Sacrificed? Truth or Politics by Larry D. Spencer (Kayteebella Productions, $17.99, 172 pages)
Truth and politics – are they mutually exclusive? After reading Larry Spencer’s new book Sacrificed? Truth or Politics, the answer, unfortunately, seems to be yes. And that’s the main reason every concerned Canadian should read this well-written volume.
The book is more than a simple retelling of the details surrounding the hatchet job performed upon Spencer by the Alliance and Conservative parties’ establishments and the media, which resulted in the U.S.-born MP’s forced expulsion from the political scene. It is written more in the form of an autobiography, beginning with Spencer’s upbringing on a farm in Missouri and detailing how he came to absorb the values he eventually carried into what has tragically become a beacon of degeneracy and immorality – the Canadian Parliament.
“I learned that life is really quite fragile – a gift from God,” he writes of his childhood. “Death at birth, or shortly thereafter, was not uncommon among the animals on the farm … We lose our dignity as human beings when we callously discount the value of human life. A God-given gift should be appreciated, respected and protected.”
Such sentiments have come to be regarded as something akin to sacrilege within the boundaries of the hedonistic, self-serving paradigm that fuels political discourse in modern Canada. As events unfolded, Spencer came to realize just how true this is.
After heeding calls to Christian ministry and then political office, the latter north of the border, rookie MP Spencer received a harsh indoctrination into the ways of the media and the political establishment after what seemed to be a routine discussion initiated by a newspaper reporter, Peter O’Neil of the Vancouver Sun.
“Make it a crime to be gay: Alliance MP” screamed the subsequent headlines to O’Neil’s article across the nation, as the then-Alliance party leadership scrambled for the damage control it thought was needed. Despite being just a lowly backbencher, Spencer’s alleged remarks – he disputes the context into which they were placed by O’Neil – prompted hundreds of articles of coverage literally around the world.
Along with the media, Stephen Harper and the Alliance/Conservative party establishments manifest themselves as the worst villains in this tale. The experiences of fellow social conservative and earlier Alliance party leader Stockwell Day served as a foreshadowing of what was to come for Spencer.
“Stock was being mercilessly grilled and boiled in his own juices by the liberal media,” Spencer recalls. “Influential party insiders were being – let me be very kind and careful here – less than helpful to our new leader … Stockwell Day had become the whipping boy.”
After Day was, in effect, ejected from the party leadership and Harper took the helm, the new leader was given free rein to make the kind of unilateral changes and decisions that would have been rebelliously rejected if Day had even thought of implementing them: “What Stock had been falsely accused of in terms of making up policy on the fly, Mr. Harper did brazenly without question. Party policy was now his baby and that was that.”
Harper is depicted as a crass political pragmatist who tries to appeal to the “Christian vote” after having attacked Day for doing the same. “What was the real truth?” Spencer asks rhetorically. Harper does an about-face on the issue of an Alliance-Progressive Conservative merger, first declaring that “the Alliance is strong and here to stay!” but later brokering a deal with Peter McKay to bring about unity.
After the O’Neil article breaks, Harper fires Spencer from his position as Alliance family issues critic and encourages him to think about resignation from the party. Taken aback, Spencer agrees to go along with what he believes are only temporary party sanctions on him, including a total gag order. But this leads in the end to a ridiculous five-minute session before the newly minted Conservative party caucus that, in a secret vote with no Spencer scrutineers present and the ballots destroyed, supposedly results in his expulsion from the party. Spencer goes on to run unsuccessfully as an independent in the next election.
This is a disturbing story on several fronts – it starkly illustrates the attack-dog mentality of the media toward social conservatives, how bereft of integrity is the Canadian political sphere as a whole and, most of all, the fact that Stephen Harper and the Conservative party – though they may court the Christian and social conservative vote – really have no affinity with those concerned about the preservation of human life and the family. Especially in light of the flaccid response of the Conservatives to the recent vote on reopening the marriage issue, it is a dire warning for social conservatives not to be deceived in by these seemingly friendly political figures.
At the same time, this book is inspiring in that it shows there are still men and women of conscience, morality, integrity and fortitude willing to step up to the plate of public life and stand by time-honoured virtues and principles. This country is poorer for the fact that Larry Spencer is no longer acting as salt and light in Parliament. Fortunately, he has embarked on a ministry of speaking engagements, telling his story and preaching the Christian Gospel to whoever will listen.
He deserves every success.