Dan McCash got it from the horse’s mouth – the federal Liberal’s have abandoned him and he’s been shut out of Etobicoke-Lakeshore.
McCash, national coordinator for Liberals for Life, confronted Jean Chretien at a party function in Toronto May 18. Chretien, in answer to McCash’s question of whether he was going to be allowed to seek the nomination, said “to be honest with you Dan, No.”
Chretien said that he has made a commitment to appoint a female candidate in the riding. The Liberal candidate in Etobicoke-Lakeshore will be Jean Augustine, the current head of Toronto Housing and former high-school principal.
McCash reacted immediately by calling for the resignation of the Liberal leader.
“It’s time for him to step down,” McCash said of Chretien. “He has squandered our proud heritage of being the party of people.”
The news of five Liberal appointments in the ridings across Canada came as no surprise to Liberals for Life. They have long suspected the party would move to block their growing support within the party.
McCash said Chretien has turned his back on the “large number of pro-lifers who have long been the mainstay of the Liberal Party.” He said he has shown “no regard for the grassroots of the party.”
The appointments do nothing to alter the resolve of the Liberals for Life, he said. “We’re forcing their hand. This is just a battle within the war.”
Peter Milcyn, Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding president, has complained publicly about the only reason it’s being done is because she’s black.
According to Liberal for Life source, Augustine said she thinks it is the case of abortion “it’s a woman’s right to choose. The decision has to be made by the woman.”
The Liberal Party will also be appointing four other riding across the country. Maria Minna, president of the National Congress of Italian Canadians, has been appointed in Beaches-Woodbine. This in spite of the fact a woman candidate, Pam Shea, already had her nomination papers signed for that riding.
Shea, a pro-life candidate, will be shut out of her own riding of Beaches-Woodbine even though she is everything the Liberals said they want their candidates to be.
“Why appoint a woman if there’s one already running?” asked Shea. “The motivation (for the appointment) doesn’t appear to be the advancement for women.”
Pro-life candidate Terry Kelly was also set to run in the Beaches-Woodbine riding, but party officials had been stalling their go-ahead for this nomination.
The Liberals have also appointed two women in Quebec and one in the riding of Saskatoon-Humboldt, shutting put another pro-life Liberal there. Chretien has vowed to use the powers granted to him by the Liberal party in Hull to ensure that at least 25 per cent of the Liberal candidates are women. So far, it seems, the powers have been invoked to keep out pro-life Liberals. David Smith, chairman of the Ontario campaign has vowed to exclude Liberals for Life from office. Smith was out of the country at the time of the appointment and not available for comment. Earlier calls from The Interim had not been returned.
Chretien has already declared in a party memo that he is “personally pro-choice” and will not introduce abortion legislation if his party is elected.
McCash plans to turn his attention to the riding of Etobicoke-Centre, where pro-life candidate Jim Conrad has recently announced he won’t be running. Pro-lifers Joe Bissonnette and Beth Johnson have also filed letter of intent with the Liberal Party to run for the nomination in Etobicoke-Centre.
The appointments are bound to upset members in the party who are not necessarily part of the Liberals for Life. A group known as Liberals for Participatory Democracy has slammed the party publicly for overriding the nomination process and bowing to unelected interests within the party.
Tom Lamb, a member of Liberals for Democracy said the appointments are “totally unacceptable to us. Rather than reach out to al Canadians they have opted for tyranny.”