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I wouldn’t normally be thinking about the Conservative Party or Andrew Scheer this far in advance of the next federal election, but events to the south changed all that. So did the words of Marjory LeBreton, a Red Tory who was leader of the government in the Senate under Stephen Harper.
She is supportive of small government, while remaining progressive on social issues. She is worried about her party and that worries me. She said recently in a comment to John Ibbitson, “My fear is that Canadians … will be influenced by the excessive partisanship and deep divide we are witnessing in U.S. politics and come to the conclusion that Canadian Conservatives are the same.”
The retired senator’s further remarks to Ibbitson included this: “My fear is that getting caught up in the politics of conservatives south of the border will do irreparable harm to our good and decent party.”
On the Sunday of the horrible events in Charlotteville, Scheer condemned “these acts of racism, violence and hatred.” It was better than the U.S. President managed to do so kudos to Scheer for that. But – and it’s a big but – the party he leads puts out mixed messages with the thread of xenophobic nationalism that runs through the far right element of the present Conservative Party. Those who have led the party before him have sometimes chosen to suppress that populist view while at other times they’ve capitalized on it.
The horror in Charlottesville, which Donald Trump’s base-toadying condemnation of ‘both sides’ has further exacerbated, has no place in Canada. Trump’s defence of the ‘very fine people’ at the Charlottesville white nationalist march has former KKK leader David Duke gushing: “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believe in. That’s why we voted for Trump because he promised to take our country back.”
This is so reprehensible that all politicians should be calling him out…NAFTA negotiations be damned. Canadian Conservatives have an opportunity to try and span both sides of the divide or to denounce the intolerant faction within their own party and then kick them to the curb.
Scheer should also refrain from being interviewed again on Rebel Media. It is strongly pro-Trump and anti-immigrant and they gave American white-supremacist leader Richard Spencer the time of day. Mr. Scheer needs to distance himself completely and to firmly denounce the extreme right-wing platform in no uncertain terms. Mr. Scheer now says he won’t grant them any further interviews if they continue down this path, but he was slow to make a statement.
It’s easy to dismiss followers of Rebel as half-baked lunatics until you remember that Bannon and Breitbart’s disciples were once mocked too….until they got Trump into the White House.
If any Conservative thinks it’s a good idea to dance with the devil in the interest of adding to its base, it should remember that once attached to you they are tougher to get rid of than cockroaches.
A number of politicians across Canada have vowed to boycott the Rebel site but Andew Scheer remained silent for too long. Is it because he – a social conservative himself – owes his victory over Maxime Bernier to social conservatives in his party who keep pushing to re-open the debate on same-sex marriage and abortion?
Scheer has voted against every civil rights bill – gay rights, abortion rights and transgender rights. He has clearly indicated that he plans to move the Conservative Party of Canada to the right of the ‘relatively’ moderate positions it adopted under interim leader Rona Ambrose. Steven Harper was a committed conservative but he was also something of a pragmatist, whereas Scheer is far more theologically driven. And he owes a debt to social conservatives. Christian conservatives will be lined up to pressure Scheer and some of his right-wing Christian advisors how much they contributed to his win.
Canada does not have a definitive statement about church and state in the manner of the U.S. Although Harper said ‘God Bless Canada’ a few times many of us found it strange and too ‘American’. We are a liberal democracy that recognizes the separation of church and state as a good thing. Our democracy accepts that freedom of religion also means freedom from religion and that includes the personal religious beliefs – or lack thereof – of our leaders. Listen up Andrew Scheer.
When Justin Trudeau told new MPs that they can believe whatever they want, but they must vote with the party (including on issues like abortion) the Catholic Church denounced him as a ‘bad’ Catholic. Trudeau replied – rightly I believe – “I have a lot of respect for his eminence and for any leaders within the church, but I do want to highlight that he has a very different role than I do. My role is to stand up and defend all Canadians and my role in terms of that is separate from any personal religious views.”
Amen to that.
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Following a career in the hospitality sector and the acquisition of a law and justice degree in her 50s, Dale embarked on a writing career armed with the fanciful idea that a living could be made as a freelancer. To her own great surprise she was right. The proof lies in hundreds of published works on almost any topic but favourites include travel, humour & satire, feature writing, environment, politics and entrepreneurship. Having re-invented herself half a dozen times, Dale doesn’t rule anything out. Her time is divided equally between Muskoka and Tampa Bay with Jim, her husband of 8 years and partner of 32 years. Two grown ‘kids’ and their spouses receive double doses of love and attention when she’s at home.