The same-sex marriage bill is “a threat to any Canadian who supports multiculturalism,” said Stephen Harper in 2005, before the Liberal Party of Canada passed the same-sex marriage bill.
There is no contradiction between same-sex marriage and multiculturalism, but there is only the stereotype that non-white Canadians are inherently homophobic. A 2005 article in the Globe & Mail reported Harper’s rationale for his campaign tactics:
Mr. Harper’s tactics stem, in part, from a survey conducted by the Conservative Party before last month’s Victoria caucus meeting. According to party sources, the poll, which did not include Quebec voters, found that the governing Liberals were supported by 31 per cent of decided voters compared with 28 per cent for the Tories.
More importantly, however, pollsters asked how many of those voters would consider leaving the Liberal Party if it supported same-sex marriage.
What they found startled them.
A full six percentage points of Liberal supporters said they would consider exiting their party. By contrast, Tory support dropped by only two percentage points when supporters were asked whether they would drift away should the caucus oppose the bill.
[Conservative] Party officials concluded that the six-percentage-point drop for the Liberals was probably made up of small-c ethnic supporters, and decided at that point to begin running controversial newspaper ads opposing gay marriage.
Basically, the Conservative Party officials found evidence that 6% of Liberal voters would consider leaving the Liberals if the Liberals supported same-sex marriage, and then concluded, based on no evidence, that these voters must be the “ethnics”, i.e., non-white people.