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Monday, August 04, 2003

Little Red Ridings-We're getting some good news north of the border; the seemingly-pending passage of same-sex marriage may be hitting a wall. Normally, MPs are supposed to vote the party line or else, but this one has been declared an "free vote" where MPs can vote their conscience. About half the Liberals are opposed to the bill, which may doom its passage. Mark Cameron has come good linkage and commentary on the subject. This Angus Reid piece notes that the Canadian public might be 55-45 in favor of same-sex marriage, but it might be closer to 50-50 in voting strength, since younger voters vote less. The problem might be with blue collar rural voters who may be more culturally conservative than city slickers. One of the keys to Dubya’s victory in 2000 was winning over such rural voters, winning normally-Democratic areas like West Virginia and beating Gore in Tennessee on the strength of rural voters who didn't care for the Democrat's pro-gun-control and sexually-permissive platform. Since the last election, the term "Red State" has come in to play to describe the more rural, more culturally conservative states that Bush carried. Also, the term has also come to imply the old-school persona of those areas. There may well be some "red ridings" in Canada that Liberals have carried for the last decade, but may lose to the Alliance Party if they stay with their stands on legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage. The color-terms don't translate well, since red is the Liberal color, blue is the Conservative color and green is the Alliance color. However, the concept of blue-color conservatives leaving the small-l liberal party, especially in Anglophone Canada and Ontario in particular, still applies. Some of the MPs from such area will vote no on this free vote, but a smart Alliance (or Bloc Quebecois) campaign could point out that the next vote on supporting moral decline might not be free. The guy who looks the worst in all this is the presumptive Liberal party successor to Chretien, Paul Martin, who is taking a page out of the Cuomo Songbook and claiming himself a good Catholic while supporting same-sex marriage. Could the backlash drive the PRI Liberals from power next year? We shall see.

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