Since last fall, The Interim has encouraged its readers to sign up for the Conservative Party leadership because there were two candidates running that deserved the support of Canadian pro-lifers: MP Brad Trost and former MP Pierre Lemieux. As this paper has noted several times, there have been pro-life candidates for leadership before, but never has a candidate for the Conservatives — or the legacy parties from which it was created — run for leader on life and family issues.
Trost and Lemieux, like others before them, and another candidate in this race (MP Andrew Scheer), call themselves pro-life. But what distinguishes them – and excites us — is that they are running on a socially conservative platform. Both promise to do something about sex-selective abortion. Both want to enact an unborn victims of violence law if they form government. Both spoke out against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s $650 million foreign aid boost to promote abortion and sex-ed around the globe and vowed to discontinue the funding if they become prime minister. Both defend conscience rights for medical practitioners and stand up for the rights of parents as first educators.
Trost has gone further, telling The Interim in February that he would use the mandate letter to his health minister to promote a culture of life, including a public health campaign upholding the value of the lives of children with Down syndrome. This indicates he is thinking about pro-life policy at a level more profound than merely declaring himself pro-life.
Pro-life voters cannot go wrong with either of these leadership contenders.
The Conservative leadership campaign is coming to a conclusion later this month. Those who signed up to become members of the party before March 28, should be receiving their ballots any day. These ballots permit the ranking of up to 10 candidates. We are urging pro-life Conservative members to rank Trost or Lemieux first, and the other second. The ranked ballot means there is no vote-splitting. In a ranked ballot, unless someone attains 50 per cent plus one of the total vote points (with each riding worth 100 points), the candidate with the fewest votes will be dropped from the ballot and all the ballots with the eliminated candidate will have their second choice counted. The process continues until a candidate wins a majority. It may sound complicated, but the party’s computers will do the count. All pro-life Conservative members have to do is properly fill out their ballot by ranking their top candidates. Follow the directions accompanying your ballot and return the ballot (with photocopies of two pieces of identification) promptly. We advise returning ballots by mail before the National March for Life (May 11), to ensure they arrive on time to be counted.
CLC disqualifies 12 candidates
Campaign Life Coalition disqualified all the other 12 candidates in the race. It was not an easy decision considering that Scheer had a strong pro-life voting record until he threw his hat into the leadership ring and MP Maxime Bernier was making a strong pitch for the social conservative vote. Ultimately, however, their records come up short.
We are chagrined that Andrew Scheer began his leadership bid announcing he would not re-open the abortion issue, suggesting it was settled by the Supreme Court’s 1988 Morgentaler decision. Scheer maintains he is “personally pro-life” but wouldn’t do anything about the killing of preborn children in the womb. He has since said he will not re-open euthanasia, same-sex “marriage,” or (if it passes in this Parliament) pot legalization. Somehow, Scheer is still described as a “staunch social conservative.”
We wonder why so-called pro-life and pro-family politicians insist on using these labels themselves when they won’t do anything about the issues they supposedly hold strong, personal feelings about — or why others continue believing them. We also wonder why it is only the pro-life issue that elicits such hypocrisy. We never see someone describe himself as “personally anti-tax” but unwilling to fight for lower tax rates or herself as “personally pro-free trade” but opposed to voting for such agreements. It pains us to urge readers to eschew Scheer on the ballot, but not as much as it did to see Scheer abandon his previously strong pro-life commitments or adopt what the Canadian version of Mario Cuomo’s disgraceful and disingenuous “personally pro-life but …” position.
Maxime Bernier has no pretense of being pro-life. He is unabashedly libertarian. Not counting his votes against euthanasia, he has not voted pro-life in his dozen years as an MP and says he supports a woman’s “right to choose.” He applauded the Conservative Party when it overturned its platform upholding traditional marriage, saying “love is love.” He has voted in favour of special rights for individuals who self-identify as transgender. It may be political opportunism on his part, but Bernier has reached out to social conservative voters during this campaign. He reversed himself on C-16, the government’s transgender rights bill, urging the Senate to defeat it, saying after the Jordan Peterson affair he sees it as a threat to freedom of speech. He condemned Trudeau’s promotion of abortion through foreign aid. He has vowed to have free votes for MPs and has gone so far as to say he welcomes a debate within caucus and the legislature on abortion.
Ultimately, however, this paper cannot endorse a candidate who is not pro-life, even if he is offering socially conservative Tory members a number of attractive policies and principles.
The rest of the field, likewise, have pro-abortion records and have tried to avoid the issue, and to a person supports a generally socially liberal agenda. And then there is Kevin O’Leary, who has enthusiastically supported the full liberal agenda and indicated he will not countenance any debate on social issues if he were to become leader. [Editor’s Note: O’Leary withdrew from the race after the May Interim went to press.]
We are more than happy to endorse both Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux as the next leader of the Conservative Party.