Over the summer three socially conservative Tory MPs announced they would not run for re-election in the 2015 federal election.
Rick Norlock (Northumberland—Quinte West), Joe Preston (Elgin-Middlesex-London), and Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul) all had solid socially conservative records as MP.
Campaign Life Coalition maintains a vote record for all MPs and each of the three had an impressive overall record.
Norlock has a perfect record on 10 votes since being elected in 2006. He voted for Stephen Woodworth’s Motion 312 to study whether a child in the womb is a human being based on the preponderence of evidence from modern medical science. He also voted for C-484, an Unborn Victim’s of Violence bill, and C-510, which sought to protect pregnant women from coercion to abort. He also voted against C-279 which added gender identity to the country`s human rights laws.
According to CLC, Storseth has 11 pro-life votes or actions in eight years in Parliament, including voting for M-312, C-484, and C-510 and against C-279. He also spoke out against Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada.
With a single exception, Preston had a solid record, voting or speaking out with the pro-life and pro-family side in 13 of 14 votes since being first elected in 2004. His sole blemish was in 2012 when he voted against Woodworth’s M-312. Still, CLC gave Preston a green light on their ratings.
All three supported re-opening the debate on the definition of marriage in 2006 and Preston voted against redefining marriage when Paul Martin’s government extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Storseth also introduced C-304, which axed Section 13 of the federal hate crime law which restricted free speech rights. It passed both the House of Commons and the Senate and became law in 2013.
Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, told The Interim that he is saddened to see three pro-life and pro-family MPs retire and thanked them for their service, but worries about their replacements. “Just because they are Conservatives does not mean that the party will nominate socially conservative candidates to replace them,” Hughes warned.
Jeff Gunnarson, a part of the CLC election team, told The Interim that the three ridings will be added to the list Campaign Life Coalition will be monitoring closely. He said the organization is busy helping candidates in nomination contests in dozens of ridings across the country, focusing on assisting pro-life challengers and first-time candidates. Gunnarson said “pro-life supporters in those riding inclined to vote Conservative should ensure their party memberships are in place so they can participate in nomination meetings to make sure pro-life and pro-family candidates replace the retiring socially conservative MPs.”
While no candidates have come forward yet, Northumberland-Quinte West is reported in local media to be attracting the interest of Red Tory Paul Smith, a former head of VIA Rail, and Steve Gilchrist, a former Progressive Conservative MPP and member of the Family Values Caucus at Queen’s Park in the 1990s.