Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Legislative roundup

First off, here in Alberta, the provincial government has set up a Disputes Inquiry Board to help reach a first contract for workers at Lakeside Packers in Brooks. The workers there have struggled to be certified as a union for several years, and have struggled another year since to get a first contract.

All that time, the provincial government has had a hands-off policy to the certification and negotiation. In other, more labour-friendly provinces, a first contract after certification is (if required) bindingly mediated. But okay, a hands-off policy is ideologically consistent for Alberta's Tories, so I guess it's what we asked for.

But now the province is involved, via the new Disputes Inquiry Board. Okay, hey, thanks for the help. Except that it's non-binding. And not entirely a mediation process. Oh, yeah, and it makes striking illegal for the next sixty days.

This isn't helping the process. Here were are, the morning when workers were planning to be setting up pickets, and they've been legislatively hamstrung. I give the workers a lot of credit - they waited until the U.S. border opened to our cattle before putting in their strike notice. They aren't out to hurt their neighbours more than necessary. But the provincial government doesn't really give a shit.

Lyle Oberg! You're the MLA for these workers. You got some 'splaining to do.

Even living in Edmonton now, I'm with you in spirit, Lakeside workers. I know my electoral improvement last election is heavily associated to you. Albertans are fair-minded people, not reactionary right-wingers like so many members of the Tory caucus. This obviously unfair tactic will only gain you support.

Second, federally, gay marriage has been approved by the Senate, and only requires Royal Assent. This is the stage a frequent commenter of mine is convinced the process will fail.

Do you believe "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith" will enact legislation that is contrary to the Christian faith?
Yeah, I do, actually. But let me add that I really don't think there's anything about same-sex marriage that offends the Christian faith, so the question is moot.

I wish I could find the quote from a United Church minister that compared searching the Bible for rules about gay marriage with reading Moby Dick to learn the mechanics of whaling. The guidance is there, to be sure, but that guidance comes heavily in the direction of love and acceptance and opening the arms of the faith widely. There are ten rules, not to mention a somewhat central sermon by Jesus, none of which suggests God holds any strong opinions on monogamous homosexual behavior. There is a Leviticus rule, but I won't bore you with the litany of casually-broken Leviticus rules. Suffice it to say, even among people of faith, the jury is out. So, no, I don't expect Her Royal Highness to decide this is the hill to die on. But thanks for reading!

Update, Thursday morning: I found the quote. Google-searched it, ended up back here. I've been writing this a while, I see.

The Bible is a collection of writings from many times and places, all at least nineteen centuries old. It's like an album of snapshots, sometimes blurry, giving us glimpses into religious and social life in ancient cultures. Searching the Bible for clear teaching about same-sex marriage will get us about as far as if we read Moby Dick for tips on how to pilot an aircraft carrier.

-Rev. Darrow Woods, United Church of Canada
Clever and funnier than I remembered. But entirely appropriate. The whole commentary is still available, and still well worth reading.

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