June 2016 Newsletter
We are extremely pleased to report that our months-long initiative to amend the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) marriage policy came to a successful conclusion at the CPC Policy Convention in Vancouver May 26-28.
Since January of this year, LGBTory Canada members and supporters have been working to advance a proposal to amend the CPC’s Policy Declaration to remove language that states, “we support legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” The proposal maintained language supporting the constitutional rights of religious institutions to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. (View LGBTory's Policy Rationale here).
We were fortunate to link up early in this project with allies Natalie Pon in Edmonton, Alberta and Joseph Heap in Fort McMurray Alberta, and together we were able to move this proposal through the long multi-stage process that is required to bring policy proposals to the convention floor. We found sponsoring Electoral District Associations (EDAs) in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, and we shepherded the proposal through regional policy meetings across the country. Ultimately it was approved by the National Policy Committee and sent to the national convention to be approved by delegates from across Canada.
We would like to thank LGBTory VP Eric Lorenzen who coordinated our efforts in Vancouver where he and President Doc von Litchenberg attended the convention as delegates. The policy was debated and approved at the Criminal & Social Policy breakout session on May 27 and sent to the full plenary session on May 28. After a dramatic debate in front of the assembled delegates, the proposal was finally approved by a vote of 1036-462.
We would also like to thank a number of legislators who helped bring about this successful outcome. Interim Leader Rona Ambrose’s early support helped bring nationwide attention to the issue. MP Michelle Rempel’s early and unwavering support and advice helped us to navigate the complex policy procedures. Leadership candidates Maxime Bernier, Kellie Leitch, and Michael Chong all supported our initiative and helped bring attention to the cause. Support from CPC caucus members Lisa Raitt, Kelley McCauley, Colin Carrie, Len Webber, David Yurdiga, Robert Sopuck, Tony Clement, Peter Kent and Jason Kenney helped us with our lobbying efforts in Parliament. Candidates for election to the CPC National Council Cheryl Bannier, Ghina Al-Sewaidi, Joe Preston, Mathijs Van Gaalen, Ken Charko, Don Nightingale, Wai Young, Louis-Charles Fortier and Brian Mitchell all publicly supported the policy change. In Ontario, support from Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown and MPPs Lisa McLeod, Todd Smith, Gila Martow and Jim McDonell helped with our efforts to publicize the policy proposal to EDAs and delegates.
Patrick Brown and Kellie Leitch spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at the LGBTory Pub Night in Vancouver the night before the breakout session, and Patrick, Kellie and Maxime Bernier stood with us to show their support at the crucial breakout session vote. Maxime and Michelle Rempel spoke to the whole convention at the plenary session urging delegates to vote yes on the proposal.
Thanks go out to the volunteers who helped at the convention. We would especially like to acknowledge the efforts of Natalie Pon and Joseph Heap, whose hard work at the Alberta Congress regional policy meeting and at the convention itself made this outcome possible, as well as Benjamin Dichter and Todd Langis who helped hold down the fort at the home office in Toronto (View Natalie and Joseph's interview here).
Finally, we thank the hundreds of delegates who ultimately agreed that it was time to bring the CPC Policy Declaration in line with the Constitution, Canadian law and the opinion of a large majority of Canadian people. By adopting a neutral stance on the issue of same-sex marriage, the CPC has given room in the party for members who disagree on the issue but agree on the broader importance of electing a Conservative government, and has sent a powerful signal that it is open, welcoming and tolerant. (View CTV News footage here).
The Honorable Rona Ambrose, Patrick Brown, and LGBTory's Eric Lorenzen speaking on our Same-Sex Marriage Initiative victory!
Pride Month Flag Raising at Queen’s Park, Toronto
LGBTory Canada was pleased to be present at the Ontario Legislative Assembly’s official salute to Pride Month at Queen’s Park in Toronto. The rainbow Pride flag was raised outside the legislature building. Leader of the Opposition Patrick Brown spoke at the occasion, accompanied by Ontario PC MPs Michael Harris, Gila Martow, Jack McLaren, and Lisa McLeod joined candidate of record and LGBTory Chairman Benjamin Dichter. We thank these Progressive Conservative caucus members for recognizing this important event in the LGBT community.
Toronto Pride July 2/3
LGBTory is once again gearing up for a big appearance at the Toronto Pride Festival. We’ll have a booth set up at the festival and will be marching with a big contingent of supporters in the parade on Sunday July 3. We expect a large number of parliamentarians from both the Conservative Party of Canada and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party to march with us this year. Come and join us – hang out with other LGBT conservatives and show the crowd that it’s not a contradiction to be LGBT and conservative.
We need volunteers to work at our booth on the weekend – if you can spare some time and would like to help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Participating in Toronto Pride is expensive – with the permits and fees plus the cost of promotional banners, signs and T shirts, our expenses run to several thousand dollars. If you can help us with this important public appearance, please consider donating here.
If you are interested in having an LGBTory Canada presence at a Pride Festival in your community, please contact us at email@example.com.
Volunteers & Donors BBQ – Toronto, June 20, 6 - 9 pm
Join us in celebrating our marriage equality victory at the Vancouver convention last May, and to plan for our big appearance at Toronto Pride on Saturday/Sunday, July 2/3. LGBTory will be hosting a BBQ in downtown Toronto at 10 Sherbourne N, on Monday, June 20, 6-9 pm. This BBQ is for Donors and Volunteers. So PLEASE bring either your cheque book and make a donation or bring your calendar and sign up to be a volunteer on the 2nd or 3rd of July. BYOB and RSVP on our Facebook event page here. Cheques are payable to: LGBTory Inc. 10 Sherbourne St. North, Toronto, ON M4W 2T2.