensure MPs approve the $4.6-billion amendment to the budget and take a final vote on the Civil Marriage Act, which legalizes same-sex marriage.

Which means -- what? -- months of coverage of heated rhetoric coming out of the Commons? How's that going to look? The average Ontario voter sees this issue -- unfairly, in my opinion -- as the litmus test as to whether the so-cons rule the Conservative party. And if it's seen that they do, vote-rich Ontario will hold their nose and vote for the Liberals. Again. To me it looks like the Tories have nowhere to go but down.

But they have a chance. They have to neutralize this issue. The only way I can see it is if they announce that the party has no position on gay marriage, and that Conservative MPs will have a free vote when the time comes. They can debate the issue, but must try to refrain from demonizing those on the other side. Sure, most will probably vote against it, but a significant number will vote for it. And if that minority gets a bit of coverage, maybe the timid and twitchy Ontario voters will be mollified.

Okay, I'm a dreamer. The Conservatives are Daffy Duck to the Liberals' Bugs Bunny. They haven't got a chance.


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