It’s all about buggery

More fun in the House o' Commons

The definition of buggery caught the attention of MPs at the hearing into the federal government’s proposed same-sex partners legislation.

“I think the correct term is probably sodomy. I think that’s what we’re looking at,” said Peter Stock, the national affairs director for the rightwing lobby group, the Canada Family Action Coalition.

“Buggery is, of course as you know, separate and distinct in the Criminal Code,” Stock told the committee on Mar 2.

Gay New Democratic Party MP Svend Robinson raised the issue after receiving a copy of a press release from a Reform Party MP Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton-Melville).

“He’s renamed Bill C-23 The Death Of The Marriage Act,” said Robinson.

Breitkreuz’s release says that in the 1950s, buggery was a criminal offence, but that it has now become “a requirement to receive benefits from the federal government.”

“What’s the difference between sodomy and buggery Mr Stock?” Robinson asked.

“I believe buggery refers to a power imbalance particularly between children and adults,” said Stock. “It’s still sodomy of course, but it’s basically anal rape.”

“This is an interesting definition,” Robinson responded. “But you agree with the statement, subject to the redefinition of sodomy for buggery then?”

“I don’t think it goes far enough,” said Stock, adding, “It’s not just about sodomy, is it?”

Equality For Gays And Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE) also appeared before the committee. The gay lobby group doesn’t believe that either buggery or sodomy are required in order to receive benefits, said EGALE president Kim Vance.

“I have many people that I know who are in common-law relationships of a heterosexual nature that are not interrogated or asked these kinds of questions when they go to apply for benefits or have obligations under federal law,” Vance told the committee.

“How many lesbians engage in buggery?” Robinson then asked.

“I don’t know any lesbians who engage in buggery,” responded Vance.


The only other out gay politician in the House Of Commons is asking for help.

“The Bloc Quebecois is having vigorous debate,” Réal Ménard (Hochelaga-Maisoneuve) told the Standing Justice Committee.

“I have 10 colleagues against this bill,” Ménard said. “I am personally trying to convince them to vote for it.”

Ménard asked for help from the witnesses; he’s looking for arguments in support of the bill. Ménard told the committee that those opposed say , they might be convinced to support the legislation if it had only recognized other forms of financial interdependency.

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