Former MP Tom Wappel often warns pro-lifers that if they don’t show up to candidate nominations, delegate selection meetings, and to vote their principles on election day, we are surrendering our political decision-making to those who do show up; it is effectively unilateral disarmament.
Numerous pro-life and pro-family groups urged their members and supporters to purchase a Conservative Party membership because there were several socially conservative candidates. More than 11,000 Campaign Life Coalition supporters became Conservative members, and along with our friends and allies in other organizations, our presence was felt in the leadership contest.
When the first ballot of the CPC vote was revealed at the Toronto Congress Center on May 27, the party, the media, and the public saw the unmistakable influence of social conservatives of all stripes (and colours). Trost and Lemieux combined for nearly 16 per cent of the vote. Trost won 16 ridings, many of them in the diverse communities of the large cities. Lemieux won six ridings. Both exceeded the pollsters’ expectations. Until the winner, Andrew Scheer, was revealed, all the pundits on the panel shows talked about was the influence of social conservatives. Scheer, who vowed not to reopen the abortion debate but has a pro-life and pro-family voting record, eventually earned the lion’s share of Lemieux and Trost’s support, which was instrumental in his 1.9 percentage point victory. If pro-life and pro-family voters did not get involved, Maxime Bernier would be leader of the Conservative Party today.
Any election is fundamentally a numbers game. Unfortunately, Liberals and the NDP have essentially prohibited pro-lifers from their party. For those who value life and family, the next battles are being waged immediately within conservative circles: uniting the Alberta Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties, the Ontario Progressive Conservative policy convention, nominations at all levels, the Conservative policy convention next August, and (non-partisan) municipal and school board elections in most of the country in the fall of 2018. We need pro-lifers who will stand as candidates and delegates. Get off the couch and get involved.