By Alan Hustak for VMO
Sunday, May 11th, 2014
Political party strategists are mystified by Justin Trudeau’s edict prohibiting anyone who is against abortion from running for the Liberal party in the next election.
Despite his assurances that the party will hold open nominations, Trudeau has served notice that prospective candidates will be screened and those who support the pro-life option will be prohibited from running.
Incumbent Liberal MPs such John McKay, who won Scarborough-Guildwood with 57.5% of the vote, would be exempt from the new rules.
“It is a shocking thing, but it is a democracy and democracy throws up some strange things at times,” McKay said.
Other pro- lifers such as Gar Knutson, Dan McTeague and Joe Volpe, who were defeated last time around, won’t be given the chance to make a political comeback.
“It is a different way of doing politics, and it is certainly causing friction and controversy,” said Montreal city councilor and veteran Liberal party activist Mary Deros, who ran for the nomination in Papineau in 2007 and lost to Trudeau. “While I support the right of a woman who has been raped, or a young girl who has been traumatized by a pregnancy, to choose whether or not to have an abortion, we certainly don’t need to impose the leader’s personal beliefs on everyone in caucus. I believe at all times candidates whether federal, municipal or provincial, are elected to represent the people, not the views of the party leader.”
Former Liberal MP Clifford Lincoln says he finds it extremely ironic that a party calling itself Liberal will prohibit a dissenting opinion on any issue.
“I must admit I find it very, very sad for to issue an edict which subscribes to only one set of values. Surely as parliamentarians we deal with this in caucus, and respect one another’s views and convictions. My faith convictions as a Roman Catholic do not stop at the door of the House of Commons.”
Lincoln says he worries that Trudeau could impose his views and prohibit “a diversity of opinion” on other contentious issues such as euthanasia, assisted suicide and gun control.
Eva Nassif, who is again seeking the Liberal nomination in Laval, was reluctant to talk about the issue until after a candidate has been chosen in the riding. She said that as a potential candidate, “I will follow the policy of the party leader.” Nassif suggested candidates who were already chosen before Trudeau changed the rules may not be bound by his edict.
Other candidates seeking the nomination such as Christine Porier-Brotchie and Bridgitte Garceau declined comment.
However several party organizers, speaking on the condition that they not be named, say they are genuinely puzzled by their leader’s dogmatic position.
One strategist suggest that since the Liberals hold only 35 seats in the House of Commons, Trudeau has nothing to lose by reshaping the party and its values to conform to his way of thinking.
Another, more saddened than angered, said: “No one at the top or at the party level other than Justin’s sycophants believe he has two stones to rub together. He has created an issue where there was no issue.”
Columnist Andrew Coyne points out that since there is no imminent likelihood of a vote on an abortion bill, and even less chance of one passing, there was no reason for Trudeau to have raised the issue at all.
Trudeau, Coyne writes, has persuaded himself that is only one side to the abortion debate, and it is his side.
“But the issue is not settled just because one side says it is. There are surely criteria for assessing this on which both sides could agree. The status quo in Canada – no legal restriction on abortion of any kind at any point in a pregnancy – was the result of neither any court nor of any legislature. It is unsupported by large numbers, perhaps even a majority of the public....That doesn’t make the status quo wrong. It only makes it debatable. It is a shame Trudeau pretends otherwise.”
Last Night at the Gayete
The Centaur Theatre's 2015- season is drawing to a close with its final production of Last Night at the Gayety, a musical comedy by Bowser & Blue which runs until May 22nd.
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