Brad Trust former Conservative Member of Parliament

Brad Trost former Conservative Member of Parliament

My friends at Campaign Life Coalition believe that social conservative members of the Conservative Party should abdicate their responsibility to fully participate in the current federal leadership to chose the next Conservative Leader and in this, I believe them to be wrong.

In all of Canada’s history prime ministers have really only come from one of your two main parties. Members of the Conservative Party of Canada have chosen to be among of the few Canadians who are in a position to choose a potential prime minister. They must live up to that important responsibility.

As a Christian and a strong social conservative, I support the goals of Campaign Life but not their recommended tactic that social conservatives should only vote for the social conservatives on the ballot and then stop.

This I believe as a Conservative, and a Canadian, that failing to complete my leadership ballot is a shirking of my responsibilities.

Here are a few of the reasons why you, and every Conservative voter, needs to fill out your full ballot.

First, it increases your influence. If the campaigns have indications that you are not open to voting for more than one candidate, they are going to ignore you and the issues you care about. Campaigns are not interested in wasting their resources on voters they can’t influence. If there is no hope of you voting for a candidate there is very little hope of a candidate working for your vote, and the issues you care about are more likely to be discounted.

Secondly, it prevents you from becoming a single-issue voter. I am a passionate pro-life social conservative, but if I want my views on this issue to be taken seriously by other Canadians, I must realize that for most Canadians it is not their ballot issue. I need to be serious and engage and vote on other issues in conjunction with my social conservative views. If I want other voters to vote for socially conservative candidates in elections and take social conservative issues seriously, I need to do non social conservatives the courtesy of taking seriously their main ballot issues, and the candidates that represent these issues.

Third, there are real differences between the candidates, that you should care about. Sloan wants a more right-leaning party; team MacKay want a more left-leaning party.  Lewis is pitching a type of compassionate conservatism, and O’Toole wants to keep the party more where it has been. And it’s not just in areas of policy that there are differences, each of these candidates has different strengths and weaknesses that will influence their ability to defeat the Liberals.

Fourth, politics is not always about good, better, and best, sometimes its about bad, worse, and worst. If only one of the candidates impresses you and the other three depress you, you have a duty to stop the candidate that is the worst from winning the leadership. Ask any Member of Parliament off the record and they will tell you that their party has had bad candidates, and bad MPs, but they will also tell you of worse candidates that they have known and the relief they felt that the truly awful candidate did not hurt their party more. If you care about your party don’t let the biggest idiot win.

Finally, you owe it to yourself. No one forced you to join the Conservative Party and there is no greater responsibility than choosing the alternative to the current prime minister, don’t let yourself down.

Brad Trost is a former Conservative Party of Canada MP from Saskatoon-Humboldt

He finished fourth in the 2017 CPC leadership race.