Laura Stone writes at the Globe and Mail:
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer still won’t march in Pride parades but says his party is more tolerant of differing views than Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Scheer said he won’t reopen contentious social issues such as abortion, but MPs are free to hold a variety of personal beliefs.
Mr. Scheer suggested Mr. Trudeau – who requires all of his MPs to support a woman’s right to choose in any vote on abortion – has his own “values test” for MPs. The Conservative leader defended his decision last fall to appoint Conservative MP Rachael Harder, who has not previously supported legalized abortions, as chair of the status of women committee – a bid that was ultimately blocked by the Liberals and NDP.
“The Liberals showed how intolerant they are, and how they don’t actually believe in people’s rights to hold personal beliefs,” said Mr. Scheer, a 38-year-old father of five.
Mr. Scheer, who himself is anti-abortion, has repeatedly said he won’t bring forward any government legislation on the issue. He and other top Conservatives are set to speak at February’s Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, a major event hosted by the Calgary-based conservative Manning Centre think tank. One of this year’s sponsors is the “We Need a Law” organization, which advocates for abortion legislation to protect “pre-born humans.”
On gay and lesbian rights, Mr. Scheer said there are many ways to show support for the community aside from Pride parades. He pointed to a motion he introduced last June, which called on the government to condemn Russia for its persecution of the LGBT community in Chechnya, as well as his support for Mr. Trudeau’s recent apology to sexual minorities.
“Not everybody marches,” Mr. Scheer said. “There are other ways that I’ve chosen to show support for the community.”